POB6.1 Climate and environmental changes and reduction of air pollution
One of the trends in research conducted within POB6 is the reduction of air pollution, in particular important in the context of smog problems in the cities. Scientists of the Silesian University of Technology investigate technologies allowing to reduce the emission of harmful compounds, identify their sources, and enabling intelligent monitoring of concentrations of specific chemical compounds and aerosols. They study their time-space distributions, also in relation to records reconstructed from geological archives such as trees, peat bogs and other land and sea sediments. Working in interdisciplinary, often international research teams, they reconstruct the natural changes in the climate and environment in the past, recorded in such archives over the last several hundred thousand years. In the last few hundred years they target the challenge of separating natural changes from anthropogenic influence. The scientists of the Silesian University of Technology are also exploring the interactions between atmospheric pollutants and the climate and human health, as well as the processes of adaptation of urban areas and elements of the natural environment to climate change. Employees of the Silesian University of Technology investigate issues related to pollution and its impact on spheres other than the atmosphere of the Earth - the hydrosphere and lithosphere, in terms of identifying and marking toxic substances, determining their harmfulness and understanding the mechanisms of their spread, in order to develop methods of removing them from the environment. They analyse the processes of purification of the water-soil environment, develop methods of water and sewage treatment, and investigate the risks associated with the storage of industrial waste. In research works, scientists of the Silesian University of Technology use unmanned flying platforms to monitor and analyse the Earth's surface, including forest management.
SUT researchers have also deep knowledge and experience in the field of development of new technologies concerning enhancement of efficiency of coal-fired boilers, control the composition of the flue gases (easier capturing and storage of CO2), and reduction of harmful species emission. The scientists from Silesian University of Technology have extensive experience in the field of improving efficiency of the processes and reducing the emission of harmful compounds from the combustion of fossil fuels. Thanks to the extensive research carried out as part of one of the largest applied research projects, a number of pilot installations were created, that allows to study the possibility of emission reduction of harmful compounds to the atmosphere.
Researchers of the Silesian University of Technology study the land areas subjected to opencast and underground exploitation in the context of their influence on the environment, including gas emissions and the problems of post-industrial waste. They are actively exploring the stability of excavations and underground chambers in terms of their use by the landfill possibilities for post-industrial and hazardous waste, and for underground storage of gases and fuels. They are studying the interaction of post-mining- and energy waste with the environment, as well as their safe use, e.g. for land reclamation and the production of new building materials and supplies.