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From the Publisher
March 1, 2013   
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These days the transport function of rivers is growing even though we have a whole range of other means of transportation and ways of shipping goods. Modern technology has entered the waterways. Today, to see business booming, it is no longer enough to have a river or canal on hand plus a vessel and a customer ready to pay for transportation. Such business also needs to be cost-effective, safe, and meet international standards, which in the case of the European Union are very demanding. Expertise is key and that’s where science steps in. Only scientists are able to invent and design a system to meet all these requirements.

Researchers from the Maritime University in the northwestern city of Szczecin, are working to help turn the Oder river in western Poland into a safe and environmentally friendly waterway for shipping goods. After the project is completed, it will significantly improve the safety of freight transportation on the river and help move more cargo from roads to inland waterways. The researchers, who are headed by Prof. AndrzejStateczny from the university’s Faculty of Geoinformatics, aim to develop a River Information System (RIS) for the Oder in a project that has been awarded zl.1.64 million in funding from the National Center for Research and Development—see our report in this issue of The Polish Science Voice.

Now from water to fire. A team of researchers from the Institute of Heat Engineering at the Warsaw University of Technology—headed by Prof. PiotrWolański and Zbigniew Gut, D.Sc.—developed an innovative system for monitoring and producing a visual image of combustion processes between 2008 and 2012. The system is based on the electrical capacitance tomography (ECT) method and helps increase the cost efficiency of power generation equipment and improve the safety of aircraft engines.

“What we found particularly enticing about the project was the opportunity to develop one of the world’s first methods to conduct flame diagnostics both online and in situ,” says Wolański. He adds that his institute has teamed up with Pratt & Whitney Canada, a division of the U.S.-based aircraft engine producer, as part of an offset agreement. “This has provided us with extra funds for further research on how electrical capacitance tomography can be used to monitor combustion processes in jet engines fitted with annular combustors. In previous years, we also worked with Pratt & Whitney in the United States,” Wolański says. “We also conducted research at the training center of the Weishauptcompany, a leading global producer of gas and oil burners and heating systems. The company is interested in incorporating our technology into its heating systems which employ high-power burners. We continue to look for businesses interested in using electrical capacitance tomography to enhance the performance and quality of their products.”
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