With the ongoing push to power this world with renewable energy, in an effort to slow down any negative effects us humans may be contributing towards this thing called global warming/climate change, harnessing the great power of our sun has been a leading source to safely fuel our energy consumption. But what happens when the sun just isn’t powerful enough? Well, a team of German researchers just outside of Cologne have created Synlight, a supercharged artificial sun that could one day take all that is good about the sun’s energy and recreate it to offer an alternative clean power source.
enough to instantly fry a human
I’ll spare most of you the sciency details, which can be found on the German Aerospace Center website, but researchers used 149 Xenon short-arc lamps — the same ones used in larger movie theaters — to produce a light that is 10,000 times more intense than the real sun’s solar radiation on Earth and a temperature of 3000 degrees Celsius (5432 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s enough to instantly fry a human, even with safety goggles, on the spot.
One of the key facets to this research is to see if Synlight can more easily extract hydrogen, which can be used as a power source itself, from water vapor. Hydrogen has been called one of the fuels of the future as it burns giving off zero carbon dioxide. While it is a process that is already possible with current technologies, doing so requires an enormous amount of energy.
Synlight is believed to be the answer to the problem, but there’s a lot of work yet to be done. As it stands right now, Synlight is a bit of an energy hog itself. In just four hours, its electricity consumption equals that used by a four-person household in an entire year. With time though, and by harnessing more of our natural sunlight, researchers believe this may be the start of something big.