A Fake Sun to Save the Real World
A huge solar simulator generates 10,000 times the heat of the Sun. Scientists aim to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in new ways.
German scientists have managed to build their own sun, “Synlight”, at a research facility near Cologne. Hitting a switch, they can activate no less than 149 huge, 7 kW reflector lamps located in a three-storey building. The German space agency DLR is responsible for the project, named “the world’s largest artificial sun”.
The huge lamps consume as much power in one day as a family of four people does in one year, but on the other hand, the facility could help pave the way for a future without the use of fossil fuels.
Scientists are working on splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen at extremely high temperatures under the lamps, aiming to develop methods for mass-producing the aircraft super fuel of the future: hydrogen.
Throughout the world, scientists are experimenting with producing hydrogen from sunlight and water, but at this point, nobody has ever succeeded in producing industrial scale hydrogen in an eco-friendly, efficient, and inexpensive fashion.
The lamps of the artificial sun are mounted on a 15-m-high steel frame.