August 2, 2010
An R&D consortium known as the Polish Platform of Environmental Technologies aims to develop new environmental protection technology to help the country meet the targets of the European Union’s climate and energy package.
The climate and energy package requires EU member states to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Member countries are also expected to increase the use of renewable energy to 20 percent of the total energy mix, from around 8.5 percent today; 10 percent of transport fuels will have to come from renewables, including biofuels. Moreover, energy consumption is expected to fall by 20 percent cut through improved efficiency by 2020.
According to experts, these targets will be achieved if new technologies are developed and implemented to ensure wider use of renewable energy. These new technologies include carbon capture and storage (CCS), hydrogen fuel technology, and second-generation fuel technology.
Other environmental measures mandated by the EU include the so-called Water Directive and the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation. EU lawmakers have also drafted a directive on air quality and cleaner air for Europe, and a proposal for a framework directive on pesticides.
All these measures are part of the EU’s Sixth Environment Action Program (EAP). The Environmental Technology Action Plan (ETAP) is one of the means of carrying out the program and supporting the Lisbon Strategy, which aims to help Europe become the world’s most technologically advanced economy.
The Polish government approved a “road map” for the implementation of ETAP in early January 2006.
Platform for the environment
The Polish Platform of Environmental Technologies was set up in late 2005 to bring together research and development projects pursued by state-owned enterprises, scientific research institutions and private businesses dealing with environmental technology. Another objective was to enable Polish businesses to keep their competitive edge by implementing environmental technologies that would make sure that their production, logistics, waste collection and management processes comply with EU standards.
The Strategic Research Agenda of the Polish Platform of Environmental Technologies defines research priorities in areas such as waste management, the use of renewable energy, water resources management, and soil and air protection.
In the area of waste management, the Polish Platform of Environmental Technologies set out to develop new technologies for the recycling of plastic waste, including the production of components for liquid fuels and structural boards for construction. Another priority is technology for the recycling of natural waste, including the production of keratin from chicken feathers, methyl esters from waste fat, and usable materials from packaging waste. The third priority are technologies for the disposal and recovery of biodegradable waste, and the use of mineral and organogenic waste materials in the process of removing pollutants and disposing sewage. The fourth priority are technologies for the recycling and thermal processing of waste and sludge, including the use of waste for the production of energy.
As far as energy management and renewable energy are concerned, the focus is on developing new, inexpensive technologies to obtain crops for the production of biomass for what are called second-generation biofuels. Other priorities include developing a mechanism to promote renewable energy not only at the central level but also in local areas, in addition to developing technologies for energy management and conservation.
Water resources management
In the area of water resources management, businesses and research institutes operating as part of the platform are conducting research on the reclamation of degraded surface and underground waters. They are also working to modernize hydraulic infrastructure with a view to helping minimize damage done by floods and droughts. Other goals include restoring wetland; upgrading sewage treatment facilities; developing modern water and sewage treatment methods based on nanotechnology, including membrane filtration technology; and developing systems for controlling hazardous and toxic substances used in production processes.
Soil and air protection
Soil protection is a new research area that attracted little interest in Poland until recently—despite the fact that the process of soil degradation is proceeding at a faster rate than expected, according to experts. Research priorities in this area include developing tools for examining the state of soil in degraded areas; remote sensing; magnetic measurements; developing anti-erosion and agricultural “geocomposites” to increase soil retention and reduce erosion, with a view to contributing to higher crop yields and less pollution. Another research area is “phytostabilization” to reduce the migration of heavy metals in soil, and “bioremediation” of soils contaminated with organic compounds. In this last case, researchers use plants such as Salix Vinimalis and Helianthus annuus for the production of second-generation biofuels. There are also plans to develop a technology for creating an “evapotranspiration” cover, or a barrier for reducing the penetration of surface pollutants to underground waters, and to use organic sorbents to reclaim soil contaminated with petroleum-derived products and other pollutants.
Research on air protection and counteracting local climate changes covers the broadest range of priorities. These include developing tools for monitoring emissions and modeling the distribution of air pollution and air quality management; developing carbon capture and storage methods, reducing methane emissions and developing methane management methods, and reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds and inorganic nitrogen compounds. Research is also being conducted into industrial emissions and the composition of particulate matter emitted by industrial plants, power generation facilities and the transport sector, especially in large urban centers and surrounding areas.
The Polish Platform of Environmental Technologies brings together the following companies and institutions:
- Ottima Plus A. Jabłoński, M. Jabłoński, sp. j.
- AGH University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Mining and Geoengineering, Department for Ecology of Industrial Areas
- AGH University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, Power Engineering and Environmental Protection Department
- Algader Hofman Sp. z o.o.
- Arcadis Profil Sp. z o.o.
- Bałtycka Agencja Poszanowania Energii S.A. (BAPE)
- Capital Europejski Consulting Inwestycyjny Przemysław Jura
- Centrum Ekoenergii Sp. z o.o.
- Center for Advanced Technologies Energy-Health-Environment – Central Mining Institute
- DISA Sp. z o.o.
- Elektrociepłownia Będzin combined heat and power plant
- Elektrociepłownia Zduńska Wola combined heat and power plant
- EKO AB Andrzej Bartoszkiewicz
- Ekolog Zakład Energetyki Cieplnej i Usług Bytowych w Zielonkach
- Fabryka Kotłów Rafako S.A.
- H. Cegielski S.A.
- Hydrobudowa 9 Przedsiębiorstwo Inżynieryjno-Budowlane Sp. z o.o.
- Hydroprojekt Sp. z o.o.
- Institute of Agricultural Construction, Engineering and Electrification (IBMER)
- Institute of Agricultural Construction, Engineering and Electrification (IBMER), Poznań Branch
- Institute of Inorganic Chemistry
- Industrial Chemistry Research Institute
- Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas – coordinator of the Envitech-Net international network for environmental technologies
- Institute of Precision Mechanics
- Institute of Mechanized Construction and Rock Mining, Waste Management Center
- Institute of Meteorology and Water Management
- Oil and Gas Institute
- Metal Forming Institute
- Institute of Environmental Protection
- Polish Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Fundamental Technological Research (National Contact Point for EU Research Programs)
- Wood Technology Institute
- Jacek Habryło Firma NPF
- Polish Chamber of Commerce
- Kumibex Sp. z o.o.
- Metalerg Sp.J. J.M.J. Cieślak
- Envitech-Net international network for environmental technologies
- Polish Federation of Engineering Associations
- National Energy Conservation Agency (NAPE)
- NILU Polska Sp. z o.o.
- Industrial Park in Piekary Śląskie, PPPŚl Sp. z o.o.
- Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Materials Engineering
- Polish Federation of Biotechnology (PFB)
- Polska Izba Biomasy
- PolBiom Polish Biomass Association
- Południowy Koncern Energetyczny S.A.
- Projprzem EKO Sp. z o.o.
- Przedsiębiorstwo Gospodarki Wodnej i Rekultywacji S.A.
- Przedsiębiorstwo Oczyszczania Wód i Ziemi POWIZ Sp. z o.o.
- Przedsiębiorstwo Produkcyjno-Handlowo-Usługowe “drew-smol”
- Research Innovation Group Sp. z o.o.
- Solver Sp. z o.o.
-Gostynin Lake District Tourist Communes Association
- Silesia Center for Advanced Technologies – Silesian University of Technology
- Płońsk City Hall
-WAT Karol Teliga
- Zakład Obsługi Technicznej Stacji Paliw Petroster s.j.
- Zakład Ochrony Środowiska Superbos Sp. z o.o.