中文  |  ENGLISH

Burnt By The Sun: Uzbekistan's Spectacular Solar Furnace

2020.03.06     From: rferl


This is Uzbekistan’s solar furnace, built by the Soviets in 1981 on a mountain range 50 kilometers east of Tashkent.



The site was top secret during the Soviet period and remained tightly guarded until 2009.



The furnace uses sunlight to produce clean, instantly adjustable heat for melting or testing materials.



The power for the furnace comes from these 62 giant mirrors that swivel to bounce sunlight toward a vast "concentrator" dish.



A window in the center of the concentrator, which is made up of 10,700 chessboard-sized mirrors.



The concentrator dish focuses the sunlight onto a point the size of a large wok.



Between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., when the sun is at its strongest, the furnace can blaze at a ferocious 3,000 degrees Celsius – easily hot enough to liquefy iron, steel, and even titanium.


Ceramic parts are also produced in the facility.


The furnace was “the leading facility of [the Soviet Union’s] military-industrial complex for [the] testing of different materials and equipment [with] concentrated solar radiation and for [the] development of advanced ceramic materials for high-tech industry.”



The furnace currently takes industrial orders from Uzbekistan and abroad, blazing to life around 100 times each year.



Javohir Zafarovich, a researcher who has worked at the facility for 21 years, demonstrates the power of a miniature concentrator in the facility. Within a second or two the stick popped into flames.


A 3.5-ton glass chandelier hanging inside the facility.


A researcher analyzing material samples. Around 160 people still work at the site, down from around 1,500 during the Soviet period.


Sun-themed art stands inside the facility, which has its own bomb shelter.


A mothballed miniature library that once held research literature from the Soviet Union and abroad is still on-site.


Uzbekistan's solar furnace is the second of its kind in the world. The first opened in France in 1969.


The view from an upper deck of Uzbekistan's concentrator.


The furnace's location was chosen partly for the single, solid lump of bedrock that it is built on. The rock plate insulates the finely tuned apparatus from the dozens of seismic tremors that rattle Uzbekistan every year.


Some of the giant mirrors of the facility wait in standby mode.


The location was also selected for the hundreds of days of sunlight the site enjoys each year and the clear mountain air.


A warning sign at the base of the concentrator written in three languages.


Surprisingly, the highest temperatures at the furnace are achieved on bright winter days when the air carries less dust and moisture than in the summer.


A bird wheels in front of the concentrator as the apparatus rumbles to life.


Asked what happens when birds fly close to the focal point of the furnace, Zafarovich grimaces and replies: “Barbecue.”


A bank of mirrors swivel light toward the concentrator as the furnace operates.


Zafarovich says the main advantage of the solar furnace is the total purity of the heat -- unlike fuel-powered furnaces that generate smoke and other impurities -- and the ability to instantly change temperatures.


A worker goes up the stairs in the facility.


The disadvantages of the solar furnace are more obvious, as cloudy weather can leave the furnace idle for days on end.


Workers near the sensor (center of photo) that monitors the inside of the furnace as it operates.


An elevator shaft at the rear of the concentrator. The dish at the top is an architectural flourish and has no technical function.


A worker in the superstructure of the concentrator.



A local in the village below the furnace said a trickle of foreign visitors are beginning to venture here, something unimaginable for much of the facility's existence when it operated in strict secrecy producing rocket and weapons parts while villagers and shepherds below got on with rural life.


Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/uzbekistans-spectacular-soviet-era-solar-furnace-once-used-to-produce-rocket-parts/30466598.html




Upcoming CSP events:


5th CSP Focus MENA 2020(June.23-24,Dubai, UAE)

10th CSP Focus China 2020 (Beijing China) 


More CSP news and reports please visit www.cspfocus.cn 

or CSP Focus social media on LinkedInTwitterFacebook.



Leave your thoughts here

Free Reports

See more+
  • Dubai 950MW NOOR Energy 1 CSP+PV Project

    The $4.4 billion Noor Energy 1 solar thermal project will be the world’s largest CSP plant and includes a 100 MW CSP tower plant, three 200 MW parabolic trough CSP systems, 250 MW of PV capacity and 15 hours of molten salt CSP storage capacity.

  • China Large-scale CSP Projects Update

    Updating--Jan., 2020 Edition24 pagesPart 1: Background and Fact Sheet (P1-11) · Implementation and adjustment of 1st batch of CSP demonstrations· FiT policy update and prediction· Sum-up on the 20 projects technology, location, ownership and key participants Part 2: Milestones of Ch

  • Suppliers List of China Key CSP Projects (Updating)

    13 key concentrated solar power projects in China undergoing:Shouhang Dunhuang 100MW Molten Salt Parabolic Trough ProjectRoyal Tech Yumen 50MW Parabolic Trough ProjectDCTC Dunhuang 50MW MS CLFR ProjectRayspower Yumen 50MW Trough ProjectCNNC Royal Tech Urad 100MW Parabolic Trough ProjectSupcon Delingha 50MW Molten Salt Tower ProjectLuNeng Haixi 50 MW Solar Thermal Tower Plant ProjectPower C

  • Construction and Operation of SUPCON SOLAR Delingha 50MW Tower CSP Project

    40 pages in totalCompany Profile (P3-4)Construction of Delingha 50MW Tower CSP Project (P6-17)Operation of Delingha 50MW Tower CSP Project (P18-30)Issues during Commissioning and Operation (P31-39)

Upcoming Events

See more+

Project Updates

See more+

CONTACT US

Tex:+86-21-6111 0177

Email:csp@cspfocus.cn


备案/许可证编号为:沪ICP备17051021号

Wechat public platform

Follow CSP Focus for more news