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 A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>