Energy and Environment

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Overview: Research on energy and the environment at the PSI

Energy research performed at the Paul Scherrer Institute is focused on processes that can be used in sustainable and safe technologies for the supply of energy with - ideally - zero CO2 emission. The main emphasis is on the development of processes for the utilization of renewable energy sources, low-emission conversion of energy and the safe application of nuclear energy. These activities are supplemented by analyses giving a comprehensive assessment of energy systems. Atmospheric chemical processes are also being investigated. The PSI heads the ETH-Domain’s Competence Center Energy and Mobility (CCEM).

15. April 2014

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Diesel particle filter and nitric oxide catalyst all rolled into one

Energy and Environment

Filtering soot and reducing nitric oxide in the same place – engineers have been working on combining these two important tasks of exhaust gas after-treatment in vehicles for a number of years. As researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute now reveal, this is not unrealistic. At any rate, it shouldn’t fail because of soot.


4. April 2014

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Fuel cell know-how from the Paul Scherrer Institute at the core of the SBB minibar

Media Releases Energy and Environment

On 4 April 2014 SBB is to launch a new minibar model in its Intercity trains. A fuel cell system including know-how of the Paul Scherrer Institute will also be on board. It will ensure that despite the limited space the minibar will have enough power to brew capuccinos and latte macchiatos, too.


28. March 2014

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Method for producing energy from wet biomass gets the green light

Energy and Environment

On 28 March 2014 the topping-out ceremony for a new test facility to study energy production from wet biomass was celebrated at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). The facility housed in a ship container is supposed to produce synthetic biogas from liquid manure, sewage sludge or algae.


21. March 2014

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Clay remains clay: how radionuclides sorb to the host rock in repositories

Energy and Environment Environment

Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences joined forces within an EU project to investigate the basic properties of argillaceous rocks in a repository for high-level radioactive waste. As the results reveal, the insights gained so far for Opalinus Clay can be transferred also to the Boda Clay found in Hungary.


7. March 2014

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Measuring the ecological footprint

Energy and Environment Environment

With ecoinvent, the Paul Scherrer Institute and its partners at ETH Zurich, ETH Lausanne, Empa and Agroscope have been running the world’s leading database for life cycle inventories for over ten years. The latest ecoinvent version 3 collects new data in areas such as electricity generation, agriculture, transport, mining and chemicals. In the power sector, which is significant for life cycle assessments, the database now covers over 80 per cent of the global production. And technology that has not been considered thus far such as enhanced geothermal systems is to be included in ecoinvent from now on. The result is more accurate ecological assessments of products and services


20. February 2014

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Producing pure recycling zinc with concentrated solar energy

Energy and Environment

Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have showcased a solar-thermal method for extracting zinc oxide, a technologically important reusable material, from zink recycling products under laboratory conditions. The solar product’s purity level exceeds that obtained via the industrially established route


6. February 2014

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Physics on the lattice: Understanding flow processes at small scales

Energy and Environment

The Lattice-Boltzmann Method was developed in the early 1990s as a calculation approach to solve the Boltzmann equation numerically, i.e. with the aid of computers. Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have now extended the Lattice-Boltzmann Method’s field of application with a new model that is able to describe more complex processes.Their work opens a window to more realistic computer simulations of many complex technical processes. Applications are expected in the microporous structures of most technical catalysts, diesel particle filters, combustion microreactors or fuel cells


20. January 2014

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Aerosol measurements: PSI researchers help to close regional gaps around the globe

Energy and Environment Environment

Aerosols are small particles in the atmosphere. They can influence the global climate by way of direct absorption or scattering of solar radiation, or by acting as nuclei for cloud formation. Efforts by scientists to exactly quantify these effects and then improve climate models are impeded by the lack of a global network of aerosol measurement stations. To remedy this situation, researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute to facilitate continuous aerosol measurements at sites where the paucity of data is the greatest.


15. January 2014

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How rock pores in deep repositories close over

Energy and Environment Nuclear Power Plant Safety

Chemical reactions will change the nature of the deep repository and the surrounding rock (clay rock); that much is certain. But to what extent and with what impact on safety? Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute are looking to answer this question with the aid of a combination of experiments and computer simulations.

17. December 2013

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Experiments in the clouds – how soot influences the climate

Media Releases Energy and Environment Environment

PSI-researcher Martin Gysel receives prestigious European funding (ERC Consolidator Grant) for his studies on the role of soot in cloud formation and global warming.

12. December 2013

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The Paul Scherrer Institute runs two of the energy competence centres of the Swiss government

Energy and Environment Media Releases

As part of the Energy Strategy 2050 the Swiss government and parliament have decided to increase support for energy research in Switzerland. This includes the setting up of seven interuniversity networked Swiss Competence Centres in Energy Research (SCCERs). In the SCCERs ETH Domain institutions, the universities and the universities of the applied sciences are to join forces with industrial partners to develop new competencies and solutions in the decisive action areas of the shift in energy policy. The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI will act as the leading house in two of the SCCERs – storage and biomass – that have already been given the green light. They will begin their work in 2014.


