Energy Use
Energy Conversion
Energy Storage

Energy Use

The use of energy was hardly ever so tempting for achieving comfort and prosperity. On the other hand, the unlimited use of energy became a severe threat for sustainable development. It is one of the major challenges of our society to find a balance between energy needs and environmental impacts.  The most efficient use of energy and the substitution of fossil fuels by renewable energies are the most promising strategies for achieving this goal.

The following chart indicates the per capita development of Energy Usage [toe/a cap] compared to  the Gross National Product [US$/a cap] for select countries. The time series for the different countries start at different moments but last until 2007. The data points reflect the overall energy consumption [toe/a], the colours the regions of the world. This data has been pulled from the Worldbank online statistics on April 7, 2011. Here you can adapt the chart to your uses.

Optimised systems and processes are key elements for energy saving technolo-gies. The interdisciplinary know-how of Empa is a strategic strength for advanced engineering of such systems and processes that will contribute to achieving the goals of the 2000 Watt Society or the 1 to CO2 strategy.

Empa is focussing on two major sectors of energy use:

  • Energy use in buildings, new and existing
  • Energy use for mobility and transportation

We are convinced that only major improvements in energy efficiency and in the use of renewable energies can substantially contribute to solve the problem. The energy consumption of buildings should be close to zero and new buildings may even become net energy producers. Electric and low emission vehicles have to play a major role in future mobility. The main goals of Empa's Energy Use programme are:

  • Evaluation and dissemination of most efficient energy conservation strate-gies and technologies for existing buildings at reasonable costs
  • Development and demonstration of zero energy concepts for future build-ings, based on renewable energy supply
  • Investigation of new and improved technologies for conversion and storage of energy fulfilling future requirements in buildings
  • System integration of new materials and technologies for improved energy efficiency
  • Evaluation of robust buildings systems flexible for future needs and adaptable for climatic changes
  • Integration of renewable energy technologies, such as PV and solar hydrogen
  • Reliability assessment of rechargeable batteries and charging stations for electro vehicles and zero energy buildings
  • Evaluation of new mobility and transportation solutions e.g. e-scooter as low impact commuter vehicles and provide policy advice for accelerated market penetration

The focus is on decentralised energy systems in the range of mW to kW with po-tential for industrial application. Technically reliable and economically viable con-cepts are being identified and demonstrated in close collaboration with Empa’s materials research. Environmental aspects such as the life cycle emissions related to the technologies will be considered jointly with the Energy & Sustainability module and Empa’s RFA Natural Resources and Pollutants, NAREP.


Mark Zimmermann
Tel. +41 58 765 41 78


Rolf Widmer
Tel. +41 58 765 78 63

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