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CyI has developed and continues to develop, impressive by regional and in certain cases by international standards, facilities and laboratories needed to pursue research in the field of STE that is internationally competitive. These include the unique PROTEAS Facility for solar energy and desalination, the Solar concentration for air-conditioning in an urban environment system, a thermal desalination lab and the Thermal Energy Storage Lab (TESLA).


The PROTEAS facility


The PROTEAS Facility is located just outside the city of Limassol and is one of the most complete research and development facilities in Cyprus devoted to concentrating solar thermal energy systems.

The facility uniquely combines ideal environmental conditions with a seaside environment for research, development and testing of technologies related to Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), Solar Thermal Energy (STE) and thermal Desalination of Sea Water (DSW).

This versatile facility complements the research carried out at CyI’s Athalassa campus, providing a test‐bed for testing under realistic conditions experiments developed through The Cyprus Institute’s various research activities. Additionally, in the spirit of collaboration the facility is open to the international scientific community on a merit based priority scheme.

The objectives that inspire the research activity are:

  • Establishing a sustainable, clean and renewable world energy supply

  • Conservation of the energy resources, climate and the environment

  • Education of scientists and engineers from all over the world on solar thermal technologies

The facility currently consists of a field of 50 heliostats with a total reflective area of 250 square meters, concentrating the sun’s light more than 800 times on a point and delivering a peak power of 150 kilo-Watts of thermal energy. The field layout efficiently utilizes the hilly terrain with a high-density placement of heliostats. The heliostats are designed by CSIRO, Australia and built in collaboration with CyI. A 15 meter tall tower with multiple experimental stations is available for the central receiver placement. Continuous monitoring of environmental conditions is available through a fully automated weather station.

The true strength of the PROTEAS Facility is the versatility it provides for the researchers and experiments hosted there. Our ambition is to transform the facility into a regional and global test-bed for scientists in the field of solar thermal energy.


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Solar concentration for air-conditioning in urban environment in Cyprus

Like in several countries in the Middle-East, South Europe or North-Africa, the needs for air-conditioning in Cyprus in the summer are huge while the solar resource is abundant (>1950 kWh/m2 per year). Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) converts Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) to heat. This energy can be use then for cooling in the summer (the highest demand) and heating in the winter.

Usually CSP facilities produce several MW and are large in size; they are therefore preferably installed in non-occupied lands like deserts or abandoned fields. Bringing small scale CSP in urban environment like in Nicosia, Cyprus, is a challenge that the Cyprus Institute (CyI) undertook under STS-MED project. This was performed with the installation of a Fresnel collector on the roof of a public building (KEPA School, Figure 1) which is 360 m2 large. This installation is relatively light (2) and can thus be easily integrated on flat roofs as they can produce only some dozens of thermal kW at medium temperature (150°C to 200°C), covering or at least supporting the needs of a public building. The 70 kW nominal thermal power facility at CyI produces heat to cool the Novel Technologies Laboratory (NTL) in summer and to directly heat it up in winter. KEPA School and NTL are separated by a road and heat is transferred from the first to the second using hot pressurized water (150°C).


Figure 1. Fresnel collector on the KEPA School (View from roof of NTL)

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Characteristics of the Fresnel collector at the CyI are:

  • Location: KEPA school, opposite the NTL building

  • Technology: solar concentration, tracking on single axis the direct sun light with rows of parallel mirrors and reflecting it on a smaller area (tube receiver)

  • Objective in summer: produces heat to fire an absorption chiller to cool the NTL building,

  • Objective in winter: produces heat to support the HVAC system of the NTL,

  • Power: Up to 70kW thermal,

  • Operation: reflects the direct radiation from the sun on a vacuum tube receiver and transfers to thermal oil (up to 200°C),

  • Reflective area: 184m2, 18 parallel rows of 8 single mirrors in series,

  • Single mirror area: 320 mm X 4000 mm, focusing distance from 7m to 9m,

  • Receiver : 3.5m high (from roof level), 32 m long, secondary reflector (70 % efficient),

  • Drives: 72 DC motors, 4 per row, controlling the rotation of two mirrors each by a PLC controller.

The objective of such a facility is to reduce the global energy consumption of the NTL, which is a near to zero energy building. This building was design before STS-MED and the purpose of the Fresnel collector is to reduce even more its energy consumption. An absorption chiller, which converts heat to cooling, was integrated to the HVAC system previously implemented (Figure 2) on the NTL, relying on mechanical chillers and heat-pump, which consume high electric power.

Figure 2. Schematics of the integration of solar air-conditioning on NTL

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Characteristics of integrated solar cooling are:

  • Location: NTL outdoors,

  • Technology: chiller converting heat to cool by absorption,

  • Objective: reduces the cooling demand of the mechanical chillers previously implemented, reduces the energy from fossil fuels and/or electricity,

  • Operation: removes the heat from the chilled water by absorption (in the absorber) and not by compression which relies usually on huge consumption of electricity (mechanical chillers),

  • Cooling capacity: 35kW thermal

  • Power input: 50kW thermal from the Fresnel collector (COP = 0.7).

A thermal storage of pressurized water (5 bar 140°C) permits to ensure continuity of cooling up to 2 hours.


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