The solar power is an important source of renewable energy. Its technologies are either passive solar or active solar. In fact, these categories of solar technologies depend on how they capture and distribute solar energy or convert it into solar power.
Solar furnaces are one of these solar technologies which use concentrated solar power to produce high temperatures. Parabolic mirrors or heliostats concentrate light (Insolation) onto a focal point.
The temperature at the focal point may reach 3,500 °C. This heat has several applications such as generating electricity, melting steel, making hydrogen fuel and nanomaterials.
Muslim World’ Furnace
Interestingly, the 2nd largest solar furnace in the world is located in Uzbekistan. The Uzbeks built it in 1981 at 1,100 m above sea level some 45 km away from the Uzbek capital city, Tashkent.
Additionally, this furnace is also the largest one in Asia. It uses a curved array of mirrors acting as a parabolic reflector. It can generate high temperatures up to 3,000 degrees Celsius.
Uzbek scientists have chosen the site of the furnace carefully since it enjoys 270 days of sunshine per year. In fact, it spans over an area of 1,840m2. The mirror array tracks the sun and redirects the solar thermal energy towards the crucible.