Projects

  • The energy system of a house
  • Water treatment using magnetic field
  • Energy accumulation
  • deRadon – “Cleaner wells guaranteed”
  • Ecological heating
  • Clean mining technology
  • Energy savings in industry
  • Ecological conveyor belt
  • Thermovision in construction
  • Hydraulic platforms
  • Wood Construction Research Centre
  • Nanopaint
  • Algae producing nanogold
  • Helper in Hydrology – Floreon+
  • Kaipan electromobile
  • StudentCar SCX
  • Nanobrakes
  • Nanoparticles in the role of an environmentalist
  • The Smart City project
  • Utilization of landfill gas
  • Ostrava´s City Authority vehicle fleets
  • Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre
  • The Pan-European Urban Climate Service
  • Noise absorption of tram transport
  • Smart Metering
  • Ice Pigging
Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
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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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Water treatment using magnetic field

Any solid particle substance which has magnetic properties can be influenced by a magnetic field. For many years, the university team has been engaged in research in the field of magnetism. Their suggestions and improvements of the magnetic field generator are used in industrial plants that are beneficial to all of us, whether they are magnetic flaw detectors that detect manufacturing and operating defects in steel pipes and cables or new materials for data storage – CD and DVD.

Promising application of their research is the elimination of mechanical parts in drinking water. Depending on the degree of pollution in a given location, it is good to clean water, because we drink it, but also to prevent impurities from clogging kitchen appliances and water pipes themselves. The existing filters located in pipes contained an electromagnet, or they used the phenomenon that each conductor through which the electric current is passing also has the magnetic properties.

The indisputable advantage of their device is an autonomous solution, i.e. it is independent of the electricity distribution network. The base consists of a ring with permanent magnets produced from the rare earths. These types of magnets are characterized by high values ​​of bulk density of magnetic energy. This makes it possible to produce a strong magnetic field in the ring cavity. After attaching the ring to the mechanical water filter, the field will affect the particles entrained in the water piping. Particles (dirt) are gradually deposited on the inside of the mechanical filter. We can simply take it out and remove the dirt by rinsing it under running water, screw it back, and the separation may continue.

Their facility can be used wherever water flows through water pipes. This will be most certainly appreciated by owners of weekend houses and cottages, or users or objects without an electrical connection. Currently, they are in contact with the commercial sector and gather all the necessary documents, results of measurements and analysis of water and impurities trapped to start industrial production.

The Nanotechnology Centre and the Institute of Physics, VŠB-TUO, participate in this research

 

              

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
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deRadon – “Cleaner wells guaranteed”

You have surely heard of radon, possibly during chemistry class at school or perhaps in connection with the radon risk. The danger of radon ensues from the occurrence of this radioactive gas in bedrock, from which it is absorbed by water, and the subsequent risk of its release and inhalation. The danger of radon consists in the fact that, due to its ionisation capability, it is able to damage the structure of DNA and cause uncontrollable cell reproduction. Waterworks and water-treatment plants can deal with radon. But radon can be found in the water that fills thousands of private wells. This radon escapes from the water and poses a threat to people who come into direct contact with this dangerous gas when, for example, drawing water from a faucet, but even more so when showering.

In order to remove radon from water, the university team developed the deRadon system, which effectively serves the intended purpose. deRadon comprises a device that is only somewhat larger than an ordinary water-heater and works on the following principle: air is forced by a compressor into approximately twelve tubes, each of which contains hundreds of thin, hollow fibres. The fibre wall is perforated with openings ranging in size from 10 to 100 nanometres. Drawn water flows around the tubes. Whereas droplets of water do not penetrate the interior of the fibres, radon fumes do and are then carried by the air current harmlessly into the outside atmosphere. The whole process is modelled on the properties of Gore-Tex fabric – drops of water do not penetrate the interior because of the material’s outstanding property called surface tension, though steam and gas pass through it to the outside.

The deRadon device is patented as a utility model and is intended for all owners of water resources whose wells are located in places with heightened occurrence of radon. Currently, deRadon is used in households with separate water sources dug out of ore or granite bedrock, where there is a heightened risk of radon, such as in the Jeseníky, Beskydy and Vysočina areas.

Faculty of Safety Engineering, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava. The instrument is distributed by company Vodní zdroje Chrudim, s.r.o.

