World innovations in Orlen

One of the three main awards in the competition held by PKN Orlen for technologies oriented on low-temperature heat recovery in refineries was won by a Polish-Swedish consortium under the leadership of PWPO-T PROMONT company from Świebodzice. Two equal main awards were also won by Indian company Guha Industries specialising in creating solutions for chemical companies and German company ILK Dresden. Each of them was to propose a unique method for improving the energy efficiency by recovering the low-temperature heat (up to 900 oC) so far being irreversibly lost in the distillation columns of refineries installations.

Consortium PWPO-T PROMONT proposed a technology combining the organic Rankine cycle (ORC) with adsorption refrigerators, transforming low-temperature heat into electric power and coolness. Edward Przydróżny, Vice-President of PROMONT responsible for scientific and technical issues, and at the same time a research fellow of Wrocław Technical University, explainzed that the Company for a certain time had been offering similar solutions to its potential clients, but he emphasised that every solution is individual and requires a significant intellectual input. The Indian company Guha Industries proposed a design of an absorption heat pump generating stem or coolness, depending on the season. Then, company ILK Dresden proposed an installation generating electric power and working in Ericsson cycle. The technical details or the potential gains from implementing any of the winning projects are not revealed. Each of the winners received a cheque for 10 thousand Euro and a chance to verify their ideas in practice. During the conference, Krystian Pater, Vice-President of PKN Orlen responsible for production, ensured that this problem is not an imaginary one, but has a real influence on the productivity of refineries. - “To say nothing of the cost of raw materials, the energy constitutes 70 % of the refinery production costs. These costs are being gradually reduced, but so far no company has solved the problem of low-temperature heat loss. This may be an opportunity for us. Thanks to implementing the ideas identified in the competition, we may transfer them in electric energy, steam, or so called chilled water – i.e. cold – which is also necessary in refineries”, said Pater. Among the participating in the award ceremony, there were Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the President of PKN Orlen Wojciech Jasiński. The Deputy Prime Minister Wicepremier Morawiecki emphasized the importance of cooperation between a big Polish company like Orlen with smaller companies focused on research and development activity. - “This gala is an ideal embodiment of our plan devoted to a responsible development. Thanks to innovations, we want break through out of the trap of moderate development. In the numerous events and undertakings aimed at innovativeness held so far we have been still missing one factor – companies which would combine their implementing practice with inventiveness inherent in small companies and scientific research centres”, said Morawiecki.

The President of Orlen underlined the fact that in the group of the awarded there were also Polish companies. In consortium with PWPO-T PROMONT participated also Polish company Revolvent and Swedish Climeon.

- “As the biggest Polish company, we fill obliged not only to search for new technological solutions for the needs of our own activity, but also to stimulate the growth of innovativeness in the entire Polish economy”, said Jasiński.

In the competition held by Orlen, innovative were not only the projects submitted by the participants, but also innovative was the way of holding the competition itself, applied in Poland for the first time. The competition was conducted through Internet platform NineSigma, specially invented for this purpose and belonging to and American company of the same name. Its main purpose is to make the competition task public, tanks to which practically unlimited number of bidders may participate in the competition. The representatives of Orlen admit that this way of searching for a solution is much better than a tender for an installation in a form “design and build”, because in this variant, each bidder would have to prove their respective experience not only in designing such technologies, but also in their execution. The competition held on the NineSigma website has no limitations like this. Krystian Pater emphasised also another benefit for the company arising from holding the competition. - “Thanks to the many contacts with the participants, probably we have gained the largest in the world resources of knowledge about low-temperature heat”, said Pater.

Directly after selecting the winners, the company will undertake discussions with them related to the implementation of the proposed projects. At present, nothing is known yet whether one or all of them will be executed. The competition held by PKN Orlen together with Nine Sigma started in October last year. The phase of submitting the projects concluded on 10th December. In February the company brought to light six finalists, out of which three winners were selected.

Source of information:,polska-firma-nagrodzona-w-globalnym-konkursie-pkn-orlen

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