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Research Infrastructures

Central to the profile of EEWRC are the very important research infrastructures that the Center has developed and operates.
Central among them is the PROTEAS facility, strategically located near the sea to facilitate research in RES-driven desalination. It is a testbed for new renewable energy technologies, which is helping Cyprus and the EMME region transition to a new model of decentralized, renewable electricity, renewable process heat, and desalinated water. The facility allows for a wide range of experiments on various technological vectors that include CSP (in a tower configuration using molten salt as the heat transfer fluid), solar dishes employing a Stirling engine, photovoltaic (PV) installations and a wind turbine, all connected into an integrated polygeneration system enabled by a tailored smart grid. PROTEAS is a part of wide-ranging infrastructural networks that allow for researcher mobility across Europe and is an industrial testing facility for novel technologies hosted at its premises. It is the largest research infrastructure in Cyprus, and is unique in the region, and in many respects, globally.

Other infrastructures include labs at the main Athalassa Campus on solar-desalinated water (MEDLAb), testing heliostat optics and testing facilities (Athalassa Testing facility), on thermal energy storage (TESLAB), as well as a large solar concentration thermal system based on Fresnel technology suitable to deploy for industrial process heat and building heating and cooling. The built environment activities are supported by the Future Building Technologies Laboratory, an experimental facility for testing advanced active technologies for the buildings and neighborhoods, as well as the Environmental Sensing Laboratory, exploiting the possibilities offered by scientific observations to monitor the environmental conditions affecting the human experience in the built environment, as well as smaller experimental units testing nature-based solutions, adaptive facades, and intelligent control algorithms.

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The Water Department has established and maintains the CyI hydro-ecological observatories in natural and managed ecosystems in Cyprus. The main objectives of the hydro-ecological observatories are (i) to monitor and analyse the effects of a changing and variable climate on hydrologic and ecosystems processes in semi-arid Mediterranean agro-ecosystems; (ii) to collect high-quality observations for parameterizing land surface and hydrologic models; (iii) to develop open-access data sets for regional modelling applications; (iv) to develop and investigate water and land management practices for sustainable climate adaptation.

The observatories currently consist of 12 monitoring sites, representing three different land uses: (i) three forest sites (pine forest and mixed drought-tolerant shrubs and trees); (ii) two rainfed agriculture sites (barley, grapes); and (iii) seven irrigated agriculture sites (olive (2), apple, cherry, nectarine, plums, herbs). They cover a rainfall gradient from 320 to 840 mm/yr (1981-2010). We monitor rootzone soil water content at all 12 sites, meteorological variables at six sites and tree sapflow at the three forest sites. At the barley site in Athalassa, we are monitoring carbon and water fluxes with an eddy covariance system. Most stations transmit data daily to our data server at CyI’s High-Performance Computing Facility. These automatically recorded data are complemented by manual field observations for selected research activities, such as Leaf Area Index, leaf conductance and stem water potential. Three of the irrigated sites support the development and testing of an irrigation decision support system, in cooperation with a local SME, in the framework of the 3PRO-TROODOS Project. We are grateful for the cooperation of local farmers and the Department of Forests, Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment’s, for incorporating our research in their land management practices.
Moreover, the Department’s Water and Soil Laboratory is equipped for the analysis of soil hydrological properties, soil organic carbon, standard water quality variables (Electrical Conductivity, pH, Dissolved Oxygen) and plant samples. The Lab also facilitates the set-up, calibration and maintenance of field equipment and data loggers.

The observatories and Laboratory facilitate research and educational activities for our MSc and PhD students, as well as for visiting researchers, students and interns from Cyprus and abroad.

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