EPFL unveils its new Alpole building on the Energypolis campusTuesday 20 December 2022
The new Alpole building houses the Alpine and Polar Environmental Research Center. | © Olivier Maire
On the Energypolis campus in Sion, the EPFL has unveiled its new Alpole building, which will serve as a research center on alpine and polar environments.
On 19 December 2022, the tenth anniversary of the agreement to establish the EPFL Valais Wallis campus in Sion was celebrated with the opening of the new Alpole building. Located on the Energypolis campus, Alpole will be home to researchers studying Alpine and polar environments.
Energypolis is home to EPFL Valais Wallis, HES-SO Valais/Wallis and the Ark Foundation. With the opening of Alpole as part of the second phase of EPFL’s expansion into the canton of Valais, the park has now reached a new milestone in its growth strategy. Christophe Darbellay, head of the Valais Department of the Economy and Education, commented: “Thanks to Alpole, our canton is set to become a hub for R&D on new technology to meet the challenge of climate change.”
In addition to the opening of the Alpole building, EPFL also announced its plans for a new research center in Sion. EPFL President Martin Vetterli stated that one of the organization's priorities is to utilize its expertise to address climate change, and the new R&D center in Sion will focus on the development of systems for producing, storing, and distributing clean energy to support the goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.
The research center will supplement and enhance the climate change studies conducted at Alpole, and will be equipped with four new EPFL Valais Wallis research chairs when it opens.
An ideal testing ground with over 150 experts
Alpole is a new research facility that will focus on the study of how global warming is affecting sensitive ecosystems in high altitudes and latitudes. The Valais Alps, located in the region, provide an ideal testing ground for this research.
Funding for the building was provided by the canton of Valais and the city of Sion, totaling CHF 410 million for the entire Energypolis campus, with CHF 58.55 million specifically allocated for Alpole. The facility will house eight EPFL research chairs and 150-180 experts, as well as support the Swiss Polar Institute and researchers from the Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy.