Press Release #15

Two Directors Take Over as Head of Fraunhofer ISE

10.7.2017

As of July 10, 2017 it is official: Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning and Dr. Andreas Bett will assume a dual leadership position as the new institute directors of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. Both have been at Fraunhofer ISE, the largest institute for solar energy research in Europe, for many years. The two scientists are internationally renowned throughout the world in their field and collectively hold expertise in the areas of photovoltaics, building energy technology and energy system analysis. Both Henning and Bett were division directors and formerly deputy institute directors of the institute. Now that the appointment procedure has been finalized, they can officially succeed Prof. Dr. Eicke R. Weber as the next institute directors of Fraunhofer ISE.

Two directors take over as head of Fraunhofer ISE
© Photo Fraunhofer ISE

Two directors take over as head of Fraunhofer ISE: As of July 10, 2017, Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning (right) and Dr. Andreas Bett (left) assume the directorship of the largest institute for solar energy research in Europe.

Effective as of July 10, 2017, Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning and Dr. Andreas Bett officially assume the directorship of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. Through their academic careers and past leader positions at Fraunhofer ISE, both have already played a large role in building up and establishing the scientific standing of the institute to date. Prof. Hans-Martin Henning’s focus is in the area of building energy technology as well as the system integration of renewable energies. Recently he was in charge of developing a simulation model for complex energy systems, which involved pioneering investigations on the path for Germany’s future energy supply. Dr. Andreas Bett has been working for many years in the area of concentrator photovoltaics and has been distinguished multiple times for his groundbreaking work in this field. The researchers in his division “Materials – Solar Cells and Technology” at Fraunhofer ISE are among the leading experts worldwide. With their multi-junction solar cells for use in concentrator photovoltaics, they achieved an efficiency of 46 percent, the highest world record reached to date for the conversion of solar energy into electricity.

Efficiency Increases and System Integration

Since 2009, both scientists served simultaneously as deputy institute directors and most lately as acting institute directors, organizing the R&D topics at Fraunhofer ISE within the context of the energy transformation. They will continue on this path together. “In the future, we will continue to make the transfer of R&D developments into industrial production our highest priority,” says Dr. Andreas Bett. “This includes maintaining our lead in the international race for record solar cell efficiencies. We intend to increase our competence in combining different cell concepts, as in tandem solar cells, and thus cross over into new boundaries.“ Beyond continuing dedicated research in our five business areas, the system integration of renewable energy will play an increasingly bigger role in Fraunhofer ISE’s research portfolio. “In the past years, we have successfully developed technologies for energy generation which convert solar radiation into electricity and heat. We are adhering to this strategy,” says Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning. “The transformation of our energy system is moving now into a new phase: A comprehensive integration of renewable energy at all system levels and within all end-use sectors is pertinent for its success. With this in mind, Fraunhofer ISE is consequently expanding its research activities to include all of the necessary technologies including digitization that will contribute to its success. At the same time, systemic issues are gaining ever more importance.” Besides system integration, these include sector coupling and related technologies, especially storage, hydrogen technologies, building energy technology, power electronics and also solar thermal energy.  

Research and Teaching

Founded in 1981, Fraunhofer ISE has around 1150 employees today. The institute concentrates on four research themes: energy efficiency, energy conversion, energy distribution and energy storage. It develops materials, components, systems and processes. In addition, Fraunhofer ISE has several accredited test centers and other service centers. “With its diverse range of core competence, Fraunhofer ISE is at the spearhead of energy research at Fraunhofer. The established institute also plays a central role as initiator and coordinator of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance,” explains Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. “We are pleased about the competent new dual leadership of Fraunhofer ISE and look forward to continuing the excellent cooperation with Prof. Henning and Dr. Bett.” In a joint selection procedure between the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the University of Freiburg, Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning was appointed as Institute Director and Executive Manager of Fraunhofer ISE as well as Professor at the Institute of Sustainable Systems Engineering (INATECH) within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Freiburg. Dr. Andreas Bett was appointed as Institute Director following a selection procedure of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. He will also assume teaching activities at INATECH. Prof. Gunter Neuhaus, Vice Rector of the University of Freiburg and Prorector of Research comments: “The cooperation between the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Freiburg and Fraunhofer, which has greatly increased recently, is becoming yet more enriched through the teaching activities of Prof. Henning and Dr. Bett at INATECH.”

About the New Institute Directors

Hans-Martin Henning received his doctoral degree in physics from the University of Oldenburg in 1993. Since 1994 he has been working at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg. In 1996 he became Group Leader of Thermal Systems and Components and in 2005 Department Head of Thermal Systems and Building Technology. Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning served as Deputy Director of Fraunhofer ISE since July 2009 and simultaneously as Division Director of Thermal Systems and Building Technology. Up to recently he was a Professor of Technical Energy Systems at the Faculty for Mechanical Engineering, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT. Since December 2016 he is the Spokesman for the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance.

Andreas Bett received his doctoral degree in physics from the University of Constance. Since 1986 he has been working at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. In 1993 he took over as Group Head of III-V Epitaxy and Solar Cells and in 2007 Division Director of Materials – Solar Cells and Technology. Dr. Andreas Bett also served as Deputy Director of Fraunhofer ISE since July 2009. For his research work he received the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize, the Becquerel Prize and the German Environmental Prize, among other distinctions.