 

               

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
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Ecological heating

When burning solid fuels in small furnaces, the creation of pollutants always occurs. There are roughly four basic parameters that fundamentally affect the amount and character of these pollutants. This refers to depending to the type of combustion device, type of fuel, quality of operation and maintenance and the actual installation of the heating equipment itself. In other words, it is important what we heat in, what we heat with, where and how we heat and how the heater is maintained. Each of these factors significantly affects the quality of the combustion process, the efficiency of the combustion device and thus the consumption of fuel. If one of these parameters is deficient, then the overall result is bad. It is thus not enough to merely replace an old furnace with a new one and think that everything will be fine.

When heating with solid fuels, households produce approximately one-third of all dust released into the atmosphere in the Czech Republic. In order to improve this situation, the university team is working mainly on the development of new combustion devices as well as on the modernisation of old ones. They are monitoring the parameters of utilised fuels and examining the possibility of producing new types, such as mixed briquettes, pellets, etc.

The resulting emissions of harmful materials from furnaces are very dissimilar because product badges state ideal values that are often unachievable in real-world operation. They therefore pose the question: What does this have in common with heating in everyday life? They are thus wagering not on the parameters achieved during certification, but rather on the common sense of users. They created the SMOKEMAN character, who does not like smoke and shows the general public how to heat correctly and how to simply measure and, mainly, to improve the efficiency of furnaces. Much thus depends on us – a furnace is only a machine.

The educational show “Smokeman Intervenes” is intended for both young and old audiences. Children learn through comic books, board games and colouring books, while older people can experience at first hand how low-quality fuel and waste significantly influence the production of smoke.
They believe that patiently conveyed information will eventually result in beneficial habits of users. They hope that burning waste in a furnace will become taboo for the younger generation just as drying firewood is an absolute matter of course.

Energy Research Centre, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava
http://vec.vsb.cz/smokeman

 

               

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
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Clean mining technology

To produce electrical or thermal energy we need ever-increasing quantities of source materials. They include fossil fuels, which are all types of coal, natural gas, uranium, and petroleum. We cannot influence the total global reserves. What we can influence, however, are new methods of their extraction, where we process source materials efficiently and make use of wastes to generate energy. At the same time, we want to leave the Earth as green as possible for those who will come after us. This is the central message of the project ICT, or Institute of Clean Technologies of the VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, for extraction and use of energy source materials.

Their project tackles two primary tasks. First, they want to gather as much information as they can about the properties of the extracted source materials using modern instruments and use as many waste-less technologies as they can. In practice this means they seek new methods of using secondary source materials which they still call wastes. Then they have to find for them a market niche in different segments of industry.

The other task focuses on ecology and revitalization of mines after extraction. Extraction of raw materials is always an ecological intervention. The project aims to restore everything to the original state by soil remediation, reclamation and revitalization following mining activities. Simultaneously they endeavour to employ environmentally friendly technologies while mines and quarries are still in operation. And this works. A case in point is their collaboration with a producer of bituminous coal, OKD company, in introducing a new extraction method for coal reserves in protective pillars, which is also in use in Canada and the United States, and which prevents deformation and subsidence of the surface.

They also participate in many reclamation and remediation projects, such as those involving the spoil heaps Oskar and Václav, and they are currently addressing the issue of a spoil heap at the Heřmanice Mine in Ostrava. To get a better idea we will give you a concrete example from Heřmanice: Employing a new technology they want to use the residual content of coal in spoil heaps to generate electricity or another form of energy. They will then offer the re-sorted stone to the construction industry as another quality material.

Faculty of Mining and Geology, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, in association with specialists from Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Safety Engineering, Faculty of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, and Institute of Geonics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

 

               

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
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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

 

              

Ecological conveyor belt

The conventional belt conveyors are reliable helpers in surface mines, thermal power plants, in the food industry, post offices, airports, but also in construction and reconstruction of buildings. They mostly transport material horizontally or with a slope of up to 18 degrees. The conveyor belt is made of rubber or plastic and the transported gravel, sand, grain or coal is easily held on it due to friction. Transport in larger inclinations is possible, but to overcome the force of gravity, it is necessary to modify the surface of the conveyor belt, for example by vulcanizing projections, grooving or retrofitting transverse ribs. This solution is not entirely complete and conceptual because the divided belt can hold less material. And there is still the problem of high dustiness during transportation…

