Innovation partnership for climate-friendly transport

Empa and Migros join forces


Empa and Migros have announced a new innovation partnership. Together, they intend to promote sustainable and innovative goods transport solutions. Their objective is to develop new powertrain concepts with lower CO2 emissions as well as a fleet strategy in the coming years, by using Empa’s "move" research and technology platform.

Die Demonstrationsplattform "move" auf dem Gelände der Empa in Dübendorf

In the coming years, "move" will enable Empa researchers to develop a comprehensive range of new powertrain concepts with lower CO2 emissions, to test and evaluate them in practice and to develop effective strategies by using a fleet simulation system. The energy source will be electricity generated by photovoltaic systems and hydroelectric power plants. This can be used to charge batteries in electric vehicles; the electricity can also be converted into hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles or into synthetic methane for natural gas/biogas vehicles. Thus, move will help companies to achieve the 2-degree targets defined by the Paris Climate Change Conference (i.e. to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius).

Knowledge-sharing between research and industry

The objective of the innovation partnership between Empa and Migros is both to help Migros to continue its switch to low-CO2 HGVs, and to develop Empa's move platform further by using Migros's expertise. The collaboration will begin in early 2018 and will be based on knowledge-sharing between research and industry. "It will only be possible to achieve Switzerland's climate targets by jointly demonstrating and implementing new concepts for the future of mobility. To do this, cooperation between research and industry is crucial. So we are very much looking forward to collaborating with Migros," says Brigitte Buchmann, member of Empa's Board of Directors and Head of the "Mobility, Energy and Environment" department.

Andreas Münch, a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (MGB), also looks forward to working with Empa: "With this new initiative, Migros will rigorously pursue the objective it has set for itself of achieving a sustainable positive impact on the environment." Migros is aware that it is responsible for generating a great deal of traffic. It has switched a large proportion of its goods transport to the railways. In fact, it has become the largest rail transport user in Switzerland. It is also investing in logistics solutions of the future, such as "Cargo Sous Terrain", a planned underground logistics system in Switzerland.

move: a research and technology platform for the mobility of tomorrow

move is an Empa research and technology transfer platform, which is co-financed by the Swiss Federal Energy Agency (BFE). It demonstrates the technical possibilities for climate-friendly, post-fossil-fuel and sustainable mobility in an exemplary way. The priority is to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. For this purpose, the primary area of research is the use of electric, hydrogen-powered and gas-powered vehicles in practice, including investigation of energy provision and storage, and the ways in which the energy system is influenced by energy consumption.

Migros: transport and mobility

Migros operates one of the largest HGV fleets in Switzerland. Climate-friendly goods transport is a central component of the Migros Climate and Energy Strategy 2020. It has embraced sustainable transport solutions for decades. In order to achieve its ambitious CO2 reduction targets, Migros – the leading operator in Swiss rail freight transport in terms of retail turnover – is continuously working to increase its proportion of rail transport further, to reduce the emissions of its HGV fleet and to continue to use a large proportion of reusable containers. Its investment in the "Cargo Sous Terrain" underground logistics system is another example of this commitment.