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The Warsaw Voice » Other » September 16, 2009
Technology
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'Intelligent' Coking Plant
September 16, 2009   
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Researchers in the southern city of Zabrze have set out to develop a technology to produce high-quality coke in an "intelligent coking plant."

The researchers want to come up with tools that will upgrade the process of producing coke by making it more efficient, environmentally friendly and safe.

The Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal in Zabrze is coordinating the project, which was launched in May at a meeting of scientists and industry professionals at Zabrze's Coal Mining Museum.

The Intelligent Coking Plant project aims to develop tools, procedures and products that will increase the competitiveness of coke production and reduce the negative environmental impact of coking plants.

The Intelligent Coking Plant is a key research project being carried out under the Innovative Economy Operational Program for 2007-2013. The project will be 85 percent financed from the European Regional Development Fund and 15 percent from domestic public funds. It is among the country's largest projects involving collaboration between science and industry.

The Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal in Zabrze is a prime research center for Poland's coking industry with a tradition going back more than 50 years.

The research also involves scientists from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Cracow, the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, the Institute of Fluid Flow Machinery of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Gdańsk, and the Central Mining Institute in Katowice. Industrial plants interested in joining the project include Koksownia Zdzieszowice (ArcelorMittal group), Koksownia PrzyjaĽń (Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa group), Kombinat Koksochemiczny Zabrze, Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa, and Kompania Węglowa.

Poland is among the world's top 10 producers of coke and the second-largest exporter after China. The country's coking plants produce more than 11 million metric tons of coke per year. Over half the output is exported.

Beyond 2013
The Intelligent Coking Plant involves laboratory research and experiments at coking plants. The project is expected to yield a number of new technologies that will be applied in coking plants after 2013. The aim of the project is not so much to change the coking process, but to develop tools that will make it more efficient, environmentally friendly and safe, the researchers say. These will include tools from fields such as information technology, process control and automation.

The project involves five research areas: physicochemical processes of coal conversion; efficiency-oriented processes and operations; optimal technological systems; environmental safety; and integrated operation and control.

Research into environmental issues is an important part of the project. This especially applies to waste water management and air pollution.

The project manager is Aleksander Sobolewski, PhD Eng., a scientist with experience in coke engineering and deputy director for research and development at the Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal.
Ewa Dereń

Industrial Tradition
The Coal Mining Museum in Zabrze, which hosted the launch of the Intelligent Coking Plant project, is part of Silesia province's Industrial Monuments Route, one of the region's greatest sightseeing attractions. The route features 31 selected sites of unique historical value.

The region of Silesia in southern Poland comprises the country's largest cluster of historical industrial sites that testify to Silesia's wealth as an industrial region and its role as an important part of Europe's cultural heritage.

Historically, Silesia developed as a result of industrialization that began in the 18th century, with smelting furnaces, mine shafts and power plant chimneys becoming permanent fixtures in the landscape. Reminders of those not-so-distant times include facilities linked to mining, metallurgy, power engineering, food processing, railroads, communications and water supply.

The Industrial Monuments Route has been designed to highlight the facilities' attractiveness as tourist sites. Tours of the individual sites reveal unique machines and equipment that are gems of technology. One of the aims of the route was to use excursions and multimedia presentations as well as various events organized at particular sites as a means of personally experiencing the industrial tradition of Silesia.

In addition to the Coal Mining Museum in Zabrze, the most fascinating sites of the Industrial Monuments Route include the Tychy Brewing Museum; the Brewery and the Brewing Museum in Żywiec; the Bread Museum in Radzionków; the Guido Historical Coal Mine in Zabrze; the Match Production Museum in Częstochowa; and the Nikiszowiec Workers' Housing Estate in Katowice. The Coal Mining Museum in Zabrze houses a working steam engine from 1915.

Each facility is marked with a plaque containing information about the site in three languages plus practical tips for tourists. Silesia province has put up a total of 305 special brown-and-white road signs informing travelers how to get to the 31 historical sites.
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