Cheap, solar-generated electricity has now become a reality with the successful testing of a prototype solar device at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. It produces sufficient hot air from the sun's rays to drive the turbines of a 50 kw power station. The funnel-shaped device focuses the energy through a quartz window to heat ceramic pins around which air flows. Internal mirrors direct the rays to concentrate the energy. They can concentrate the energy to 10,000 kw per sq m. The energy is absorbed by an array of ceramic pins which transfer the heat to the surrounding air very efficiently. The technology could come handy in any size of power station, from small industrial generators to large stations supplying power to a national grid. Researcher Jacob Karni says that a solar plant in Israel's southern desert could make the country one of the leading exporters of electricity.

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