28. November 2013

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Fuel cell membrane from the Paul Scherrer Institute better than its commercial counterparts

Energy and Environment

A novel polymer electrolyte membrane from the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI has demonstrated longer durability in a laboratory test than the best commercially available counterparts. The breakthrough was achieved by modifying a reasonably priced plastic film through radiation activation and subsequent attachment of functional constituents via a “grafting” reaction. The modified polymer is not only durable – it could also reduce the membrane production costs by 50 to 80 percent. The membrane could be used in applications such as hydrogen fuel cells or electrolysers for hydrogen production from water.


15. November 2013

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Sharper image of a catalyst – warts and all

Energy and Environment

A catalyst made of the noble metal ruthenium supported on a carbon substrate is frequently used industrially. A prime example is the synthesis of ammonia, which, among other things, is involved in the production of nitrogenous fertilisers. Many research groups all over the world are looking to optimise this type of catalyst as it would increase the efficiency of one of the economically most important industrial processes. However, our understanding of how the catalytically active centres in the catalyst develop has been somewhat patchy thus far. Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI can now unveil some fresh insights.


14. November 2013

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Zukünftige Computerchips mit "elektronischem Blutkreislauf"

Energy and Environment

Im Rahmen des Sinergia-Programms fördert der Schweizerische Nationalfonds das dreijährige Forschungsvorhaben REPCOOL. Unter der Leitung von IBM Research – Zürich arbeiten in diesem Projekt Wissenschaftler der ETH Zürich, des Paul Scherrer Instituts in Villigen und der Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano gemeinsam an der Erforschung eines „elektronischen Blutkreislaufs“ für zukünftige 3D-Computerchips. Vom menschlichen Gehirn inspiriert, entwickeln die Forscher ein Mikrokanalsystem mit einer elektrochemischen Flussbatterie, die 3D-Chipstapel gleichzeitig kühlen und mit Energie versorgen. Ultimatives Ziel ist die Entwicklung eines Supercomputers in PC-Grösse.
This news release is only available in German.


14. October 2013

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A glimpse at the future of global energy supply

Media Releases Energy and Environment

How will the world secure its energy supply in 2050 and what are the possible economic, ecological and social implications of different pathways and choices? These questions are answered by researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI in cooperation with the World Energy Council WEC in a study examining two scenarios covering different dimensions of economic, social, policy and technology development. The results of the study, which has now been concluded, will be presented from 13 to 17 October at the WEC’s World Energy Congress in the South Korean town of Daegu


6. October 2013

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Particle formation in the atmosphere – further aspect unveiled via the CLOUD experiment at CERN

Media Releases Energy and Environment Environment

Clouds consist of cloud droplets that are formed from tiny particles floating in the atmosphere. How these particles develop, however, largely remains a mystery. The formation of particles from amines and sulphuric acid has now been described for the first time – a milestone in atmospheric research.

19. September 2013

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Computer simulations: a cornerstone of nuclear power station safety

Energy and Environment Nuclear Power Plant Safety

Without computer simulations, the operation of nuclear power stations would be very difficult. Whether it is a question of installing new components or conducting safety tests, virtually everything has to be calculated and analysed on the computer first. At the Laboratory for Reactor Physics and Systems Behaviour of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, computational models and methodologies are developed with precisely this in mind. Through this, PSI researchers also act as an independent partner to the national regulatory authority ENSI and contribute thereby to support safe operation of the Swiss nuclear power plants.

5. September 2013

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Well-rounded concept for less nuclear waste

Energy and Environment Nuclear Power Plant Safety

The idea of producing fuel for nuclear power stations in form of a package of spheres instead of today’s customary pellets was already born back in the 1960s. There was promise of a subsequent simplification of fuel production and a considerable reduction in the amount of radioactive waste both in the production of the fuel itself and after its use in a nuclear power station. However, the spherical fuel was never implemented as the fast reactors for which it was conceived were never built at a large scale. The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) has also been involved in the research on spherical fuel in the past. Now several projects partly funded by the EU are currently underway at the PSI again to refine the production of fuel spheres further. This form of fuel could either be used in special plants to reduce waste or in fast generation IV reactors, which in a closed cycle also produce less long-lived waste.

29. August 2013

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Reconstruction of the Fukushima nuclear accident

Energy and Environment Nuclear Power Plant Safety

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) are currently involved in an international project aimed at reconstructing what happened to the reactor units during the nuclear accident at the Japanese nuclear power station, Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011. In particular, the estimate of the core end-state will help the owner of the damaged plant, the Tokyo Electricity Power Company (TEPCO) to plan the removal of components from the reactor containment and the final decontamination. Besides, the exercise is intended to contribute to further refinement of the computer programs used to perform nuclear accident simulations


8. August 2013

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Five times less platinum: fuel cells could become economically more attractive thanks to novel aerogel catalyst

Media Releases Energy and Environment

Fuel cells that convert hydrogen into power and only produce pure water as a by-product have the potential to lead individual mobility into an environmentally friendly future. The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) has been researching and developing such low-temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cells for more than 10 years and initial field tests have already demonstrated the successful use of these fuel cells in cars and buses. However, further research is still required to improve the durability and economic viability of the technology. An international team of researchers involving the PSI has now manufactured and characterised a novel nanomaterial that could vastly increase the efficiency and shelf-life of these fuel cells – as well as reduce material costs.


25. July 2013

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How radionuclides escape through rock: insights for a geological waste storage site

Energy and Environment

How do radioactive substances move through the host rock in a deep repository for nuclear waste? Researchers from the Diffusion Processes Group in the Laboratory of Waste Management at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have been investigating. The transport properties of negatively charged radionuclides, which are repelled by the negatively charged surfaces of clay minerals and thus hardly adhere to the rock, are well known. An EU project in which the PSI is also involved is now yielding similar insights into positively charged and therefore highly adherent radionuclides.


11. July 2013

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Knowledge for tomorrow from "hot cells"

Energy and Environment Research Using Neutrons Nuclear Power Plant Safety Large Scale Facilities

The manipulation and examination of irradiated and therefore radioactive objects, be they from nuclear power stations or research facilities, requires strict safety measures. Tests may only be conducted in so-called “hot cells”, where the radioactivity is hermetically enclosed and shielded behind concrete and lead walls up to 1 metre thick. In the hot cells of the PSI hot lab, the burnt-off fuel rods from the Swiss nuclear power stations are studied from a materials science perspective. The insights gained help nuclear power station operators to optimise the efficiency and safety of their plants. Besides this service, the hot lab is involved in several international research projects.


27. June 2013

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Not a drop too much

Energy and Environment

The supply of a vapour saturated gas mixture plays a crucial role in many industrial processes. In this way, for example, the emission of nitrogen oxides during diesel combustion can be reduced by ensuring high vapour saturation of the gas mixture. A scientist at the Paul Scherrer Institute has come up with an invention which enables this to be implemented industrially in the future via a simple, flexible and robust technique.


6. June 2013

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Fast neutrons for improved safety

Energy and Environment Research Using Neutrons Nuclear Power Plant Safety

Neutrons are an excellent tool for the non-destructive imaging the interior of objects. They can provide a valuable complement to the more widely used x ray radiography. For some materials that are virtually opaque or for those that cannot be distinguished by X-rays, neutrons provide the only informative ‘dissection tool‘. However, neutron radiography is mainly confined to the laboratory and fixed facilities, because neutron generation relies on equipment like nuclear reactors or particle accelerators, which are costly, complex and cannot be moved. Scientists at the Laboratory for Thermohydraulics at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI want to develop a more flexible imaging technique based on fast neutrons.


4. June 2013

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ecoinvent – The World’s Leading LCA Database Launches Version 3.0

Media Releases Energy and Environment

The life cycle inventory database ecoinvent forms the basis for life cycle assessment projects, eco-design, and product environmental information. Since 2003, ecoinvent has enabled companies to manufacture their products more in harmony with the environment, policymakers to implement new policies, and consumers to adopt more environmentally friendly behaviour. The new version 3.0 is a further milestone in life cycle assessment: new and updated data offer ecoinvent users a greater number of possible applications in the areas of e.g. chemical production, foodstuffs, vegetables and electricity.

23. May 2013

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Waste incineration: the last word in cleanliness?

Energy and Environment Environment

Household waste always used to end up left untreated in landfills, and the effects of this practice are well-known: these waste disposal sites were quite often ecological "death zones". With the incineration of municipal waste, there was some mitigation of this problem: despite the overall increase in quantities of waste, the areas claimed by landfill have been limited in recent decades thanks to waste recycling and incineration. However, waste incineration remains far from a panacea. Some combustion products that are already present in the burnt materials or that arise just during the combustion process itself are harmful to human health and the environment and some of them still find their way out of waste incineration plants and into landfill sites as their final destination.


10. May 2013

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Air quality in the megacity Paris better than expected

Energy and Environment Environment

Megacities are often perceived by the public to be major sources of air pollution, which affect their surroundings as well. However, recent studies show that the environmental credentials of cities with over one million inhabitants are not so bad after all. An international team of researchers, including scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), has now confirmed, on the basis of aerosol measurements carried out in Paris, that so-called post-industrial cities affect the air quality of their immediate surroundings far less than might be thought.


