Department of Air Protection
Address: Konarskiego 22B Str. (Centre of New Technologies, 2nd floor)
Tel/Fax. (+48) 32 237 12 90
Head of Department: Elwira Zajysz-Zubek, PhD, DSc, MEng, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering
The employees of the Department of Air Protection conduct lectures, seminars, laboratory exercises and engineering projects on a wide range of issues including:
- the measurements of the emission and immission of gaseous and particulate pollutants,
- the chemistry of the atmosphere, including the transformation of pollutants in the atmosphere,
- methods for the identification and determination of air pollutant concentration levels,
- the methodology for calculating emissions, atmospheric transport and deposition of pollutants,
- prediction of health effects of population exposure to air pollution,
- air protection techniques and technologies, in particular methods of reducing gaseous pollutants emitted from industrial sources.
The Department of Air Protection conducts research in the field of air protection against gaseous pollutants and airborne particles, assessing the influence of atmospheric and indoor air pollution on human health, as well as in the field of environmental management. The work carried out in the Department is research of both basic and applied nature. In recent years, the research capabilities of the Department have increased significantly, thanks to, among others, the funding granted by the Provincial Funding Agency for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Katowice, by which a mobile laboratory for air pollution measurement was purchased.
The Department employees' achievements in research and development activities include obtaining a number of scientific grants, financed by the Scientific Research Committee (KBN) and other governmental institutions, such as the National Science Center or the National Center for Research and Development. For example, in the years 2006–2009 a research grant was awarded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, entitled "Physicochemical structure of the atmospheric and indoor aerosol in the vicinity of busy roads in the Upper Silesian Industrial District and its health implications for the general population", and in 2009-2012 a project financed by the National Center for Research and Development, entitled "Development and implementation for the production of a new aspirator for bacterial and fungal bioaerosols." The full list of awarded and implemented grant projects is attached.
Furthermore, the Department employees took part in some research projects of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, located at the Institute of Environmental Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Zabrze ("Properties of respirable dust emitted from selected installations", "Distribution of selected forms of organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) in the air of Silesian Voivodeship in areas characterized by a diverse dust emission structure", "Research on the impact of road traffic on the physical-chemical structure of nanoparticles composition and their contribution to the atmospheric aerosol"), and in the consortium including the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, Institute of Environmental Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and the Medical University of Silesia ("Characteristics of factors affecting the concentration level and chemical composition of selected particulate matter fractions in the aspect of environmental health risk of urban-industrial agglomeration inhabitants").
The Department researchers were also engaged in several international projects, and in joint research with foreign teams. Among others, Professor Józef Pastuszka (participated in the European Commission, Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection project entitled "Risk Assessment from Policy to Impact Dimension" - RAPID (project manager was Dr Gabriel Gulis, Associate Professor, Unit for Health Promotion Research, University of Southern Denmark). In the year 2010 Professor Józef Pastuszka and Dr Walter Mucha cooperated with the Faculty of Environmental Science of the Institute of Meteorology, Climatology and Remote Sensing of the University of Basel (Switzerland) in determining the surface CO2 emission in Gliwice (BRIDGE project). In the years 2011-2014 a Lithuanian-Polish research and implementation project entitled "Vehicle exhaust gas biosorbent filter (BIOSOEX)" was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the EUREKA program
In recent years, cooperation with the Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich (Germany) has been developing. Dr. Josef Cyrys, head of the research group of environmental exposure assessment in Munich, visited the Department of Air Protection in Gliwice and made great efforts to establish close contact between our research groups. In turn, on October 2019, Professor Józef Pastuszka visited the Institute of Environmental Epidemiology in Helmholtz Zentrum. The purpose of the visit was to discuss a better use of air quality monitoring stations to forecast smog episodes. The possibilities of cooperation between the Helmholtz Center and the Department of Air Protection of the Silesian University of Technology in the field of exposure to ultra-fine dust were also analyzed. It should also be noted that Dr. Michał Kowalski a former PhD student of our Department, worked for three years at the Helmholtz Zentrum and is now delegated by this Center to work at the University of Augsburg (Germany).
