Today’s global energy system, which is mainly based on the use of fossil fuel resources, is not sustainable for a growing world population that is living in increasing prosperity. Energy research at ETH Zurich is therefore geared towards the aim of creating a 1-ton CO2 society.
For Switzerland, this means that domestic CO2 emissions, which currently amount to nearly six metric tons per person every year, must be cut to one ton by the year 2100. This ambitious target is to be achieved through energy efficiency, renewable energies and electrification.
Under the auspices of the Energy Science Center, researchers in engineering, natural and social sciences are working together to develop innovative solutions. Firstly, they are trying to find ways of making the energy from wind, sun, biogenic and synthetic fuels and geothermal heat more usable. Secondly, they are developing technologies and business models to optimise the storage and distribution of electricity while also striving for more efficient use of energy, especially in buildings and means of transport. ETH Zurich runs beacon and pilot projects of this kind on its own campus. For example, on the Hönggerberg campus it has introduced an entirely new energy supply network which in 2012 won a prize from the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN).