Energy Supply

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A sustainable and stable energy supply requires a clean and efficient energy production and various possibilities for energy storage. Concerning energy production Empa is active on several topics such as:

  • Photovoltaics: development of high-performance solar cells
  • Thermoelectricity: direct conversion of heat into electricity with highly efficient devices based on non-toxic materials
  • Ceramic fuel cells working at intermediate (500°C) and high temperatures (800°C)
  • Hydrogen production and Power to gas concepts
  • Development of high-temperature materials, e.g. for use in turbine rotors, as well as assessment of their mechanical integrity, damage and fracture behavior as well as lifetime projections
  • Empa’s research on energy storage focuses on materials and systems, which have the potential to be competitive with the energy density of fossil fuels:
  • Development of new materials for highly efficient batteries such as high-capacity Li-ion batteris and Cobalt-free batteries, e.g. for cathodes with an improved cycle stability and a longer lifetime
  • Hydrogen production by electrolysis and long-term storage in solid and liquid hydrides, e.g. by developing tailored membrane and electrode materials for improved electrolysers (joint activity with EPFL)
  • Power-to-Gas, i.e. the reaction of “solar” hydrogen with CO2 from the atmosphere/exhaust streams to synthetic hydrocarbons: the storage of hydrogen from renewable energy sources in synthetic hydrocarbons is very convenient and if the CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere or from exhaust gases, the synthetic fuels are CO2-neutral (cooperation with Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI)