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
Highlights & News
Saharan dust storms played havoc with weather predictions. Invertible neural networks to retrieve aerosol properties from light scattering data may help.
Together with colleagues at ETH Zürich, Peter Alpert and Markus Ammann have directly imaged where light was amplified and where it was not inside photochemically active particles using X-ray spectromicroscopy.
An international research team with PSI participation is rushing to preserve glacier ice for posterity.
In order to better understand climate change in the Arctic and design effective mitigation measures, scientists at EPFL and PSI have studied the aerosols in a region spanning from Russia to Canada.
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.
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.
PSI is involved in the development of a breath test that can be used to diagnose asthma. Imad El Haddad explains why such a test could be extremely useful – especially for children.
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.