The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) has appointed Prof. Dr. Markus Hölzle to its Board of Directors. The 54-year-old executive has headed up the Electrochemical Energy Technologies Division at the Ulm location since October 1, 2020. Before joining the ZSW, he was Global Director Battery Materials Development at BASF. His new position at the ZSW is associated with a professorship for Eelectrochemical Energy Storage and Energy Conversion at the University of Ulm. The ZSW in Ulm conducts applied research on batteries and fuel cells. These technologies play a key role in a climate-friendly, greenhouse gas-neutral economy.
Markus Hölzle has a 25-year career in the chemicals sector to his credit, where his work focused on battery materials, components for fuel cell systems and catalysts. Hölzle succeeds Prof. Dr. Werner Tillmetz, who retired two years ago after 14 years on the Board of Directors. In the interim, Dr. Margret Wohlfahrt-Mehrens and Dr. Ludwig Jörissen had managed the ZSW in Ulm as its acting heads.
“We are delighted to have gained a proven expert with many years’ experience in the battery and fuel cell sector,” says Prof. Dr. Frithjof Staiß, Managing Director of the ZSW. “With his industry expertise, the ZSW will continue driving the transfer of technology from research to industry.”
Hölzle returns to his alma mater
Markus Hölzle's first working day at Ulm was a trip down memory lane. He had studied chemistry in this cathedral city, earning a doctorate in electrochemistry in 1996. Joining the Ludwigshafen-based chemical company BASF after obtaining this degree, Hölzle went on to spend many years with the company in Ludwigshafen Germany, Houston, USA, and Tokyo, Japan. Most recently, he had been Global Director Battery Materials Development, a position he had held since 2016. Hölzle is married and has an adult daughter.
The role as head of the Electrochemical Energy Technologies Division at the ZSW in Ulm is associated with a professorship for Electrochemical Energy Storage and Energy Conversion at the University of Ulm. The ZSW collaborates closely with the University of Ulm and with the Helmholtz-Institute Ulm (HIU). It is also a member of the POLiS cluster of excellence and a founding member of CELEST, one of the world’s biggest research platforms for energy storage. With more than four hundred researchers engaged in the field of electrochemical energy technologies, Ulm is among the largest hubs of its kind worldwide.
“Batteries, fuel cells and hydrogen are cornerstones of a greenhouse gas-neutral society. In the years ahead, they will surely change the energy system in a sustainable way. But the exit from fossil fuels and nuclear power can only succeed if these new technologies become mature and affordable,” says Markus Hölzle empathically. “We draw on our research know-how to develop new technical solutions and get them ready for the market with our industry partners. I am very much looking forward to these new challenges, which I am happy to take on with an excellent team of experienced staff.”
ZSW investigates sustainable energy technologies
Some 140 people at the ZSW location in Ulm conduct applied research into new energy technologies, developing new materials, battery systems and production technologies for batteries and supercapacitors, and carrying out extensive battery safety tests. They also investigate fuel cells and hydrogen, developing fuel cell systems, components and the necessary manufacturing technology. Third parties fund 85 percent of these activities.
The Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg, ZSW) is one of the leading institutes for applied research in the areas of photovoltaics, renewable fuels, battery technology, fuel cells and energy system analysis. There are currently around 280 scientists, engineers and technicians employed at ZSW’s three locations in Stuttgart, Ulm and Widderstall. In addition, there are 100 research and student assistants.