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 Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>