Scientists testing world’s largest ‘artificial sun’

With a hope to find new ways of producing climate-friendly fuels, a team of German scientists is testing what is being described as the “largest artificial sun” in the world.

The large honeycomb-like setup of 149 spotlights, which is officially called “Synlight,” isi being tested in Juelich, thirty kilometers west of Cologne. It uses xenon short-arc lamps to simulate natural sunlight that is in short supply in Germany in neighboring areas at this time of year.

Scientists from the German Aerospace Center will concentrate the whole array on a single spot of 8x8 inches, generating up to ten thousand times the amount of solar radiation that would naturally shine on the same area.

Bernhard Hoffschmidt, the director of DLR’s Institute for Solar Research, expressed hope that the project involving temperatures of up to 3,000 degrees Celsius would likely help researchers test new ways of producing hydrogen to use as a climate-friendly/green fuel.

Hydrogen is being considered as the fuel of the future as it produces no carbon emissions. Thus it does not add to global warming when burnt. However, hydrogen is rare on Earth. But, one way to produce it is to split water into its two components – hydrogen and oxygen.

The new research is expected to help scientists to bypass the electricity stage by tapping into the huge amount of energy that reaches our planet in the form of sunlight.