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The Warsaw Voice » The Polish Science Voice » December 13, 2015
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Researching Renewables
December 13, 2015   
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The Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) has a new state-of-the-art research center for studying energy conversion and renewable energy sources. The center, which opened in Jabłonna near Warsaw in September, focuses on technologies for modern buildings to generate, store and transmit energy from the sun, wind, water and biomass.

Formally, the center, which cost zl.90 million to build and equip, is part of the Academy’s Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery based in Gdańsk. Prof. Jan Kiciński, director of the institute, says the new center has been provided with cutting-edge equipment including a high-end simulator for operating photovoltaic panels at solar farms. There are only three such devices in Europe, according to Kiciński. The center has also a wind tunnel; a solar simulator, also known as artificial sun, which provides illumination approximating natural sunlight; a 3D printer that can even print parts from titanium; and a drone equipped with modern infrared cameras that can be used to monitor the energy efficiency of buildings and entire housing developments.

This is the largest and most modern center dedicated to renewable energy in Poland and one of three such facilities in Europe. It is designed to conduct research on the diversification and proper use of energy sources.

The future belongs to energy-efficient homes with less dependence on external energy sources and thus on traditional coal technologies. Especially promising are technologies that lead to “energy-plus” buildings—buildings that produce more energy than they consume. Such innovative systems can be installed in homes, hotels, schools and hospitals as well as housing developments.

The center focuses on the rational use of energy and on helping develop rules for the combined generation of heat and power obtained from various sources, including the use of various energy sources in small community power plants.

The center’s largest building is an integrated “energy-plus” laboratory. Other labs deal with solar and wind power technology, co-generation, “micro” power plants, environmentally friendly boilers, and energy security.

The research on solar, wind and biomass power,co-integration and micro power plants is designed to help Poland meet European Union standards for energy production and carbon dioxide emissions.

Work to build the center began in December 2013. The project was financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
Karolina Olszewska
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