The scientific achievements of Department employees include the development of pollution emission factors in the coal combustion processes and methods to optimize the funds needed to improve the air quality. A science school was created to deal with air protection issues in urban and industrial agglomerations. Five national scientific conferences were organized in this thematic area. Besides, for several years the Department of Air Protection was a co-organizer of the national scientific conference "Air Protection in Theory and Practice." The main organizer of these conferences, which took place in a two-year cycle, was the Institute of Environmental Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Zabrze. The editor of the conference materials was Professor Jan Konieczyński - founder and longstanding head of our Department (he passed away in 2018). In 2011, the Department of Air Protection together with the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Silesia and the Association of Engineers and Technicians of the Metallurgical Industry organized the Silesian Aerosol Seminary in Katowice.
The Department of Air Protection cooperates with industrial companies and scientific and research units in the country (example: Institute of Environmental Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Zabrze, Institute of Physics of the University of Silesia in Katowice, Institute of Ecology of Industrial Areas in Katowice, KOMAG Mining Mechanization Center in Gliwice, Atmoservice Company in Poznań, Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, and Atmoterm Company in Opole). During this work, various studies of emission and monitoring methods of air pollutants were carried out. For example, Department of Air Protection conducted joint research with the physicists from the University of Silesia (with the team of Professor Ewa Talik) studying the surface layer of aerosol particles by the use of unique photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) equipment. In 2009, an agreement was concluded on the accession of the Department of Air Protection into the International Scientific Thematic Network "Air Pollution / Climate Change", and in 2010 the Department of Air Protection became a member of the Polish Environmental Technology Platform.
In 2017, Professor Józef Pastuszka organized a one-day scientific seminar entitled "Air pollution and health" held at the Faculty of Energy and Environmental Engineering of the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice. The co-organizer of the seminar that was the Polish Society of Environmental Epidemiology based in Krakow, and the Department of Epidemiology of the Silesian Medical University in Katowice. In addition, a speech was also given by Dr Joshua Lawson from the Canadian Center for Health and Safety at the University of Saskatoon (Canada).
The Department of Air Protection has significant didactic achievements as well. In the years 2016-2019, three didactic projects financed by InnoEnergy Master School, Eindhoven (The Netherland) were implemented in the Department.
Professor Józef Pastuszka participated in international didactic conferences in Paris, France (2015), and Guimarães, Portugal (2016).
The Department also began scientific and didactic cooperation with Jimma University in Ethiopia. In 2017, Professor Józef Pastuszka was the master thesis supervisor of a student from Jima University, and in November 2019 he spent a week at that University, giving lectures on the exposure to air pollution and its effects on the human health (general population). The visit was a part of the Erasmus Program.
The Department employees publish many papers in indexed journals (on the list prepared by the Minister of Science and Higher Education to assess statutory activity). Besides, Professor Józef Pastuszka is the editor and principal author of the book "Synergic Influence of Gaseous, Particulate, and Biological Pollutants on Human Health" published in 2016 by CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL, USA.
The employees of the Department of Air Protection are also the authors of 3 patents. They reviewed many PhD and habilitation theses, research projects for the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the National Science Center, papers submitted to various international journals (from the Philadelphia list) and one monograph.
In 2012, Professor Józef Pastuszka was appointed an expert of the National Science Center located in Krakow. Besides, J.S. Pastuszka is a member of the Scientific Council of the Institute of Ecology of Industrial Areas (appointed by the Minister of the Environment for two terms) and was a member of the Scientific Council of the Institute of Environmental Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Zabrze. In 2010-2011 he was the editor-in-chief of the scientific magazine Air Protection and Problems of Waste. He is also a member of the Scientific Council of the Architecture, Civil Engineering, Environment journal (since 2010).
In recognition of the contribution to Polish science, in September 2017, Professor Józef Pastuszka was awarded the title of Professor of Technical Sciences by the President the Republic of Poland. In recent years, two researchers from the Department of Air Protection have obtained the degree of habilitated doctor (associate professor), i.e. Associate Professor Barbara Kozielska and Associate Professor Elwira Zajusz-Zubek.
The department employees were involved in the inauguration of the University's Center for Climate and Environmental Protection. Professor Józef Pastuszka was a representative of the Rector of the Silesian University of Technology, for the creation of this Center, which inaugurated its activities in February 2020.