The university team came up with the idea how to solve the problem. What about simply pushing the conveyed material to the conveyor belt? Imagine two horizontal conveyor belts one above the other, the bottom one is flat and the upper one has a shape of a convex trough. Each one moves independently of the other and the transported material is literally squeezed between them. It must be added that the design is not as simple as it might seem and requires many years of work and looking for the optimal solution. They have furnished the upper belt with pressure rollers to ensure the pressure of the material while preventing the raw material during transport from falling over the edges of the belt. This technology has many advantages. It is undemanding with respect to space, the conveyor belt can transport material from the ground floor to the upper floors, literally in the perpendicular direction. The conveyor transports more material at the same time, while the material is protected from the weather. Belts without transverse ribs are easier to clean, they are utilized more economically and they produce less dust, which has a positive impact on the environment. There are many good reasons why the technology of a double belt conveyor and roller mills was patented and why it is also protected by a utility model.

This device was developed by the team lead by Leopold Hrabovský from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, VŠB-TUO in cooperation with the company SE-MI TECHNOLOGY, a.s. within the project TAČR (Technology Agency of the Czech Republic) Alfa

 

              

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
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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
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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

 

             

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
Website
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Wood Construction Research Centre

Wooden structures have been enjoying great popularity in recent years both here in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in the world. Wooden family houses and public buildings contribute to permanent sustainable development, as they have a number of outstanding properties in the areas of energy and economy. Modern technologies are used in their construction. Both curtain-wall and skeleton construction systems are employed and a development trend in the construction industry consists in multi-storey wood-based buildings.

Therefore, it is necessary to look more closely at the properties of wood and wooden structures. In order to learn as much as possible about the specific properties of this construction material, the university built the Wood Construction Research Centre. Its scientific facility examines the potential of wood for use in construction and how it is affected by the widest variety of ambient influences. The research itself is conducted so that a wooden structure is subjected to various fluctuations in temperature, humidity and wind currents. Sensors and probes in the walls inside the structure and even deep underground constantly record the material’s reaction to changes in the ambient conditions and provide us with much useful data. These data are then analysed and the results of the measurements are gradually introduced into practice. Thanks to these findings, they can improve the design of wooden structures in terms of ventilation, thermal insulation, ecology and health safety.

Unique in the Czech Republic, this project has drawn admiration and recognition from other Czech universities and will make life a little better for everyone who is planning to construct a wooden building.

Faculty of Civil Engineering, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava in cooperation with the specialists from the Moravian Woodworking Cluster and company RD Rýmařov, s.r.o.

 

               

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
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Nanopaint

Have you heard about coating materials that are durable, abrasion-resistant, waterproof and harmless? These are terms that you read on almost every can of paint. But have you also heard about paint that can effectively eliminate harmful substances and bacteria? No? Allow us to tell you about it.

The university team has developed special powdered materials that have a range of fineness comparable to that of flour to coarse-grain kitchen salt. Their prime ingredient is a clay material, most commonly kaolinite, which is a readily available material used for making ceramics. Particles of these clays have the shape of discs, which you can imagine as metal coins, and nanoparticles of the secondary ingredient – metal oxides such as TiO2 or ZnO – are bound to their surface. When the surface of these composites is exposed to light, very reactive particles are created which function as traps for harmful substances and bacteria in the air and water. This is very beneficial for both the construction industry as well as for the environment.

They mix these powdered materials into paint, whose properties they can thus change literally at the molecular level. Thanks to the reactive capabilities of the nanoparticles, such coating materials have the parameters of the highest-quality paint and are finding ever broader applications.
Uses for nanocomposites can be found in numerous industrial sectors, for example in the construction industry as an additive in self-cleaning construction and coating materials, as an additive in plastics and as a medium for cleaning wastewater and gases. A typical example is usage in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, where strict rules for cleanliness and hygiene are in force. The nanoworld offers seemingly invisible improvements, but with enormous potential to enrich our “big” world.

Nanotechnology Centre, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava

 

                

Algae producing nanogold

In addition to producing jewellery, gold is widely used in industry, technology, as a material for making electrical computer components, joint replacements in medicine, chemists work with it. Research showed that nanogold has excellent catalytic properties (much like platinum or palladium), and can accelerate or retard chemical reactions. Particles that have at least one dimension in the nanometer range have a larger reactive area and their catalytic properties will increase. Apart from the purely chemical methods for preparing nanoparticles, there is one more chemical-biological way, and we got that route.

