Solar Furnace

How a Solar Furnace Works  – solar furnaces are very simple to make and very effective at producing heat which can be used to generate electricity or hot water.

It is very important, if you are looking into solar power, that you learn how a solar furnace works.  Knowing this information will help to ensure your safety and help you get the most from solar power.

The Basics of a Solar Furnace

A solar furnace captures the suns power and focuses it into a high temperature stream.  The furnace is actually a collection of curved mirrors or mirrored surfaces that capture the rays and reflect them to a single point where the energy is focused.  This focused energy can reach a temperature of over 5,400 degrees. 

The energy or heat collected and focused by a solar furnace can be used in many different ways.  It can be harnessed to create electricity, melt metals, or create fuel by turning water into steam.  It can also be used to cook food.  There is some work with trying to harness solar energy on a large scale to serve as a renewable energy source to heat homes and provide power to homes.

A solar furnace is very reliant upon good, sunny weather.  Without direct sunlight shining of the reflective surface, the furnace has no power.  This is why when using a solar furnace for continuous energy it is important to have other elements, like storage that captures and contains the energy to be used later.

Creation of a Solar Furnace

The basic set up of a solar furnace is simple.  All it takes is 2 mirrors or reflective surfaces pointed to reflect sun to a focal point.  As the number of reflective surfaces is increased, the power harnessed by the furnace increases.  This is because the sun’s rays are multiplied with each surface it is reflecting off.

It is very important that the reflective surfaces are aimed accurately at the focal point where the energy is collected.  All reflective surfaces need to be reflecting the sun to the same point or else the energy will be scattered and the result will not be as powerful.

Concerns About Solar Energy

There are some safety concerns about the use of a solar furnace since the temperature of the heat is so extreme.  At the focal point, the suns energy is hot enough to melt metal.  It is almost like a laser that could cut the hardest surface.  This focused energy must be treated as very dangerous.  It is essential to always use protective gear and follow strict safety standards when working with a solar furnace. However, in terms of impact on the environment, it has to be one of the cleanest energy sources available.

As mentioned, solar energy is not 100% reliable.  The sun may not shine everyday, or it may not shine bright enough or on the reflective surface long enough to produce adequate power for your needs.  A lot of planning is required so that you can harness the power you need and create storage of power to create a reliable energy source.

The basic process of how a solar furnace works is actually an easy concept to figure out and the basic materials you need to build one are just a couple of mirrors.  It is the different factors of using a solar furnace that requires some attention and skill to ensure a good final result.

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