Vision: Our Group performs R & D on fuel cells and electrolysis, concentrating on solid oxide technology (600-800°C) to convert hydrocarbons (natural gas, biofuels) into electricity and heat (gas-to-cogeneration) and convert excess electricity and waste heat into fuel (power-to-gas).

© 2023 OST & EPFL

OST & EPFL increase efficiency for renewable energy conversion to 70%

— Like all major changes, the energy transition is complicated in detail. For example, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind already produce significantly cheaper electricity than nuclear power plants. So far, however, it is expensive to store this energy. Research teams around the world are therefore working on concepts for storing renewable energy as efficiently and cheaply as possible. Working together, two research teams at the Ostschweizer Fachhochschule (OST) and at the School of Engineering’s Group of Energy Materials (GEM) at EPFL Sion have now managed to increase the efficiency of a central process in the storage of renewable energy as synthetic fuels from 50% to 70%. An economically favorable, long-term storage of renewable energy is thus within reach.

© 2022 EPFL's School of Engineering/ Titouan Veuillet

Transforming concentrated solar light, heat and water into hydrogen

— Researchers at the Laboratory of Renewable Energy Science and Engineering (LRESE) and the Group of Energy Materials (GEM), at EPFL’s School of Engineering, have demonstrated a high-temperature electrolysis reactor transforming concentrated solar light and water into hydrogen. By using high temperatures (> 700°C), the reactor requires no rare and expensive materials for the electrochemical reaction. This integrated approach has the potential to reach solar-to-fuel efficiencies larger than that of conventional non-concentrated, solar-driven electrolysis approaches.

Yosua Hanria completed his Master’s project in a chemistry lab at EPFL’s Valais Wallis campus. © 2022 EPFL, Alain Herzog

Boosting biogas conversion with longer-lasting catalysts

— SUMMER SERIES – Master’s project (9). For his Master’s project, Yosua Hanria assessed the performance and lifespan of catalysts used to convert biogas into heat and electricity. His research will support the development of new, more efficient solid oxide fuel cells.

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Group of Energy Materials – GEMEPFL SCI-STI-JVH – GEM

Rue de l’industrie 17 – Case Postale 440

CH-1951 Sion

Tel: 41 (0) 21 695 8263

Modeling, testing and system optimization of SOFC fuel-cells and electro-ceramic membranes for high temperature oxygen separation. Fuel cells with biogas.

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