Constructed as a giant honeycomb-esque design consisting of 140 spotlights – more efficiently called ‘Synlight’ – it is placed in Juelich, a region about 30 kilometers west of Calogne, Germany. It uses short-arc xenon lamps usually present in cinemas to simulate natural sunlight; which [unfortunately?] is not ample in Germany this time of year.
By focusing the complete array on a fixed 8×8 inch point, scientists from the German Aerospace Center or DLR plan on producing energy equivalent of 10,000 times the amount of solar radiation that would generally shine on the same surface.
Creating such boiler-room-like conditions, with temperatures upwards of 3,000 degrees Celsius may pave the way for discovering optimal ways of making hydrogen, according to the director of DLR’s institute for Solar Research, Bernhard Hofschmidt.
At usual, scientists employ the use of ‘electrolysis’ to create clean hydrogen, Hoffshmidt insists that once the researchers have mastered their hydrogen-making techniques with the Synlight’s 350-kilowatt array, the process could be extended ten-fold becoming suffice for industry-application.
However, the aim here is to be using actual sunlight rather than the artificial light being produced at the Juelich experiments, which cost approximately $3.8 million to build and requires as much as if not more electricity that a four-person household uses in a year, in four hours.