Since June 2011, Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Hoffschmidt leads the Institute of Solar Research together with Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Robert Pitz-Paal. His research focuses on solar thermal power stations, energy flux in porous materials, and the energy efficiency of buildings.
He is also acting director of the DLR Institute of the Protection of Terrestial Infrastructures in Sankt Augustin since January 2019.
Besides that he is also the managing director of the Brainergy Park Jülich GmbH, a project corporation of the municipalities Juelich, Titz and Niederzier. The company is pursuing the development of a new business park in Juelich, which aims to transfer technology from the region's research facilities into local value creation. The operators want to realise an almost 100 percent CO2-free energy supply of the park.
Hoffschmidt was born in 1964 in Cologne. He studiedmechanical engineering at RWTH Aachen and completed his studies in 1992 as a graduate engineer. In the same year he began his career as a DLR solar research scientist. In 1996 he received his PhD from RWTH Aachen.
In the period from 2004 until 2009 he set up and headed the project development division within DLR’s solar thermal pilot power plant in 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 he took over the co-direction of the Department of Solar Research at the Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics in Stuttgart, from which the Institute for Solar Research was founded in 2011.
Bernhard Hoffschmidt was Professor of Energy Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Aachen from 2003 to 2013 and until 2014 Managing Director of the Solar Institute Jülich (SIJ). In 2008, SIJ successfully spun off a company called IATech GmbH, headed by Hoffschmidt as its Managing Director until 2015.
In May 2013, the 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. About 50 of his inventions have been patented, and 15 of them have been licensed out to companies and are now running as industrial applications.
In 2016, Hoffschmidt founded the DLR spin-off companies Hoffschmidt Ventures GmbH and Heliokon GmbH. Until May 2020 he was the managing director of Heliokon GmbH and he leads the company builder Hoffschmidt Ventures GmbH until today. Since 2016 Hoffschmidt Ventures has been building up four more companies, among them the DLR-startup Lumoview GmbH.