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Abstract

A lot of interest has recently been put into the so-called ‘virtual cryptographic currencies’, commonly known as cryptocurrencies, along with its surrounding market. The blockchain technology that stands behind them is also becoming increasingly popular. From the perspective of maintaining energy security, an important issue is the process of mining individual cryptocurrencies, which is associated with very high energy consumption. This operation is usually related to the approval of new blocks in the blockchain network and attaching them to the chain. This process is carried out through performing complex mathematical operations by various devices, which in turn require high power and respectively consume a lot of energy. The impact of cryptocurrency miners on the power and energy demand level might gradually increase over time, therefore this issue shouldn’t be ignored. Comparing the above information in parallel with the growing need for providing demand side response (DSR) services in the Polish Power System, raises the question whether devices used for mining cryptocurrencies can be used for the purpose of balancing the power system. This paper presents an analysis of the possibility to provide the demand side response services by groups of cryptocurrency miners users. The analysis was carried out taking basic functional, technological and economical aspects of these devices’ operations into account.
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Abstract

In this article, we review the research state of the bullwhip effect in supply chains with stochastic lead times. We analyze problems arising in a supply chain when lead times are not deterministic. Using real data from a supply chain, we confirm that lead times are stochastic and can be modeled by a sequence of independent identically distributed random variables. This underlines the need to further study supply chains with stochastic lead times and model the behavior of such chains.
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Abstract

In the over 150 years of hydrocarbon history, the year 2017 will be one of the many similar. However, it will be a breakthrough year for liquefied natural gas. In Asia, China grew to become the leader of import growth, becoming the second world importer, overtaking even South Korea and chasing Japan. The Panama Canal for LNG trade and the “Northern Passage” was opened, so that Russian LNG supplies appeared in Europe. The year 2017 was marked by a dramatic shortening of the length of long-term concluded contracts, their shorter tenure and reduction of volumes – that is, it was another period of market commoditization of this energy resource. The article describes the current state of LNG production and trade till 2018. It focuses on natural gas production in the United States, Qatar, Australia, Russia as countries that can produce and supply LNG to the European Union. The issue of prices and the contracts terms in 2017 was analyzed in detail. The authors stress that the market is currently characterized by an oversupply and will last at least until mid–2020. Novatek, Total – Yamal-LNG project leaders have put the condensing facility at 5.5 million tons into operation. The Christophe de Margerie oil tanker was the first commercial unit to cross the route to Norway and then further to the UK without icebreakers and set a new record on the North Sea Road. In 2017, the Russian company increased its share in the European gas market from 33.1 to 34.7%. In 2017, Russia and Norway exported record volumes of „tubular” – classic natural gas to Europe (and Turkey), 194 and 122 billion m3 respectively, which is 15 and 9 billion m3 more natural gas than in 2016. The thesis was put forward that Russia would not easily give up its sphere of influence and would do everything and use various mechanisms, not only on the market, that it would simply be more expensive and economically unprofitable than natural gas. It was also emphasized that the pressure of the technically possible and economically viable redirection to European terminals of methane carriers landed in the American LNG, results in Gazprom not having a choice but to adjust its prices. The Americans, but also any other supplier (Australia?) can simply do the same and this awareness alone is enough for Russian gas to be present in Europe at a good price.
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Abstract

This article reviews the literature on the relationship between the region’s innovation and its development. Various concepts are discussed in the scheme of the four forces of regional and local competitiveness. The main determinants of the region’s innovation and competitiveness can be viewed in a four-force system: domination forces when the region exploits its advantage over others, network power – when the development potential is strengthened by cooperation, external demand and internal resources. In this framework of literature analysis, the article points to both entities and processes that represent the possibilities of the „innovation being” region.
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Abstract

The paper attempted to define the basis of city transformations that conform to the smart concept. The objective of the paper is to relate the concept of a smart city, which is quite frequently discussed in literature related to the subject, with functioning and development of the city’s economy, in a way that would allow monitoring economic processes taking place in the city, and also to find a response to the question as to the extent to which the smart city creates a new city economy. Does it expand the city economy by new elements, generate new economic mechanisms, allow the implementation of growth paths different than those to date? This objective is particularised by a description of selected issues of urban economics. With this in mind the paper discusses an approach to managing supply and demand on the basis of theoretical assumptions defined by Mudie and Cottam (1993) transposed on realities connected with provision of municipal public services in conditions of a smart city. Furthermore, sample solutions were presented related to the smart city, which reflect theoretical conclusions contained in the paper. The paper ends with a presentation of logics related to growing economy in a smart city. The economy of a smart city, ultimately an intelligent economy of the city, is created in a laminar way. Under the pressure of technological, social and political surroundings the city is permeated by social and culture intelligence, forming gradually a new economic quality. In the paper we emphasised that the concept of a smart city still remains a question of the future to a much bigger extent than one of the present time. A smart city slowly emerges from the combination of diverse megatrends and development trends characteristic for communities and economies of the second decade of the 21st century.
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Abstract

