The town of Jabłonna near Warsaw will soon be home to a state-of-the-art research center dedicated to pure and applied research into distributed energy generation and renewable energy sources



Władysław Karol Włosiński
Polish Academy of Sciences


Jarosław Mikielewicz
Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery, Polish Academy of Sciences, Gdańsk 


Jan Kiciński
Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery, Polish Academy of Sciences, Gdańsk


The PAS Research Center for Energy Conversion and Renewable Energy Sources will be the largest institution of its kind in Poland, and one of the most modern in Europe. Its main goal is to further the development of technologies for “plus-energy” homes and business premises – which means that they produce more energy than they import from external sources. It will also serve as an educational hub, and later as a technology park and exhibition space for companies working in the energy sector. The center is being built using funding from the EU and from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. The project’s beneficiary and coordinator is the PAS Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery in Gdańsk. Construction work is due to be completed in December 2014.


Challenges ahead


As is the case across the EU, Poland is striving to reduce its energy use and minimize the accompanying environmental impact. As such, it is focusing on reducing emissions, introducing renewable energy sources, and promoting energy-saving building design. In this context, it is important to foster and promote the emergence of a movement of “prosumers” (energy consumers who are at the same time energy producers) – millions of small-scale investors generating energy for their own use and selling on any surplus to the national grid. This is a great opportunity for Poland’s energy production: the power shortfall now being forecast for 2016-2017 cannot be easily supplemented by major conventional power plants, the construction of which would in any case require enormous investment.


A more distributed power system, based on innovative Distributed Energy Resource (DER) technologies, tapping into renewable energy sources, utilizing smart grids and “cloud” applications, is likely to form the backbone of Poland’s energy policies in the coming years. Developing hybrid installations sensibly integrating solar, biomass, and wind technologies, heat pumps and energy storage solutions for constructing “plus-energy” residential homes, business premises, and even whole neighborhoods operating as part of a smart grid, remains a major challenge.


Bold plans


The Research Center will be equipped with a local smart grid, allowing it to manage its energy sources and store surplus power, serving also as a means for remote archiving, transmission, and processing of experimental data. It will also feature conference facilities, guest suites and recreation grounds, as well as an educational route drawing attention to renewable energy sources, forming a key part of the center’s educational duty. The R&D infrastructure of the PAS Research Center for Energy Conversion and Renewable Energy Sources will comprise five research laboratories: a Laboratory for Solar Technologies, a Laboratory for Micro Combined Heat and Power, a Laboratory for Wind Generation, a Laboratory for Energy Security Engineering, and an Integrated Plus-Energy Laboratory.



The labs will be located in four two-story buildings with a total floor-space of 2500m2 plus one single-story building with an area of around 1300m2. The center will also house energy storage units, water pools, an educational path promoting knowledge about renewable energy sources, an experimental station for small-scale wind farms, a parking lot, and an integrative space. A total of around two hectares of land has been allocated to the facility itself, with a further six hectares intended as exhibition space and a science and technology park.



Schematic overview of the myriad energy installations and equipment at the PAS Research Center for Energy Conversion and Renewable Energy Sources in Jabłonna 



One key aspect of the center’s outstanding design lies in its innovative energy installations, arranged into several discrete systems: a basic (winter) system including a few alternative types of power generation equipment with outputs ranging between 100 and 200 KW (a gas turbine, biomass boiler, and traditional gas boiler); a plus-energy system tapping into renewable natural sources, comprising heat pumps, solar panels, solar cells and wind turbines; a system of energy storage units serving as a stabilizer and buffer for the energy obtained from the basic and plus-energy systems; and a set of demonstration equipment for microgeneration (micro combined heat and power units for home use) with a heat output of 40KW and electrical output of several KW. By opening up a wide range of options, operational modes, and unique hybrid configurations, the systems will provide exceptional opportunities for research, testing, and certification.


Early days


In March 2013, Prof. Michał Kleiber, President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, appointed an Advisory Council for Alternative Energy Sources; it will serve as a Programme Council for the PAS Research Center in Jabłonna, although the scope its activities is likely to be broader.


The first meeting of the Council was held on 19 March 2013. It is chaired by Prof. Władysław Włosiński, the initiator of the Center, with Prof. Jarosław Mikielewicz serving as deputy chair. Prof. Jan Kiciński, head of the Center, is also a member of the Council. Other members include the CEOs of Energa, Siemens, Tauron, Lotos, and KGHM, plus the President of the Center for International Relations, and the Secretary General of the Public Board of the Polish National Programme for the Reduction of Emissions.


Such a list of Council members will help ensure that the Research Center works closely with the largest energy suppliers in Poland and abroad, and with governmental institutions. Their combined wealth of experience also bodes well for the success of this unique institution.



Academia nr 2 (38) 2013

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