Introducing ETH Zürich
The university for science and technology dates back to the year 1855, when the founders of modern-day Switzerland created it to be a centre of innovation and knowledge. ETH Zürich performs many services for the Swiss federal government and uses its expertise to make important contributions to public debate.
At ETH Zürich, researchers discover a climate that inspires top performance, and creates an ideal environment for independent thinking for more than 21,000 students (of which, more than one third are from abroad and one third are female). Situated in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, ETH Zürich is pioneering effective solutions to the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
ETH Zürich regularly features in international rankings as one of the best universities in the world and the leading university in continental Europe.
Twenty years of CO2 management research
Energy, climate, food, future cities and the handling of complex risks are all topics of global importance in which ETH Zurich has established itself as an international centre of excellence. Most ETH departments and a growing number of competence centres are researching and creating solutions to ensure the sustainable development of our society.
Research on CO2 management solutions has been part of these efforts for at least twenty years, with contributions from a broad spectrum of disciplines from climate science, to engineering sciences, and to social sciences.
How ETH Zürich works with CCS
Today, at ETH there is a critical mass of interdisciplinary activities on CO2 management solutions, not only within the groups that contribute to ACCSESS, but also among earth, environmental and social scientists. ETH researchers are active in national and international projects, foster interdisciplinary collaborations, and position themselves as trusted advisors for public institutions. Their work has been recognized by international awards and has led to pioneering startups in the space of climate change mitigation, e.g. Climeworks, neustark and Synhelion.
ETH is currently leading a pilot project to demonstrate and upscale CO2 management solutions for a net-zero Switzerland based on CO2 capture, transport, utilization and storage in building materials and underground geological reservoirs.
Our contribution to ACCSESS
Four ETH research groups contribute to ACCSESS with their core expertise and knowledge:
The Sustainability in Business Lab (sus.lab) brings sustainability research into practice through highly collaborative project work with companies and other organisations, building on more than 15 years of research on sustainability technology, policy and management in the group of Volker Hoffmann. Sus.lab`s mission is to drive the transition towards a net-zero and circular economy in collaboration with industry, policy makers and academia.
In ACCSESS, sus.lab will design and develop governance and ownership options for CO2 transport networks, as well as funding mechanisms for such networks at trans-national, national, and regional levels (WP10).
The Energy and Process Systems Engineering (EPSE) Group was established by André Bardow in April 2020, and it develops sustainable energy systems and chemical production processes. The EPSE group works on theoretical and experimental thermodynamic methods for understanding fundamental phenomena as the basis of model-based approaches to upscaling novel technologies to the industrial scale and to their integration into future societies. In particular, the EPSE group focuses on carbon management using renewable carbon sources and carbon storage in combination with Power-to-X.
In ACCSESS, EPSE will assess the environmental and societal impacts of CCUS chains and clusters using state-of-the-art Life Cycle Assessment methods (WP9 and WP10).
The Reliability and Risk Engineering (RRE) laboratory is headed by Giovanni Sansavini. Its research aims to identify and mitigate systemic risks in interdependent critical infrastructure networks by quantitatively defining reliability, resilience, and risk within these systems. The RRE lab focus on engineered complex systems such as energy, communication and transport networks, which provide crucial services to our society. Through modeling, they strive to inform policy makers in the transition to resilient, fair and sustainable energy and critical infrastructure systems.
In ACCSESS, RRE will characterize the resilience and reliability of CCUS chains and clusters to design and develop chains able to guarantee an acceptable level of service in the face of faults and challenges to normal operation (WP9 and WP10). Furthermore, RRE is leading ETH’s efforts to develop an open-source tool for the design of CCUS chains in collaboration with SINTEF.
The Separation Processes Laboratory (SPL) was founded 25 years ago at ETH by Marco Mazzotti.
Educating future scientists and engineers, trained in the fundamentals of chemical and process engineering, and driven by the willingness to address with their talents the key challenges of our society, namely climate, environment, energy, health: this is the vision and mission of the SPL. This is achieved through cutting edge research, passionate learning, and ambitious collaborative projects on carbon dioxide systems and on crystallization.
In ACCSESS, SPL will contribute to the evaluation and blueprint of the ACCSESS’ four Pioneering CCUS Chains, linking CO2 sources in inland Europe and the Baltics to the North Sea (WP9) as well as to the design of a European CCUS infrastructure through a dedicated open-source tool (WP10). Together with sus.lab, SPL will assess the relevant regulatory frameworks governing the activities along the CCUS chains and will suggest potential solutions to identified gaps (WP9).
Marco Mazzotti coordinates SP3 on CCUS chains and clusters, and Viola Becattini is responsible for WP9 (Pioneering CCUS chains).
Furthermore, SPL will deliver detailed models of the carbonation process of demolition concrete fines and will optimize the process to evaluate its scale-up potential towards commercial deployment (WP6). Finally, SPL will assess the optimal integration of Waste-to-Energy plants equipped with CO2 capture into a city’s energy system (WP7).
Marco Mazzotti, Professor
Viola Becattini, Senior Scientist