Running Projects

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Stable and Clean, High-Efficiency Diesel and Dual-Fuel combustion (SCHE-Dual)

The project is aiming at the further development of both diesel and dual-fuel engines towards higher efficiency and lower emissions. This requires a better understanding of the fundamental in-cylinder phenomena at the more challenging future conditions during fuel injection and combustion. In order to achieve this goal, this project builds upon, extends and further strengthens the well-established framework among the Combustion Research Laboratory at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI-CRL) and the Laboratory of Aerothermochemistry and Combustion Systems at ETH Zurich (ETHZ-LAV), who have acquired a lot of expertise on spray, ignition and combustion behavior both for smaller (passenger car) and larger (heavy-duty, marine) engine confi gurations. The activities within SCHEdual will therefore allow fi lling the gap between those extremes and to further extend the range of application and thus enhance the competences of the participating institutions.

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RENewable enERgies in future enerGy supply (RENERG2)

The RENERG2 project is based on the new Swiss energy strategy with a strong development in renewable electricity production, whereby not the energy production is in the focus but the chemical storage of fl uctuating renewable excess electricity and its use. Due to the temporal and spatial decoupling in production and use of renewable electricity, a significant part of the new renewable electricity production in summer ends up in excess electricity without storage. Simulations show, that the existing electricity storage capacity in Switzerland is too small for storing the whole excess electricity at an enhanced photovoltaics (PV) market development already in 2023, if no new storage systems are realized.

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Highly efficient and selective catalysts and CO2 sorbentsfor the electrochemical production of methanol from CO2 (CO2 to Methanol)

The objectives of this project are to capture/concentrate CO2 and to convert it to liquid hydrocarbon fuels through electrochemical processes. This project therefore involves the development of stable CO2 capture materials, the identifi cation of suitable electrocatalysts for selective conversion of CO2 to fuels and their development and a lab-scale demonstration of a set-up for combined CO2 sorption and conversion.

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Completed Projects

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OPTImization of the use of Wood As a Renewable Energy Source (OPTIWARES)

Wood combustion and other biomass combustion represent renewable energy sources, and means to reduce global CO2 emissions if the biomass stems from sustainable agriculture and forestry. OPTIWARES will i) improve the quantitative understanding of the impact of aerosols from wood combustion on air quality and climate and ii) develop improved strategies for encouraging the use of more appropriate wood combustion facilities.

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Current status and new concepts of gasoline vehicle emission control for organic metallic, and particulate non-legislative pollutants (GASOMEP)

In the next decades, we will be exposed to exhausts of gasoline direct injection (GDI) vehicles with yet unknown consequences. But we have the choice to equip these vehicles with catalytic filter technology or not. The GasOMeP project will investigate the emission characteristics of various GDI vehicles and evaluate the potential of gasoline particle fi lters (GPF) currently developed by our industrial partners.

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Photovoltaic Assisted Algae Production and Waste Water Treatment for Combined Heat and Power Generation and Storage (PAWaSto)

PAWaSto stands for «Photovoltaic Assisted Algae Production and Waste Water Treatment for Combined Heat and Power Generation and Storage». The objective of this project is to obtain data about the potential and effi ciency of microalgae generation and their non-catalytic hydrothermal gasification for heat and power generation and storage in Switzerland. Operation logistics of the algae production will be optimized and its potential for short-term use and generation of power on demand will be evaluated. New hybrid PV-algae-bioreactor (PV-ALG) technology using dye-sensitized solar cells developed at EPFL, as well as simultaneous waste water treatment will be considered.

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Formic acid - chemical storage of electrical energy and on-site hydrogen production for use in PEM fuel cells (Hy-Form)

The purpose of this research project is to develop a medium scale reactor for on-demand hydrogen generation from formic acid (FA) for use in a downstream fuel cell. In order to realize an efficiently functioning reactor and fuel cell couple, three independent but interrelated research areas are involved. The first concerns the design, prototyping and testing of a suitable reactor, which is carried out at EPFL.

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Solar assisted hydrothermal gasification process (SOLAR-HTG)

Hydrothermal gasification (HTG) is a relatively new technology that is able to convert wet biomass or wastewater in supercritical water into gas, clean water and salts. The main disadvantage of HTG is that it requires relatively large amount of heat at temperature above 500°C. This problem could be solved by supplying the heat required by HTG with an external renewable heat source. This project proposes to study the coupling of a solar thermal plant with a HTG plant in order to increase the HTG conversion efficiency and store the solar energy in the fuel produced.