26. April 2013

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An ultrathin energy storage device made of carbon

Energy and Environment

For the discovery and characterisation of the miraculous material graphene – a layer of carbon exactly 1 atom thick– two Russian born physicists were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010 and got a huge amount of media attention. Ever since graphene was first isolated, scientists all over the world have been rushing to find applications. Recently, scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI laid the foundations for a graphene-based super capacitor. With its help, the lifespan of batteries in hybrid cars could be extended significantly

14. April 2013

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Memory effect now also found in lithium-ion batteries

Media Releases Energy and Environment

Lithium-ion batteries are high performance energy storage devices used in many commercial electronic appliances. Certainly, they can store a large amount of energy in a relatively small volume. They have also previously been widely believed to exhibit no memory effect. That’s how experts call a deviation in the working voltage of the battery, caused by incomplete charging or discharging, that can lead to only part of the stored energy being available and an inability to determine the charge level of the battery reliably. Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, together with colleagues from the Toyota Research Laboratories in Japan have now however discovered that a widely-used type of lithium-ion battery has a memory effect. This discovery is of particularly high relevance for advances towards using lithium-ion batteries in the electric vehicle market. The work was published today in the scientific journal Nature Materials.


12. April 2013

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The golden way to choke harmful exhaust gases

Energy and Environment

Exhaust gases produced by diesel combustion are freed from harmful nitrogen oxides with the aid of an aqueous urea solution. That’s the state of the art. The urea decomposes into ammonia and this, in turn, reduces the nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen. However, the urea solution can produce undesirable solid residues and, in addition, freeze in extremely cold weather. Now researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) have developed a catalyst which can be used with better reducing agents than urea for nitrogen oxide reduction.


14. March 2013

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Scenarios for the transformation of Switzerland's electricity system

Energy and Environment

Researchers in the Energy Economics Group at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have used their model of the Swiss electricity system —called STEM-E — to analyze various electricity supply scenarios. They have concluded that alternatives to today's electricity supply are associated with different costs, risks and opportunities. Realising sustainability objectives such as climate protection while phasing out nuclear generation and making Switzerland's electricity supply independent of foreign countries raises many challenges. Furthermore, their analysis suggests that costs of electricity production are likely to increase by at least 50 percent by 2050


6. March 2013

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A new generation of lithium batteries is approaching industrial implementation

Energy and Environment Storage

Lithium-ion batteries are one of today's best technologies for storing electrochemical energy. They have a high energy density and specific energy and a sufficiently long lifetime to allow them to be used in microelectronic devices and cars. The commercial rise of Li-ion batteries in the last two decades is impressive. However, further improvements are possible and this is a field in which researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) are working. Nevertheless, the potential of the Li-ion battery is limited chemically and it will only be possible to achieve an even higher energy density, which is crucial for electric mobility in particular, by using other new types of batteries.


27. February 2013

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Ice and snow – the great unknowns of science

Energy and Environment Environment

Ice and snow have fundamental significance for our climate. Generally speaking, one assumes that science knows everything that is important about such everyday phenomena. Yet, as soon as one looks at the whole at the molecular level, many questions remain unanswered. This knowledge is essential for predicting the future of our planet. Thorsten Bartels-Rausch in an interview about the great unknowns.

26. February 2013

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PSI researchers investigate pathways to a sustainable Swiss electricity system

Energy and Environment

Switzerland is facing a potentially radical restructuring of its energy system in the light of the Federal Government's Energy Strategy 2050. One particular challenge associated with achieving the goals of the Strategy is realizing an electricity supply sector that responds to uncertain developments in electricity demand, national climate targets and the decision to phase out nuclear power. In order to investigate options for this transformation of the electricity sector, researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) are developing and analyzing a range of alternative scenarios of the future electricity system in Switzerland. These scenarios are developed, quantified and explored with an analytical tool built at PSI that simultaneously examines long-term developments (to 2050 and beyond) while accounting for seasonal and daytime fluctuations in electricity demand and supply.

13. February 2013

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From pinholes to sudden death: How fuel cells age

Energy and Environment

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have gained valuable insights into one of the most common ageing mechanisms of polymer electrolyte membranes in hydrogen fuel cells. The robustness of these membranes is crucial in determining the lifespan of a fuel cell. The new findings contribute to longer-lasting cells by a better understanding of one of the main challenges for the commercialisation of these clean energy converters.

