Center for Sustainable Development and Energy Efficiency of the Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environment Protection, AGH University of Science and Technology in Miękinia


On December 23rd, 1989, the Limestone Quarry Czatkowice Co. has ceded the rights to the building and the parcel in Miękinia village to the Faculty of Geology and Exploration (recent name: Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environment Protection)  of the Academy of Mining and Metallurgy (recent name: AGH University of Science and Technology) in Kraków. The building had been an administration center of past porphyry quarry in Miękinia in the years 1946-50. This takeover was an idea and effort of Prof. Andrzej Manecki, the then Dean of the Faculty of Exploration Geology. His idea was effectively supported by the quarry Director, Mr. Czesław Kotowski and the mine foreman Mr. Jan Godyń.

After complete refurbishement, the building (Fig. 1) has become an accommodation and educational center for student’s field training sessions of the faculty and exchange trips of domestic and foreign students.

In 2011, Prof. Wojciech Górecki, the then Head of the Department of Fossil Fuels at the Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environment Protection has appointed the working group, which included the department staff members: Dr. Anna Sowiżdżał, Mr. Jarosław Kotyza, Mr. Wojciech Luboń and Mr. Grzegorz Pełka. The group, under acceptance and support by Prof. Jacek Matyszkiewicz, the then Dean of the faculty, has submitted an application for financing the organization of the Center for Sustainable Development and Energy Efficiency to the Małopolska Regional Operational Program 2007-13, which was financed from the European Regional Development Fund.

Fig. 1. Center building prior to modernization.

Fig. 1. Center building prior to modernization.


Fig. 2. The Miękina Educational and research Center after modernization(designers: Mr. Tomasz Pyszczek and Mr. Marcin Stelmach)

The application was accepted and funds were allocated. The old building was completely rebuilt using the energy efficient technology and has become the modern educational and research center for renewable energy sources and petroleum exploration (Fig. 2). All these efforts and actions were strongly supported by Prof. Antoni Tajduś, the then Rector of the AGH University of Science and Technology, and Prof. Tadeusz Słomka, the then Deputy Rector and, subsequently, the Rector in the years 2012-16 as well as Mr. Henryk Zioło, the University’s Head of Finance and Administration and his administration staff. Moreover, the support was appreciated from Prof. Zbigniew Kąkol, Deputy Rector and Prof. Adam Piestrzyński, Dean of the Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environment Protection in the years 2012-16.

In the years 2011-13, the project: ”Construction of Educational and Research Laboratory for Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Efficiency” has been implemented, which enabled the basic thermomodernization and extension (additional floor) of the existing building. Thanks to this operation, the gross internal area increased from 636 to 931 m2.

The application of passive house technology resulted in 10-times reduction of necessary house heating energy. The existing gas-fuelled heating system was replaced with the renewable energy sources: heat pumps and solar collectors. The installed measurement system enables the staff to monitor and manage the generation and consumption of energy in the building, and, simultaneously, to demonstrate the operation of such system to students. This action was managed by Mr. Jarosław Kotyza.

The Center staff runs tutorials and practical training sessions for students of Ecological Energy Sources and Environmental Engineering courses of the Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environment Protection. Moreover, the Center is a convenient site for conferences and workshops concerning renewable energy sources.

The Center offers:

-computer laboratory for 30 computers (Fig. 3),

-lecture room for 50 persons (Fig. 4),

-accommodation for 30 persons.


Fig. 3. Laboratory room.


Fig. 4. Lecture room.

The educational equipment includes:

-house heating system with heat pumps and solar collectors (Fig. 5)

-two worksites with heat pumps: mobile water-to-water and air-to-water (Fig. 6),

-small wind turbine with measurement panel,

– worksite for solar collector instalment (Fig. 7),

-data acquisition and storage system for heating installations,

-Building Management System,

-worksite for hybrid, wind and solar electric systems (Fig. 8),

-worksite for fuel cells.


Fig. 5. Laboratory – boiler room.


Fig. 6. Educational worksite – heat pump with heat source and heat sink.


Fig. 7. Educational worksite – solar collector.


Fig. 8. Educationa worksite – hybrid photovoltaic-wind turbine installation.

