Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Hoffschmidt has been one of two directors heading the Institute of Solar Research since June 2011. His research focuses on solar thermal power stations, energy flux in porous materials, and the energy efficiency of buildings.
Hoffschmidt was born in 1964 in Cologne. He read Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen and received a degree as Diplomingenieur in 1992. In the same year he began his career as a DLR solar research scientist. In 1996 he received his PhD from RWTH Aachen. His doctoral thesis was entitled “A Comparative Evaluation of various Concepts of Volumetric Radiation Receivers“.
From 1999 until 2002 he led a working group on “Volumetric Receivers and High-Porosity Materials“ at the Department of Solar Research of the DLR Institute of Technical Thermodynamics. Here, in 2002, he took over as head of the Solar Thermal Technology division and the Applications subdivision.
In the period from 2004 until 2009 he set up and headed the project development division within DLR’s solar thermal pilot power plant at Jülich. The first of its kind world-wide, the power plant is based on a number of Hoffschmidt‘s and DLR’s inventions. In 2010 Hoffschmidt took over as head of the Solar Research Division of the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics in Stuttgart and was appointed as co-director of the newly-established Institute of Solar Research in Cologne in 2011.
Since 2003 Hoffschmidt has been a professor for Energy Technology at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences, as well as serving on the executive board of Solar-Institut Jülich (SIJ). In 2008, SIJ successfully spun off a company called IATech GmbH, headed by Hoffschmidt as its Managing Director. In May 2013, RWTH Aachen appointed Hoffschmidt as Professor for Solar Components.
Together with Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Robert Pitz-Paal, Hoffschmidt co-chairs the Working Group on Solar Thermal Power Stations of the North-Rhine Westphalian Power Station Technology Competence Network. Federal agencies, the state of NRW and many industrial firms rely on his counsel on matters of conventional and solar power generating technology.
His particular passion is to develop new components and systems for solar thermal power plants. 40 of his inventions have been patented, and 15 of them have been licensed out to companies and are now running as industrial applications.