12. February 2013

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Joint venture in the bioenergy and resource efficiency sector: PSI and FHNW establish joint institute

Media Releases Energy and Environment Renewable Energies

The Institute of Biomass and Resource Efficiency was founded by the two institutions, PSI (Paul Scherrer Institute) and FHNW (University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland), at the start of 2013. The aim of this new institute is to tackle the issue of resource efficiency throughout Switzerland, concentrating simultaneously on energy and material for the first time, and to thus make a significant contribution to the Federal Government’s "Energy Strategy 2050". The focus is on the sustainable use of biomass.

24. January 2013

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All fired up about lower CO2

Energy and Environment

In many European countries, gas and steam power plants (CCGT plants), also known as combined cycle power plants, are included as options for a safe energy supply. In the 2050 Federal Government Energy Strategy, they are mentioned as a possible replacement for the nuclear power plants that are being phased –out. Combined cycle power plants convert natural gas into electricity using a combination of gas and steam turbines, with very high efficiencies, of around 60 percent. Furthermore, since these power plants can be started up and shut down very quickly, they are ideally suited for compensating production fluctuations from wind and solar power plants. However, their CO2 emissions, whilst the lowest of all conventional power plants using fossil fuels, are still significant. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute are working on a solution for this within the framework of a European Union project.

14. January 2013

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The sun rises for cement

Energy and Environment

Cement holds the world’s buildings together. The binding agent for concrete and other construction materials is, if assessed by global production volumes, one of the world’s most important assets. However, cement production consumes vast amounts of energy – and this is largely obtained by the combustion of fossil fuels. Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute and the globally-active Swiss cement manufacturer Holcim want to change this.

30. November 2012

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Die neue Schweizer Energiepolitik: Woher kommt der Strom?

Energy and Environment

Der neue Energie-Spiegel ist da.
Mit der neuen Energiepolitik kommen grosse Veränderungen auf die Schweizer Stromversorgung zu. Werden erneuerbare Energiequellen genug Strom produzieren, um nach dem Aus der Kernkraftwerke unseren Verbrauch zu decken? Oder müssen wir uns in Zukunft auf Gaskraftwerke und Stromimporte verlassen? Und wie wirkt sich die neue Energiepolitik auf die CO2-Bilanz und die Stromkosten aus? Diese Fragen versucht die neueste Ausgabe des Energie-Spiegels zu beantworten.
This news release is only available in German.

13. June 2012

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Top Science at the Top of Europe

Energy and Environment Environment

Das PSI ist in der Jubiläumsausstellung auf dem Jungfraujoch prominent vertreten

75 Jahre Sphinx-Observatoirum und 100 Jahre Jungfraubahnen: Dies ist der Anlass für eine Ausstellung der internationalen Stiftung Hochalpine Forschungsstationen Jungfraujoch und Gornergrat, die im Frühjahr eröffnet wurde.
This news release is only available in German.

22. May 2012

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Reconstruction of atmospheric lead concentrations in Russia since 1680

Media Releases Energy and Environment Environment

A research team from the Paul Scherrer Institute has reconstructed the concentration record of lead in the atmosphere in Russia since 1680. The results demonstrate a significant increase in the atmospheric lead concentrations since the 1930s and a significant reduction since the 1970s.

16. May 2012

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Energiewende: Das Ganze sehen, die Details bedenken

Media Releases Energy and Environment

Die Energiewende als politischer Wille ist Realität, aber wie wird die Schweiz ihre Energieversorgung aus dem heutigen Stand in diejenige überführen, die die für das Jahr 2050 formulierten Ziele erfüllt? Mit Fragen der Umsetzung, mit den Optionen und den Herausforderungen des beschlossenen Umbaus der schweizerischen Energielandschaft befasste sich am 14. Mai 2012 die Energietagung des Paul Scherrer Institut. Im Mittelpunkt stand der bei einer zunehmend dezentralen Energieversorgung notwendige Umbau der Stromnetze.
This news release is only available in German.

27. April 2012

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Retention of radioactive iodine in serious NPP accidents

Media Releases Energy and Environment Nuclear Power Plant Safety

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute [PSI] have developed a highly efficient technique for filtering radioactive iodine. It removes virtually all of the iodine from radioactively contaminated exhaust air before its release into the environment after a meltdown at a damaged nuclear power plant. The process has recently become ready for worldwide use at nuclear power installations, after PSI and the industrial company CCI AG (Balterswil/TG) have signed a licensing agreement for the PSI patented process.

27. January 2012

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Kein Blick in die Kristallkugel

Media Releases Energy and Environment

Das Paul Scherrer Institut wird in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Weltenergierat nachvollziehbare Modelle für zukünftige globale Energiesysteme entwickeln. In einem auf drei Jahre ausgelegten Projekt wollen PSI-Forscher um Stefan Hirschberg ein Modell entwickeln mit dem man Aussagen über zukünftige Energiesysteme machen kann. Das besondere daran ist, dass es sich um ein sogenanntes Open-Source-Modell handeln wird. D. h. Experten und andere Interessenten können einen Zugang zum Programm erhalten, sowie Informationen darüber, von genau welchen Annahmen die Forscher bei der Ausarbeitung ihres Modells ausgegangen sind. Das ist bei kommerziellen Anbietern von Prognosewerkzeugen nicht üblich.
This news release is only available in German.