The former thermal energy consumption of the building was 350 kWh/m2/year. The U-factor values were: dividers – 1.5-1.9 W/m2K, windows and doors – 2.5 W/m2K. Building had the gravitational ventilation. The modernization project assumed thermoinsulation of dividers

(U-factor about 0.1 W/m2K), passive solar energy utilization (U-factor < 0.8 W/m2K), building airtightness <1.2 1/h at reference pressure 50 Pa (according to the Polish Standard PN-EN 13829), mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery 80% and 75%. Due to visual valours of the building, the southern facade, best-visible and showing most uniform building materials, was preserved in its original form. Hence, the internal thermomodernization was applied aiming to efficient wall drying, sealing of moisture inflow from the outside, providing efficient exhaust mechanical ventilation and tight vapour barrier where maximum barrier thickness should be <8 cm (at minimum safe thickness 5 cm). The impact of thermal bridges was minimized. The southern facade was glazed using aluminum frame and panes of U-factor value 0,4 W/m2K but the existing stone facing was preserved.

The high-temperature space heating system was replaced in the whole building with the low-temperature, under floor and air heating one. Additional radiators were installed in the bathrooms and in the stair cases. After thermomodernization and reconstruction of the building, the thermal energy consumption is now 35 kWh/m2rok.

In the building, there are educational and research worksites with a variety of renewable energy installations. Moreover, the building heating system uses the renewable energy sources, which enables the students an on-line examination of heat generation process. The heat sources are four heat pumps and three sets of various solar collectors, which allows the students to compare practically the effciency of thermal energy generation by various devices. The brine-to-water heat pumps have integrated passive cooling function. The pumps take advantage of ground source: 600 m2 horizontal closed loop and 100-, 87-, and 80-m-deep vertical loops. The solar collectors are flat-plate and evacuated heat-pipe types with water or glycol working media. A part of electric energy demand is covered by photovoltaic cells and small wind turbine.

After completion of the project, the Miękinia Center has acquired the new educational and research worksites due to the cooperation with the Faculty of Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunication (FCSET) of the AGH University of Science and Technology. In the years 2013-15 the following worksites were installed:

-photovoltaic installation composed of various modules and applying various photovoltaic technologies, built in cooperation with the FCSET and the Research and Development Center of Technology for Industry Ltd. (Fig. 9),

-worksite for field tests of new types of photovoltaic modules, built in cooperation with the FCSET and WPMTECH Witold Mikrut Co. (Fig. 10),

-research worksite for heat pumps generating domestic hot water, built in cooperation with the Galmet Ltd.

-research worksite for vertical ground heat sources,

-research worksite for tests of temperature-related behaviour of rocks, built in cooperation with the Geosystem Co.,

-educational worksite for studies on solid biofuels,

-educational worksite for testing of biogas economic efficiency,

-educational pellet boiler worksite, built in cooperation with the Kołton Co.


Fig. 9. Educational worksite – photovoltaic installation.


Fig. 10. Educational worksite – solar tracking system.

Moreover, the Miękinia Center has the mobile exhibition of renewable energy installations and technologies – the BUS OZE (Fig. 11) acquired by courtesy of the Viessmann. It is used for promotion of renewable energy utilization during scientific and business conferences, industrial fairs, promotion actions of the faculty and thematic meetings organized by local authorities. In the nearest future, this mobile exhibition will be supplied with educational modules for low emission reduction and control – two coal-fired boilers and the ”POLoNEs” analyzer of fumes, and air quality, built in connection with the low-emission reduction program run by the Foundation for Ecological Initiatives financed from the National Found for Environment Protection and Water Management (priority program No. 5.5.: “Interdisciplinary Ecological Education”.


Fig. 11. Mobile exhibition of renewable energy sources installations and technologies – BUS OZE.


Field Petroleum Laboratory

In the future, the Miękinia Center will develop the field petroleum laboratory, in cooperation with the Polish Oil & Gas Co. The main unit will be the N-16 onshore drilling rig with full drilling equipment. The drilling laboratory will include several thematic modules, e.g.: components of rig machinery, drill bits, elements of drill string, installation tools, wellheads, control panels, geological surveying set and elements of services: mud system, directional cementing system, sampling devices, well-log instruments, data logs, defectoscopic equipment and drilling accessories.

Such modern, practical educational center, unique in the Central and Eastern Europe will upgrade the quality of education at our Faculty, will increase the qualifications of educational staff and will improve the knowledge and practical experience of our graduates of Drilling Enginnering, Petroleum Geology, Geophysics and Petroleum Exploitation courses. Hence, our graduates will be better qualified for future professions and posts. This initiative meets the expectations of employers concerning high level of knowledge and skills of university graduates and will reduce the probationary periods of new employees, hence, their professional careers will accelerate.

