Author: Aleksandra Weber     Published At: 20.05.2021

The Silesian University of Technology has launched a state-of-the-art Industrial Catalysis Laboratory

The main objective of research conducted in the Laboratory is to design modern, ecological technologies for the use of the industry.

The opening ceremony was attended, among others, by the Rector of the Silesian University of Technology, Prof. Arkadiusz Mężyk; Prof. Krzysztof Walczak, Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry; Prof. Beata Orlińska, Head of the Department of Chemical Organic Technology and Petrochemistry; and Prof. Anna Chrobok, Director of the College of Studies.

The investment was financed by a grant from the Rector of the Silesian University of Technology as part of the 'Excellence Initiative - Research University' programme, which is part of the Silesian University of Technology Development Strategy for 2021-2024.

The strategy is first and foremost our vision of the future and what we aspire to. It is based on the implementation of the "Excellence Initiative - Research University" programme, and above all on the support of Priority Research Areas that we have defined at the Silesian University of Technology. The Industrial Catalysis Laboratory supports the area of "materials of the future", but it fits equally well the sixth area, i.e. "climate and environmental protection, modern energy", as both areas concern technologies that are related to the circular economy. These are materials to support low-waste technological processes.

His Magnificence Rector of the Silesian University of Technology, Professor Arkadiusz Mężyk

The usable floor area of the laboratory and the office part is 114 m2. The most up-to-date equipment and devices based on the latest technologies were located there. They will be used for diversified research in cooperation with partners from the socio-economic environment.

The laboratory was built thanks to a group of young, committed scientists. The University has only provided financial support for the idea. I hope for more of such ideas and that we will be able to finance more of such laboratories.

His Magnificence Rector of the Silesian University of Technology, Professor Arkadiusz Mężyk

The new chemical laboratory at the Silesian University of Technology is one of the most modern of its kind.

Here, we are successfully implementing the strategy of sustainable development, which is in line with the protection of the environment, climate and our health at the same time. The objective of our research is to develop innovative materials with catalytic properties, which are used in the development of clean chemical technologies.

Prof. Anna Chrobok, Director of the College of Studies at the Silesian University of Technology

The Industrial Catalysis Laboratory will be used to develop modern ecological technologies for industrial applications. The researchers deal with such problems as the use of biomass and plant-derived materials for energy storage and technologies for manufacturing intelligent materials for medical applications, e.g. tissue scaffolds, eco-implants, surgical threads or self-eluting drugs.

The Silesian University of Technology through research conducted in the new laboratory, cooperates with industrial partners, offering new technological solutions.

We offer the industry innovative technologies or so called "recipes" for obtaining modern materials. This is very important for companies wishing to develop by introducing new materials into the market, especially those with high added value- high-margin. And we offer such technologies. Most often, already at the stage of basic research or later - development studies, we patent them independently, either as the Silesian University of Technology or together with an industrial partner, protecting both the University's and the entrepreneur's intellectual property.

Prof. Anna Chrobok

The University cooperates with the largest players in the chemical industry on the Polish and international market.

For 5 years now, we have been cooperating very intensively with Grupa Azoty, particularly with their plants in Kędzierzyn-Koźle and Puławy. This year we will complete a project under which the caprolactone monomer will be obtained for the production of polycaprolactone. The installation was set up this year at the nitrogen plant in Puławy. This intermediate product will be used to obtain polycaprolactone - it is a biodegradable polymer with very large biomedical applications, for example as surgical threads or tissue scaffolding. It is also a material on the basis of which we can produce self-eluting drugs.

Prof. Anna Chrobok

Modern approach to education and interesting student projects.

Students and doctoral students of the Silesian University of Technology take part in research works and carry out educational processes at the same time. Education at the University is conducted in a very modern way. From the very beginning of their studies, young people are invited to work together on research projects. Therefore, already in the second or third year, students can participate in the implementation of a specific project dedicated to a specific company - for example, through participation in the Chemistry Student Scientific Association or PBL projects (Project and Problem Based Learning).

Apart from conducting research and development projects, the aim of which is to develop solutions dedicated to industry, our students also take part in projects carried out in cooperation with international universities. This semester we start the Project Based Learning course, in which the first and third year students of the Silesian University of Technology will work with a student from Monash University in Australia on developing phase change materials for thermal energy storage.

Alina Brzęczek-Szafran PhD, Eng., supervising one of the research groups within PBL

Students work on projects related to obtaining clean energy and supporting ecology. Such projects include searching for methods to store thermal energy.

This is an important issue for solutions concerning the reduction of energy consumption. Here, the students together with us, their tutors, work together on obtaining a material that has the ability to store and release thermal energy during phase change, e.g. from a solid to a liquid. We will try to transform sugars, which we are all very familiar with, into phase change materials that will be based on ionic liquids. We will be transforming sugars into ionic liquids or ionic salts, which may have the ability to release and store thermal energy.

A. Brzęczek-Szafran PhD, Eng.

The establishment of the Industrial Catalysis Laboratory is a part of the strategy of development not only of the Silesian University of Technology, but also of all processes of development of the social and economic environment that the University supports.

We have opted for balanced development - that is, not only the development of scientific research in a few selected research groups, but above all we have defined Priority Research Areas so as to involve the entire academic community in the implementation of individual studies. This is what we are also witnessing after the last Priority Research Areas conference, which took place in mid-April. We can see significant enthusiasm and motivation. However, we do not concentrate on research only, but also on technology transfer and education. We treat it as one ecosystem, which, on the one hand, will strengthen the prestige of the University, and on the other hand, will educate experts, who later on will become the scientific staff, not only of our University, but also the engineering staff for the industry of the future.

His Magnificence Rector of the Silesian University of Technology, Prof. Arkadiusz Mężyk

This is yet another laboratory which is opened this year by the Silesian University of Technology. Previously, research laboratories were opened at the Faculty of Transport and Aviation Engineering at the Silesian University of Technology, which were financed by a grant from the City of Katowice.

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