Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ETH Zurich competence center ESC introduces energy strategy

25.02.2008
To even begin to combat climate change effectively, CO2 emissions have to fall sharply: to 1 ton per capita per year. According to researchers from ETH Zurich the way to the goal for this century is through an energy strategy based on the three Es: increased efficiency, renewable energy and electrification.
Long-term objective 1-ton CO2 society

In the past year, various reports from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have warned the world in no uncertain terms that in order to achieve a stable climate on our planet by the end of this century, any increase in CO2 emissions in the coming decades must be curbed before the emissions can be appreciably reduced. According to the IPCC, the maximum amount of CO2 emissions that can be tolerated globally by the end of the 21st century amounts to roughly 2000 gigatons. This will mean a considerable reduction in the emission of CO2 per capita.

The per capita emission of carbon dioxide in Switzerland is currently 9 tons per year, approximately twice the global average. "Our objective for the climate and energy policy for the century has to be to induce each member of the human race to produce not more than 1 ton of carbon dioxide per year", Professor Ralph Eichler, President ETH Zurich, explained to the media today.

Systematic implementation of 3E strategy

This proposed emission target for carbon dioxide may seem ambitious by today's standards, but it can be achieved by the end of the century both in Switzerland and throughout the world. This is reflected in the calculations made by ETH Zurich's own Energy Science Center (ESC). In order to reach the target, an energy strategy will have to be consistently implemented. As stated by Profes-sor Konstantinos Boulouchos, the proposed strategy is based on three pillars: 1) the exhaustion of efficiency potential, 2) the extended use of renewable energy sources and 3) the increased share of electricity in the energy mix.

Exhausting the efficiency potential will mean increasing efficiency in every link of the energy conversion chain, from extraction at the energy source, through stor-age and distribution up to energy usage. This alone would harbour great sav-ings potential, especially when combined with market-based instruments to in-fluence the demand side.

The second E of the strategy focuses on the use of renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaics, water, and wind. Important to note is that economic as well as ecological aspects must be taken into consideration when using renew-able energy sources.

Electricity as the backbone of the energy system

The newcomer to the 3-E strategy constitutes the third E: electrification. Accord-ing to ETH Zurich researchers, in future C02 poor electricity will establish itself as the backbone of a sustainable energy system. It is increasingly being used in heating and cooling buildings (with heat pumps, for example), and is expected to extend to individual mobility (moving, in the long run, from hybrid vehicles to fully electric cars).

A reorientation of the energy system, however, will not happen overnight. It is likely to take several decades. All the more reason that it is crucial that steps be taken today: infrastructure in industrialized countries (transmission network, power plants) needs to be renewed and in threshold countries, erected.

Innovative research at ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich conducts intensive research with a mind to finding new solutions and methods to face the CO2 problem. Professor Marco Mazzotti from the Insti-tute for Process Engineering is researching the possibilities of eliminating CO2 in fossil-fueled power stations and combining it with stable and solid substances. This so-called mineralization thus facilitates the permanent and secure storage of greenhouse gases. Power electronics are becoming increasingly smaller and more efficient: the research group headed by Professor Johann Kolar from the Power Electronic Systems Laboratory is devoted to developing such compo-nents that are deployed, for example, in hybrid vehicles. Efficient control of the drive system of such cars makes a significant contribution towards environmen-tally-friendly private transport.

Promising ETH Zurich research is also being carried out in the field of building systems engineering. The technology at our fingertips today would already en-able us to replace CO2-emitting heating and boiler systems with a combination of innovative wall insulation and heat pumps - with free renewable energy from the ground. This ingenious concept is also just the ticket for existing buildings. "We just need to get cracking", explains Professor HansJürg Leibundgut from the Institute for Building Systems. Within five to six years it should be possible to produce the necessary components on an industrial level so that for the price of a mid-range car, a four-room apartment can be refurbished, with the effect that practically all of the CO2 previously generated by heating and warm water can be prevented.

Renata Cosby | idw
Further information:
http://www.esc.ethz.ch/
http://www.cc.ethz.ch/media/picturelibrary/news/energiestrategie

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>