The Field Petroleum Laboratory will provide opportunities to run professional training courses for employees of petroleum industry from abroad: from Central and Eastern Europe and from Asia, i.e., from the countries which suffer the deficit of highly-qualified specialists.

Geophysical Laboratory

The geophysical laboratory is located in a mobile pavilion donated by the Geophysics Toruń Joint Stock Co. The laboratory has a set of well-log instruments (supplied by the Geophysics Kraków Joint Stock Co.) and seismic stations with professional software enabling the sesimic data processing and interpretation (supplied by the Geophysics Toruń Joint Stock Co.). There is also a set of geophones with wiring system for recording the seismic signals. The well-log set includes controlling panels of several well-logging instruments and the devices: neutron log, acoustic log, induction log, cavernometer and others). Some devices on display are open, which enables the students to examine the details of construction: electronic module, emitting electrodes and detectors. There is also a set of wiring and specialized lowering equipment. The devices have professional descriptions prepared by an expert from the Geophysics Kraków Joint Stock Co. – a person with long practical experience in well-log data recording and interpretation. Each device has a full technical documentation, as well.

The geophysical laboratory enables the students to recognize the technical details of construction of devices which are described visually and theoretically during the lectures in Kraków. They can also train practical operation of control panels and data recorders. The practical training sessions are a part of curricula of particular subjects. The GeolPlanet Fundation and the Dean of the Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environment Protection are very much indebted to the boards of geophysical companies in Toruń and in Kraków for donations of equipment, which improves the educational efforts of the faculty.

Educational activity

Since 2003, the Department of Fossil Fuels has run the course in renewable energy sources. At the beginning, the specialization Renewable Energy Sources was established in the frame of Environmental Engineering course, thanks to the initiative of Prof. Wojciech Górecki and Dr. Mirosław Janowski. In 2012, a working group: Prof. Wojciech Górecki, Mr. Wojciech Luboń and Mr. Grzegorz Pełka prepared a new teaching program, which led to the establishment of a new, first-cycle, engineer degree course in Ecologic Energy Sources. This new course improved the education at out faculty  in the field of renewable energy generation and utilization from solid fuels. Then, the second-cycle studies at the same course were opened. The teaching program was prepared by the working group: Assoc. Prof. Michał Stefaniuk, Dr. Anna Sowiżdżał, Mr. Wojciech Luboń, Mr. Grzegorz Pełka and Dr. Mirosław Janowski. The Miękina Center is a optimal infrastructure for education in the field of renewable energy sources.

Research projects run in the Miękinia Center

The renewable energy working group from the Department of Fossil Fuels (Wojciech Górecki, Jarosław Kotyza, Anna Sowiżdżał, Wojciech Luboń, Grzegorz Pełka, Elżbieta Hałaj, Magda Kaczmarczyk, Dominika Woś) has prepared and run several research projects in cooperation with domestic and foreign partners.

At the Center two international projects were initiated. In the years 2012-15, the project BUS OZE was executed (“Building the cooperation network for promotion of renewable energy sources”). The activities included experts meetings, workshops and studial visits, which resulted in preparation of a new project of the Małopolska Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Conservation. The project aimed to built a new cooperation model based upon the information, knowledge and know-how transfer channel for implementation and effectiveness monitoring of renewable energy sources.

The important parts of the project were information and promotion focused on dissemination, updating and strenghtening of knowledge about positive effects of renewable energy utilization in the economy, in order to raise awarness of and to gain acceptance from the society. The handbook of renewable energy problems was written and edited, and promotional campaign was run in the Małopolska District using the mobile BUS OZE exhibition (Fig. 11). The project participants were:

-Department of Fossil Fuels, Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environment Protection at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków as project leader,

-Cracow University of Technology,

-Krzeszowice Town Council,

-Polish Geothermal Society,

-Carinthia University of Applied Science, Austria,

-Samso Energiakademi, Denmark,

-Ivano-Frankivsk National Technical University of Oil and Gas, Ukraine,

-University of Miskolc, Hungary.

The second project named “VIS NOVA Sustainable and Effective Energy for Rural Areas” aimed to implement the utilization of local renewable energy sources and reduction of energy consumption in the rural areas. The project included the transfer of experiences between the partners and joint solution of problems related to the improvement of energy efficiency of rural areas. The activities were:

-working meetings of partner institutions,

-workshops and studial visits,

-pilot projects,

-preparation of International Sustainable Energy Strategy,

-preparation of the plans of energy efficiency for partner regions,

-preparation of handbook containing recommendations and directories suitable in preparation of energy efficiency plans.

