Fact sheets

Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan

An important document. The SECAP sets out projects aiming to reduce energy consumption while also addressing the need to implement climate change adaptation measures.

Environmental Management System

Ostrava’s City Authority launched its Environmental Management System (EMS) in November 2015. The system enables a sustained reduction of environmental impacts in the City’s management of its buildings, vehicle fleet and operations.

Energy savings in public buildings

Ostrava is implementing a range of projects to reconstruct and revitalize City-owned buildings. The main aim of these projects is to improve the technical condition of the buildings and boost their energy efficiency.

Energy savings in public buildings

Reduction in annual energy consumption achieved by implementing projects including energy auditing and energy efficiency improvements. Period 2014-2015.

Ecological improvements to local heating sources

Annual energy saving achieved by replacing 226 household boilers in Ostrava. The boilers were replaced in 2014-2015; funding was via a subsidy programme and included a contribution from the City.

Public lighting

The decreasing trend in energy consumption by Ostrava’s public lighting network is a result of the application of modern LED technologies combined with policy of using lighting systems which reliably meet stipulated quality parameters without compromising on lighting performance.

Projects

  • The energy system of a house
  • Energy accumulation
  • Energy savings in industry
  • Thermovision in construction
  • Hydraulic platforms
  • Biomass as an alternative in the energy system
  • Boiler for combustion of moist chips
  • Gasification plants
  • Pyrolysis gas
  • Small hydroelectric power plants
  • Storing electricity into hydrogen
  • Heat storage in the ground
  • Utilization of landfill gas
Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
Website
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The energy system of a house

If you are often away from home, you will appreciate the ability to manage a “life” in your house remotely. Yes, nowadays, with the emerging technologies, you can turn on the light in your house, turn on the washing machine, or adjust the heating thousands of kilometers away.

Do so called control system of a house can involve common household appliances, but also various energy sources. All with the aim of optimizing the energy consumption in the building. What about an electric car? It is driven by an electric motor, and a battery is usually used as a power source, it must be charged before driving, and the driving distance of the vehicle depends on its capacity. An electric car may not only serve as an environmentally friendly, elegant and quiet means of transport. If it was included in the system of a house, it could serve as an intelligent mass storage of electricity. Electric vehicles may therefore function not only as means of transport, but they can feed energy back into the network – using intelligent technology of charging and discharging.

Also, the team of scientists and students of the Department of Cybernetics and Biomedical Engineering has long been involved in optimizing the network control system of a house. Although the theoretical and practical results are excellent, generally, greater expansion of electric vehicles faces several challenges. Public awareness about electric cars is associated with misleading information about the high purchase price of the vehicle and the absence of efficient batteries for adequate driving range. More than this, the problem is the still developing infrastructure and insufficient supply of manufacturers of electric vehicles. Even so, it can be assumed that the globalization of the market, growth in fossil fuel prices and stricter environmental protection will enable their future use, not only in transport.

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, VŠB-TUO

 

              

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
Website
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Energy accumulation

There is sufficient energy around us, but it may not always be available in a useful state or at the moment when we need it. For example, the sun does not shine at night, but people still need light. Therefore, we want to “store” energy for later use.

New technologies and methods of managing the charging and discharging of batteries enable us to collect and store energy from various sources and release it in such a manner that we achieve the lowest possible energy loss and increase the beneficial effects and efficiency of the entire system.
For example, the use of energy from photovoltaic systems has proven to be problematic in recent years. A large generation capacity of solar power plants was installed and the distribution grid was not able to deal with fluctuations cause by intense sunlight, which in turn caused instability. It is therefore necessary to connect all processes of generating electricity from renewable sources and make it possible to use accumulated surplus energy at a later time.

The subject of the university team research is a device for storing electricity and, conversely, using at another time. This is a necessary part of the project, which is focused on obtaining energy from renewable and non-traditional sources, because energy thus acquired is not always available when people need it. Therefore, they developed a new transformer for the energy-accumulation system. In practice, it functions as a sort of bank in which energy can be deposited in the case of surplus production and then withdrawn in the event of an outage or sudden increase in consumption.

