Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Hoffschmidt has been one of two directors heading the newly founded 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 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. His doctoral thesis was entitled “A Comparative Evaluation of various Concepts of Volumetric Radiation Receivers“.
From 1999 to 2002 he headed the working group "Volumetric Receivers and Porous Materials" of the Solar Research Department of the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics. There he took over the management of the division "Application" in 2002.
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.
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.
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.
In 2016 Hoffschmidt founded the DLR spin-off companies Hoffschmidt Ventures GmbH and Heliokon GmbH. For the duration of their start-up phase he has taken over the management.