X – Ray Diffraction Laser THERMO LOGG Contact Angle Analyzer Langmuir – Blodgett Film Deposition Scanning Electron Microscope with EDS (X-ray spectrometry) Small Angle X-Ray Scattering Apparatus Wide Angle X-Ray Scattering Apparatus Mercury Porosimeter Mass Spectrometer Nitrogen Porosimeter ultra-microtome AA GC-MS Scanning Electron Microscope with EDS (X-ray spectrometry) Proteome analysis [Proteomics] Remote Measurement System Transmission Electron Microscope CNC ΑGIECharmilles ΑCTSPARK FW-1P [CNC AGIE] CNC DMG CTX 510 Eco PHOTRON FASTACAM SA3 INSTRON 8801 Testing Device ROMER OMEGA R-SCAN & 3D RESHAPER LASER Cutter Pantograph with extra PLASMA torch CNC ΙDA XL 1200 Optical and Contact Coordinate Measuring Machine TESA MICRO-HITE 3D  RSV-150 Remote Sensing Vibrometer Ground Penetration Radar [GPR] Audio Magneto Telluric Optical Time Domain Reflectometers [OTDR] Non ion Rad Electric e-mat analysis Thermogravimetric Analyzers - Differential Scanning Calorimetry Magnetron Deposition Metal Deposition Grid Computing Center




Hephaestus is an advanced research lab within Kavala Institute of Technology. We are in the region of East Macedonia and Thrace (EMTh) which is located at the North-East part of Greece and occupies an area of about 14,000km2 with a population of 610,000. From them, the 59% are urban population and the 41% are rural population. Again, the 51% are females and the 49% are males.Table 1 summarizes the statistical data and Fig.1 illustrates the economic activity of the region.



€ 14,000a






14,000 km2

a=2011 data; b=average density of Greece is 82/km2.



  Figure 1. The contribution to Gross Value Added of the various economic sectors in the region of EMTh.


The structure of the economic sectors indicates a transitional period for the region. The quaternary sector is mainly served by the two higher education institutes (KavTech is one of them) and a few Research Centres (e.g. CTR-EMTh). The secondary sector is consisted mainly of small size traditional manufacturing industries; although some of the largest Greek industries (e.g. oil exploration, fertilizers, gold mining, etc) are active too. Figure 2 shows the main activities of the secondary sector in the region.      


Figure 2. The most popular manufacturing industries in EMTh.



Hephaestus lab is a medium size facility floor (MSFF; worth of more than €10,000,000) operating at KavTech and comprising three main sections:

  1. Material science that covers the area of porous materials, from synthesis to characterization and from nanotechnology to oil & gas reservoir engineering (catalysis, membrane technology, flow in porous media are some examples).
  2. Electrical engineering that specializes on remote electrical measurements.
  3. Mechanical engineering that covers metrology, robotics, and renewable energy systems.


Aim & goals

It is well known that between R&D and market there is a gap where most of the ideas die. Innovation is bridging this gap. However successful bridging is a laborious task requiring specific implementation measures; one (and the most expensive) being the facilities.

Hephaestus Lab aims to serve as a canter of excellence both academia and industry (locally and internationally) to this direction towards a successful development of an innovation ecosystem in our region with a possible contribution to the global problem. We are expecting the following results:


To narrow the gap between R&D and Market in the region

To evaluate the technical implementation of a product idea



To provide environmentally friendly solutions



To provide continuous education



To manage entrepreneurship projects




narrowing the gap

In the region of EMTh the average manufacturing industry has certain characteristics (see Fig.3). Hephaestus will narrow the knowledge gap without a need from local industries to invest on R&D other than affiliated to the Lab. The 20% energy saving model, also depicted in Fig.3, will initiate the interest of the companies. An increase of the productivity and competitiveness of the participating industries to this action is expected. Reviews on available techniques, experimental measures to quantify the problem, operation of ExEx groups will be provided too.     


Figure 3. The average manufacturing industry in the region of EMTh together with a 20% energy saving model. Gas cost is coupled (C) with diesel prices; electrical energy cost will be reduced by implementing the saving (S) model; water needs to be recycled (R); liquid waste is already treated efficiently in biodegrading (B) stations; solid waste is thrown unattended to the landfills therefore legislation (L) is needed to be proposed; thermal power may be saved by better insulations (I), shaft power may be combined with hybrid system (H) e.g. membranes; and personnel recruitment to new expertises is possible. 


evaluating an idea

The generation of an idea emanates from activities that span between informal and formal methods [1]. S.Yen [2] has shown that informal methods are more efficient, however. For instance the 35% of ideas are produced by brainstorming, the 22% by meetings, and the 13% by prototyping; this span covers only 1/3 way to the most formal method which is documentation (0.5%). Again, V.Baya [3] has found that the smallest coherent portion of an idea lasts of about 6s.

