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How a Solar Furnace Works

A solar furnace produces heat by concentrating solar energy in a specific location. In order to concentrate this energy, the furnace uses a set of reflectors.A small solar furnace can be used to prep...

A solar furnace produces heat by concentrating solar energy in a specific location. In order to concentrate this energy, the furnace uses a set of reflectors.

A small solar furnace can be used to prepare food as a substitute for firewood. A large solar furnace can produce enough electricity to power a small community.

Some organizations have introduced this technology to developing nations, in the hopes that it might lessen the consumption of firewood, and help solve the deforestation problems in that particular region.

How Does a Solar Furnace Work?

This is a really a very simple system. In principle, one needs to use at least two mirrors, and point them in the same direction, so that they focus light on a concentrated area. This in return intensifies the sunlight, because the area not only receives heat from the sun, but also from the two mirrors. If you add more mirrors into the set, you can produce a greater degree of heat, which can then be used for cooking or in other applications where heat energy is necessary.

There are some groups which can create such a furnace which produces a large amount of heat energy to turn organic materials into ashes.

It has been said that the only limiting factor to the amount of heat that can be created, is how efficiently the mirrors are focused on a single spot. The more accurate the focus of each mirror, the more heat can be produced.

When used properly, a solar furnace can harness the sun's rays to produce very high temperatures. This is done by using a curved mirror, or an array of mirrors, which act as parabolic reflectors that concentrate the light onto a single point. The heat thus generated can be used as an alternative energy source, can be used to produce hydrogen fuel, or can even melt steel.

Small-scale furnaces can be used for cooking and for water pasteurization.

The main drawback to this form of renewable energy is that it still depends on weather conditions for its effectiveness. Once the sky gets cloudy, its heat output diminishes.

Solar Furnaces in History

It has been said that Greek inventor Archimedes used a solar furnace to set the sails of enemy ships on fire. If this is true, he would have had to have known the technology to precisely focus sunlight on a distant target. In ancient times, mirrors were made out of polished copper or silver. They couldn't be accurately focused as easily as our modern mirrors can. However, those were times of strength and skill. In 1973, The Greek navy did recreate this scenario for the purpose of experiment, and they succeeded in setting fire to a wooden boat fifty meters away.

There may be more we can learn from history on the use of solar power and alternative energy. After all, those were times without gas pumps and power grids. But what's most important is that we continue to research, develop, and implement clean energy solutions, wherever we can in the modern world - both for the sake of our nations' respective economiesFree Web Content, and for the sake of a cleaner future on Earth.

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For more information on how you can implement solar power systems in the home, while camping, or on the road, please visit our website on Solar Power. You can also find a variety of Home Solar Power Equipment.

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