An advantage of this system is that it is not intended only for cities and villages, but can also be used as a backup energy source for industrial enterprises and as a source of energy in developing countries or in outlying and inaccessible areas where alternative sources, such as wind and solar, are used for generating energy.

Alternative sources of energy, such as water, sunlight and wind, among others, have enormous potential. However, production of energy from these sources causes instability in the distribution grid. Therefore, our objective is to connect all processes of generating energy from renewable sources and to store surplus energy for later use. They are working to ensure that we all will not notice any fluctuations.

ENET Centre, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava in cooperation with Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

 

              

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
Website
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Energy savings in industry

We can never fully use energy and losses will therefore always occur, whether we are converting energy from a chocolate bar into energy needed to run up a hill or electricity into heat. However, we can reduce losses.

Production in large industrial enterprises involves enormous consumption of energy. If we include heating, ventilation, lighting and air-conditioning, we arrive at huge numbers as well as substantial energy losses. However, the university team ise focusing not only on energy; they also have their sights set on conservation measures for energy-intensive operations such as hospitals, schools and other such institutions.

They are monitoring and dealing with, for example, energy consumption at Opava Hospital; they have prepared project documentation for the Lower Vítkovice Area Energy Centre; and they are cooperating with other firms both within and beyond Moravian-Silesian region. This involves solutions in the area of offtake of electricity, heating, cooling, ventilation and preparation of hot water. They always conduct an analysis of the current state of energy consumption and operational loading. They assess everything, perform simulations and design such solutions that will enable everything to function with maximum efficiency while reducing energy intensity. Thanks to a unique computer program specially developed for these projects and optimisation of all processes, they are able to significantly reduce an entire complex’s energy consumption.

The financial costs of energy and, at the same time, the burden on the environment are currently the most closely monitored aspects in the area of investments. Therefore, the resulting product of their solutions is not only lower consumption of electricity and the resulting lower costs, but also a fundamental reduction of impacts on the environment.

Energy Research Centre in cooperation with Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava

 

              

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
Website
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Thermovision in construction

Thermography is a way of capturing infrared radiation emitted by every warm object, and especially of making it visible. And not only that, the thermal imaging camera captures changes in material properties, such as when cutting, cracking, excessive wear etc. The thermovision (as the thermal imaging camera is also called) creates an image that shows the surface temperature. The thermal imaging camera is frequently used in construction for measuring heat loss from buildings, but it also has other applications in engineering, criminology e.g. in search of people, medicine, etc. The staff in one zoo knows something about it: a scientist measuring heat loss from the elephant pavilion was asked to use the thermal imaging camera for “measuring” the resident of the pavilion, the elephant himself. The thing was, that the elephant had been struggling with inflammation for a long time, but due to the size of this dangerous animal, it was impossible to determine the exact source of the illness. The discovery of tendinitis in his right hind leg using infrared thermal imaging camera then contributed to the rapid and gentle treatment of the animal patient.

On the market, there is a wide spectrum of various thermal imaging cameras by type of use and prices from thirty thousand to several million. The one the university team uses for scientific work is worth around one million Czech crowns. Its recording allows them to see defects on buildings and to find a solution for preventing heat loss that bleeds us dry every winter. Based on their measurements, they suggest how to save on heat. They have created a new composition of the thermal insulation composite systems in the plinth, which they have patented. In other words, they propose to place insulation better to avoid unnecessary heat loss in this area of the largest energy loss.

These measurements and research are carried out by Zdeněk Peřina and his team at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, VŠB-TUO

 

               

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
Website
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Hydraulic platforms

During the operation of elevators, various lifts and hydraulic platforms, large amounts of energy are consumed. How could this energy be used in the phase of going downwards by gravity or inertia?

his method of conversion of motion (kinetic) energy into usable electrical energy is called recovery. Generally this phenomenon is based on the principle that the driving electric motor sets the vehicle to the required mechanical motion. However, there will be occasions when such a device will start performing the so called passive or constant movement, which is the movement of the load downward, the transition to the generator mode after exceeding the synchronous engine speed, range of escalators, and the like. The energy that is generated during this process can be returned to the supply network, or stored in batteries or other energy storage devices for further use. And believe it or not, it can actually save a considerable amount of money.

