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What does CIESOL do?

We work in different areas, all of them focused on the knowledge of solar resources and their various applications, which can be classified into two lines: one related to the energetic use of solar radiation, and the other to the development of solar technologies for water treatment.

Convinced of the importance of preserving the environment, CIESOL carries out research in two areas that are essential for life, water and energy, united by the use of solar radiation.

NAVE CIESOL – Solar cooling installation

How is CIESOL advancing
in the use of energy?

The first thing we need to know in order to use solar energy is its availability, which is why we are researching new methods to evaluate and predict the solar resource and the optimisation of sky cameras to track and predict cloud cover.

Also important is the monitoring, modelling and automatic control of solar installations, with very different scales, from large solar thermal plants to produce electricity, to electric vehicles powered by solar energy using the photoelectric effect, better known as photovoltaic energy.

In addition, solar thermal energy makes it possible to produce what is known as “solar cooling” by means of phase change, compression and decompression systems. Research is being carried out on “solar air conditioning”, the CIESOL building being an example of this. Work is being carried out on the design and optimisation of solar cooling and heating plants, both for domestic and industrial use, with particular emphasis on energy efficiency and comfort control in buildings. The introduction of smart energy grids is also a very significant savings factor.

Research is also being carried out on the development of new water-soluble, photochemically active substances with the aim of paving the way for new, more environmentally sustainable photovoltaic cells.

How is CIESOL making progress in water treatment?

We must protect the water resource, which is as necessary as it is scarce, and whose value for life increases the better its quality. To this end, CIESOL is developing new clean technologies for decontamination based on solar irradiance, both for toxic water that cannot be treated by conventional biological methods and for treated wastewater, which still contains small amounts of persistent pollutants that affect the aquatic environment.

Among the solar methods of wastewater treatment, a new process based on microalgae is gaining ground, using photosynthesis to decontaminate, with less energy consumption and producing biomass that is useful for other industrial sectors.

Once treated, the water can be put to a new use, especially for irrigation. For this purpose, pathogenic micro-organisms still remaining in the water must be inactivated.

Disinfection by solar photocatalysis of treated water is proving to be particularly efficient. In all these processes, the study of the influence of the treatments on the quality of the treated water and the evaluation of the impact of their use play a crucial role. The development of advanced chemical analysis methods is necessary to measure the presence of pollutants at very low concentrations, down to one billionth of a gram per litre (nanogram/litre). But when water scarcity is pressing, desalination is needed to generate new fresh water. Desalination of seawater, or brackish water, using solar energy is a much-needed alternative. In this regard, the combination of membrane distillation, which requires less heat input than other processes, and the use of solar energy to provide the heat is seen as an alternative solution to conventional technologies.

Triple TOF 5600


In 2022, the renovation of the monitoring and energy control system at the centre has continued, through the implementation of an infrastructure grant from the Andalusian Regional Government (Junta de Andalucía). In this sense, 2022 has also been marked by the installation and start-up of the infrastructures belonging to the Agroconnect project, in the facilities shared with the IFAPA at its headquarters in La Cañada, adjacent to the university campus.