Innovationsin 2019

Approx. PLN 40 million was allocated to the R+D+I area in 2019.

18 projects (including 9 start-ups) were launched in all lines of business. As of the end of 2019 four portfolios of the Research and Innovations Area included 67 projects with the total value of more than PLN 178 million. For the implementation of some of these projects TAURON Capital Group obtained funding from the external sources in the total amount of almost PLN 48 million.

# Projects / programs / tasks Co-financing source
1. Project CO2-SNG – chemical accumulation of energy through the production of methane from captured CO2. Wspólnota Wiedzy i Innowacji (Community of Knowledge and Innovations) EIT InnoEnergy
2. Development and testing of an adaptive electricity storage system based on the second life of batteries from electric vehicles. National Research and Development Center (Narodowe Centrum Badań
i Rozwoju – NCBR)
System for assessing propagation and improvement of the quality of electricity in the distribution grids.
Developing a platform allowing for aggregating the generation and regulating (adjustment) potential of the dispersed (distributed) renewable energy sources and energy storage devices as well as the selected categories of the controllable consumers.
Integrated Grid Diagnostics System
Development of the industrial design of the carbonate fuel cells and ceramic electrolyzers enabling integration with the power-to-gas installations
Flexibility of the existing power generation units with limited capital expenditures.
Platform for managing data from advanced metering infrastructure.
Dispersed (distributed) power solutions model 2.0 – self-balancing power grid areas model.
Development of an innovative system for effective monitoring and supporting of the protection devices compliant with the DMS assumptions.
Development and implementation of the technological process for processing waste from fluidized bed boilers with the use of CO2 for the production of cement substitute.
Development of the hybrid system for reducing the emission of acid components and fly ash from flue gases.
Development of advanced technology for monitoring and predictive analysis of the technical condition of the boiler in order to increase the reliability of the boiler unit.
3. Project TEXMIN – impact of extreme weather conditions on the mining operations. European Union’s Coal and Steel Research Fund
Project RECOVERY – assessment of the environmental management and the measures aimed to protect and repair it using tools to analyze the state of the ecosystem.
4. Project MOBISTYLE – technology solutions that will allow for positively influencing customer behavior by raising the consumers’ awareness and feeling of ownership. Horizon 2020 (Horyzont 2020): Framework Program with respect to scientific research and innovations
Project UtilitEE – implementing a solution that will increase electricity consumption efficiency by actively engaging customers in their behaviors related to electricity consumption with the use of information and communications technologies and DSM mechanisms.
Project GEMINI+ – developing a design of a high temperature gas cooled nuclear reactor (HTGR) for electricity and heat production.

The project that combines the research and development (R&D) activities of TAURON, TAURON Dystrybucja, TAURON EKOENERGIA and TAURON Sprzedaż is Project M-GRID 2.0 – ”Dispersed (distributed) energy model 2.0”.

As part of the project a demonstration of the self-balancing power grid area is prepared. The project’s goal is to develop the technology to be used to build local power grids with the main advantages being the reduction of transmission losses, improvement of the reliability and flexibility of the system. The gained knowledge and experience with respect to developing and operating microgrids will allow for offering a new type of TAURON services to external customers, and also for applying the solution within TAURON Capital Group. In 2019, the documentation required to launch the tender for the construction of micro-grids was prepared and the inter-disciplinary arrangements were made with the representatives of the individual consortium members. Rights to control the land at a selected location in Bytom were also acquired.

One of the more important research and development (R&D) projects implemented in 2019 by TAURON Capital Group was Project CO2-SNG, related to converting CO2 arising in the process of fuel combustion in industrial installations into synthetic natural gas (SNG). The project is carried out by an international consortium grouping Polish and French entities, with TAURON Wytwarzanie as the consortium leader. The process being developed involves CO2 reacting with the hydrogen coming from the electrolysis process, powered using cheap surplus electricity coming from RES (during the power system’s load valleys). The project assumes that this can be a method used to store electricity surplus from the renewable sources, and at the same time a future-proof solution for utilizing CO2 produced by TAURON Capital Group’s installations. In 2019, an intensive research campaign was carried out using the pilot installation built as part of the project located at the Łaziska Power Plant, using CO2 captured from the flue gases from a 200 MW hard coal-fired unit. The above research was completed in the fourth quarter of 2019 and thus the last stage of the project was started, i.e. the analysis of the feasibility of a demonstration installation on a scale many times larger than that used in the pilot installation (the so-called up-scaling). The above project is the basis for the TENNESSEE project.

The goal of the Project TENNESSEE is to improve the energy storage process in the chemical form – natural gas substitute, aimed at improving the operating parameters of the ultimate installation, mainly based on the higher efficiency of the high temperature electrolysis and the use of carbonate fuel cells to capture CO2 from the flue gases. As a result, it will be possible to substantially reduce the volume of electricity supplied from the power plant to the capture system. In particular the above project will contribute to the lowering of the energy intensity per a unit of SNG produced.

2019 was a period of intensive preparation of the generating units for the BAT Conclusions, also through the R&D activities. In order to reduce the financial outlays on adapting the coal fired units to the BAT Conclusions, a program of testing various types of sorbents was carried out to reduce the emission of harmful pollutants. The sorbent injection was tested on the units equipped with the fluidized bed boilers at the power plants Łagisza, Siersza, Jaworzno III – Power Plant II (TAURON Wytwarzanie) and at ZW Tychy (TAURON Ciepło). During the administration of the sorbents, a wide range of laboratory tests and flue gas emission measurements were carried out. Based on their results it was possible to confirm the effectiveness of the tested technology.

With respect to the new product development, Program HEMS was launched in 2019, addressed to the retail customers. The goal of the program is to prepare TAURON Capital Group to acquire a new revenue stream for TAURON Capital Group’s subsidiaries, by developing a strategy, organization and model for the provision of services and selling products under HEMS based on the existing as well as the new products and services. As part of the program, the following 3 projects were started:

  1. Web site and e-consulting,
  2. Thermal Comfort Management,
  3. Community of Experts.

TAURON continued the previously initiated work related to the Internet of Things in 2019. The actions aimed at developing and implementing services for the needs of a smart city were carried out with the use of the Internet of Things technology. The implementation of this type of solutions will be Poland’s first undertaking that uses Internet of Things on the scale of a city with several hundred thousand inhabitants.

The implementation assumes a comprehensive optimization of the use of and developing the new services based on the city, municipal, power and telecommunications infrastructure, which will be possible due to the use of a network of sensors providing information facilitating the management of the individual functions of the metropolitan area. The existing distribution infrastructure of TAURON Capital Group is used to provide advanced technology solutions for the inhabitants and businesses. A platform collecting data from the sensor infrastructure was launched in 2019. Functionalities for measuring air quality along with the pollution prediction module are tested, as well as a smart parking service that helps residents find free parking spaces. The trash bins’ filling level is also monitored, affecting the optimization of the waste collection process.

Project MDM was completed in 2019, implemented jointly by TAURON Dystrybucja and Future Processing sp. z o.o. The goal of the project was to develop a Platform for managing data collected from the advanced metering infrastructure, enabling advanced analyses of the large metering data sets based on the innovative mathematical and statistical models. As a result of the industrial research and project development, the System Prototype (MDM Platform) was built and tested. In the next step, it is planned that the prototype produced will be implemented into TAURON Dystrybucja’s operations on the so-called completed AMI Smart City Wrocław Project area, after adapting the prototype to the production implementation needs, including, among others, the current security requirements for the information technology systems.

Apart from the traditionally understood research and development (R&D) activities, a number of efforts aimed at further developing the cooperation with startups were undertaken within TAURON Capital Group in 2019.

Continuing the cooperation model developed in the previous years as part of the Pilot Maker Program, TAURON conducted intensive activities as part of the Pilot Maker Elektro ScaleUp program launched in 2018, dedicated to the development of electromobility. The solutions developed are directly related to TAURON Capital Group’s projects aimed at developing charging stations network, electric vehicle car sharing services, and are related to monitoring the operation of the power grid, as well as the key machines and devices at the power generating and consuming stations that are the main links of the e-car charging network system. During the recruitment process for the above program, more than 60 ideas were analyzed. 5 startups were invited to further cooperation and their pilot projects were implemented using the infrastructure of TAURON Capital Group’s subsidiaries. As part of the above program, the subject of tests was, inter alia, the ELMODIS startup offering an advanced module for monitoring, diagnostics and fault prediction with the built-in circuits for the purpose of signaling the danger of damage to the electrical equipment and machines, with a particular emphasis on the electric motors. The solution has been tested on 15 selected devices at the Jaworzno III Power Plant.

On January 30, 2019, TAURON signed an agreement with the Krakow Technology Park (Krakowski Park Technologiczny) to participate in the KPT ScaleUp Acceleration Program. The program is the implementation of the assumptions of the ScaleUp program announced by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, with the goal to initiate and conduct implementation projects at the recipient of the technology (here: TAURON), focused on the use of the new, innovative technologies and solutions with respect to: Internet of Things, Smart Home, Smart City, Intelligent Network Services. During the recruitment process for the above program, more than 100 ideas were analyzed, with 34 in-depth interviews having been conducted with 34 startups. The works began on the development of 2 solutions in 2019. One of the prospective pilot projects carried out under the above program involved the works on developing the use of the smart plug functionality, carried out in cooperation with S-labs sp. z o.o. The solution developed is based on a Smart Plug device interworking with an analytical system aggregating the metering data, which enables, among others, the measurement of electricity consumption by the device connected thereto. In addition to the information on the current electricity consumption, the user also gets an option to control the connected device via a smartphone or create a shutdown calendar, which facilitates the efficient use of, for example, the heating devices.