Within the scientific and research project, the university team first made a series of computer simulations of the behaviour of hydraulic platforms in various working conditions – when starting, stopping, emergency stop, etc. They focused on the simulation of various hydraulic circuits, valve settings, flow of hydraulic oil in these systems, description and characterization of the working pressure and strokes, etc. In the development room, they subsequently assembled and tested a lifting platform with uniaxial and biaxial linear regulated regenerative converter. And the result? The performed tests based on recommended modifications and changes showed energy savings of 35-42 % compared to the existing commonly used electric motors. An illustrative example: 10 such hydraulic platforms per year can save up 2MWh of electricity. In the theatres, in warehouses, heavy duty industrial enterprises. And this is just the beginning. Other possible applications of hydraulic regenerative transfer system are taking shape: the use for flight simulators, during operation of industrial valves, during operation of water or steam turbines and boilers, in nuclear power engineering, or in the manufacture of paper and rubber. In the case of the estimated 30 % savings in electrical energy, the expended funds will be repaid within 2 years. The research clearly showed that investments in the modernization of hydraulic stations for the particular system is definitely worthwhile.

The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava in cooperation with OCHI-INŽENÝRING

 

             

Biomass as an alternative in the energy system

As part of its efforts to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, Ostrava’s zoo has built a boiler system burning biomass (woodchips) as part of its dendrology complex. The zoo covers a large area, and is a permanent source of wood-based biomass. The zoo uses a chipper, loader and tractor to harvest and process the biomass before burning.

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
Website
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Boiler for combustion of moist chips

The maintenance of greenery, trimming trees or cutting down a forest produces large amounts of waste. However, branches can be pulverized into the so called chips. This material can be used for heating in the boiler, but because it contains a lot of water, its drying consumes large amounts of energy. Thus, the efficiency is very small, the combustion efficiency in a conventional boiler reaches barely 40 %.

The university team has found a way to heat with wet chips with significantly higher efficiency of almost 100 %. They put together a model of the boiler, whose essential part is the condensing heat exchanger. The boiler uses the condensation heat of the steam contained in the flue gas and at the same time, it meets the required legislative limits. The total size of the boiler is not much larger than that of standard boilers of a similar performance, its design allows for variable installation. The device is also suitable for use in two-circuit heating systems, e.g. floor and radiator heating.

However, wet chips are not very suitable quality fuel, it does not have a high calorific value. The price of fuel biomass is still growing and it can be expected that the pressure on the use of waste biomass, i.e. also wet chips, will increase. Especially in large agricultural operations, gardening companies, or in technical services of cities this type of combustion is worthwhile. Chips can be obtained from many different types of biological waste. Therefore, piles of leaves from beets do not have to lie waste, and at the start of the heating period, they may be used as fuel in the fresh state. Although the acquisition price of the boiler is about a third higher than the price of a standard boiler, the operating costs will soon return by using fuel “for free”. Moreover, places with the animal breeding and production are heated all year round. We do not need to wait for the winter.

The university team had the new boiler patented and they are currently cooperating with a network of manufacturers of heating equipment. Because it is unique in the European context, they are considering the sale of licenses abroad.

Energy Research Centre, VŠB-TUO

 

             

Gasification plants

The total natural gas reserves in the world are currently estimated at 511,000 billion cubic meters and they will last for up to (only?) 200 years. They are used for cooking, heating water, producing electricity and heat, for transportation, or even as a medium to heat recovery and cooling units. Therefore, it is a seemingly inexhaustible source of energy. But what will happen in those 200 years, when natural gas will be used up?

