Energy and Environment Research Division
Research at PSI comprises all aspects of human energy use, with the ultimate goal of promoting development towards a sustainable energy supply system. Technologies are being advanced for the utilization of renewable energy sources, low-loss energy storage, efficient conversion, and low emission energy use. Experimental and model-based assessment of these emissions forms the basis of a comprehensive assessment of economic, environmental and social consequences, for both present and future energy supply systems.
Division Head: Prof. Dr. Thomas Justus Schmidt
Energy Briefing Event 2022
On June 28th, 2022, the Energy Divisions (ENE and NES) at PSI hosted their first Energy Briefing Event at the Kursaal in Bern. Knowledgeable voices from industry, research and government shared insights in a dialogue on the feasibility of the Net Zero goal and what next steps are required to achieve this collectively.
A big thank you to Daniela Decurtins (GazEnergy), Particia Sandmeier (Hitachi Energy), Martin Naef (ABB), Pascal Previdoli (BFE), Thomas Schmidt (PSI), Christian Verhoeven (GE), Peter Richner (Empa), Andreas Pautz (PSI) and our Moderator Stephan Lendi for their valuable contributions and insights!
Highlights & News
Optimization of catalyst performance to increase efficiency of methanol production
Many types of catalysts have been well known for decades, but the fundamental understanding as to why they work so well is still not quite clear. Without this understanding, an even more efficient catalyst cannot be developed, which is needed to reduce the global energy demand. Copper-zinc-alumina (CZA) is a popular catalyst and has been used for about 100 years, as it facilitates the production of the important chemical building block methanol, a molecule that enables the storage of hydrogen in a manner that minimizes negative impact on the carbon-dioxide footprint. Until 2021, scientists debated over the reason why the catalyst works so well. Understanding the reason behind this is vital in order to further develop even better ones. The copper-zinc-alumina (CZA) catalyst is assessed at the Laboratory for catalysis and sustainable chemistry (LSK) of the Paul Scherrer Institute.
Andrea Baccarini, former member of the Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, awarded the ETH Medal for his PhD thesis
Andrea Baccarini, a former PhD student at the Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, has been awarded the ETH Medal for his thesis investigating aerosol formation in the Arctic and Antarctic and the role aerosols play in climate change.
Asthma: Diagnose in einem Atemzug
Das PSI beteiligt sich an der Entwicklung eines Atemtests, mit dem sich Asthma diagnostizieren lässt. Imad El Haddad erzählt, wieso so ein Test extrem nützlich wäre – vor allem für Kinder.
E-fuels and electrification as complementary approaches to achieve climate target
Sustainable, synthetic fuels, so-called e-fuels, can help reduce CO₂ emissions. For their production, electricity from renewable sources is required in order to allow for a close to CO₂-neutral balance. The availability of electricity from renewable sources, which ensures the climate benefits of e-fuels, is currently still limited. “Especially in order to produce on a larger scale, a lot of renewable electricity is needed,” explains Christian Bauer, researcher at the Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis (LEA) at PSI.
LAC scientists awarded Mariolopoulos Trust Fund Award 2022
The paper "Sources of particulate-matter air pollution and its oxidative potential in Europe" published in Nature by Kaspar Dällenbach and his team at the LAC has won the 2022 Mariolopoulos Trust Fund Award, along with another paper in the field of atmospheric environment.
"I could not imagine a better place to have done a PhD"
Bernhard Pribyl-Kranewitter, former PhD student at the Energy and Environment Division, shares with us a glimpse of his time at the Paul Scherrer Institute and where his path has led him. Currently, he works as a senior consultant at Kearney.
PSI’s contribution to COVID-19 detection
One breath is all it takes to detect the COVID-19 infections using a new method developed by the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in collaboration with the Paul Scherrer Institute.
Unravelling the catalyst aging phenomena in vehicle emission control.
PSI has collaborated with catalyst and engine manufacturers to understand the aging phenomena of emission control catalysts. To this end, a diesel oxidation catalyst with a relevant mileage was carefully analysed; the results suggest that a complex combination of poisoning and thermal sintering is the cause of deactivation during driving. A reactor setup was then developed to simulate poisoning and sintering effects for prediction of catalyst durability in time and cost effective manner.
Two PSI-Scientists nominated «highly cited researchers»
In the research field “Geosciences”, 143 highly cited researchers were appointed worldwide this year, 7 of them from Switzerland, 2 of them from the Paul Scherrer Institute.