Science and business – opportunities and obstacles

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The 9th National PETROBIZNES Chemistry Fuels Gas Congress was held in Warsaw on October 2nd 2014. This year’s edition was dedicated to the strategies of Polish chemical companies in response to the current challenges posed by their presence on global markets. Professor Janusz Igras, the Deputy Director for Scientific Purposes of New Chemical Syntheses Institute in Puławy, participated in Innovations in the chemical industry discussion panel, which was organized as a part of “Chemical Market” session.

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Grupa Azoty opts for research

| Prospects & Investment |

At Polska Chemia 2014 Congress, an intentional letter was signed as a declaration of cooperation between Grupa Azoty and chemical research institutes. The goal of the agreement is to make use of the scientific potential and research infrastructure for the implementation of Grupa Azoty’s strategy of development.

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New fertilizers from PUŁAWY

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“PUŁAWY” summed up the implementation of a 5-year international project aiming at creating innovative formulas of nitrogen-based fertilizers with added sulfur. Following the research and tests which have been made, we managed to introduce new products on the market, at the same time offering to clients innovative techniques of fertilizers application.

New products containing sulfur

The finalized 5-year project made it possible to widen the portfolio of “PUŁAWY” to include fertilizers including sulfur based on ammonium nitrate-urea solution RSM and ammonium sulfate – liquid fertilizers, as well as based on urea and ammonium sulfate – solid fertilizers. Using the collected results, we prepared an opinion about the new generation of fertilizers before they are marketed. The opinion will shape the fertilizing recommendations and marketing activities for new products of “PUŁAWY” – PULGRAN S, PULASKA and RSMS, all manufactured in the New Fertilizer Complex.

European sulfur deficiency

In most European countries strict limitations of sulfur emissions led to deficits of the element in cultivated soils. Sulfur shortage, especially in sulfur-dependent plants (canola, grass), and favorable reaction to fertilizing with this element, was spotted in Ireland, Scotland, and next in England, the north of Germany, Sweden and Denmark. Central and Eastern European countries are behind with respect to knowledge about demand for fertilization with sulfur. Consequently, analyzing market demand, we initiated appropriate research.

Research results

Experiments made in our Works proved that fertilizers with an addition of sulfur are much more beneficial for the growth and development of plants under observation. We also noticed an improvement of qualitative and quantitative parameters of crops. Research results confirmed our hypothesis that nitrogen fertilizers enriched with sulfur increase efficiency as compared to simple nitrogen fertilizers. In Polish conditions, liquid fertilizers brought higher output and economic efficiency. RSM is recommended in cultivation of wheat, while RSMS in the case of canola. In experiments conducted in Germany and Czech Republic, solid urea with added sulfur proved the most efficient.

Connecting science and agriculture

At the beginning of the project we observed very promising test results. On this basis, we initiated a series of investment activities aiming at creating new fertilizer formulas containing sulfur. The strategy implemented for a long time by “PUŁAWY” involves cooperation with scientists and end users – farmers. Bearing this in mind, we undertook this 5-year project, which has just been finalized, so as to provide Polish farming industry with innovative technologies for agricultural cultivation.

Shaping business relations

Mega Projekt initiative involved close cooperation with scientific institutions from Poland, Czech Republic and Germany: the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation Puławy/Wrocław, Fertilizer Research Institute in Puławy, West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin, German Institute in Mecklenburg, Prague Institute in the Czech Republic as well as commercial partners: UNIBALTIC AGRO, AGRO BALTIC, AGRO CS and AGROCENTRUM Ltd.

We are currently finalizing the first stage of the construction of the New Fertilizer Complex. This enterprise will lead to marketing new nitrogen fertilizers enriched with sulfur.

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The history of agronomy in Puławy

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In 1862, following a decision of Count Aleksander Wielopolski, the Agronomic Institute was relocated from Marymont near Warsaw to Puławy. Consequently, Polytechnic, Agriculture and Forestry Institute was created, However, furthering of education and science were not the main reasons for the foundation of the institution.

A preemptive move

The actual motivation for the relocation was the Russian government’s will to dissipate the youth feared to be planning an uprising in Warsaw. Moving part of the students to a place away from the former capital of Poland was meant to stifle such tendencies. The Institute was placed in a palace vacated by the Czartoryscy family. The teaching equipment was transported from Marymont, while locally many farms were operating, and thus it became possible to combine the scientific theory and practice. Among people who knew how to benefit from such conditions was professor Teofil Cichocki, who organized a modern laboratory in Puławy. The lab offered testing of fodder, soil, fertilizers. It also analyzed the spring waters from Nałęczów and Busk.

"PUŁAWY" vs current market trends/fot. photopin.comAnd still the youth were not convinced

After the outbreak of January Uprising in 1863, the students left Puławy and the classrooms were empty. Still, research continued and a few years later lectures could start again. However, in order to stifle the independence movement, in 1869 the school was renamed the Institute of Agriculture and Forestry by Russian Tzar Alexander II. Lessons were now conducted in Russian and the school admitted young students from the whole Russian Empire.

What happened to the Institute

Fortunately, the government interference did not interrupt the development of the institution, which expanded its teaching facilities and initiated research in new fields. One example of such efforts was the first meteorological observatory on the former Polish territory, which was founded in 1871. Despite World Wars and other disruptions, the observatory has been functioning till this day.In 1893 the Institute regained full academic powers. Another milestone in the history of Puławy school was the foundation of the first Department of Soil Science in the world. After the war broke out in 1914, part of the Department’s staff and resources was moved to Kharkov. The Austrian authorities agreed that the remaining facilities be taken over by Agricultural Research Institute, but this institution did not educate students.

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PUŁAWY bet on knowledge

| Prospects & Investment |

The foundation of contemporary business practice is not only good market research, but also the ability to react to clients’ needs effectively. The same is true for the farmers, who need much more than just fertilizers. They require specialist knowledge concerning efficient agricultural practice.

Industry and science

Responding to customers’ needs, “PUŁAWY” Company established “PUŁAWY” Competences Center. The unique project combines business and science, and aims at creating and promotion of modern models of managing a farm, scientific novelties concerning fertilizing and efficient use of resources.

Among entities participating in the initiative are: Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Puławy Higher School, Marie Skłodowska-Curie University in Lublin, Warsaw University of Technology, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation as well as Fertilizers Research Institute, both from Puławy. Thanks to cooperation of those R&D institutes and “PUŁAWY”, it was possible to finalize such projects as:

a) Low-emission and environment-friendly system of fertilizing and sowing of corn called AZOMAIS. The project was co-financed by Polish National Research and Development Center as part of Applied Research Program (a grant of 4 million PLN).

b) Fertilizers and pesticides trade in sustainable farming – a post-graduate course for agricultural consultants – 1st edition.

c) Holding the 2nd edition of “Science, Business, Agriculture” conference.

Professional agricultural counseling and other initiatives for the farmers are the main objectives for “PUŁAWY” Competences Center. The initiative combines various potentials and areas of experience, so as to achieve synergistic effect, leading to development of knowledge-based farming.

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