In the academic community within Poland, there is an ongoing debate about the optimal strategies for a redesign of PhD programs; however, the views of PhD students in relation to contemporary doctoral study programs are not widely known. Therefore, in this article, we aim to answer the following questions: (1) what are the demands and the resources for doctoral studies at the Jagiellonian University (JU) as experienced by PhD students? (2) how are these demands and resources related to study burnout and engagement? To gain answers to these questions, we conducted an on-line opinion-based survey of doctoral students. As a result, 326 JU PhD students completed a questionnaire measuring 26 demands and 23 resources along with measures of study burnout and levels of engagement. The results revealed that the demands of doctoral studies at the JU (as declared by at least half of the respondents) are: the requirement to participate in classes that are perceived as an unproductive use of time, the lack of remuneration for tutoring courses with students, a lack of information about possible career paths subsequent to graduation, the use of PhD students as low-paid workers at the university, a lack of opportunities for financing their own research projects, and an inability to take up employment while studying for a doctoral degree. In terms of resources, at least half of the doctoral students pointed to: discounts on public transport and the provision of free-of-charge access to scientific journals. Analyzing both the frequency and strength of the relationships between resources/demands and burnout/engagement, we have identified four key problem areas: a lack of support from their supervisor, role ambiguity within University structures for PhD students, the conflict between paid work and doctoral studies, and the mandatory participation in classes as a student.
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Abstract

The factor which essentially affects sludge biodegradation rate is the degree of fluidization of insoluble organic polymers to the solved form, which is a precondition for availability of nutrients for microorganisms. The phases which substantially limit the rate of anaerobic decomposition include hydrolytic and methanogenic phase. Subjecting excess sludge to the process of initial disintegration substantially affects the effectiveness of the process of anaerobic stabilization. As a result of intensification of the process of hydrolysis, which manifests itself in the increase in the value and rate of generating volatile fatty acids (VFA), elongation of methanogenic phase of the process and increase in the degree of fermentation of modified sludge can be observed. Use of initial treatment of sewage sludge i.e. thermal disintegration is aimed at breaking microorganisms' cells and release of intracellular organic matter to the liquid phase. As a result of thermal hydrolysis in the sludge, the volatile fatty acids (VFA) are generated as early as at the stage of the process of conditioning. The obtained value of VFA determines the course of biological hydrolysis which is the first phase of anaerobic stabilization. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of thermal disintegration of excess sludge on the effectiveness of the process of hydrolysis in anaerobic stabilization i.e. the rate of production of volatile fatty acids, changes in the level of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and increase in the degree of reduction in organic matter. During the first stage of the investigations, the most favourable conditions of thermal disintegration of excess sludge were identified using the temperatures of 50°C, 70°C, 90°C and heating times of 1.5 h - 6 h. The sludge was placed in laboratory flasks secured with a glass plug with liquid-column gauge and subjected to thermal treatment in water bath with shaker option. Another stage involved 8-day process of anaerobic stabilization of raw and thermally disintegrated excess sludge. Stabilization was carried out in mesophilic temperature regime i.e. at 37°C, under periodical conditions. In the case of the process of anaerobic stabilization of thermally disintegrated excess sludge at the temperature of 50°C and heating time of 6 h (mixture B) and 70°C and heating time of 4.5% (mixture C), the degree of fermentation of 30.67% and 33.63%, respectively, was obtained. For the studied sludge, i.e. mixture B and mixture C, maximal level of volatile fatty acids i.e. 874.29 mg CH3COOH/dm3 and 1131.43 mg CH3COOH/dm3 was found on the 2nd day of the process. The maximal obtained value of VFA was correlated on this day with maximal COD level, which was 1344 mg O2/dm3 for mixture B and 1778 mg O2/dm3 for mixture C.
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