On 23 March 2017, the DLR Institute of Solar Research initiated operations at the Synlight facility, a globally unique system. Each of its 149 Xenon short-arc lamps has the output of a large cinema projector. Together, they produce a light intensity that corresponds to more than 10,000 times the incident solar radiation on Earth's surface.
Possible applications and new technical directions
The focus in the coming years will be on the development of production processes for solar fuels. In addition, researchers and industrial partners in the solar thermal power plant or aerospace industries will find ideal conditions for tests using full-size components in Synlight.
Synlights’ novel modular design is unique in its use of 149 individually adjustable Xenon short-arc lamps. These enable solar radiation powers of up to 380 kilowatts and two times up to 240 kilowatts in three separately usable radiation chambers, in which a maximum flux density of more than 11 megawatts per square metre can be achieved.
Two of these three test chambers have been specially designed to meet the requirements that come with solar-chemical process development testing and offer direct access to gas scrubbers and neutralisers – a prerequisite for testing processes for the production of solar fuels. Shutters – four metres in width and height – and the room heights of five metres offer the possibility to irradiate large elements, such as spaceflight components. A fundamental feature of Synlight is its multi-focus capability, which enables the available amount of artificial solar irradiation to be used for either one large application or split among a number of small ones.
Specialists from the DLR Institute of Solar Research will assist users in the preparation and execution of the experiments.