The Odeillo Solar Furnace
Every year, the earth receives from the sun 10,000 times more energy than we use. The current energy crisis and our dependence on fossil fuels therefore represent a failure of ingenuity rather than an intractable situation.
Many now believe that Concentrated Solar Power is one of the most promising forms of renewable energy in areas of high solar intensity. The Odeillo CSP scheme uses an array of solar-tracking mirrors to reflect the sun onto the parabolic mirror which then focuses the light onto a point that can reach 3600 degrees centigrade.
The primary purpose of the building was to research high temperature alloys but the heat can also be used to create steam and drive a turbine to generate electricity. While the architecture of the Odeillo solar furnace is rather unrefined, the project powerfully demonstrates the possibility of a transition to a solar economy.