‘Artificial sun’ may light way to green fuel
Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Thursday on what’s being described as “the world’s largest artificial sun,” a device they hope will help shed light on new ways of making climate-friendly fuels.
The giant honeycomb-like setup of 149 spotlights — officially known as “Synlight” — in Juelich, about 19 miles west of Cologne, uses xenon short-arc lamps normally found in cinemas to simulate natural sunlight.
By focusing the entire array on a single 8x8 inch spot, scientists from the German Aerospace Center, or DLR, will be able to produce the equivalent of 10,000 times the amount of solar radiation that would normally shine on the same surface.
Creating such furnace-like conditions is key to testing novel ways of making hydrogen. Many consider hydrogen to be the fuel of the future because it produces no carbon emissions when burned.