20. September 2011

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«Facettenauge» liefert Strom

Media Releases Energy and Environment Renewable Energies

«swisselectric research award 2011»
Kostengünstiger Strom aus Sonnenenergie: Der Maschinenbauingenieur Illias Hischier hat einen Sonnenstrahlempfänger entwickelt, der die aufgenommene Energie über eine Gasturbine für die hocheffiziente Stromerzeugung nutzt. Hischier hat den Empfänger als Doktorand an der ETH Zürich in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Labor für Solartechnik am Paul Scherrer Institut entwickelt. Er erhält dafür den «swisselectric research award 2011».
This news release is only available in German.

25. August 2011

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Klimaforschung am Teilchenbeschleuniger: Beschreibung der Aerosolneubildung muss revidiert werden

Media Releases Energy and Environment Environment

Vom Menschen verursachte Aerosole wirken in der Atmosphäre kühlend: Klimaforscher nehmen an, dass sie einen Grossteil des anthropogenen Treibhauseffekts kompensieren. Allerdings müssen sich die Partikel zum Teil in der Atmosphäre erst neu bilden. Diesen bisher kaum untersuchten Prozess nimmt das CLOUD-Experiment am CERN, an dem auch Forscher des Paul Scherrer Instituts beteiligt sind, unter die Lupe. Dabei wurde erstmals ein Teilchenbeschleuniger für die Untersuchung von Vorgängen in der Atmosphäre eingesetzt. Die Ergebnisse zeigen: die Beschreibungen der Aerosolbildung in Klimamodellen muss revidiert werden.
This news release is only available in German.

13. July 2011

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Auch Feinstaub altert

Media Releases Energy and Environment

Ob fest, gelartig oder flüssig ist entscheidend
Feinstaubpartikel tragen wesentlich zur Luftverschmutzung bei. Durch Reaktionen mit anderen Luftschadstoffen verändern sich diese Partikel mit der Zeit, sie altern. Der Alterungsprozess hängt wesentlich von der Luftfeuchte ab, und damit auch die Auswirkungen von Feinstaubpartikeln auf unsere Gesundheit und unser Klima. Dies zeigen gemeinsame Versuche von Wissenschaftlern des Paul Scherrer Instituts PSI und des Max-Planck-Instituts für Chemie sowie der Universität Bielefeld in Deutschland.
This news release is only available in German.

30. March 2011

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Golden Idea Award für PSI-Forscher Aldo Steinfeld

Media Releases Energy and Environment Storage

Für seine Arbeiten zur Erzeugung von Syngas aus Kohlendioxid und Wasser mithilfe konzentrierter Sonnenenergie erhält Aldo Steinfeld, Leiter des Labors für Solartechnik am Paul Scherrer Institut und Professor für Erneuerbare Energieträger an der ETH Zürich, den Golden Idea Award der IDEE-SUISSE, der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Ideen- und Innovationsmanagement. Syngas ist eine Vorstufe verschiedener flüssiger Treibstoffe.
This news release is only available in German.

21. February 2011

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Russ lässt Himalaya-Gletscher schneller schmelzen

Media Releases Energy and Environment Environment

Forschende des Paul Scherrer Instituts haben zusammen mit Kollegen aus China und den USA gezeigt, dass die Klimaerwärmung nicht alleine für die Gletscherschmelze im Himalaya verantwortlich ist. Auch Russ, der auf dem Gletscher abgelagert wird, trägt dazu bei. Der Russ entsteht, wenn Öl oder Holz verbrannt werden; Wind transportiert ihn dann in den Himalaya.
This news release is only available in German.

6. January 2011

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Potenzial einer kostengünstigen Brennstoffzelle für Autos aufgezeigt

Media Releases Energy and Environment Storage

Das Paul Scherrer Institut PSI und die Belenos Clean Power AG haben ein Brennstoffzellensystem entwickelt, das das Potenzial aufweist, kostengünstig in einen Kleinwagen eingebaut zu werden, der dann über seine Lebenszeit ähnlich viel kosten würde wie ein herkömmliches Auto. Für diesen wichtigen Schritt in Richtung umweltfreundliche Mobilität erhalten PSI und Belenos den Watt d’Or 2011.
This news release is only available in French and German.

