Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis (LEA)
LEA is an interdivisional laboratory of the Nuclear Energy and Safety Research Division (NES) and the General Energy Research Division (ENE). It unites specific analytical research concerning diverse energy technologies and systems, including nuclear, fossil and (modern) renewables. In cooperation with external partners (e.g. the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) and many others), LEA carries out energy systems analyses relevant for energy policy issues as well as safety analysis based on Probabilistic Safety Assessment (PSA) and focused on Human Reliability Assessment (HRA). LEA is led by Prof. Dr. Russell McKenna and monitored by a Steering Committee consisting of Prof. Dr. Andreas Pautz (NES Div. Head) and Prof. Thomas J. Schmidt (ENE Div. Head). In April 2017, Stefan Hirschberg retired after serving as the Head of the laboratory since its establishment in 2006. He is now a Senior Level Advisor, contributing to the leadership and continuity of selected activities. Since February 2022, LEA is strongly linked to the Chair of Energy Systems Analysis at the D-MAVT Department of ETHZ.
The LEA areas of activities fall into three main areas:
An international group of researchers led by the Paul Scherrer Institute has carried out in-depth analyses of the climate impact of blue hydrogen. This is produced from natural gas, with the CO2 resulting from the process captured and permanently stored. The study concludes that blue hydrogen can play a positive role in the energy transition – under certain conditions.
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.