The partners were:

-Department of Fossil Fuels, Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environment Protection at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków,

-County of Gorlice,

-Communes Association Polish Network of ”Energie Cites”,

-Aufbauwerk Leipzig Gmbh, Germany,

-Disctrict of NorthernSaxony, Germany,

-District of Schwaebisch Hall, Germany,

-Economic Development Corporation of the Northern Saxony District, Germany,

-South Transbaudian Area and Economic Development Nonprofit Ltd., Hungary,

-City of Szekszard, Hungary,

-Center of Excellence for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Environment, Austria,

-Micro-Region Development Association Tullnerfeld West, Austria.

Both international projects enabled the valuable exchange of experiences and recognition of new trends in development of renewable energy sources in Europe.

The Miękinia Center successfully cooperates with a number of companies active in the field of renewable energy generation an utilization: Galmet Sp. z o.o., Viessmann Sp. z o.o., Kołton s.c., Frapol Sp. z o.o., PGNiG S.A., Exalo S.A., Geofizyka Toruń S.A., Center for research and Development of Industrial Technologies S.A., Mielec-Diesel Gaz Sp. z o.o., Savona Project Sp. z o.o., Aspol FV Sp. z o.o., Aga-Bauservice Sp. z o.o., AMT-Projekt Sp. z o.o., Atest-Bud Sp.j., Vatra S.A., Egoterm Sp. J., JPJ Multibranch Co, Globenergia sp. z o.o., Scientific & Technological Park Euro-Centrum S.A., and many other companies from renewable energy branch cooperating in particular projects.

Activities of the Geosynoptics Society GEOS for the Miękinia Center

The Geosynoptics Society GEOS actively participates in financing and support of reconstruction and development of the Miękinia Center, which is an important tool in education of students of Renewable Energy Sources course and PhD students as well as in training of employees of widely understood petroleum upstream sector.

Since 2011, the GEOS lend out to the Miękinia Center the Ford Transit minibus, which is used for communication and for trips organized within the international cooperation of the Center staff.. The GEOS supports financially conceptual works and projects related to development of laboratories in Miękinia, e.g., “The prespectives of development of the Małopolska Educational and Research Center of the Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environment Protection of the AGH” or ”Model application of heat pumps to improve energy efficiency of buildings – example from the educational and research laboratory of renewable energy sources and energy conservation.

The GEOS Society purchased the valuable software used for educational and research purposes.

In 2011, the President of the GEOS announced the competition for logo of the Miękinia Center. The competitors could be only the students and the log had to refer to the idea of renewable energy utilization and conservation. In the secret voting, the Faculty Board has selected the project of Mr. Bartłomiej Ślipka, student of the Applied Computer Science course at the Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Evironment Protection.

The winner has been awarded by the GEOS Society with two-weeks field training in renewable energy sources in Iceland in 2011.

Development plans of the Miękinia Center in the years 2016-20

The development activities of the Miękinia Center were appreciated by the authorities of the Małopolska District and the Center was included into the strategy of the district development, which means the access to EU financial sources within so-called Territorial Contract of the Małopolska District. Four educational and research centers were accepted in this action:

-the Research & Development Center of the Faculty of Chemistry, Jagiellonian University,

-the Małopolska Biotechnology Center as a source of innovation in Małopolska, Jagiellonian University,

-the Center for Sustainable Development and Energy Conservation “Miekinia”, AGH University of Science and Technology,

-the University Center for Veterinary Medicine and Animal Farming of Southern Poland, University of Agriculture in Kraków.

The development of Miękinia Center is a part of Par. 5 of the Territorial Contract of the Małopolska District: ”Improvement of research quality and strengthening of cooperation between science and economy”.

The following targets of strategic investments were specified:

  • replacement of consumer model with the energy producer model in the Małopolska region,
  • further activities in implementation of renewable energy sources and in improvement of energy effciency,
  • activization of energy business in the Małopolska region,
  • activization of transactors in implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
  • development of innovations applied to renewable energy sources and energy effciency.

