Shifting away from nuclear energy, expanding solar and wind power, generating energy from biomass, reducing energy consumption. Switzerland is committed to becoming climate-neutral by 2050. An ambitious goal, which has become more urgent than ever due to the increasingly challenging geopolitical situation. How can a sustainable and resilient energy supply for Switzerland be established over the coming years? What's the optimal way to use renewable energy sources? What new technologies are especially promising? At PSI, researchers are seeking answers to these crucial questions.
Nanomaterial helps store solar energy: efficiently and inexpensively
Efficient electrolysers are needed in order to store sun and wind energy in the form of hydrogen. Thanks to a new material developed by researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and Empa, these devices are likely to become less costly and more efficient in the future. Researchers were also able to demonstrate that this new material can be reliably produced in large quantities, showing its performance capability in an electrolysis cell—the main component of an electrolyser.
Fuel and chemicals from plant waste
Lignin, as a constituent of many plants, accumulates in large quantities and could theoretically be used as a precursor material for production of fuels and chemicals. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have developed a method with which the processes that take place in the catalytic breakdown of lignin can be observed in detail. The knowledge thus gained could enable targeted improvement of production methods in the future.
Welcome to Esiville
A new visitor’s station at PSI tells the story of a Swiss town that makes the change from a conventional energy supply to one with new renewable energy sources.
How Switzerland could supply its electric power in 2050
The Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI is investigating how Switzerland’s electricity supply might look, up to the year 2050, under a variety of boundary conditions. On the basis of their calculations, the lab’s researchers are able to generate insights on possible future developments of the energy sector, for example, determine how an ambitious reduction in CO2 emissions could be achieved at the lowest possible cost.
Higher methane yield from bio-waste
Within Switzerland’s bio-waste a huge amount of precious energy is hidden. That’s because valuable methane, the main constituent of natural gas, can be obtained from it. With a technology developed at PSI, the yield of methane from bio-waste could be increased considerably in the future. A long-term test conducted in cooperation with Energie 360° at the Werdhölzli fermentation and wastewater treatment plant is expected to advance this technology further along its path to industrial use.
Simulations for More Efficient Power Stations
In most cases, electricity is generated when water is heated and transformed into vapour. Vapour bubbles in the water play a decisive role in this process. Using computer simulation, researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute have succeeded in representing the behaviour of vapour bubbles – and in making their performance more calculable.
24 hours at the ESI Platform (video)
How can surplus power that can’t be fed into the electric grid be made usable? A fictitious day at the Energy System Integration Platform at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI.
Turning Electricity into Gas – and back into Electricity
As capacities for producing solar and wind energy increase, integrating these into the existing energy system is becoming more of a challenge. The ESI platform is testing methods for successful integration. The answer: storing surplus energy as gas.
How rock pores in deep repositories close over
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.