Odeillo Font-Romeu, France
Odeillo Font-Romeux, France, (42°30'6" N, 1°58'30" E), location of the world's largest solar furnace, a parabolic reflector that focuses solar radiation at a point to generate extremely high temperatures. Sixty-three flat mirrors (heliostats), installed on eight terraces, reflect the solar radiation on the eight-story high parabolic reflector. Every heliostat position is calculated so that the reflected light is parallel to the symmetry axis of the paraboloid. The reflector then concentrates the energy in the focal zone about 18 meters in front of the paraboloid, with a maximum flux of 1000 W/cm2 (3.17x106 Btu/hr-ft2) at the focal point. The typical range of available temperature is from 800° to 2500°C (1475° to 4500°F), with a maximum reachable temperature of approximately 3800°C (6850°F). These temperatures correspond to a maximum thermal power of about 1000 kW. (A larger scale research solar thermal power project Solar One operated in Southern California, USA during the 1980's and 1990's.)
Constructed in 1969, the heat generated by the furnace is used to conduct research in a wide array of applications in material science and engineering, high temperature solar engineering (advanced solar power systems, solar chemistry, etc.), photo-physics and chemistry applied physics.