DRIVING THE POLISH ECONOMY WITH ECO-INNOVATION
By Jason Robinson
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Since 2008, the largest Polish Environmental Conference (“POLEKO”) is held annually in Poznan, a city known to many as the host city for the 2008 United Nations Climate Change Conference (“COP14”). POLEKO 2014 provided attendees the opportunity to expand their business and explore the economic, environmental, and social potential for trade both within Poland and with its external trade partners.
Ben Polley, President of Evolve Builders Group based in Guelph, Ontario, Canada was a participant in the Canadian delegation and first time attendee of POLEKO. Polly participated in a number of matchmaking opportunities to help him engage with potential partners. The “Eco-Match" matchmaking meetings were set-up a week in advance with a request-and-accept process between companies attending the conference. Participants met for 30 minutes to discuss opportunities - essentially speed dating for business.
“We’re a general contracting and homebuilding company that specializes in green construction and eco-friendly renovations,” said Polly. “I’m actually a trade show geek, and love being exposed to new ideas. I came to the Poleko 2014 conference looking to explore business opportunities with Polish companies and found a number of opportunities that we didn't even know existed.” Evolve Builders typically uses products and labour sourced locally, but Polly recognizes the opportunity that exists for doing business in a global marketplace saying “as a business we need to adapt, and we prefer to be on the front of the wave.”
One of Polly’s POLEKO Eco-Match partners was Andrzej Krol, President of Norpolhaus Builders; a Norwegian-Polish manufacturer and builder of prefabricated wood-frame homes and building components. Krol came to the POLEKO conference looking for new customers for their pre-fabricated wooden frame homes, which Krol says “can be designed, shipped, and assembled in Canada based on the blueprints provided by the customer.” Krol’s company is also involved in the manufacture of building components, which could conceivably supply Polly’s company with building components back in Canada. “We just need to work out the details, such as pricing, taxes and duties, but it seems like it could be a good fit for us both” said Polly.
www.evolvebuilders.ca and www.Norpolhaus.com.pl
Image: Andrzej Krol (Norpolhaus Builders), Ben Polly (Evolve Builders Group)
The matchmaking event was successful for a number of other participants including an anonymous attendee who said, “I came to POLEKO with a goal of doing 1M dollars in new business and I think were pretty close with perhaps 800k over the next two years.” Yet another attendee concluded, “overall we’re extremely satisfied and will most certainly be returning.”
The conference was housed in more than half a dozen separate buildings and areas covering the separate topics of; revitalization, recycling, energy, climate, renewable energy, knowledge, water, air, noise and waste management.
Looking to reduce your power bills? Check out this simple and effective wind power generation system that is now widely available to most European homeowners. The Ridgeblade Wind Turbine is a "simple and effective way of harnessing the wind's power to produce electricity". Company representatives at Ridgeblade's POLEKO tradeshow booth explain that the Ridgeblade is really just a horizontal wind turbine. For optimum performance the Ridgeblade is placed at the top of a pitched roof where it takes advantage of what the company calls the Aeolian wind focus effect - where wind is forced over the surface of the roof to the peak where it can accelerate to over 3x the prevailing windspeed. Company literature says that the placement of the Ridgeblade Wind Turbine in this location can result in "up to nine times the energy is available to it compared to a HAWT (Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine) system."
The simplicity of the design coupled with the widespread potential application made the Ridgeblade one of the must-see technologies at POLEKO 2014.
Image credit: Ridgeblade
The Ridgeblade is available in both an Industrial version for use on commercial or industrial buildings, factories, and barns or other rural applications, or the Domestic version which is designed for homes with sufficient prevailing wind conditions.
For more information see: www.ridgeblade.com
To find out about Ridgeblade options in Poland visit:
For more information on the POLEKO conference visit: www.poleko.mtp.pl/en/
One of the most interesting research related attendees of POLEKO, was the Jagiellonian University in Krakow - Centre for Innovation Technology Transfer and University Development (CITTRU).
Gabriela Konopka-Cupial, Head of CITTRU and Elzbieta Swietek, Technology Transfer Officer shared a number of the university’s current projects, visionary research, and objectives of their organization.
Like many other universities CITTRU is working to teach scientists how to speak the language of business, to reduce perceptual narrowing and to foster a climate of interdisciplinary thinking that helps exponentially expand creative enterprise.
The university is active in corporate community outreach to help foster corporate innovation, technology transfer and adoption of new technologies by Polish companies. CITTRU also provides active assistance with Intellectual Property Management (Patents and Licensing), and Contract research on behalf of organizations looking to commercialize new technologies.
Some examples of the exciting experimental research CITTRU is involved in includes; Reducing carbon monoxide in fuel combustion, Using Photokataysis for use in refrigeration to reduce bacteria, Nano engineered composites for water decontamination, and using Genetically modified salmonella to treat certain cancers.
For more information on photocatalysts see: www.4g-photocat.eu/index.html
For more information on CITTRU visit: www.cittru.uj.edu.pl
Left to Right: Gabriela Konopka-Cupiał, Elżbieta Świętek, Jason Robinson
Out of the COP14 Climate Conference held in Poznan in 2008 came an executive order from the then Polish Minister of the Environment Maciej Nowicki. The goal was to develop a project to assist the international transfer of Polish Green Technology companies. What emerged was the GreenEvo Technology Accelerator.
The GreenEvo Technology Accelerator provides successful winners a suite of services to facilitate their rapid expansion both inside and far beyond Polish borders. From business plan preparation to teaching start-up entrepreneurs other valuable skills such moving from price competition - to competition based on value, tools for engaging the media, assistance with funding, intellectual property management, and even sales techniques for complex technology solutions.
Fast forward to 2014 and GreenEvo has demonstrated unequivocally that with the right tools and early stage support, making money with environmental innovation is not only ‘possible’ but can be highly ‘profitable’ as well. Innovative Polish companies are in some cases surprising the competition with their level of technological knowhow and competitiveness, they are challenging the status quo, and advancing the triple bottom line interests for their laureate companies all around the world.
Prote Environmental Technologies is just one of the Greenevo accelerator laureates that has had incredible business success in the Environmental technology realm. Prote has a number products and services related to the research and remediation of soil and water and contamination prevention systems.
One such technology is the Symbio Biomonitoring System - an early warning system for detecting water intake contamination. Akin to the “canary in the coal mine” this technology harnesses the intellect of the species living in the ecosystem to report on water contamination. According to Prote President Jerry Slusarczyk who refers to company literature; “Fresh water mussels applied in the system quickly and unambiguously react to rapid, significant, toxic change in water parameters.” Prote heralds this technology as a low cost early warning mechanism for detecting water contamination, and reports monitoring water for more than 6 million people. For more information visit: www.prote.pl
The physiological responses of freshwater clams are recorded in the Prote Symbio Biomonitoring System.
GreenEvo winners from 2010-2013 include:
For more information on the Greenevo Accelerator visit: www.greenevo.gov.pl
ELECTRONIC WASTE MANAGEMENT
Zbigniew Miazga, is the owner of PolBlume - a Polish recycling company involved in the recovery of Rare Earth Metals and other Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Situated south of the capital of Warsaw, the PolBlume electronic waste processing facility is perfectly situated to handle much of the capital's e-waste. Currently processing 1,500 tons of WEEE including cathode ray tubes, circuit boards, and batteries per month, company officials see the capacity of the plant nearer to 10,000 tons of e-waste per month. Miazga says expansion is constrained only by supply shortfalls, which he attributes mainly to collection seepage, and insufficient financial incentives for returning e-waste for processing.
Circuit boards, copying machines, and glass remnants from 000's of cathode ray tubes.
Miazga is incredibly positive about the future for the industry as a whole saying [via our translator] “Eu directives make us deal with our waste [by recycling and reprocessing] instead of landfilling or shipping it off to developing countries for processing." With stiff penalties for non-compliance, and with policy direction indications by way of stimulus funding from private sources as well as European Regional Development (ERDF), Swiss Contribution, and the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, PolBlume appears to be well positioned to take advantage of an industry that will likely continue to grow for many years to come.
Eamples of recovered minerals at the PolBlume recycling and research facility near Warsaw, Poland.
For more information on Polblume see: www.polblume.pl
For more on European WEEE Directives visit: http://bit.ly/1vXdluS
Bogdan Głowacki Polish inventor, entrepreneur, and chairman of S4A (manufacturers of personal Gyrocopters) is working on his next invention; the EV4 E-Way four wheel electric bike. Test-driving the E-Way you’ll quickly find that despite having 4 wheels it operates more like a two-wheel vehicle owing to the independent suspension and movement both vertically and on the left and right horizontal planes.
An exhilarating ride the E-Way provides instantly available, consistent torque that is common with virtually all electrically powered machines (technically: peak torque, at zero revs). This vehicle is small and lightweight, fun to ride, easy to park, easy on the environment, and sure to be a hot item just like Głowacki’s S4A Gyrocopters.
Image credit: Peter Davey | Left: Jason Robinson, Bogdan Głowacki | Right: Jason Robinson test-drives the E-Way
See the EV4 E-Way in action: www.vimeo.com/107896332
For more information on the EV4 E-way visit: http://s4a.eu/models/ev4/description/
The Polish Economic Chamber of Renewable Energy (Polska Izba Gospodarcza Energii Odnawialnej, PIGEO) is one of the largest NGO’s in Poland and represents companies in the renewable energy space including; wind power, biomass and biofuels, biogas, hydro, solar, geothermal, and heat pumps.
