Monday, 20 June 2016
From June 6th to 10th, almost 30 young researchers from four countries met in Rodalquilar in southern Spain for this year's SOLLAB doctoral colloquium and the SFERA Summer School. Among them were eight doctoral students from the Institute for Solar Research, who spent a week together with their European colleagues in the field of concentrating solar technology sharing their expertise and expanding their personal network.
Dr. Sixto Malato Rodríguez welcomed the participants on behalf of the Spanish research institution CIEMAT-PSA, which hosted the two events this year. In addition to DLR and CIEMAT-PSA, the French research institution PROMES and ETH Zurich were represented by participants. The venue Rodalquilar is located in the province of Almería within the Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Níjar on the Mediterranean coast.
The doctoral students presented the current status of their scientific work during the three-day colloquium. Each lecture was followed by a technical discussion in which Professors Bernhard Hoffschmidt, Robert Pitz-Paal and Christian Sattler from the Institute for Solar Research participated actively. The topics covered the fields of solar process engineering, desalination and solar photochemistry, metrology, line- and point-focus systems and heat storage. Afterwards the two-day Summer School took place. It didn’t address just the doctoral students, but also a wider audience from science and industry. Experienced scientists gave lectures on innovative research and development topics for concentrated solar systems, the main topic being heat transfer media.
In addition to the lectures and discussions the students visited the Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA). The PSA is, so to speak, the cradle of European research for the concentrated use of solar energy. For more than 25 years parabolic-trough and solar tower systems as well as components and materials for solar thermal power plants have been investigated and further developed at the test site on the edge of the Tabernas Desert.
Aside from solar power plants and seminar rooms, another special experience was on the program: a shared kayak trip along the rocks and bays of the Mediterranean coast.
At the end of the Summer School participants were able to look back on a week of various findings and experiences. In addition to suggestions for their own research, they had the opportunity to expand their focus and take a look beyond the horizon. Not to forget the personal contacts they made or the impressions of the southern Spanish landscape and the newfound motivation they gained.
Next year, the SOLLAB doctoral colloquium and the SFERA Summer School will take place in Germany, where the Institute for Solar Research will host the event. The date and venue will be published early on the SFERA homepage and on the websites of the participating research institutes.
As part of the SFERA2 project, the European Union is funding the Doctoral Colloquium and the Summer School to improve cooperation between leading European research institutions in the field of concentrating solar technology.