Chemical Energy Converters

This Capacity Area focuses on the transfer from fossil to renewable fuel operated combustion engines and fuel cell technologies with increased efficiency for passenger cars, busses, light and heavy duty trucks.

On the internal combustion engine side this translates into significant reductions of CO2 emissions and energy demand. Demonstration of hybridization concepts for renewable fuel operated internal combustion engine powertrains as well as the utilization and integration of fluctuating renewable excess electricity based fuels.

Fuel cell research concentrates on hydrogen from fluctuating renewables. Hydrogen fed fuel cells are a high-ly efficient drivetrain technology (>50% real life cycle). Further technological innovation is needed for the commercial breakthrough of fuel cell technology in individual mobility, e.g. the development of a novel concept of thermo-neutral fuel cell operation thus promoting the marketability of fuel cell vehicles by simplification of the overall system.


Christian Bach
Head Internal Combustion Engines Laboratory at Empa
058 765 41 37

Internal Combustion Engines Laboratory, ICEL
Christian Bach, Coordinator

Paul Scherrer Institute PSI
Electrochemistry Laboratory, LEC
Fuel Cell Systems and Diagnostics
Dr. Felix Büchi, Deputy Coordinator

ETH Zürich
Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, IDSC
Prof. Dr. Christopher Onder

ETH Zürich
Aerothermochemistry and Combustion Systems Laboratory, LAV
Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Boulouchos

Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW
Institut für Thermo- und Fluid-Engineering, ITFE
Prof. Dr. Kai Herrmann

Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften ZHAW
Institute of Computational Physics, ICP
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Schumacher


Paul Scherrer Institute PSI (phase I, 2014-2016)
Combustion Research Laboratory, CRL
PD Dr. Ioannis Mantzaras

D1-A2.1      Two phase flow thermal LB model developed for Material characterization (Dec 2014)

D2-A2.1      Proof of concept of thermoneutral operation is demonstrated (Dec 2016)

D1-A2.2.1   Proof of concept of spark-ignition spectroscopy in test rig. Identification of basic mechanisms for ignition,
                  combustion and emissions. Task A2.2.1 (Dec 2014)

D1-A2.2.2   Control investigations for best input-output behavior with respect to achieving a quick and robust light off of the
                  exhaust after treatment system. Task A2.2.2 (Dec 2014)

D1-A2.2.3   Evaluation of 2-3 most promising combustion process concepts, including a detailed TRL- and development
                  demand. Task A2.2.3 (Dec 2014)

D2-A2.2.1   Validation of predictions for combustion system behavior on the basis of targeted experiments in the dedicated
                  test-rigs, Task A2.2.1 (Dec 2015).

D2-A2.2.2   Demonstration of prototype technologies (e.g., fully variable gas-exchange valve train, pilot-injection
                  combustion concept, thermoelectric converter) at least on a TRL 3-5, Task A2.2.2 (Dec 2015).

D3-A2.2.3   Proof-of-concept demonstration of highly-efficient minimal emission in prototype engine for each of the fuels
                 considered above (e.g., for a passenger car and a truck engine), Tasks A2.2.1-3 (Dec 2016).

to follow soon