Arlene's Solar Furnace, with Darren Ray

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Arlene’s Solar Furnace

In 2008, Pennsylvanian farmer, Arlene built a Solar Furnace, a structure that uses concentrated solar energy to produce high temperatures, in order to heat her farmstead. We are intrigued by the ad-hoc approaches found in DIY, hobbyist activities - in particular the kind epitomised by Arlene's project, which measuring 7.5m x 2.5m was extraordinary.

Arlene's construction of the furnace, the use of regular non-specialist materials, and her matter of fact description of the project, inspired us to explore the approaches behind the furnaces construction. We replicated Arlene's project working as closely as possible to the original specifications of the furnace. In keeping with the approach of the original we improvised many of the construction processes and materials used.

The furnace was reconstructed and used to heat a derelict building being used temporarily as a lecture and workshop space as part of Goonhilly Village Green, Goohnilly, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, UK.

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