Energy and Environment

The global population is growing steadily as are the resulting energy demands. Global consumption of natural resources is spiralling. The Paul Scherrer Institute concentrates on research into processes which can be used in sustainable and safe technologies for, if possible, CO2-free energy supply.

Future planet earth

Three virtual characters take you through the problems of climate change. The climate saviour is worried about the melting polar caps, the mobility critic is dreaming of exhaust-free cars, and the technology freak is enthusiastic about efficient technologies.

The path leads to PSE energy research which makes an important contribution with its projects to curbing the greenhouse effect.

Capturing sunlight

Experiment with the exhibit and find out how the large PSI solar concentrator functions. You are invited to touch it, but be careful the focal point becomes red-hot.

In the actual PSI reflector – with a diameter of 8.5m – the temperatures climb to more than 2000 degrees. By means of chemical reactions, solar energy can be stored in fuels. In a second step, hydrogen can be produced from this.

Mobility in the future

Title: One eye-catching exhibit is the marble maze made of copper wire by the artist Alain Schartner. The power for the lift which transports the marbles to the top is produced by fuel cells. In the fuel cell stack, hydrogen and oxygen react and via a special membrane they combine to form water. During this process, electrical energy is produced. Hydrogen and heat are generated as waste by-products.

When integrated into cars, fuel cells could make an important contribution in future to reducing CO2-emissions. PSI is working on various projects in this area. Important subjects are, for instance, cost reduction and life cycle optimisation.