How It Works
Prometheus uses a two-stage method of solar concentration. The patented design has a 'primary' mirror that collects the sun rays and focuses them onto a 'secondary' mirror, which further focuses the light to a focal point. The adoption of two-stage geometry from that of a double curved lens is a relatively simple step that has allowed inexpensive but powerful collectors to be built. The method has a relatively small footprint, produces very high temperatures and is adaptable to a number of scales of size and materials of construction. The two-stage method provides a platform to cleanly and renewably power domestic and industrial heating and water purification.
Gamma II Vaporizes Steel
The LIFE Prometheus team inadvertently vaporized steel using the Gamma II prototype on the 10th of February 2010. The test, which had initially been intended to be the first steel pour using Prometheus solar technology, quickly became the first vaporization of steel when the steel sample was left in the light focus for a couple extra minutes. In the time between determining that the sample was ready to pour and preparing an appropriate sand bed for pouring, the steel completely vaporized. All that was left when the contents of the crucible were dumped out was some slag, the steel had vaporized into thin air.
To read more on metal melting and the temperatures achieved click here.