Eco-friendly projects of AGH UST students awarded

We are proud to announce a quadruple success of our students in the EKOinnowatorzy 2021 competition that concluded on December 10, 2021! The competition is open to university students who engage in innovative activities in the fields of construction, organisation, and science within the broad scope of power engineering and environmental protection.

During the grand finale gala in Krakow, the organisers announced the winners in three main categories and in seven special categories. Our students were among the laureates:

  • Eko-Energia Student Research Club – first prize in the category of research clubs
  • Katarzyna Suchorowiec – first prize in the category of eco-innovative students
  • A consortium of three research clubs: Piorun, Zgarek and SEP nr 19 – distinction in the category of implementation potential for the AGH 3D BLDC project
  • Jan Kostecki – distinction in the category “Best presentation”.

Moreover, the following research clubs reached the grand finale:

  • AGH Solar Boat Student Research Club
  • AGH Solar Plane Student Research Club
  • Bozon Student Research Club
  • TD Fuels Student Research Club.

The competition is organised by the Institute for Sustainable Energy with funds from the Ministry of Education and Science. Representatives of 12 higher education institutions participated in this year’s edition.

Laureates and projects

Eko-Energia Student Research Club

The Eko-Energia Student Research Club, operating by the Faculty of Energy and Fuels, was established in 2007. Currently, it is one of the largest research clubs at the AGH UST and associates a number of active students from numerous faculties, including the Faculty of Energy and Fuels or the Faculty of Management. The club’s mentor is Maciej Żołądek, MSc, an employee in the Department of Sustainable Energy Development.

The most recent and important project of the club is the creation of a WINDY wind turbine with an integrated system that facilitates the regulation of the wind speed in the volume of the turbine by applying a diffuser with an adjustable diameter. The club also works towards establishing a solar energy conversion laboratory, which will contribute to the expansion of knowledge on renewable energy sources and sustainable energy development, and will allow students to carry out research on an advanced level with a long-term perspective. The lab will create the possibility to assess the impact of various elements that support photovoltaics and consider diverse concepts of solar energy use.

The jury awarded the club for the totality of its research activity in the past few years, especially for scientific, construction, and organisational activities related to renewable energy sources. The way the club was presented during the gala is also of great significance. The jury also considered the originality and business potential of a club, as well as its most significant achievements.

Katarzyna Suchorowiec, Eng

An engineer, a graduate of the Biomedical Engineering programme of study at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Automatics, Computer Science, and Biomedical Engineering, currently a second-cycle student of Materials Engineering at the AGH UST Faculty of Materials Science and Ceramics, and a student of Economics at the Cracow University of Economics.

‘One can think: “How come such an unusual combination?”. It stems primarily from my interests that combine materials engineering and its economic side’, clarifies Katarzyna Suchorowiec.

‘Currently, we have realised that to the costs of the creation of new usable materials, we should add the costs of environmental burden that the used products generate; such costs have been marginalised, or even ignored. Therefore, I am interested in searching for and developing materials that can perform more than one function simultaneously, impacting the environment to the lowest extent possible, which is directly linked to the concept of circular economy; and in the variety of activities that I participate in, I try to address such issues. The topic of my MA thesis is “A project of a functional composite material that stores heat energy (PCM)”, while in my BA thesis, I try to consider the factors that impact the interdependencies between economic growth and environmental degradation based on the example of highly developed and developing countries. My most important individual project revolves around modern, 100% biodegradable controlled release fertilisers for plants. I am also working in a team that develops a biodegradable milk carton and fully biodegradable packaging for medical purposes’.


The project that received distinction had been created jointly by: Piorun SRC (Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Automatics, Computer Science, and Biomedical Engineering), Zgarek SRC (Faculty of Foundry Engineering), and SEP nr 19 SRC (AGH UST). The project’s mentor was Paweł Zydroń, PhD, Eng.

The essence of the project is the use of 3D printing to create an electric brushless motor. Brushless direct-current motors (BLDC) are used in optical disc drives, the majority of electric vehicles, or battery-electric appliances.

‘In our project, we tried to reduce the weight of the motor without losing its advantages and properties’, says Karolina Owarzany, the club member. ‘We want to achieve this through the use of one of the materials used in 3D printing, which will be cost-competitive (cheaper than metal alloy castings) and ecological (easily reprocessed or recycled), and its mechanical and electromagnetic properties will be equal or better than those of the parameters of the metal castings with simultaneous reduction in mass. We hope that in the future this will contribute to the reduction in the mass of the entire electric vehicle. The mass of a vehicle has a significant impact on multiple aspects of its use, including how far it can go on a single charge, the maximum load capacity, or the average energy use. We believe that the rapidly developing 3D printing industry will replace conventional methods of constructional elements production entirely. 3D printing seems to be a more universal method, one that is very often faster than stamping or milling elements.’

Jan Kostecki

A student of Mechatronic Engineering at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics.

‘I have been fulfilling my dreams of creating and building since I was a teenager’, says Jan Kostecki.

‘Initially, I built robots from programmable LEGOs, then my first microcontrollers, and finally advanced and complex systems, which included hardware and software. I have also noticed quite quickly the correlation between today’s global problems and technological development, for example, in the scope of the environment, especially in the field of climate change. Since I started my studies, I decided to work on a project that will allow me to develop in ecological technologies. I chose the very young AGH Solar Plane Student Research Club, of which I am this year’s vice-president. Its objective is to construct a completely innovative plane powered by solar energy. Such a project has not yet been carried out by any student organisation, and this sort of machine is scarce in the world. Since then, I have been working on various interdisciplinary projects that aim to construct a plane that would meet the condition of theoretically unlimited flight time. To achieve this, multiple technologies are being developed; I have cooperated in, for example, the creation of composite wings, the appropriate lamination of PV modules, their mounting in the wings of the plane, or the on-ground data processing.’ All work described above was presented by Jan Kostecki at various conferences, receiving distinctions or platform prizes several times. In December 2021, he won a Climathon with his project to improve municipal public transport.