The strategic targets will be executed by the Miękinia Center acting as technology park, which runs education and research in the field of renewable energy sources, in cooperation with the industry. The Center partners are: the AGH University of Science and Technology responsible for scientific activity and the Krzeszowice Commune responsible for providing the space for business activity. These joint efforts will generate the specific, exclusive technology park being the hig-tech industrial zone of renewable energy sources, working in full cooperation with the science. The Krzeszowice Commune will provide the Miękinia Center an area for localization by the AGH the following research facilities:

-laboratory for design and optimization of energy generation systems,

-laboratory of dispersed energy generation systems and promotion of renewable energy sources,

-worksite for conceptual projects and designs of geotourism trails with geological exhibition,

-laboratory of geothermal energy,

-laboratory of photovoltaics,

-laboratory of biofuels,

-laboratory of hydropower,

-laboratory of cogeneration and alternative methods of utilization and conversion of low-temperature heat,

-laboratory of wind turbines and monitoring of hazards caused by wind farms,

-laboratory of atmosphere pollution and its impact on environmental geochemistry, soils and human health,

-laboratory of environmental geophysics.

-laboratory of geotechnics and environmental monitoring,

-laboratory of cable transport and utilization of waste heat recovery from heat pumps, in cooperation with the Department of Cable Trasport, Faculty of mechanical Engineering and Robotics, AGH University of Science and Technology,

-extended educational facilities and administration room.

The Laboratory of Dispersed Energy Generation Systems will obtain the lecture/conference room and will be a thematic and funcional part of the tech park, and business zone of the Miękinia Center. The Center will include also the private enterprises with their production and/or research units. Both the scientific and business sectors will cooperate in creation and implementation of new technologies and products concerning the renewable energy sources as well as in pro-ecological education, promotion and good practice spreaded in renewable energy sources. The practical solutions will be:

  • tech park for children,
  • Center for Practical and Lifelong Learning,
  • business incubation of young enterprises (Business Angels system),
  • demonstrations and presentations of new solution in energy generation sector with promotion of ecological and financial gains for users,
  • conferences, meetings and wide international cooperation.

The good practice in renewable energy sector will be a part of investment target. It is assumed that the whole area of the Miękina Center will become an energy island. The buildings will be constructed using the passive technologies and will be supplied from renewable energy sources. The communication routes will be equipped with the intelligent traffic management and lighting systems. Additionally, the greywater collection and distribution system will be installed, which will collect rainwater from roofs, walkways and squares, and will supply it as sanitation or technological water.

The important feature of the Miękina Center is that it departs from the conventional system of laboratories located in academic centers and moves them into industrial zones where research and production grow in a symbiotic system, which may generate a new technological and product quality. It is crucial for the Małopolska District where the atmosphere pollution is drammatic.

It must be emphasized that the Miękina Center joint initiative of the AGH University of Science and Technology and the Krzeszowice Commune with the participation of business partners generates new solutions in the field of renewable energy sources and promotes their implementation. This would facilitate the progress in renewable energy utilization in the Małopolska region and, simultaneously, will contribute to the improvement of natural environment conditions.

The Miękinia Center will obtain the integrated infrastructure system comprising:

-communication routes,

-water, electricity and sewage systems,

-research and educational facilities,

-research equipment.

The expected results will be:

-added value resulting from cooperation with domestic and foreign renewable energy sources partners,

-moderation of research trends and implementation of solution by private enterprises.

Recently, the Miękinia Center owns 20 ha of land, formerly belonging to the porphyry quarry together with the building left after the processing plant. In the nearest future, this parcel will be a part of the Center for Sustainable Development and Energy Conservation of the Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environment Protection in Miękinia.

The efforts of educational staff must be emphasized: Dr. M. Janowski, Dr. A. Sowiżdżał, and Mrs. J. Kotyza, Mr. W. Luboń, Mr. G. Pełka, Ms. E. Hałaj and Ms. M. Kaczmarczyk who run in the Miękinia Center lectures, tutorial and practical training sessions for extended group of students of the Ecological Energy Sources course at the Faculty of Geology. Geophysics and Environment Protection.

The staff of the Miękinia Center includes:: Prof. Wojciech Górecki – President of Scientific Board, Mr. Jarosław Kotyza, MSc., eng. – General Manager, Dr., eng. Anna Sowiżdżał, Mr. Wojciech Luboń, MSc., eng. Mr. Grzegorz Pełka, MSc., eng. Ms. Elżbieta Hałaj, MSc., eng., Ms. Magda Kaczmarczyk, MSc., eng. and Ms. Dominika Woś, BSc.