Putting innovation into industry
The mission of the applied technology research organisation Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) is to support Swiss industry in developing innovations.
A public-private partnership focused on technological innovation, CSEM helps Swiss industry design and develop new devices and products. As the linchpin connecting expertise in technological research with the demands of the market, the Centre makes its laboratories, facilities and expertise available to businesses to help them bring their innovative projects to fruition. Established 35 years ago, CSEM is active mainly in energy infrastructure projects, particularly in the photovoltaic sector, since sustainable development is one of its chief areas of interest. Operating both within Switzerland and internationally, CSEM also promotes the export of Switzerland’s talent for industrial innovation.
Solar energy expertise
Collaborating closely with the industry players that draw on its expertise and facilities, CSEM focuses its solar energy work on research in advanced energy efficiency and efforts to make products attractive so that they blend in with their surroundings. When it comes to energy efficiency of solar solutions, the Centre has developed some of the most advanced semiconductors on the market, such as crystalline and multijunction photovoltaic cells. “We worked closely with Solaxess to help the company develop its famous white photovoltaic panels,” says Bahaa Roustom, a research scientist and deputy director of marketing and sales development at CSEM. Applied as structural components in buildings, they have proved popular with a large number of property developers because this technology makes it possible to incorporate solar infrastructures into building façades, making them usable on a larger scale.
The organisation’s latest developments include an ingenious photovoltaic cell that makes use of the ambient light inside a room. This device can be incorporated into connected objects such as watches and cameras, eliminating the need for their own power source.
Another major part of CSEM’s remit is energy systems and digitalisation. In this sector, the Centre is working on smart grid technology, looking at incorporating decentralised sustainable energy infrastructures while improving electricity storage solutions and smoothing out the production-consumption curve. In this area, the Centre has mainly been working with Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH). The resulting synergy has led to the opening of the Energy Storage Research Center (ESReC), which is investigating various storage technologies and developing smart-grid management algorithms.
Urban solutions & energy systems