In the university Bionanotechnology Laboratory, they use algae with siliceous structures to prepare nanogold. Diatoms and golden algae (chrysomonades) have unique features, they represent the largest biomass on Earth and, in addition to that, they can move. If these algae are mixed with highly diluted acid solution of tetrachlorogold acid, after a short time, gold nanoparticles are eliminated, they are stabilized and become part of cellular slime on siliceous algae structures. The elimination (reducing) of gold from the solution takes place due to the effect of various biomolecules that living cells produce when preventing the toxic effect of metal cations.

The resulting gold nanoparticles may have a variety of uses, for example in the catalytic decomposition of carbon monoxide. They accelerate the decomposition of hazardous substances such as nerve poison soman and VX agent. In the future, they are considering the disposal of pollutants in contaminated soil, water, air, clothes using nanoparticles of gold or silver. For these purposes, other biomass – for example plant – may be used, as its acquisition is not as complicated as in the case of microorganisms; it can also represent a new use for bioorganic or waste material.

Ladies would probably prefer wearing gold on their neck rather that seeing it in the laboratory, but can assure them that during one month, they prepare 1.5 g of silica boxes with organic residues with purple (!) gold nanoparticles invisible to naked eye. Although it is not enough to produce jewellery, science can achieve great things even with such a small amount of rare metal.

Nanotechnology Centre of VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava in cooperation with the State Institute for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defence.

 

               

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
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Helper in Hydrology – Floreon+

Can you remember some of the action film villains who wanted to destroy the world with their super computers? There have been lots of them! The university Floreon+ system is one of its kind and, conversely, can save the part of the world where we live.

The objective of the Floreon+ is to model, predict and support the resolution of crisis situations, with particular focus on the Moravian-Silesian region. This system, which is being developed within a research and development project, allows for easy integration of various topic-specific areas, regions and data thanks to its flexibility and openness.

Floreon+ is currently being used, for example, by the Integrated Security Centre of the Moravian-Silesian Region where it monitors the behaviour of the main water streams in the MS Region in real time and is able, for example, to detect an impending flood. It simulates and predicts its course and minimises its impact by suggesting a timely measure. Such a measure can be the timely evacuation of population from the critical areas, the construction of an anti-flood barrier or a plan for securing transport accessibility of the affected areas.

In addition to that, the Floreon+ system can also be used to predict air pollution and pollution of water streams in the event of leaks of dangerous substances, which occur, for example, during environmental accidents. However, all these simulations are so calculation-intensive and data-intensive that it is not within the capacity of a person or a standard computer to perform these tasks in the necessary timeframe. This is why the Floreon+ system is installed on super computers, which repeatedly perform these tasks with machine precision and tirelessness in seconds or minutes and, moreover, in many variants that can occur in reality.

A similar system was missing, for example, during the tsunami in Indian Ocean in 2004. We have it now. To the maximum possible extent, it helps to create a safe environment for the population in the area it covers. And it also provides certainty that a citizen will be warned and will be saved, along with their possessions, in a timely manner during extraordinary events.

National super computer centre IT4Innovations at VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava

 

              

Place
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
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Kaipan electromobile

The first car to exceed the speed of 100 km/h was an electric vehicle. The first car to run on the moon was also an electric vehicle. And someday, when the oil runs out here on Earth, electric vehicles will probably be the primary means of transportation. And who knows whether that won’t occur soon due to current technological progress, as we have been working on electric-drive technology also in the Czech Republic for a number of years.

The first model, called the K0, saw the light of day at the end of 2009 and travelled 107 km on one charge at the track in Nošovice. Its drive system is intended for suburban operation and the vehicle achieved a maximum speed of 65 km/h, with battery life of more than 300,000 km. Later prototypes exceeded the speed of 100 km/h with no trouble and successfully approached the range threshold of 200 km on one charge, which is more than most of us need when commuting for work or pleasure.

