Powering ahead!

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This is the kind of innovative thinking that will determine the success of the e

This is the kind of innovative thinking that will determine the success of the energy transition. Illustration: Benedikt Rugar

Five ETH spin-offs are displaying the kind of innovative thinking that will determine the success of the energy transition.

Optimum energy concept

Should you go for geothermal technology, a wood-fired boiler or solar panels on the roof? When it comes to choosing the best type of system for your heating and energy needs, external page Sustainable System Solutions is on hand to help. This ETH spin-off uses special software to model the performance of specific energy systems and enhance their individual elements. The software takes into account not only the technical and environmental factors, but also financial and legal aspects, thereby delivering the optimum energy concept for family homes, industrial buildings or entire neighbourhoods.

Sunny prospects

Charge up on solar power and drive away emissions-free, propelled by the pure ’energy of the sun - a dream come true for electric-vehicle drivers, thanks to an ETH spin-off! external page Evtec develops charging and battery-storage systems that will also operate in tandem with photovoltaic installations. Evtec chargers are already in action at a range of filling stations as well as in private households.

Shorter showers

There’s nothing nicer than a long, hot shower - were it not for the water and energy it consumes. A new shower head from ETH spin-off external page Amphiro can help train new habits: a digital display on the back shows real-time water use and temperature, while an LED traffic-light system rates your individual consumption. While showering, five polar bear symbols disappear one by one, thereby alerting users to their use of energy. Afterwards, total consumption of water and energy is calculated. The Amphiro shower head is powered by an integrated hydrogenerator and does not require batteries.

Body heat

Why not use body heat as a source of energy? That’s the idea being championed by ETH spin-off external page Mithras. The company makes thermoelectric generators that can convert body heat into electrical energy around the clock. When integrated in consumer wearables such as fitness trackers, smartwatches or smart clothing - and placed in direct contact with the skin - these mini-generators can extend battery life or even make low-power devices completely energy self-sufficient.

Community power

More and more households are using photovoltaics to produce their own power. Naturally, there are times when these private producers generate more electricity than they can consume. ETH spin-off external page Exnaton has now developed an energy-sharing platform to help them market this excess power. Households team up in so-called energy communities to trade their electricity on a regional basis at spot prices. Large power plants can also use the platform to purchase power from private producers.

This text appeared in the 22/02 issue of the ETH magazine Globe.

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