About 149 high-performance Xenon short-arc lamps are assembled in the three-storey Synlight research facility to simulate natural solar radiation to help in assessing development of production processes for solar fuels, including hydrogen.

The Xenon short-arc lamps will allow scientists to focus radiators on an area of 20X20cm to produce the equivalent of 10,000 times the intensity of the solar radiation at Earth' surface.

At this stage, the temperatures of the lamps at the target point will reach up to 3000 degrees Celsius. Researchers will use this temperature to manufacture fuels, including hydrogen.

North Rhine-Westphalia Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection Johannes Remmel said: "We need to expand existing technology in practical ways in order to achieve renewable energy targets, but the energy transition will falter without investments in innovative research, in state-of-the-art technologies and in global lighthouse projects like Synlight."

DLR executive board member Lemmer said: "Fuels, propellants and combustibles acquired using solar power offer immense potential for long-term storage and the production of chemical raw materials, and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Synlight will enhance our research in this field."

The facility comprises three radiation chambers, where radiation can be directed towards each of them for experiments.

Based on the requirements, scientists can target necessary lamps at single target points or the wider surface of the test system for simultaneous preparation of several experiments and optimum utilization of the facility.

DLR official Kai Wieghardt said "Synlight fills a gap in the qualification of solar-thermal components and processes.”

The Synlight project, which is estimated to cost €3.5m, is expected to bring faster progress to solar fuel manufacturing, independent of weather conditions.

Image: The DLR’s artificial sun in Germany. Photo: courtesy of DLR German Aerospace Center.