However, the university team still was not satisfied. The idea of having solar panels on the roof of a house and, in the garage, an electric vehicle charged by those panels is more than inspiring. And if the car isn’t at home, energy is stored in batteries or hydrogen and can then be used to simply “fill up” the car. No filling stations, no more spending money on petrol. That’s a great idea, isn’t it? And its realisation is not far away. The latest prototype, the K3, is now taking shape. The K3 is an experimental vehicle for testing hybrid sources of energy, such as batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and electrical central units powered by petrol and CNG/LPG. This functions is such a manner that of this sources is installed in the vehicle with a supercapacitor and propulsion is provided by an electric motor.

It seems complicated, doesn’t it? Perhaps at first glance, but our goal is simple: to build a drive system that will take a car as quickly and as far as possible on one charge and as cheaply and ecologically as possible without depending on fossil fuels.

Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, in cooperation with Kaipan, s.r.o. and Isotra, a.s.

fei.vsb.cz  

 

             

StudentCar SCX

We often hear that electric cars are the vehicles of the future. But the subject of debate are also arguments that the production of electric vehicles is very expensive, that it is uncompetitive so far, and it is subject to great pressure of automobile and oil companies. However, the world oil reserves are steadily disappearing and electric cars can be an adequate substitute of present-day vehicles operating on petrol, diesel or gas. Therefore, it is necessary to deal with the development of electric cars on the grounds of technical universities as well.

In 2011, the Department of Vehicle Materials and Technologies developed the electric car StudentCar SCX. The result of teamwork for students and engineers is a low two-seater coupe with sophisticated timeless lines. StudentCar SCX is the first sports electric car developed and manufactured in the Czech Republic, whose performance is comparable with the current world leaders. It is a harmonious combination of design and technology friendly to the environment while achieving outstanding driving characteristics and excellent driving dynamics.

SCX has a unique arrangement of the electric 4×4 drive, which consists of four synchronous motors controlled by four frequency converters. It achieves acceleration of 4.9 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h and 9.2 seconds from 0 to 150 km/h, it goes round bends without problems at high speeds with lateral overload of more than 1 G.

The interior of the vehicle is equipped with modern technology for displaying dashboard data in the form of a pair of displays and 10″detachable tablet. The interior upholstery is made with great care and perfect workmanship. A major task for the team collaborating on the development of SCX was the approval of the operation on roads, which was also successful.

When it whizzes by, you might say to yourself it is time to replace your “Diesel” or “Petrol” for something greener.

The team led by Petr Tomčík from the Faculty of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, VŠB-TUO worked on the project, the development was funded by TA01030430, TA ČR (Technology Agency of the Czech Republic) “Applied research and development towards increasing the safety of vehicles with electric drive – electric vehicles and reducing their negative impacts on the environment”.

fmmi.vsb.cz

 

              

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VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
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Nanobrakes

Have you ever considered what happens between the brake rotor and pads when you step on the brake pedal in your car? Technically, it is completely obvious. With each press of the brake pedal, the hydraulic calliper presses the brake pads to the rotor and the car slows down. But doesn’t something else happen that isn’t visible at first glance? Yes, it does. In each instance of braking a certain number of very fine particles are ground off of the brake pads. These particles are thus released into the surrounding environment and some of them end up in the soil.

The University laboratory is one of the first in Europe to discover that the abraded material from brake pads is so small and light (a million times smaller than a millimetre) that they remain in the air due to the negligible gravitational effect on them. Such small particles present a risk not only for the environment, but also for the health of living organisms, including humans, because they penetrate tissue when inhaled. When we take into consideration that there are approximately 250,000,000 cars in operation in Europe alone, it occurs to us how serious this problem is.

The objective of the university project is testing, characterisation and development of new materials for brake pads used in passenger cars. As we now know how hazardous the currently used brake-pad materials are, they are striving to figure out how to produce brake pads so that they do not contain lead and other hazardous substances. Using advanced computer simulations and measuring technology, tehy are developing revolutionary, new-generation materials that will not have any negative health or environmental impacts as they are subjected to wear and tear. As a point of interest, we can state that they are working crushed nutshells and other alternative materials into the mix.

Successful development of these brake “nanoparticles” and introduction thereof into practice will mean that drivers can brake more effectively. And all of us will breathe easier.

