Within the framework of the ETH Domain’s strategic area of focus «Energy», Eawag investigates the environmental impacts of energy production, the acceptance of alternative energy supply, the potential for energy savings and energy production from wastewater.
Impacts of energy production on water bodies
The use of our water bodies for hydropower or for heating and cooling influences a river’s bed load and sediment regime as well as its aquatic organisms. Eawag researchers study the environmental impacts of energy production and are actively engaged in consulting, for example concerning nuclear energy or methane extraction from lakes.
An ecological longterm study of the Spöl River, Swiss National Park, to experimental high flows since 1999, including redd counts of brown trout, macroinvertebrates, periphyton and water physico-chemistry at periodic times during each year.
How does such compromised bed-load transport affect fish in terms of their feeding and habitat? And what measures can be taken to restore a river's bed-load regime?
The renaturing platform that was set up in the summer of 2014 serves to promote the low-threshold exchange of experi- ence and knowledge between key players in a variety of specialist fields and institutions.
Watercourses are among earth's most biodiverse ecosystems. However, they are also under severe pressure from construction work and hydropower generation, among other things.
Small hydropower plants may affect river ecosystems in various ways due to changes in flow regimes and blocking of movement of aquatic organisms
More projects involving Eawag researchers
Wasser-Agenda 21 (website in German and French) Dialogue platform of the Swiss water management dealing, among other things, with hydropower use and hydro-peaking.
Lakes store large amounts of heat. To what extent can this heat be used to replace the use of fossil fuels or electricity for heating and cooling purposes?
The intricacies of Lake Kivu and of the methane stored in its deep waters could easily keep an entire research institute busy. Our research aims at creating the knowledge needed to support a sustainable and safe exploitation of the methane resource.
Environmental social sciences mainly address the social impacts of the energy transition such as the acceptance of hydropower or of alternative energy supply.
This project aims at providing a better insight into the public preferences of the Swiss population for the suggested hydropower expansion.
Policy change towards renewable energy
Coalitions and actor strategies with respect to the issue of hydraulic fracturing in Switzerland and the UK.
Saving and producing energy
Nutrient recovery, e.g. nitrogen and phosphorus from urine, saves a lot of energy because less artificial fertiliser has to be synthesised by an energy-intensive process. Not only nutrients can be recovered from wastewater, but also heat and other forms of energy. Therefore, future wastewater treatment plants may act as power plants.
Sustainable urban water and wastewater management applied and implemented in the modular NEST building.
We develop reactors for the separate treatment of urine, feces and water directly in the toilet.
By recovering nutrients from urine, we develop a sanitation system, which produces a valuable fertiliser