This array of 149 Xenon short-arc lamps is called Synlight, and it’s designed to be an artificial sun. Invented by the German Aerospace Centre, or DLR, Synlight can produce up to 10,000 times the intensity of natural sunlight experienced on Earth. Researchers and scientists turned on their machine for Ruptly in Juelich on Monday.

The Synlight array measures 45 by 52 feet but all the powerful bulbs are designed to concentrate their light radiation on a small space which measures just 8 inches by 8 inches. Its inventors claim that the synthetic sun can generated temperatures up to 3000 degrees Celsius and beyond.

Synlight was created with a specific purpose in mind. Hydrogen fuel, considered by many to be the fuel of the future because it emits no carbon when burned, is derived by breaking water down into its base atoms. However, this process requires a huge amount of heat energy.

Synlight is meant to power the reaction to obtain hyrdogen fuel in a way that uses as little fossil fuels as possible. The high power array also has potential uses in other fields as well, including scientific research and commercial applications which require an intense source of heat. The project cost about 3.5 million euro to buid, funding which was provided by the German government and automaker BMW.

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