Together with its partners Avenergy Suisse and Hyundai, Empa is presenting a new permanent exhibition on sustainable fuels of the future at the Swiss Museum of Transport starting in March 2021. Among other things, the focus is on the question: How does green electricity get into the tank? And: Which fuel makes sense for which purpose? In an interactive game, visitors can even virtually produce hydrogen themselves.
"Powerfuel" is located in the Road Transport Hall at the Swiss Museum of Transport. Photo: Empa / Swiss Museum of Transport
Individual mobility is in a constant state of change in the search for ever more energy-efficient solutions. Also changing is the associated infrastructure, such as filling stations. This is because fuel diversification is needed with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions through technical developments. What’s the situation regarding hydrogen-powered mobility? How does a fuel cell vehicle work? How are liquid synthetic fuels produced? Where does Switzerland source its fuels? The new “Powerfuel” exhibition in the Swiss Museum of Transport’s Road Transport Hall provides answers to all these questions. The first hydrogen-powered locomotives and aircraft can be admired on a giant screen.
The "Empa Wall" explains, how hydrogen and synfuels can be produced from renewable electricity. Which kind of fuel is the best solution for which purpose? Empa sorts it out. Photo: Empa / Swiss Museum of Transport
Making hydrogen virtually
A 4x6 meter interactive play area is provided where visitors of all ages can use “body power” to refuel a vehicle with climate-neutral hydrogen by splitting virtual water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. They can also take a step into the fuel future: a Hyundai NEXO Fuel Cell vehicle is on show, and the refuelling process can be tried out on a simulator. The Hyundai NEXO is an all-electric hydrogen fuel cell-powered passenger ca
Fuels from surplus renewable electricity
In order to produce CO2 neutral fuels, surplus electricity from renewable energies must be used, such as from solar plants, wind farms and run-of-river hydroelectric plants. This CO2 neutral electricity is used to produce hydrogen, which is then processed together with CO2 into gaseous and liquid fuels – known as synfuels. These have the advantage that they are readily stored and can power conventional diesel and petrol engines. Using its move mobility demonstrator in Dübendorf, Empa is researching concepts such as these and trialling the production and use of sustainable fuels in everyday life.
Roland Bilang, Managing Director of Avenergy Suisse, and Brigitte Buchmann, member of Empa's Board of Directors, open up the exhibition in March 2021. Photo: Empa / Swiss Museum of Transport
Empa researcher Christian Bach explains which aspects of electromobility are "clean" and why hydrogen propulsion is more suitable for truck traffic. Migros sustainability podcast, «Chrut und Rüebli» on April 9, 2020 (in German)