The world's biggest artificial sun has been switched on, with the Synlight machine at the Institute for Solar Research being used to explore the potentials of clean and renewable energies.

Specifically, scientists hope to test production processes for solar fuels such as hydrogen.

Synlight has 149 high-power spotlights that can generate solar radiation.

The radiation from the lamps can be focused in on areas of 20 X 20cm.

If the lamps are turned up to 350kw, it has around 10,000 times the energy of the Sun's radiation hitting Earth.

The machine was switched on by Johannes Remmel, the North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of the Environment.

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