A new circular business model for the production optimization

The research project CircuBAT aims to create a circular business model for the production, application and recycling of lithium-ion batteries used for mobility purposes. Seven Swiss research institutions and 24 companies are joining forces to look for ways to boost sustainability in all stages of a battery’s life cycle. The project is part of the Read more about A new circular business model for the production optimization[…]

Using quantum physics to generate electricity

Machines and electronic devices often generate waste heat that is difficult to utilize. If electricity could be generated from this waste heat, it would offer a means for a clean and sustainable power production: Such a technology would be ideally suited for low-power electronics applications such as wearables or low-cost Internet-of-Things devices. This includes, for Read more about Using quantum physics to generate electricity[…]

Traffic jam analyzed by AI

How much does a country’s vehicle fleet consume on average? How does it change from year to year? With the increasing number of electric vehicles and more and more “crossover” models that can hardly be assigned to one vehicle segment, analysis is becoming increasingly difficult. Empa researchers analyze databases using deep learning methods – and Read more about Traffic jam analyzed by AI[…]

Electricity from wooden floors

Researchers at Empa and ETH Zurich have made wood compressible and turned it into a micro-generator. When it is loaded, an electrical voltage is generated. In this way, the wood can serve as a bio-sensor – or generate usable energy. The latest highlight: To ensure that the process does not require aggressive chemicals, naturally occurring Read more about Electricity from wooden floors[…]

Unmanned Aerial Sensor Placement for Cluttered Environments

A team of researchers from Empa and Imperial College London developed drones that can attach sensors to trees to monitor environmental and ecological changes in forests. Sensors for forest monitoring are already used to track changes in temperature, humidity and light, as well as the movements of animals and insects through their habitats. They also Read more about Unmanned Aerial Sensor Placement for Cluttered Environments[…]

Ready-to-wear solar cells

Our hunger for energy is insatiable, it even continues to rise with the increasing supply of new electronic gadgets. What’s more, we are almost always on the move and thus permanently dependent on a power supply to recharge our smartphones, tablets and laptops. In the future, power sockets (at least for this purpose) could possibly Read more about Ready-to-wear solar cells[…]

Efficient thin-film batteries in the near future

Empa researchers have achieved a milestone in the search for a solid electrolyte, the conductive medium for future solid-state batteries. On the one hand, this material must be highly conductive for lithium ions, and on the other hand manufacturing costs should be as low as possible. Ultra-thin layers of a special ceramic (chemically speaking, Li7La3Zr2O12) Read more about Efficient thin-film batteries in the near future[…]

BATTERY 2030+ an initiative for battery research

The European research initiative BATTERY 2030+ is now getting going. The ambition is to make Europe the world leader in the development and production of the batteries of the future. These batteries need to store more energy, have a longer lifetime, and be safer and more environmentally friendly than today’s batteries in order to facilitate Read more about BATTERY 2030+ an initiative for battery research[…]

What happens if an electric car burns in a road tunnel or an underground car park?

How dangerous are burning electric cars? In the Hagerbach test tunnel in Switzerland, Empa researchers and tunnel safety expert Lars Derek Mellert set fire to battery cells of electric cars, analyzed the distribution of soot and smoke gases and the chemical residues in the extinguishing water. There’ s a loud bang, and then it starts: Read more about What happens if an electric car burns in a road tunnel or an underground car park?[…]

Protection against electromagnetic interference

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight. Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic components Read more about Protection against electromagnetic interference[…]

Artificial Intelligence brings real-time monitoring of the weld quality

Laser welding is a process suitable for joining metals and thermoplastics. It has become particularly well established in highly automated production, for example in the automotive industry, because a laser operates with virtually no wear, is very fast and offers high precision. But until now, the quality of a weld seam could only be documented Read more about Artificial Intelligence brings real-time monitoring of the weld quality[…]

The smallest motor in the world

A research team from Empa and EPFL has developed a molecular motor which consists of only 16 atoms and rotates reliably in one direction. It could allow energy harvesting at the atomic level. The special feature of the motor is that it moves exactly at the boundary between classical motion and quantum tunneling – and Read more about The smallest motor in the world[…]