Editorial Empa Quarterly #78
Pedal to the metal – now!
Global problems demand global solutions. Because they concern us all. But when everyone is (partly) responsible, no one acts. Instead, we rather sit and wait for others to do something about it. When it comes to the really big issues of our times, though, time is running out. So waiting seems the worst option – especially when technologies are readily available that could significantly reduce our giant carbon footprint, as Empa Deputy Director Peter Richner explains.
But Switzerland is indeed not capable of solving the energy and climate problem on its own; energy self-sufficiency is utopian. There are, however, clever ideas around about how we could harvest enough energy in the earth's sun belt and then – after converting it into chemical energy carriers such as synthetic methane – store it, distribute and use it wherever we need it. And if we do this, this could even result in negative CO2 emissions; in other words, CO2 would be removed from the atmosphere in the process. But, as I said, this cannot be implemented without international cooperation.
Closed material cycles, however, are not only a good idea for carbon, emphasizes Empa's new department head Lorenz Herrmann in an interview. In line with this closed-loop concept, Empa researchers are working, among other things, on developing circuit boards for the electronics industry from renewable resources that can simply be disposed of in the green garbage can at the end of their service life – a big step towards green electronics.Michael Hagmann
Head of Empa communication