A solar furnace is a structure that uses concentrated solar power to produce high temperatures, usually for industry. Parabolic mirrors or heliostatsconcentrate light ( Insolation ) onto a focal point . The temperature at the focal point can reach 3,500 ° C (6,330 ° F), and this heat can be used to generate electricity , melt steel , make hydrogen fuel or nanomaterials .
The largest solar furnace is at Odeillo in the Eastern Pyrenees in France , opened in 1970. It employs an array of plane mirrors to gather sunlight, reflecting it onto a larger curved mirror.
The ancient Greek / Latin term heliocaminus literally means “solar furnace” and refers to a glass -enclosed sunroom intentionally designed to become hotter than the outside air temperature. 
During the Second Punic War (218-202 BC), the Greek scientist Archimedes is Said to-have repelled the attacking Roman ships by setting ’em on fire with a ” burning glass ” that May-have-been an array of mirrors. An experiment to test this theory Was the carried out by a group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005. It Concluded That Was ALTHOUGH the theory sound for stationary objects, the mirrors Likely Would not-have-been reliably Sufficient to concentrate solar energy to set a ship we fire under battle conditions. 
The first modern solar furnace is believed to be built in France in 1949 by Professor Felix Trombe. It is now still in place at Mont Louis , near Odeillo. The Pyrenees was chosen for the site because of the clear skies up to 300 days a year. 
Another solar furnace was built in Uzbekistan as part of a Soviet Union “Sun” Complex Research Facility impulsed by Academician SA Asimov. 
The rays are focused on the size of a cooking pot and can reach 4,000 ° C (7,230 ° F), depending on the process installed, for example:
- About 1,000 ° C (1,830 ° F) for metallic receivers producing hot air for the next generation of solar panels. It will be tested at the Themis plant with the Pegase project 
- about 1,400 ° C (2,550 ° F) to produce hydrogen by cracking methane molecules 
- up to 2,500 ° C (4,530 ° F) to atmospheric reentry
- up to 3,500 ° C (6,330 ° F) to produce nanomaterials by solar induced sublimation and controlled cooling, such as carbon nanotubes  or zinc nanoparticles 
It has-been suggéré That Could Be solar furnaces used in space to Provide energy for manufacturing practical purposes.
Their reliance on sunny weather is a limiting factor as a source of renewable energy is Earth object Could Be tied to thermal energy storage systems for energy generation through thesis periods and into the night.
The solar furnace is being used to make inexpensive solar cookers and solar-powered barbecues , and for solar water pasteurization .    A prototype Scheffler reflector is being constructed in India for use in a solar crematorium . This 50 sq. Meter will generate temperatures of 700 ° C (1,292 ° F) and displace 200-300 kg of firewood used per cremation. 
- Solar power tower
- Solar thermal energy
- Solar furnace of Uzbekistan
- Jump up^ MEEF Roman Architectural Glossary
- Jump up^ 2.009 Product Engineering Processes: Archimedes
- Jump up^ Odeillo Solar Furnace official website, retrieved 12 July 2007
- Jump up^ Français Russia’s post about the Uzbekistan Soviet Solar Furnace
- Jump up^ PEGASE project home page
- Jump up^ SOLHYCARB, EU funded project, ETHZ official page
- Jump up^ Flamant G., Luxembourg D., Robert JF, Laplaze D., Optimizing fullerene synthesis in a 50 kW solar reactor, (2004) Solar Energy, 77 (1), pp. 73-80.
- Jump up^ T. Ait Ahcene, C. Monty, J. Kouam, A. Thorel, G. Petot-Ervas, A. Djemel, solar Preparation by physical vapor deposition (SPVD) and nanostructural study of pure and doped ZnO nanopowders Bi, Journal of the European Ceramic Society, Volume 27, Issue 12, 2007, Pages 3413-342
- Jump up^ “Solar Water Pasteurization” . Solar Cookers International. 2010.
- Jump up^ Mills, James (20 April 2007). “Coming to a garden near you – the solar-powered barbecue” . Daily Mail . London.
- Jump up^ US patent for solar barbecue granted in 1992.
- Jump up^ “Development Of A Solar Crematorium” (PDF) . Solare Brüecke . Retrieved 2008-05-20 .