‘Ar­ti­fi­cial sun’ may light way to green fuel

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS -

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.

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