People from the VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava ask this question every day and try to make alternative gas from sorted waste. They have built a gasification unit, which is in one of the buildings in the campus, representing an advanced version of the original equipment from 2007. The tested systems of energogas dry cleaning and a new way to use syngas have been newly incorporated into the facility. It is a synthesis of liquid biofuels of the second generation using Fischer-Tropsch method and the natural gas production.

In this device, they have managed to obtain gas from waste and use it to further generate energy. Given the current trend of consumer society that produces tons of garbage a year, it seems that the production of gas from waste could be a suitable ecological alternative for our descendants.

Energy Research Centre at VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava

 

             

Pyrolysis gas

The future of energy production is in the processing of waste. This is done in several ways, for example by incineration, but also without fire, or without oxidation. The process called pyrolysis has been used for several decades. Due to the influence of heat, but under exclusion of air, organic macromolecules disintegrate into compounds and a number of new substances is formed.

Pyrolysis units are industrial facilities, which are usually only designed for a certain type of waste. The VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava unit is exceptional, as it allows a wide range of thermal treatment of organic waste. The pyrolysis generates new substances from waste materials, such as high calorific gas rich in hydrogen and methane, liquid pyrolysis oil or so called solid residue. It may be tar, while the pyrolysis of Tetrapak packaging produces aluminium, and almost pure carbon is left during the pyrolysis of tires. Each of these materials can be reused. Pyrolysis oil is a source of organic compounds in the chemical industry, and, for example, a solid residue of carbon is used for the production of activated carbon for the industry.

Research of chemical composition and refining pyrolysis gas opens up new possibilities for its use in the energy industry. The gas is purified and cooled, so that they could remove tar, and hydrogen is left in in. It is mainly used for combustion in engines that are driven by generators to produce electricity. The gas can also be filled into bottles and further used in the chemical industry or to heat the pyrolysis furnace. Highly calorific gas can be used even in the unpurified form, namely to heat the Stirling engine, all in order to produce electrical energy.

Their research of the pyrolysis of waste materials is part of a policy aimed at using the wide range of renewable sources in the production, storage and distribution of electricity. The research results can be used by industry partners for the application of new technologies, especially in enterprises producing larger amounts of one type of waste that could be further processed through pyrolysis and energy recovery.

Energy Units for Utilization of Non Traditional Energy Sources (ENET), VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava

 

               

Small hydroelectric power plants

The future of electric energy lies in higher utilization of renewable sources. One of them is water. Although the Czech Republic does not have ideal conditions for building large dams, hydroelectric power plants represent a significant energy source even in this country. In fact, all major rivers have been used for these purposes. But there are also small rivers and streams with a big grade, but without sufficient water. The question is how to ensure a continuous energy production on them when water flow is often unequal?

VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava deal with using the power of small streams that would allow to supply infrastructure in remote mountainous and recreational areas through small hydroelectric power plants. They create concepts for the supply of local networks of the “micro-grid” type using semiconductor converters and storage structures, relatively cheap given their long life and low demands on installation compared to other forms of renewable energy.

The need for these new solutions results from insufficient supply of remote areas with electricity due to frequent fluctuation in consumption. At present, there are new studies aimed at developing new types of distribution networks, whether called insular networks or micro-grids (small energy networks) and smart-grids. Insular networks are not connected to the electric distribution network, and they are also known as off-grid. They find application especially where it is not possible to build a conventional public electricity connection, or in mobile installations, weekend houses, cottages, in recreational areas, or in the mountains.

Moreover, they can be applied in areas where it is not possible to generate energy from other renewable sources. For example, in valley areas with little sunlight or where the construction of wind turbines is inappropriate. The tested island networks consist of small hydroelectric power plants up to 30 kW. Therefore, people living in remote areas near watercourses have great hopes that in future, they may produce electricity from their own resources, and thereby their dependence on the availability of the distribution network will be lower.

Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in collaboration with the Centre ENET VŠB-TUO

 

              

Storing electricity into hydrogen

During the day, the energy consumption is higher than at night. Its production on very sunny or windy days is so high that energy cannot be consumed immediately. Fluctuations in production and consumption of electricity makes life more complicated not only for the operators of transmission and distribution systems. The easiest solution would be to convert surplus electricity to an element that could easily be stored and if required, energy could be regained from it and used. In this context, hydrogen has been considered for a long time.

Hydrogen as an “energy carrier” would be used not only to store surplus electricity from the network and renewable energy sources, but also as an alternative fuel to power vehicles or instead of batteries or accumulators in portable electronics, etc.

VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava tests the possibilities of producing hydrogen from renewable or alternative sources. Hydrogen is ecologically a completely neutral energy carrier, fully recyclable, which means that it can be used repeatedly. Hydrogen can be produced easily by electrolysis of water, and it can be easily stored in tanks on a long-term basis. And if the electric power is needed again, hydrogen will be converted back into electricity.

Obviously, it is not so simple. There is a long journey from testing to use in practice and eventually in everyday life. Scientists and engineers must develop new components, active elements, and new types of links with energy resources. It will be followed by long testing and creating rules that ensure optimal use and, above all, safe operation. Hydrogen units, as well as renewable energy sources, can best be applied in so-called decentralized intelligent energy networks. This ideally means that each residence has its own source of energy or storage device, and it is self-contained irrespective of the connection to the power plant. This energy will relieve the overloaded centralized network which conducts electrical energy from power plants to consumers. For now, this solution is very expensive, but given recent developments, in the several tens of years, our lights may be powered by electrical energy obtained from hydrogen.

Energy Units for Utilization of Non Traditional Energy Sources (ENET), VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava

 

             

Heat storage in the ground

In the winter, we usually heat more than in the summer and consume large amounts of energy. In the summer, on the contrary, our energy consumption is not very high and its surplus is formed.

For several years, the VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava has been successfully testing the possibilities of heat storage underground. They focus on the so called seasonal storage reservoirs, allowing to keep excess heat gained in the summer until winter, when it is, on the contrary, deficient and can be used retrospectively. They are still improving seasonal reservoirs, which allow to keep heat even for 6 months. Utilization of underground reservoirs is extremely broad, waste heat is generated in houses, as well as, for example, in heavy industry.

Few people know that in the university campus, some buildings are heated with heat pumps. A major research polygon is located near the New Auditorium, where the heat is taken from the rock environment using 110 wells dug to a depth of 140 m. The polygon consists of a selected group of 10 operating wells and a group of 7 monitoring wells. All wells reach a depth of 140 m.

A small research polygon can be found in the university campus near the building of the Energy Research Center. It consists of two operating wells and a group of 8 monitoring wells that are also drilled to a depth of 140 m. Another so called “mini” polygon comprising one operation – monitoring borehole is located within the premises of the Faculty of Civil Engineering. The whole system of wells, short water tanks, solar collectors, heat pumps and heat exchangers makes it possible to store waste heat underground. During the provisional testing, the heat stored underground in the summer will be used for heating certain buildings within the premises in the winter. They have a unique opportunity to measure the effectiveness of the heat store underground from different sources in real-world operation of the building. At the same time, their whole system enables to track donations and heat accumulation in small, medium and large buildings. In cooperation with the workers of Green Gas DPB a. s. Paskov, they also participate in research in the polygon within the campus where surplus heat from the cogeneration unit is accumulated underground. Within the Czech Republic, it is a unique comprehensive research on heat accumulation from various sources.

The Faculty of Mining and Geology, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava

 

             

Place
Ostrava
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Utilization of landfill gas

A major innovative project with a direct positive impact on the environment is the use of a gas harvesting system at Ostrava’s landfill site. The system channels gas via extraction vents to a gas station at the site, where the gas is stored and then used to generate electricity. There are plans to use the biogas to power Ostrava’s waste collection vehicles. Biogas is also a by-product of the treatment process at the Central Waste Water Treatment Plant; this gas is also used for power generation.

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