4. January 2011

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Benzin aus Wasser, CO2 und Sonnenlicht

Media Releases Energy and Environment Renewable Energies

Einem Forschungsteam um Aldo Steinfeld ist es gelungen, mit Solarenergie aus Wasser und Kohlendioxid Treibstoff zu erzeugen. Dazu haben die Wissenschaftler einen Solar-Reaktor entwickelt, in dem konzentrierte Sonnenstrahlung das dafür nötige thermochemische Verfahren antreibt.
This news release is only available in German.

16. September 2010

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Die Batterie der Zukunft hält länger

Media Releases Energy and Environment Storage

Der «swisselectric research award 2010» geht an den Chemiker Andreas Hintennach vom Paul Scherrer Institut. Dank seiner Forschung könnten Lithiumionen-Batterien in Zukunft deutlich langlebiger werden. Das Speichern von Strom wird somit umweltfreundlicher und kostengünstiger.
This news release is only available in German.

23. June 2010

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Swiss Energy Research in the European Alliance

Media Releases Energy and Environment

Paul Scherrer Institute takes part in European Energy Research Alliance
The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) has, for many years, made important scientific contributions to new energy technologies. It has now been invited, as a member of the European Energy Research Alliance, EERA, to contribute in a number of European research programmes – an indication of the high regard with which PSI’s energy research is viewed internationally.

11. June 2010

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Lösungsansätze zum Schutz des globalen Klimas

Media Releases Energy and Environment

Tagung am Paul Scherrer Institut bringt Energiefachleute zusammen
Als grösstes Energieforschungszentrum der Schweiz und Sitz des Kompetenzzentrum Energie und Mobilität CCEM lud das Paul Scherrer Institut am 11. Juni zu einer Tagung über Lösungsansätze zum Schutz des globalen Klimas ein. Acht Vorträge von Energieexperten aus Forschung und Industrie zeigten die Vielfalt der Verfahren, die zu einer Reduzierung des CO2-Ausstosses führen könnten. In der anschliessenden Podiumsdiskussion wurde deutlich, was über technische Ansätze hinaus getan werden muss.
This news release is only available in German.

19. April 2010

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The mass concentration of volcanic ash from Iceland in European airspace

Media Releases Energy and Environment Environment

Data of the Paul Scherrer Institute from the High-Alpine Research Station Jungfraujoch yield important information.
The eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland has stalled flight traffic in large parts of Europe. Decision makers had to base their decisions mainly on model calculations for the volcanic plume dispersion. How dangerous is this volcanic ash layer for planes?

18. January 2010

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News from the smog chamber: mechanisms of particle formation in the atmosphere unveiledt

Media Releases Environment Energy and Environment

Up to the present time, the nucleation or new formation of particles in the atmosphere has been a great enigma. Until recently, research was based on the assumption that sulphuric acid played the central role in particle formation. However, laboratory experiments and field tests have consistently provided conflicting results. In the lab, considerably higher concentrations of sulphuric acid are required for nucleation to take place than in the atmosphere itself. Now scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have found out the cause for these conflicting results from their smog chamber. These findings will advance climate research to a significant degree.

10. December 2009

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Mystery solved: how fine particulates are formed in the air

Media Releases Environment Energy and Environment

Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute, the University of Colorado and 29 other research institutions in various countries have investigated the composition of the organic constituents of the fine particulates found in various regions of the world, and have identified the original substances from which they are formed in each case. For the first time ever, this has enabled them to explain the role played by the individual components of emissions in the development of fine particulates.

1. December 2009

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Reliable materials for nuclear reactors

Nuclear Power Plant Safety Energy and Environment

Materials used in nuclear power plants are subjected to extreme conditions. The safety standards for the selection, deployment and monitoring of these materials are extremely high. At PSI, the long-term behaviour of power plant components is being studied. Hence researchers investigate the impact of stress-corrosion cracking in materials, or the effects of strong radioactive radiation on their durability.

1. December 2009

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Producing Synthetic Natural Gas from Wood

Energy and Environment Renewable Energies

PSI researchers are investigating methods for converting wood waste into synthetic natural gas that could be fed into the public gas grid. Switzerland has enough wood available to cover several percent of its total energy requirements. Energy production from wood is CO2-neutral, due to the fact the CO2 formed during combustion would otherwise be released when the wood rotted down. Unlike the direct combustion of wood, however, use of this synthetic gas produces no harmful particulate matter.

1. December 2009

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Fuel cells - electricity from hydrogen and oxygen

Energy and Environment Storage

Fuel cells generate electricity via the electrochemical conversion of a fuel. If hydrogen is used as the fuel, in addition to the power (in the form of free-flowing electrons),water and heat are the only end products produced. The PSI is engaged in all stages of hydrogen fuel cell research and development. Researchers have obtained unique insights into the relevant processes and structures for these fuel cells, thanks to the use of PSI’s large research facilities.

