Highlights of Poland Day 2016 in Silicon Valley
Poland Day 2016: Note of Thanks
The sole mission of the US-Polish Trade Council and its volunteer workforce is to support the continued growth of exchange and cooperation between Poland and the United States in the areas of higher education, science, technology, and innovative business. The work we do would be impossible without the cooperation, participation, and generosity of individual supporters and supporting organizations. For their role in the success of Poland Day, USPTC would like to give special thanks to our eloquent panelists, as well as to our supporters from Stanford University, the Ministry of Energy of Poland, the Consulate General of Poland in Los Angeles, and the National Center for Research and Development of Poland.
Piotr D. Moncarz
Poland Day 2016: Event Highlights
Hosted by Stanford University and organized by the US-Polish Trade Council with generous support from the Ministry of Energy of Poland, the Consulate General of Poland in Los Angeles, and the National Center for Research and Development of Poland, the 2016 edition of Poland Day was dedicated to exploring the development and adaptation of clean energy and clean water technologies and trends in Polish and American markets. The symposium brought together representatives of the American and Polish scientific, engineering, and business communities for a lively and nuanced discussion of these pressing challenges and exciting opportunities.
Welcoming remarks and introductions by USPTC Chairman Piotr Moncarz, USPTC Poland President Mariusz Tomaka, and Consul General of the Republic of Poland Mariusz Brymora. Master of Ceremony: Lukas Grabiec, Assistant General Counsel, GoDaddy.
Panel Session I: Clean Water—supply, storage, reliability, and security. Panelists: Prof. Marek J. Gromiec (Warsaw University of Technology), Dr. Robert Collison (Collison Engineering), and Prof. William Mitch (Stanford University). Moderator: Prof. Piotr Moncarz (USPTC and Stanford University).
Summary: First, Prof. Gromiec described the amazing progress Poland has made in the area of wastewater management since the early post-communist period, when even Warsaw did not have a modern wastewater treatment plant. Today, Poland uses the most modern wastewater technology and is in full compliance with European Union standards. Prof. Gromiec also described new, energy and cost–effective sludge processing efforts that allow for recovery of important nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Next, Dr. Collison outlined the largest challenges in wastewater treatment, worldwide. Typically, wastewater treatment consumes about 80 percent of a city’s energy budget. Dr. Collison stressed that wastewater should be valued as a potential source of nutrients and energy. Our third panelist, Prof. William Mitch, presented the challenges of fresh water supply. According to Prof. Mitch, fresh water will be one of the most contested resources of this century, possibly leading to conflicts such as once occurred over oil. The state of California expends massive energy pumping water, while techniques such as desalination remain expensive and energy-consuming. Capturing and processing of storm water represents an interesting solution to provide clean water to a community.
Panel Session II: Clean Energy—sources, grid security and reliability, and storage. Panelists: Dr. Farrokh Albuyeh (Open Access International, Inc.), Mr. Ireneusz Konarski (APS Energia Group SA), Mr. Ken Muson (Sunverge Energy), and Mr. Marek Samotyi (Electric Power Research Institute). Moderator: Prof. James L. Sweeney (Stanford University).
Summary: In his opening remarks, Prof. Sweeney described increases in energy efficiency in areas ranging from lighting and transportation to electronic appliances. Though there is much room for improvement, big data on energy management demonstrates that significant decarbonization of energy has been achieved on a national scale—and Poland is one of the leaders in this area.
Dr. Albuyeh described the grid management challenges posed by a distribution structure sized for yesterday’s use patterns. In California, 33 percent of energy will come from renewable sources by 2020; by 2050, that number will increase to 50 percent. Such changes create new issues in scheduling and forecasting and create a need for ancillary and reserve services. Mr. Konarski followed these remarks with a brief overview of his company’s mission to provide uninterruptible power supplies to a wide range of specialized users. Mr. Muson then described how Sunverge Energy makes renewable energy more practical, cost-effective, and reliable to both customers and utility providers. Mr. Samotyj’s panel presentation stressed the importance of understanding customer behavior and needs.
Networking and business mixer, featuring an Elevator Pitch Competition between seven Polish companies. Moderator: Mr. Clay Bullwinkel (Silicon Valley Flow, LLC).
The following companies competed in the contest:
Automater – an online shopping platform for selling digital products which is integrated to leading auction portals such as eBay, Aukro, and Allegro.
APS Energia JSC – a manufacturer of power applications for a wide range of industry sectors.
Booke – developer of the first ever companion application to search, create citations for, and annotate printed books.
Circus Digitalis – a virtual reality film production company.
Fido labs – an artificial intelligence technology company.
PolTREG – a spinoff company from the Medical University of Gdansk, which developed and commercialized patented TREG (T-regulatory Lymphocytes) method treatments for Type 1 Diabetes.
RTB Tracker – a company offering proximity and beacon–based marketing solutions, predominantly focused on the retail sector.
The high-quality presentations were evaluated by a panel of judges including Mr. Mark Iwanowski (MDI Associates), Ms. Alexandra Johnson (Global Technology Capital), Prof. Michael D. Lepech (Stanford University), Dr. Ronald Weissman (Band of Angels), and Mr. Martin Wierzbicki (Cerca Trova Advisors). Congratulations to contest winner Fido Labs!
Gala Dinner, with remarks by Consul General of the Republic of Poland Mr. Mariusz Brymora. Mr. Brymora offered a comprehensive perspective on problems facing the EU, with special focus on the immigration crisis and Britain’s possible exit from the union.
Thank you to Marek & Gorka from MarGo Photography.