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 2023
The Energy and Environment Division of the Paul Scherrer Institut PSI successfully hosted their second Energy Briefing Event at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern. The event focused on the potentials and challenges associated with the production, regulation, and utilization of synthetic fuels. Representatives from WWF, Avenergy, PSI, and BAZL shared their expertise and insights on this topic.
A heartfelt appreciation goes out to Ulrich Koss (Metafuels), Theo Rindlisbacher (BAZL), Christian Bach (Empa), Thomas J. Schmidt (PSI), Thomas Häusler (WWF Switzerland), Daniel Hofer (Avenergy Suisse), and our moderator Stephan Lendi for their invaluable contributions and insightful perspectives.
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
Researchers have measured and determined the sources of aerosol pollution at 22 locations in Europe.
New technology provides synthetic natural gas for domestic heating
The CLOUD experiment reveals a new mechanism by which atmospheric particles form. The particles rapidly travel the world, globally impacting cloud formation and climate.
Saharan dust storms played havoc with weather predictions. Invertible neural networks to retrieve aerosol properties from light scattering data may help.
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.