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Solar Facilities for the European Research Area (SFERA)
Start date: Jul 1, 2009, End date: Dec 31, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Concentrated solar energy is a very promising renewable source of energy. The solar resource in the Mediterranean countries of the EU and in North Africa is huge. The best known application so far is bulk electricity generation through thermodynamic cycles, but other applications have also been demonstrated, such as production of hydrogen and solar fuels, water treatment and research in advanced materials. Europe is a leader in research and development of this technology. Most of the large R&D infrastructures are European and our industry is leading the way in its commercial deployment, now in an early stage. All the most important European R&D infrastructures on concentrated solar energy are participating in this proposal. Five of them, CIEMAT-PSA, DLR, PROMES-CNRS, ETH and PSI were already part of a virtual laboratory consortium known as ‘Sol LAB’, which has initiated several networking activities since its creation in 2004. ENEA and WIS now join the consortium submitting this proposal, thus looking to consolidate a partnership as the reference European Solar Research Laboratory. This proposal concerns three activities: - Networking: Aiming at the creation of a stable framework for co-operation in which resources are shared, common standards developed, duplication of research effort is avoided and interaction with European research, education and industry is encouraged. - Transnational access: Opening the doors of the most relevant R&D infrastructures to interested users, optimizing the use of the facilities and creating critical mass for new research initiatives. - Joint Research: developing common standards and procedures for better consortium performance and development of advanced instrumentation and new RI thus improving the services offered to the user community.
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