Saturday, March 7, 2009

Solar furnaces

Solar furnaces:

A solar furnace is a structure used to harness the rays of the sun in order to produce high temperatures, usually for industry. This is achieved using a curved mirror (or an array of mirrors) that acts as a parabolic reflector, concentrating light (Insolation) onto a focal point.

The largest solar furnace in the world is at Odeillo in the Pyrenees of France, opened in 1970. It employs an array of plane mirrors to gather the rays of light from the sun, reflecting them on to a larger curved mirror. The rays are then focused onto an area the size of a cooking pot and can reach 3,000 °C. This large curved mirror is as big as an 8 story high building:

A similair solar oven is situated in Parkent in Uzbekistan. This thing is used to melt down aluminum. It's called the "physics-sun":

This one in Rehovot in Israel on the terrain of the Weizmann institute of science also belongs to the biggest in the world. This one is used for a scientific expirements:

Another big solar furnace is the solar two furnace near Barstow in California (U.S):

This thing is using the same basisc method as the solar furnace in Odeillo but it's not for scientific reasons but to generate energy. It has hundreds of large mirror assemblies, or heliostats, that track the sun, reflecting the solar energy onto a tower where a black receiver absorbs the heat. High-temperature heat transfer fluid is used to carry the energy to a boiler on the ground where the steam is used to spin a series of turbines, much like a traditional power plant. This plant is not at work anymore since 1999.

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