The main objectives of energy research in Switzerland are to guarantee a secure and sustainable energy supply, reinforce Switzerland's position as a centre of technological research and development, and maintain the high quality of Swiss research. Publicly funded energy research is carried out in line with the federal government energy research concept, which is updated every four years by the Swiss Federal Energy Research Commission (CORE). Based on this concept the following research priorities can be specified categorized according to the 4 thematic pillars of the federal plan:
The Biomass and Wood Energy research programmes participate actively in this priority field by implementing innovative technology to provide the energy required in buildings. Use of renewable energy carriers is an effective measure to reduce CO2 emissions whereby appropriate integration of such energy carriers is crucial. In concrete terms the focus of the programmes is on new types of furnaces with modern methods of control as well as combinations of other types of technology and applications.
The main focus in this field is on finding substitutes for fossil fuels, for example by providing second generation fuels. To replace fossil fuels with biogenic fuels requires study of the entire supply chain from production through to implementation (infrastructure, adaptation and optimization of drive systems, etc.). Synergy effects have been achieved in cooperation with the Combustion research programme.
The third pillar in the federal energy research concept is the main priority for the Biomass and Wood Energy research programmes. Here the emphasis is on substitution of fossil energy carriers. Biomass is key in this context because it can make a contribution to the provision of electricity, heat and fuel (in centralized or decentralized systems). The general aim is improve the market competitiveness of combustion, gasification and fermentation systems that rely on biomass.
This further priority in the 2013-2016 federal energy research concept focuses on reducing energy consumption and consumption of raw materials in industrial processes. Here too, biomass can be used to substitute fossil energy sources. The Process Engineering research programme is also consulted depending on the questions that arise. Further, biomass can also play a significant role in future biorefinery concepts, which use biomass in industrial plants to create products and energy.