Managing Director Beata Wiszniewska proudly directs POLEKO visitors to the PIGEO website where they will find numerous examples of renewable energy projects and the opportunity to connect with others in the industry.
Some interesting facts about renewables in Poland:
[the] “first wind farm in Poland with installed capacity of 18 MW,
which is still operational, was constructed in 2001 in Cisowo and
it is owned by Energia-Eco.
The biggest [wind] farm is located in the Margonin commune.
It has a capacity of 120 MW and it is owned by EDP Renewables.
Left to Right: Dorota Zolotucho, Beata Wisniewska, Jason Robinson
To find out more about PIGEO and the companies it represents visit: www.pigeo.org.pl
German Solar panel producer “Solar World” was also at POLEKO showing off the "durability" of their solar panels. Video monitors at the tradeshow booth show panels supporting the weight of a mountain bike and even a car.
To see the panels in action visit: http://bit.ly/1vIyJ5A
For more information on Solar World see: www.solarworld.pl
SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Special Economic Zones (SEZ’S)
Poland has been proactive in its efforts to attract investment setting up 14 Special Economic Zones in regions all across the country for the purpose of:
· speeding up development of the Polish regions,
· developing and utilising new technical and technological solutions in the national economy,
· increasing the competitiveness of goods and services,
· developing the potential of industry and the infrastructure,
· creating new work places.”
The 14 Special economic zones have distinct attributes germane to each region:
Krakow Technology Park
Tarnobrzeg - Euro-Park Wislosan
Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone
Perhaps one of the most interesting of these zones is located in the city of Lodz. This region boasts one of the highest incentive packages available and has been in operation for more than 17 years.
Loosely situated in the geographical center of Europe, Lodz features include an international airport, extensive rail connections, and close proximity to one of the largest motorways interchanges in Poland. Specific incentives include a 19% corporate tax rate, personal tax rates that currently range from 18-32%, and a Basic Value Added Tax (“VAT”) of 23% - Reduced VAT of 8%, 5% - and Export VAT of 0%. Social Security Tax employer contributions range from 19.48% - 22.67%.
Lodz is considered the fashion capital of Poland and is the host to the Annual Fashion Week Poland. Regional development plans include the diversification away from the traditionally strong textile manufacturing base towards other long term industries such as pharmaceuticals, household appliances, electro engineering (computers), and packaging. Special incentives also exist for revitalization of industrial areas and buildings of historical significance.
Families considering moving to Lodz SEZ will be happy to know that there is a British International School located in the city, and English is the second most widely spoken language in Poland. Lodz Region also proudly boasts 22 Universities and over 25,000 graduates each year. According to SEZ officials the University of Lodz is ranked 4th in the country.
Information on the British International School in Lodz: http://interschool.uni.lodz.pl/
For more information on investing in Poland visit: http://www.paiz.gov.pl/investment_support/sez
Poland is also advocating for foreign investment through public private partnerships. The Polish Ministry of Economy has set up a website to facilitate these types of opportunities and lists a number of incentives for potential investors in the Polish Economy that includes; world class intellectual capital, production specialists, and experts in R&D.
For more information on Public Private Investment Opportunities in Poland visit: www.bazappp.gov.pl
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS
According to the statistics provided by the European Union, “buildings account for 40 % of total energy consumption in the Union.” To embrace this opportunity for energy security, self-sufficiency, and to create employment opportunities Brussels has taken an aggressive stance “to reduce, by 2020, overall greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 % below 1990 levels, and by 30 % in the event of an international agreement being reached.” Additionally, Eu Directive 2010/31/EU Article 9 requires that by December 31, 2020 all new buildings of Eu member countries must be “nearly zero-energy buildings.”
For more information on Eu directives see: http://bit.ly/18b0rP9
Image credit: courtesy of Skanska AB
World leading project development and construction group Skanska gave a presentation to the recent Canadian POLEKO 2014 delegation, which focused on the company’s corporate governance and sustainability initiatives. Well known for progressive thinking around sustainable business practices, Skanska is bringing Swedish business ethics and know-how to countries (like Poland) in which they operate.
Skanska has mandated a company wide —0—0—0—0—0— policy, which calls for 0 Accidents, 0 Ethical breaches, 0 Environmental Incidents, 0 Defects , and 0 Loss-making projects. Company Sustainability representatives are being proactive in the education of the Polish construction industry, educating schools close to construction projects with a safety education campaign, and are part of a corporate culture that encourages “trying something new” and “taking risks on innovation.”
For more on Skanska visit: www.skanska.com
stay tuned for more updates on Polish economic advances as well as my Polish Travel Culture and Cuisine, blog, including... where to find the best mushroom soup in Poland!!
Polish-English Translation: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=306557853