The Solar & other Energy Systems Laboratory (SESL) started its activities within NCSR “DEMOKRITOS” in 1980, under the initiative of Dr. V. Belessiotis who was its Director until 2019, conducting applied research and technology development in the fields of Solar Thermal Energy Utilization and Energy Savings
The selection of the particular research subjects has largely been based on the specific needs of the productive sector, with which, and combined with the services offered by SESL over a wide field of applications, strong, long-standing ties have been formed. Furthermore, in the effort of providing this support to the productive sector, the need often arises to extend the current knowledge, addressing problems concerning fundamental physical phenomena, particularly in the fields of fluid mechanics, heat & mass transport and thermodynamic. These are then often treated at the basic research level, using suitable analytical methods (modeling and simulation) in conjunction with experimental methods.
The original fields of interest of SESL during its early period where solar desalination, solar power plants using thermal solar collectors, as well as hot air dryers for agricultural products. Subsequently and until the beginning of the 1990s, emphasis was placed on the development of infrastructure and methodologies for the characterization of Solar Thermal Collectors and Systems, an activity that played a significant role in the establishment of the relevant International (ISO) standards. In the decade of 1990, a major further expansion of the laboratory infrastructure took place, along with the development of a Quality Assurance System for performing testings based on the ISO and EN standards, while SESL contributed in the overall development of the concept of Quality in laboratory practice and industry in Greece. In this context, SESL was organized and earned accreditation, first under the EN 45001 and subsequently under the EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard. It was, in fact, the first laboratory to be accredited in the research-academic sector in Greece and one of the first Europe-wide.
During the first decade of 2000s, the R & D areas pursued up to present have been gradually formed. Over the past few years in particular, the focus has been given to the utilization of medium-temperature solar thermal energy (100º – 250ºC) and concentrating solar systems (parabolic-troughs, Fresnel reflectors etc.), as highlighted by the development of the “Archimedes” Research Infrastructure (RI) already included in the National Roadmap of Research Infrastructures. Within this context, as parallel activities closely related to this RI, research on both thermal storage devices and materials is being carried out, along with the development of working fluids with advanced thermophysical properties.
SESL is equipped with excellent measurement facilities and along with experimental investigations it uses as basic analytical tools the Metrology of Energy Quantities and Numerical Simulation, Computational Fluid Dynamics in particular. The personnel consists mainly of experienced PhD and MSc Mechanical and Chemical Engineers in the research areas of the Lab. Moreover, a number of post-graduate students acquire their degrees by research in the Lab. The R&D activities of SESL, almost in their entirety implemented through funded projects, have resulted in a wide range of technological – research achievements, with the major findings being published in journals, conferences, e.t.c.
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Testing of solar thermal and other energy products based on established European and International Standards
Measurement of optical and thermal properties of materials
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