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Welcome to the Fuel cells research programme of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE)
Fuel cells convert the energy stored in chemical energy carriers directly into electricity. For this purpose a gaseous fuel (hydrogen or hydrocarbons) and an oxidation agent (oxygen or air) are added. The most notable features of fuel cells are a high degree of efficiency and low pollutant emissions. If pure hydrogen is used as fuel, the only reaction product is water. Other advantages include low noise levels, the absence of moving components, and the supply of both electricity and heat. The main obstacles that prevent the comprehensive use of this technology are the high costs, the relatively short service life of fuel cells and the often complex supply and storage of the gas to be used as fuel.
In Switzerland, fuel cell technology has been the subject of research for several decades. As a consequence, Switzerland is among the world leaders in terms of expertise in research and development, both at the Federal Institutes of Technology, universities and colleges of technology, as well as in small and medium-sized companies. The research currently being carried out here is to a large extent integrated into international projects. The SFOE's Fuel cells research programme sets out to co-ordinate national and international activities, as well as co-operation between universities, colleges of technology and industry. The available funding is used in addition to the other resources provided by the government and the private sector.