Professor Hans-Martin Henning and Dr Andreas Bett have assumed a dual leadership role as the new directors of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany, succeeding professor Eicke R. Weber.
Both have been at Fraunhofer ISE for many years (including as division directors and deputy institute directors). The two are said to be renowned worldwide in their field and collectively hold expertise in photovoltaics, building energy technology and energy system analysis.
Picture: Professor Hans-Martin Henning (right) and Dr Andreas Bett (left), now directors of Fraunhofer ISE.
Henning received his doctoral degree in physics from the University of Oldenburg in 1993, and has been working at Fraunhofer ISE since 1994. In 1996 he became group leader of Thermal Systems and Components and in 2005 department head of Thermal Systems and Building Technology. Henning has served as deputy director since July 2009 and simultaneously as division director of Thermal Systems and Building Technology. Until recently he was professor of Technical Energy Systems at the Faculty for Mechanical Engineering, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). He has been the spokesman for the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance since last December.
Bett received his doctoral degree in physics from the University of Constance, and has been working at Fraunhofer ISE since 1986. 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. Bett has also served as deputy director since July 2009. For his research work he has received the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize, the Becquerel Prize and the German Environmental Prize, among other distinctions.
Through their academic careers and past leader positions at Fraunhofer ISE, both Henning and Bett have already played a large role in building up and establishing the scientific standing of the institute.
Henning’s focus is in 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.
Bett has worked for many years in concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) and has been distinguished multiple times for his work in this field. With its multi-junction solar cells for use in CPV, the ‘Materials – Solar Cells and Technology’ division has achieved record solar energy conversion efficiency of 46%.
Efficiency increases and system integration
Since 2009, both scientists served simultaneously as deputy institute directors and most recently as acting institute directors, organizing the R&D topics at Fraunhofer ISE within the context of energy transformation. “We will continue to make the transfer of R&D developments into industrial production our highest priority,” says 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 the institute’s five business areas, the system integration of renewable energy will play an increasing 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,” says 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,” he adds. “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
In a joint selection procedure between the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the University of Freiburg, Henning was appointed as institute director & executive manager of Fraunhofer ISE as well as professor at the Institute of Sustainable Systems Engineering (INATECH) in the University of Freiburg’s Faculty of Engineering. Bett was appointed as institute director following a selection procedure of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. He will also assume teaching activities at INATECH. “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 Henning and Bett at INATECH,” says professor Gunter Neuhaus, vice rector of the University of Freiburg and prorector of research.