The programme is divided into two sections – technologies and applications – with the following areas of focus.
- Conversion of heat into electricity: Switzerland is a front-runner In the field of thermoelectric material research. The programme aims to produce models for innovative applications in this field, and examine their feasibility. Another objective here is to increase the thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT), which defines the degree of efficiency, from the present-day ZT=1 to ZT=2 through the use of new materials.
- High-temperature superconductivity (HTSC): The theoretical savings potential with this technology is equivalent to approximately 1 to 3 percent of the level of electricity consumption. Progress is being made with the development of conductors. It is now essential to record the findings obtained to date, and to push ahead with materials research in order to be able to participate in the breakthrough in the development of conductor technology.
- Efficient compressed-air storage: Efficient energy storage is required for mobile applications and for stochastic electricity production from renewable energy sources. For compressed-air storage, theoretical calculations indicate a cycle efficiency of up to 70 percent. Research into the practical feasibility of an innovative isothermal storage concept using functional models is therefore being strategically pursued, though here the involvement of an industry partner is an absolute prerequisite.
Scope of application
- Efficient drives and motors: Research into efficient motors and drive systems in order to utilise the savings potential of 20 to 25 percent (approx. 5,000 GWh) of electricity consumption in this area. The savings potential of integral permanent magnet motors alone is around 75 GWh p.a., and with a new type of stepping motor this figure is estimated at 100 GWh.
- Information and communication technology: Technological fundamentals for increasing the efficiency of various communication devices. Technical analysis and studies of an efficient cooling system for computer centres, servers, VDSL modems, set-top boxes, etc., as the basis for identifying measures for increasing the degree of efficiency.
- Appliances: Innovative technological concepts for reducing the level of consumption of household appliances such as tumble dryers, refrigerators, mini-bars, etc., in standby mode and during operation, with the involvement of industry players. Technological fundamentals for efficient automation systems in private households.