Informal activities therefore bring new interface requirements. To this end Hephaestus will focus on a Table of Experts (ToE). This is a meeting procedure where 3 distinct parties join forces. Part-1 is the entrepreneur and employees; part-2 is the experts in the field (on both engineering and finance); and part-3 is the Lab officers soliciting the table. The originality of the idea and valid contributions to this are officially recorded. A successful TOE will require no more than 3 phase sessions. Experts will be selected from Hephaestus and will be free of entrepreneur’s charge. KavTech has a long collaboration with distinguish scientists in the region and internationally which are not only scholars but they have also a deep knowledge and experience on the market. Every year our Institute hires more than 200 such experts conducting its educational procedure to the highest level. In the first session the technical requirements of the implementation will be defined. In the second one technical specification including possible experimental results will be discussed. In the last phase session a decision will be made on the fate of the idea and the entrepreneur will receive a detailed report. Figure 4 presents schematically the operation of a ToE.   


Figure 4. Table of experts (ToE): Eng+Fin=Engineers and Financial consultants are the experts; E&E=Entrepreneur and Employees; Hephaestus is the solicitor of the table.



In an innovation ecosystem the monitoring of the environmental parameters is an indispensable task. Hephaestus will address this issue by conducting continuous experimental measurements on air, water, and dust.

In the last 15 years the use of membranes in the separation processes is highly recognised as an environmentally friendly method. Membrane separation is now employed in many industrial procedures concerning pharmaceuticals, food processing, chemical and petrochemical products, etc. KavTech has long history in the synthesis and characterization study of ceramic membranes and porous systems. The efficiency of membrane systems against the classical methods of separation (e.g. distillation) may be demonstrated thermodynamically as follows: 

Wmin=ΔΗ - ΤΔS 

where Wmin is the minimum thermodynamic work that is required to have a separation process, ΔΗ and ΔS are the change in enthalpy and entropy respectively, and T is the absolute temperature. For an ideal mixture, the above equation takes on the following form: 

 Wmin=-RT(X1 lnX1+X2 lnX2) 

where X1 and X2 are the molar fractions of components 1 and 2 and R is the gas constant. In real conditions the processes are non-reversible and therefore the required energy will always be greater than Wmin. The maximum thermodynamic efficiency ηmaxis given then as: 

nmax=Wmin/ (LW+Wmin)

where LW is the lost work. The thermodynamic efficiency of distillation systems is generally low, and the thermodynamic analysis may lead to innovative systems with increased efficiency by decreasing the thermodynamic imperfections and, hence, the lost work [4]. For instance in real industrial applications ηmax is only 5-10% whereas in a membrane separation process, with an isentropic expansion of gases, as the pressure drop across the membrane approaches 0 η→1. 


continuous education

Hephaestus is involved in two MSc programmes (here at KavTech) that is: MSc in Oil and Gas Technology and MSc in Innovation Technology and Entrepreneurship. In this frame we train scientists and engineers in three main complexes of instruments: 

  1. Microscopes (TEM, SEM, AFM).
  2. X-rays (SAXS, WAXS, XRD).
  3. Porosimetry (N2, Hg)

Continuous education on these instrumentations ranges from 10 to 100 hours and includes a corresponding theory and practice. Certificates of attendance will be provided too.



Innovation procedures and management of ideas include many analysis techniques such a morphological box of ideas, a theory of inventive problem solving (TRIZ), brainstorming, experience exchange (ExEx), etc. However, investing on innovations is a big decision by itself. Although R&D successes are eagerly advertised, R&D failures are scarcely reported. As a result a large amount of useful information is lost in shame. Again, although the speed in moving new technical ideas is an attractive concept, speed by itself can invoke poor decision-making and ill-fated products. Entrepreneurs need to see things from the right angle…


In our century rapid commercialization is almost inevitable for those who want to be competitive. Entrepreneurs are forced to take risks and address the fears of the market in order to gain first mover advantage. Policy makers contribute to this end by approving more funds for innovations. On this ground research and technology organizations have a key role to play that is, to encourage entrepreneurs to act by providing them results which overtake the speed limitations and minimize the risk. Hephaestus will successfully fulfil this condition. 



We are in the market for long time (since 1976). KavTech hires experts straight from the industry. There is a list of more than 800 companies that collaborate and trust our Institute. Besides we have the means (facilities) and the desire to make them available to an innovation ecosystem. Facilities will help to narrow the knowledge gap and bring an idea to the demonstration level in lab environment. 



1. A.J.Milne, Entering the Interaction Age: Implementing a Future Vision for Campus Learning Spaces, EDUCAUSEReview 42 (2007) 12-31.

2. S.Yen, Capturing Multimodal Design Activities in Support of Information Retrieval and Process Analysis (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 2001).

3. V.Baya, Information Handling Behavior of Designers during Conceptual Design: Three Experiments (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 1996).

4. Y.Demirel, Thermodynamic Analysis of Separation Systems, Separation Sci.Tech. 39 (2004) 3897-3942.







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