News & Highlights

23 May 2022
Photograph: Shutterstock

Atmospheric globe-trotters

The CLOUD experiment reveals a new mechanism by which atmospheric particles form. The particles rapidly travel the world, globally impacting cloud formation and climate.

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28 March 2022
Margit Schwikowski

Rescuing Earth’s icy memory


An international research team with PSI participation is rushing to preserve glacier ice for posterity.

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7 February 2022
Russell McKenna

New Head of Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis (LEA)

As of February 1st 2022, Russell McKenna joins the Paul Scherrer Institute’s Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis (LEA) as head of the Laboratory. The position at PSI and the full professorship at ETHZ will enable him to combine his research with teaching activities. This optimally reinforces the cooperation between ETH Zurich and the two energy sectors, ENE and NES, of the PSI.

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3 February 2022
Illustration Arik Beck

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.

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