Nanotechnology Centre, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava in cooperation with specialists from the United States and China.
www.cnt.vsb.cz

 

             

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VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
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Nanoparticles in the role of an environmentalist

They are a million times smaller than a millimeter, but if they spread, they can cover a huge area. We are talking about nanoparticles, super tiny crystals, whose world we gradually uncover thanks to the latest technology. Specific properties of nanoparticles can, for example, be also utilized for the protection of the environment. Imagine a catalyst of exhaust gases from automobiles. A thin layer of a special powder is applied round its inner circumference. The resulting coating can destroy harmful substances produced by the combustion of petrol. In fact, when striking this surface, these substances are deformed and decomposed into simple gases – hydrogen and nitrogen. But even nanoparticles do not work as a perpetual motion machine, they need a supply of energy for their activity. For example, light. Thanks to it, they become more active “trap for pollutants” and they also decompose them significantly faster.

In university research, they focus on the preparation of so called semiconductor nanoparticles (e.g. titanium dioxide, zinc oxide), which can, with the help of sunlight, decompose toxic and poorly biodegradable substances. They are working on the problem of artificial production of hydrogen, inducing artificial photosynthesis and on new technologies of preparation of powders of nanoparticles. These are the instructions for producing the original mixtures of different metal salts and lye; they have already discovered twenty of them. All with a single goal. Helping man to protect the world in which we live. The nanoparticles treated in this way can, for example, convert greenhouse gases into harmless substances which find further application in the industry. They help us remove impurities from oil spills out of water. As coatings in hospital wards, they prevent the formation of mildew and destroy bacteria. They can also be used for the production of filters in chimneys and for wastewater purification. Nanoparticles are becoming an important tool in protecting the environment and improving the quality of life of people.

The research is conducted by the team led by Ladislav Svoboda from the Faculty of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava

 

             

The Smart City project

The City of Ostrava is a member of a strategic partnership supporting the application of smart technologies in five thematic areas outlined within the Smart Region Development Strategy, approved by the Moravian-Silesian Region in June 2017. The Czech Ministry of Regional Development recognized the excellence of this Strategy by awarding it the highest possible status in the country’s regional smart concept system.

One of the five priority thematic areas of the Strategy is ‘Savings’, which focuses on supporting projects introducing smart measurement systems in buildings, modernizing buildings to use renewable energy resources, mapping air quality by sensors in the internet of things, supporting the circular economy and smart waste management, and providing environmental education. In 2017, in partnership with the Moravian-Silesian Region, the City supported a public competition to find eco-innovations which help to achieve energy savings. In 2018 two of the winning projects will apply the solutions in the fields of zero waste management and air quality monitoring.

In April 2017 Ostrava organized a conference of the Visegrad V4+ countries (the Visegrad 4 plus Romania and Bulgaria) to discuss the Smart Cities concept in the context of the V4+ countries – with the participation of experts from other European countries. One of the topics of discussion was the use of EU structural funds and other forms of funding for the development of Smart Cities. The round table discussion featured around 40 representatives of public administration from the V4+ countries, and the conference as a whole was attended by approx. 150 delegates – mostly representatives of cities and experts on the issues discussed.

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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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Ostrava
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Ostrava´s City Authority vehicle fleets

As part of its efforts to promote low-emission vehicles, Ostrava’s City Authority and organizations owned by the City are modernizing their vehicle fleets by purchasing 24 low-emission vehicles. 18 of these (17 for the City Police Force) will run on compressed natural gas (CNG). The remaining 6 will be electric cars (used by the authorities of Ostrava’s municipal districts).

Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre

In 2017 the City, working alongside the Moravian-Silesian Region and Ostrava’s universities, established a new organization – the Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre (MSIC), which offers services supporting innovation, community programmes and new business clusters. As part of the In Focus project (URBACT), the MSIC is preparing an Integrated Action Plan for 2017–2019 coordinating talent attraction management activities; the plan contains projects supporting start-ups and small businesses via an eco-technologies incubator. The aim is to boost environment-focused innovations in the Region, generating new jobs and addressing environmental issues and challenges. Currently the budget for these activities is 1,2 million EUR (to fund the MSIC directly) and 3 million EUR (from the Regional Innovation Strategy RIS3 – Smart Accelerator).

The Pan-European Urban Climate Service

Ostrava is involved in the implementation of the Horizon 2020 programme ‘The Pan-European Urban Climate Service’, which processes the best available scientific climate data and presents the data in a comprehensible form for use in spatial planning, helping end users (in the public and private sectors) to address the consequences of climate change on a local level. The project involves a total of 14 partners from 6 European countries.