21. August 2009

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Safe repositories for radioactive waste - a study of specifically Swiss conditions

Nuclear Power Plant Safety Energy and Environment

Radioactive waste from nuclear power plants, as well as from medical applications, industry and research, has to be isolated from the environment, particularly the habitat of humans, for a very long time. Specialists at PSI have been concerned with the safety issues surrounding safety certification for geological repositories for many years. Research at PSI focusses primarily on the physico-chemical processes inside such storage systems. The aim is to create a realistic description of the risks associated with storage of radioactive waste.

17. August 2009

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Structures and impacts of national and international energy systems – national climatic targets for Switzerland

Energy and Environment

The Paul Scherrer Institut analyses the structures and impacts of national and international energy systems. In 2007, for example, a study was carried out in which PSI makes recommendations as to what the national climatic targets of Switzerland could be. The study also highlighted the facts on which the Swiss energy system is based and indicated which targets can be achieved and how. Protection of the climate is, after all, one of the most important areas of national energy policy for the coming years, and the emission of CO2 in Switzerland should be at least halved by the year 2050. Better energy efficiency is an important factor towards this goal – but not the only one.

17. August 2009

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Frozen memory of the climate

Energy and Environment

Information about the climate and atmospheric composition in previous centuries can be stored in glacier ice. PSI-researchers undertake regular expeditions to various areas within these regions to remove ice cores. These ice cores are effectively solid columns of ice that have been drilled out from a glacier. Once in the laboratory, the cores are thawed out and their composition is analysed, layer by layer. The results provide fascinating insights into a range of aspects of the previous climate.

23. July 2009

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Fuels from solar energy

Media Releases Energy and Environment Renewable Energies

Solar researcher Aldo Steinfeld, Laboratory Head at PSI and Professor at ETH Zurich, wins the Yellot Award awarded by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for his research on renewable energy.
This news release is only available in German.

8. January 2009

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In Zukunft kommt das Brennholz aus der Gasleitung

Media Releases Energy and Environment Renewable Energies

Forschende des Paul Scherrer Instituts (PSI) haben mit Kollegen der TU Wien ein Verfahren entwickelt, mit dem man Erdgas aus Holz erzeugen kann. An einer Testanlage wurde das Verfahren im technischen Massstab erfolgreich erprobt. Für Ihre Arbeit erhalten die PSI-Forschenden am 8. Januar die Auszeichnung Watt d'Or.
This news release is only available in French and German.

19. December 2008

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Temperature response in the Altai lags solar forcing

Media Releases Energy and Environment Environment

Publication in Geophysical Research Letters. New results from climate research using ice cores from the Siberian Altai. The observation that the reconstructed temperatures followed the solar forcing with a delay of 10 to 30 years is particularly interesting.

6. November 2008

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Saubere Dieselverbrennung für sauberere Meeresluft

Media Releases Energy and Environment

Gemeinsam mit der Industrie forscht man am Paul Scherrer Institut an neuen Schiffsmotoren. Was bei Dieselfahrzeugen zu Land schon lange die Norm ist, soll nun auch auf den Meeren umgesetzt werden: Nicht nur Lastwagen und Dieselautos fahren stickoxidreduziert, sondern auch Schiffe. Während dieses Ergebnis bei Fahrzeugen hauptsächlich durch den Einbau von Katalysatoren erreicht wird, ist das Ziel bei Schiffen eine innermotorische Lösung.
This news release is only available in German.

30. May 2008

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Die Belenos Clean Power AG und das Paul Scherrer Institut beschliessen die Schweizer Brennstoffzelle

Media Releases Storage Energy and Environment

Die Vision geht in die operative Phase. Ein nachhaltiger, sauberer Energieverbrauch und eine individuelle Mobilität mit sauberer, CO2-freier Energie, das ist die Vision der Belenos Clean Power AG. Um dieses Ziel zu erreichen, müssen Anstrengungen unternommen werden, die die ganze Kette von der nachhaltigen Primärenergie – der Sonne – über die saubere Energie für Haushalte, Fabriken u. ä., bis zum effizienten, emissionsfreien Auto-Antrieb umfassen.
This news release is only available in French and German.

25. April 2007

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Energie mit Zukunft

Media Releases Energy and Environment

Klimaneutral, nachhaltig und auch bezahlbar. Energieinitiative. Das Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) als grösstes Energieforschungsinstitut der Schweiz möchte der Politik und Wirtschaft Anstösse geben, in welche Richtung sich eine nachhaltige, effiziente und klimaneutrale Energieversorgung bewegen kann. Auf diesem Weg leistet die thematisch breite und fachlich vernetzte Forschung des PSI einen wichtigen Beitrag. Auch das vom PSI geführte Kompetenzzentrum Energie und Mobilität (CCEM) des ETH-Bereichs zielt mit seinen Projekten in die gleiche Richtung.
This news release is only available in German.



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