Uzbekistan: Solar Furnace


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The Big Solar Furnace represents a complex optical and mechanical mechanism with automated control systems. It consists of a heliostat field and a paraboloid concentrator forming the stationary flow of energy of high density in the focal zone of the concentrator. The area of the reflecting surface of the heliostat field – 3020m2, the concentrator – 1840 m2. The temperature in the focus of the concentrator rays exceeds 3000 C. It’s the biggest solar furnace in the world!
The solar furnace is located in Uzbekistan, its power is 700kW. There is the second furnace like this, it is situated in France.
The heliocomplex is not far from Tashkent. It was built in the period since 1981 to 1987. The place for its construction was carefully chosen: the complex is fully located on the rock mass and the quantity of sunny days a year is not less than 270 here.

The smaller solar furnace. It represents a mirror paraboloid about 2 m in diameter focusing sun rays in the spot 2 cm in its diameter.

The highest temperature the furnace may achieve – 2000 C. It gives interesting visual effects.

The project was realized thanks to efforts and enthusiasm of an academician Said Azimov. The trigonometrical point station and the memorial stone are 110 m above sea level.

The scientific heliocomplex includes 4 structural subdivisions: the main building, the heliostat field, the concentrator and the technological tower. The heliostat field consists of 62 heliostats placed in the chess order to avoid much shading.

Each heliostat has dimensions 7.5×6.5 m and consists of 195 flat mirror elements.

The reflecting surface of the heliostat field has an area of 3022 m2.

Longitudinal section of the concentrator and the heliostat field.

Sensors automatically control the place of each heliostat according to the Sun moving direction. The heliostats may rotate horizontally and vertically.

Size of each mirror – 50x50cm

Reflecting layer is formed with a vacuum coating of aluminium and protected with acrylic colour.

All in all the heliostat field has 12090 mirrors.

The mirrors are controlled automatically with help of special programs.

The main object – the parabolic helioconcentrator. The biggest one in the world: 1840m2. Do you see people on the photo?

Drawing of the concentrator and the heliostat field

10700 mirrors are used in the concentrator, 1840 m2 each. They are assembled into 214 blocks 4.5x 2.25m each, 50 mirrors in each.

The concentrator is immovable and sees in the north-south direction.

The flow of the sun energy from the heliostats is reflected from the mirror parabolic surface of the concentrator and focuses in one 40cm spot on the technological tower.

On the sixth floor is located a pyrometric laboratory from where the furnace is operated.

Technological tower and the concentrator panoramic view

The upper point of the concentrator is 1100 m high above sea level. Size of the concentrator “mirror” is 47x54m. Each separate mirror is 45x45m big.

Weight of the metal constructions of the concentrator is 200 thousand tons. This is the concentrator from inside.

The southern side of the concentrator. Special sun screens protect it from temperature deformation.

Pyrometric laboratory

On the upper spot of the concentrator is an observation site. Below is the settlement called the Sun where the institute employees live.

Even higher are targets for adjustment of all 62 heliostats.

The heliostat field view

Matrix of targets

The focal distance of the concentrator is 18m. It’s the very distance at which the technological tower and the furnace are located. In non-operational condition the doors of the furnace are closed and compulsorily cooled down.

Stairs and elevator block on the south side of the concentrator.

The advantages of solar furnaces are evident: they instantly reach high temperature letting get pure materials without admixtures. And solar energy is free.

Nowadays The Physics and Technology Institute still carry out researches in the field of the high energy, semiconductor physics, solar energy conversion, solid-state theory.

The biggest solar furnace in France.

The furnace may produce up to 2,5 zirconium a day!


The two heliocomplexes look similar to each other.