CSTB exports its solar expertise to the Maghreb

It was under the development programme for the Moroccan solar water heater market (PROMASOL) that the Ministry of Energy and Mining asked the CSTB about acquiring solar laboratories. The contract covered three phases: standardisation, development of test benches and training. The first stage in 2000 covered the supply of technical support for preparation and implementation of the product and test standards for the thermal solar installations, based on French and European standards. The objective of this standardisation is to promote economic exchanges between countries by applying common analysis reference documentation. The CSTB then drafted the specification and participated until 2005 in the design and realisation of laboratories designed for testing of thermal solar components and systems at Marrakesh. This was followed by the results validation phase carried out by the teams in place. Finally, in 2006, personnel from the Renewable Energies Development Centre (CDER) were trained on the test procedures and quality approach.

The same process took place in Tunisia from 2006. At the request of ANME (National Agency for Energy Control, the Tunisian equivalent of ADEME), the CSTB designed and supervised the installation of two laboratories for testing of thermal solar components and systems, taking on an advisory role throughout the project.

Recognition beyond the borders

Both these laboratories have just been officially opened in the presence of the Tunisian Minister of Industry, Energy and SMEs. Personnel from CTMCCV (local provider appointed to operate the test benches) were also trained to conduct the tests. A technical assistance mission to perpetuate operation of the test laboratories and introduce a quality approach with a view to future accreditation is currently under discussion.

Our know-how in the design and development of test laboratories is now recognised beyond our borders”, emphasises Dominique Caccavelli, Manager of the Renewable Energy Division of the CSTB. These new laboratories are based on European standards, which represents two major advantages for French companies: marketing of their products in these countries and the possibility of manufacturing quality products locally at lower cost. The Mediterranean Union, which aims to develop exchanges between the Mediterranean Basin countries, will help to progress the issue of sustainable development and create real opportunities for companies.

These opportunities could come in the short term from Syria, which wants to set up test laboratories for thermal solar components and systems. An international tender procedure is under way. “Which we hope to win!”, concludes Dominique Caccavelli.

Barcelona Process: the Mediterranean Union

The Mediterranean Union is an international intergovernmental organisation formed on the initiative of French President Nicolas Sarkozy in July 2008 during the French Presidency of the European Union. Its objective is to establish links between the European Union and the Mediterranean Basin countries and promote exchanges on seven different themes:

  • Clean up of the Mediterranean,
  • Motorways of the sea and motorways on land,
  • Civil defence,
  • Energy substitution,
  • Mediterranean solar plan,
  • Higher education and research, Euro-Mediterranean university,
  • Mediterranean enterprise development initiative.