A solar furnace captures sunlight and produces extremely high temperature, which is used for diverse industrial purposes. This is done using a plethora of mirrors, which perform as parabolic reflectors, enabling concentration of light energy on a focal point. A parabolic reflector is a device used to collect and project light and sound energy or radio waves. It is important to note that the temperature at the focal point can reach around 3,500°C. This heat can be used later to generate electricity, derive hydrogen fuel, melt steel, or make nano materials.
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On back of the latest technological advancements, the term “solar furnace” has attained a much wider scope. It is now referred to a solar concentrator heating system, which uses heliostats or parabolic mirrors that has enabled achieving 538 °C a common deal.
While the largest solar furnace is located at Odeillo in France, the smaller models operating in the same principle can be used for daily household tasks such as cooking. This could be a breakthrough for curbing pollution, especially if introduced in rural areas across emerging nations, as the technology would enable cooking without having to use firewood. The same technology if proliferated across the household sector could help governments resolve a core concern pertaining to pollution.
Likewise, a larger furnace can be used to generate electricity to power additional items in a house. The technology can enable power an entire home, if homeowners retrofit solar furnace into their existing homes. While the concept is already introduced in several developing nations it is still at a nascent stage. However, in the coming years it is likely to minimize firewood-related deforestation, thus curbing the negative impact of the same on environment.
Global Solar Furnace Market: Synopsis
The global solar furnace market is envisaged to leverage the opportunity created with the growing need to use solar energy as a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuel, owing to its increasing prices. The international market is also anticipated to take advantage of the security concerns associated with the usage of energy. The solar furnace or concentrator technology is an effective means of using solar energy. It finds usage in small scale applications such as cooking without the consumption of firewood as well as large scale applications such as generating electricity by heating a gas. Solar furnace is a more advanced version compared to a traditional furnace. It consists of a primary solar collection system and static parabolic concentrator.
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Global Solar Furnace Market: Trends
The adoption of solar furnace technology is foretold to boost from the elevating awareness about renewable energy resources and inflating acceptance of solar as a workable form of energy. The technology can be used to create steam for producing electricity and pasteurizing water in large scale applications. It can also be implemented in off-grid applications. Solar furnace can be installed for controlling heat generation during high temperature processes such as smelting and by industries that make use of blast furnaces.
The rare use of solar furnace technology for commercial purposes and high initial cost of deployment could act as major restraints for the growth of the global market. However, with efforts to reduce the costs and an augmenting acceptance of renewable technology, the solar furnace market is expected to rise above its constraints, even though it is still in the nascent stage of development.
Solar furnaces allow the precise control of the atmosphere inside as per the needs of the customers. At different elevated temperatures, the technology can be used to study material properties.
Global Solar Furnace Market: Geography
France holds the title of accommodating the largest solar furnace facility in the world. The Odeillo solar furnace is spread across an area of approximately 2,000 square meters in Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via. This should illustrate the dominance of France in the global solar furnace market. In addition to that, a majority of the world’s solar furnace facilities are established in Europe and the U.S. Countries such as France, Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland are the prominent European participants where solar furnace technology is successfully tested.
If the emerging markets are concerned, Asia Pacific tops the list with a number of nations considering the idea of installing solar furnace facilities in the near future. This is mainly due to the rising energy needs and competitive renewable energy targets of the economies in the Asia Pacific region. Other nations such as Israel, South Korea, and Australia are also expected to invest in the installation market. However, the Rest of the World geography is predicted to continue with its lower market share in terms of installation.
The major players competing in the global solar furnace market are few in number presently. Prosolartec, Abosolicon, Sun Power, Nordic Green, Solartron Energy, and GT Advanced Technologies are the most promising players.
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