For the City of Ostrava, the project is useful not only in terms of strengthening cooperation with partners, but also due to its use of a mathematical model of temperature changes in the city and as a basis for monitoring indicators of climate change impacts.

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Ostrava
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Noise absorption of tram transport

Ostrava’s busiest tram routes feature unique new Czech-developed technology which absorbs and damps noise and vibrations produced by trams – especially the noise produced by the rolling contact between the wheels and the rails (metal on metal) and the traction motors.

The BRENS® system combines rail noise absorption and water retention functions, and it is made entirely from recycled materials originating in the automotive industry (recycled rubber from old tyres and recycled synthetic/technical textiles used in car production). These zero-waste products are excellent examples of the circular economy, and they use synthetic industrial waste products in an entirely new and innovative way. Thanks to the properties of the synthetic base material STERED®, the noise-absorbent surface can be covered with turf (real or artificial) or succulents (stonecrops). Most types of surface provide very good noise-absorption properties while also enabling the retention of moisture; this has a beneficial impact on the urban climate, reducing dust and mitigating overheating of street surfaces.

The BRENS® system can be installed on existing tram lines as well as in the construction of new lines. To improve tram safety and traffic flow while also reducing noise and vibrations, low, lightweight, easily removable anti-noise barriers can be fitted on either side of the tram lines; the barriers are made of recycled synthetic material in wire mesh moulds, which can be planted with low-maintenance local plants.

Ostrava is planning to lay grass turf in the central strips of roads where tramlines are located.

A pilot section of 150 metres has been chosen on the eastern approach to the road/tram bridge between the Karolina and Naměstí republiky tram stops; this has one of the steepest gradients in the city’s tram network (and thus creates considerable noise). In this case, low-maintenance plants (stonecrops) have been used instead of standard grass turf. Currently, standard tramline strips are made of concrete panels or asphalt; this reflects noise and increases dust. The cost of the project will be approx. 192 000 EUR.

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Ostrava
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Smart Metering

Project of the Ostrava Water and Sewerage Company (OVAK)  which enables remote monitoring of water consumption. The number of customers using this system is set to grow to 8000 by 2019; now it is 4000. In the longer term, smart meters may be installed at all metering points (32 000 in the city). Smart metering offers several practical benefits. It provides access to data on water consumption (current levels and history) via an internet portal; this alerts users to abnormal consumption levels, helping to detect leaks and minimize damage and costs. The system collects data via transmitters located on the meters, which are sent as an encrypted signal at radio frequency 169 MHz and then via GPRS to the server where the data are processed. Users and the service provider have access to the data, and can select various display formats via the user interface. The system can alert users to abnormalities by sending an e-mail or SMS message.

Place
Ostrava
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Ice Pigging

Preventive maintenance of the water supply network also helps to ensure that drinking water sources are used efficiently.

The idea of using crushed ice to clean pressure pipelines arose approximately 12 years ago at the university in Bristol (UK) in cooperation with the local waterworks company Bristol Water and the services provider Aqualogy (a member of the SUEZ environment group). The idea was gradually tested and improved in the field. Currently, this patented technology is the most efficient way of removing soft sediments and biofilm in any pipeline up to DN 600.

Pilot test in Ostrava in 2015

The Ostrava Water and Sewerage Company (OVAK) realized a pilot project of maintenance of the water supply network “Ice Pigging” in 2015.  This sophisticated method involves injecting a pressurized mixture of ice slurry and salt into the pipelines, which cleans the pipe far more effectively than standard water jet or air cleaning methods. Ice pigging is a revolutionary new development in water management infrastructure maintenance; though it is relatively expensive to test, it has the potential to significantly reduce water loss and retain excellent quality standards. The main advantage of the ice/salt mix is its abrasive effect, which can remove up to a thousand times more dirt than previously used methods – regardless of the material that the pipe is made from. There is also a 50% reduction in water consumption compared with standard methods (water jet cleaning), as well as a 50% time saving. The risks of ice pigging are negligible; if any problems occur, the ice will soon melt.

The company will continue cleaning its water supply network using the sophisticated new method  at other suitable locations in the city.

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