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Bio-synthetic Natural Gas from Microalgae (SunCHem)

There is consensus that bio-energy is one of the most cost-effective options of substituting fossil fuels and reducing the net emissions of CO2. However, cultivating plants for energy use has recently been criticized because its production is competing with resources needed for the food production. Critical resources are a) valuable agricultural soils, b) fertilizers, such as phosphorus, and c) in some regions water for irrigation.

We propose a novel process based on (micro)algae cultivation using the conversion of the algal biomass through a catalytic hydrothermal gasification process (SunCHem process).

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Sustainable Hydrogen Technologies (HyTech)

The development of a sustainable energy economy, based not on limited fossil fuels, but on renewable, carbon neutral energy is a necessary and urgent task. Hydrogen (H2) is a leading candidate for the storage and transportation of energy provided, it can be efficiently produced from renewable energy sources and effectively stored in a safe and concentrated manner. The HyTech project is focused on the realization of breakthroughs and advancing innovative technologies in the field of sustainable hydrogen utilization.

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Solar thermochemical production of fuels from CO2 and H2O using ceria redox reactions (SOLAR FUELS)

This project is aimed at developing the science and technology required to efficiently produce liquid hydrocarbon fuels from H2O, CO2, and solar energy. In a parallel EU-project these results will be used to develop and optimize the solar reactor technology for producing syngas by simultaneously splitting H2O and CO2, and to further process the syngas to kerosene (jet fuel).

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Integrated Biomass – Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Cogeneration (WoodGas-SOFC 2)

This proposal follows up on the project WoodGas-SOFC (2007-2010), where the following tasks were accomplished: establishment of a system model of the whole process chain (wood gasification – gas cleaning units – reformer units – solid oxide fuel cell) evaluating different configurations; methodology of trace analysis of real wood gas; set-up of test rigs for catalysis and single cells for individual studies of contaminants; demo runs of SOFC stacks with real wood gas treated with a cyclone filter and a partial oxidation cracker (CPO). From these results and others emerging elsewhere in parallel (e.g. coal gas contaminant studies), it has become evident that the gas cleaning section requires an in depth investigation. This is the subject of the WoodGas-SOFC 2.

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Development of attrition resistant fluidised-bed methanation catalysts (ARRMATplus)

The aim of this proposal is to contribute to significant improvements in the methanation step within the production of Synthetic Natural Gas (SNG) from dry biomass, the “methane-from-wood” process which was already investigated within previous CCEM projects.

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Online Process Diagnostics for Operation Performance of a Biomass Gasification Process (SYNGAS DIAGNOSIS)

The technological objective of this project is the development of a diagnostic system that allows the monitoring of different process units within biomass gasification related plants, i.e. plants which produce and/or use producer gas from biomass gasification for synthesis of fuels or for electricity production.

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Attrition Resistant Reactive Bed Materials in Fluidised Beds (ARRMAT)

The ARRMAT project deals with the manufacturing of attrition resistant reactive bed materials (ARRMAT) with desired properties for the application in fluidised-beds, with the experimental testing of these materials to identify optimal operation conditions as well as with the in situ investigation of such materials to derive from such investigations design rules for improved bed materials. The aim of the project is to contribute to significant improvements along the process chain in the production of Synthetic Natural Gas (SNG) from dry biomass, the «SNG-from-wood» process which is already investigated within the CCEM project «2nd generation Biogas».

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New Pathways to Efficient Use of Biomass for Power and Transportation (2ndGenerationBiogas)

Two main goals have been set for the project:
  • Demonstrate the technical feasibility of new highly efficient process paths to pipeline-grade methane from a very broad range of biomass (wood, solid agricultural residues, manure, sludges etc).
  • Assess the impact of such technologies in the complex environment of biomass resources, enduses and environmental performance, with the ultimate goal to draw a roadmap towards clean and eco-efficient use of biomass in Switzerland in 2030.

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Integrated Biomass – Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Cogeneration (WoodGas-SOFC)

The strategic goal of this project is to prove the techno-economical feasibility of wood gas as representative case of a (renewable) fuel obtained by gasification fed to a temperature-compatible, emerging Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system like the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC), and identify optimal scales of such integrated systems. The aim of the project is the development of competence (understanding) and technologies (methods, tools).

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