Switzerland plans to withdraw from the use of nuclear energy on a step-by-step basis and to focus on the use of renewable energy. Researchers from over 30 institutes at the ZHAW are working on interdisciplinary, application-oriented solutions to support the transition to sustainable energy sources.
Both companies and individuals are using more and more energy every year. At the same time, the resources we have used in the past are running out or they represent a big risk for our society. If we want to keep our current standard of living, we will have to quickly find new ways of covering our energy needs. But even with the best technologies, the energy turnaround will not succeed if the behaviour of both individuals and companies does not change. For this reason, answers to socio-economic questions are just as important as the development of new technologies.
At the ZHAW, researchers from the most varied disciplines are working hand in hand to find interconnected and sustainable solutions to the complex challenges of the energy turnaround. The ZHAW is on the way to becoming the leading Swiss university of applied sciences when it comes to energy research. The ZHAW is currently participating in energy research consortia supported by the Swiss government, and is also involved in two National Research Programmes (NRPs).
The ZHAW is on the way to becoming the leading Swiss university of applied sciences when it comes to energy research. The ZHAW is currently participating in four of the total of eight Swiss-wide energy research consortia, the National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs), and in two National Research Programmes (NRP 70 “Energy Turnaround” and NRP 71 “Managing Energy Consumption”).
There is a very diverse range of knowledge at the ZHAW. Researchers from over 30 institutes work hand in hand to find interconnected and sustainable solutions to the complex challenges of the energy turnaround.
A central element of research on the energy turnaround is the interdisciplinary approach. Precisely here, multidisciplinary universities like the ZHAW offer a great deal of potential. A short list of some current interdisciplinary research projects in which a number of Schools are involved is given below:
- Energy and building culture with two sub-projects on urban wind farming and the energy efficiency of outer wall construction (School of Architecture, Design and Civil Engineering, School of Life Sciences and Facility Management, and School of Engineering)
- Measuring energy discourse (School of Applied Linguistics and School of Engineering)
- Emergency Recognition through Energy Data ERED (School of Health Professions and School of Engineering)
- Governance of the energy turnaround in business, state and law (School of Management and Law and School of Engineering)
- Psychological energy research competence development (School of Applied Psychology, School of Life Sciences and Facility Management, School of Management and Law, and School of Engineering)
- Embedding the energy turnaround in society – a societal agenda with four levels of action (School of Social Work and School of Engineering)
The following list gives examples of studies which are taking place at the ZHAW and which are directly financed by the NCCRs:
- Study on drivers of and barriers to energy entrepreneurship (Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the School of Management and Law for SCCER CREST)
- Study on transition of energy regions (Institute of Sustainable Development at the School of Engineering, also for SCCER CREST)
- Study on the transformation of Switzerland towards sustainable mobility (Center for Energy and the Environment at the School of Engineering for SCCER MOBILITY)
- Grid study, with product development and a pilot installation in cooperation with two industrial partners, on the subject of voltage regulation in distribution grids, and a study on the development of the transmission grid necessary (Electrical Energy Technology and Smart Grids unit, financed by SCCER FURIES and industrial partners).
- Study on increasing efficiency in the fermentation of farmyard manure (Institute of Biotechnology am Departement Life Sciences and Facility Management for the SCCER BIOSWEET).