TAURON PROGRES Acceleration Program was launched in 2019, which is a part of the Open Innovation system, to which the official recruitment began on May 21, 2019. The above program is addressed to the entities that have an innovative idea related to the areas indicated in the Strategic Research Agenda and are willing to cooperate in the development of innovative solutions that would allow for broadening the current offering of TAURON Capital Group’s subsidiaries by adding the new products and services, but also ideas that would have an impact on improving the production processes and providing of the services already offered on the market. TAURON PROGRES is a platform open to the ideas of not only the young entrepreneurs, but also private individuals, research units with less and more business experience. The platform makes it possible to get the information directly to TAURON, as well as to the relevant experts of TAURON Capital Group, and enables a quick presentation of the solution, without waiting for the call for applications to be launched. In accordance with the assumptions of the program, the participants have an opportunity to test their solutions using the infrastructure of TAURON Capital Group.

In order to build the strategic position of TAURON Capital Group in the area of startups, TAURON carried out, in 2019, the first investments under EEC Magenta – a CVC type fund created in 2018. EEC Magenta invested PLN 13 million in Reliability Solutions sp. z o.o., a company specializing in predicting and minimizing the effects of failures. With regard to TAURON, the solutions offered by Reliability Solutions sp. z o.o. will improve the technical and economic efficiency of the key generating units. The above undertaking is the first investment of the EEC Magenta fund formed by TAURON, PFR Ventures, NCBR and EEC Ventures. The funds collected will be used by the company for development and expansion on the markets of Western Europe.

On May 26, 2019, during this year’s IMPACT event, TAURON announced its participation in the Govtech Program. The goal of this program is to enable the cooperation among ministries, local governments, State Treasury companies, startups and small enterprises, which will be selected, by way of a competition, as the ultimate contractors performing the tasks (Challenges) prepared by the contracting parties (customers). TAURON announced the need to develop a system and application for assessing the ability to build and potential of photovoltaic installations. The result of the actions taken as part of the competition is to bring about an increase in the share of electricity generated from the renewable energy sources, in particular from the photovoltaic cells, in the total energy balance. This challenge also aims to increase public awareness of the renewable energy sources and the financial benefits of using this technology. The first stage of the competition ended in December 2019, with the selection of five winners qualified to the second stage of the competition. During the second stage, the finalist will be selected who will implement the application in its final form.

The cooperation with the American Electric Power Research Institute was continued in 2019 and, as part of that project, TAURON is participating in 2 research programs related to energy storage and identifying electricity consumers’ needs. The selected areas of cooperation are of particular importance for TAURON Capital Group and stem directly from the technological challenges identified by TAURON Capital Group. Energy storage is one of the most important challenges for the electricity distribution and efficient dispersed power generation. On the other hand, understanding customer needs provides support for the customer relations that are of key importance from the point of view of TAURON Capital Group’s Strategy.

The energy storage project uses modern tools that allow for estimating the costs of installing and operating energy storage facilities or software that enables verifying the benefits and requirements in specific energy storage cases. Such solutions will constitute the basis for implementing TAURON’s research and development projects, i.e. the construction of an energy storage facility in order to provide uninterrupted power supply to electricity consumers, the second life for batteries, microgrids or demand side response (DSR) mechanisms.

Participation in the electricity consumers’ needs identification program enables TAURON Capital Group’s subsidiaries to identify customer needs faster and more precisely, and, what follows, to develop a portfolio of energy services and products aligned with the changing market trends. The program will also allow for tailoring, to a larger degree, products and services that are just being developed in the new lines of business, such as the electromobility or smart home, to the customer expectations.

TAURON Capital Group was also carrying out works as part of EIT InnoEnergy in 2019, in particular the Polish node of InnoEnergy Central Europe sp. z o.o. with its registered office in Cracow. Within the structures of EIT InnoEnergy TAURON holds the Associated Partner status. One of TAURON’s areas of interests are the so-called clean coal technologies. At the same time, conducting of tests and coordinating of activities in this area are the main tasks of InnoEnergy Central Europe sp. z o.o., with TAURON as one of its shareholders. TAURON’s representatives were also engaged, in 2018, in the works of EIT InnoEnergy related to evaluating projects / initiatives proposed to be implemented by other partners operating within the structures of EIT InnoEnergy, both on the national, as well as on the international level.

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