Meet the team.

Management

  • Dr. Gianluca Ambrosetti
    CEO and Founder

    PhD in Physics/Nanotechnology

    Gianluca obtained his PhD in Physics/Nanotechnology from EPFL Lausanne. He held various positions in the concentrated solar power and photovoltaics industry – among them he was Head of Research at Airlight Energy and Managing Director of Dsolar. His achievements include several patents and scientific publications, and he is the recipient of the EPFL Prix Prof. René Wasserman 2011. He co-founded Synhelion in 2016 and now holds the position of CEO. Gianluca is a passionate jazz soprano saxophone player and performs regularly at concerts and jazz festivals.

  • Dr. Philipp Furler
    CEO and Founder

    PhD in Mechanical Engineering/Solar Thermochemistry

    Philipp holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich since 2014. In 2018, he completed his Executive MBA at the University of Strathclyde. Philipp has more than ten years of experience in high-temperature solar chemistry and reactor engineering. For several years, he served as Operating Agent – Solar Chemistry Research for the International Energy Agency’s technology program SolarPACES. Prior to joining Synhelion, Philipp co-founded the ETH spin-off company Sunredox, which was acquired by Synhelion in 2018.

  • Dr. Philipp Good
    Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

    PhD in Mechanical Engineering/Solar Energy

    Philipp performed his PhD research in Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich in close collaboration with a concentrated solar power company. He joined Synhelion in 2017. Philipp has more than seven years of experience in the design, modelling, engineering, and experimental testing of high-temperature solar receivers and the optical alignment, characterization, and operation of solar concentrators. He is a passionate tennis player and participates in tournaments and team competitions.

  • Mirjana Blume
    Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

    Economist FH, MBA HSG

    Mirjana Blume is a proven financial expert with a broad range of experience. In her more than 20 years as CFO/CEO of various companies and industries, she has accompanied the entire range of business cycles, be it the buildup or expansion of a company, restructuring and turnarounds, acquisitions, spin-off or divestment of parts of a company or entire companies. With her entrepreneurial experience and financial background, she has been supporting various companies on the board of directors, including as Member of the Board of Orell Füssli Group or Vice-Chairwoman and Head of the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors for the past nine years of the energy service provider IWB (Industrielle Werke Basel).

  • Patrick Hilger
    Managing Director Synhelion Germany

    MSc in Energy Engineering

    Patrick graduated with a Master of Science in Energy Engineering from RWTH Aachen University. He worked as a project engineer for the research institutions Solar Institute Jülich (SIJ) and German Aerospace Center (DLR) in the field of heliostat development and played a key role in the design and construction of Synlight, the largest artificial sun in the world. Together with Prof. Dr. Bernhard Hoffschmidt, he founded Heliokon GmbH in 2016, which has been part of Synhelion as Synhelion Germany GmbH since 2021.

Team

  • Dr. Simon Ackermann
    Head Chemistry

    PhD in Mechanical Engineering/Solar Thermochemistry

    Simon received his PhD degree in Mechanical and Process Engineering from ETH Zurich. He joined Synhelion in 2018. Simon has more than six years of experience in process thermodynamics, high-temperature chemistry, experimental testing, data analysis, and numerical modeling. He published several articles in scientific journals about his research work at ETH Zurich. In 2016, Simon received the prestigious ASME Solar Energy Division Graduate Student Award for his doctoral thesis.

  • Sonja Broichgans-Vercouillie
    Head Administration

    Vocational education wholesale and foreign trade

    Sonja is a trained sales expert and has many years of experience in international sales management and as executive assistant. She joined Synhelion in 2021 and skillfully manages administrative duties to ensure the smooth operation of the Synhelion offices.

  • Simon Dieckmann
    Head Software Development

    Dipl.-Ing. Mechanical Engineering + Dipl.-Ing. Engineering & Business

    Simon holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering with focus on aerospace technology and a degree in Engineering & Business from RWTH Aachen University. Before joining Synhelion in 2019, he worked for several years as a research engineer at the German Aerospace Center, where he gained extensive experience in the techno-economic assessment of renewable energy technologies and CSP-related software development.

  • Dr. Christoph Falter
    Head Strategy

    PhD in Mechanical Engineering/Solar Thermochemistry

    Christoph received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from RWTH Aachen in 2017. He has more than ten years of experience in the experimental and theoretical analysis of various alternative fuel pathways including biofuels, power-to-liquid fuels, and solar thermochemical fuels. He has published several scientific journal articles quantifying their thermodynamic, environmental, and economic potential. Christoph worked at a German research institute and in the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment at MIT before joining Synhelion.

  • Christian Gabi
    Electronics and Software Engineer

    State-certified Electrical Engineer

    Christian worked for several years as a mechatronics engineer in the robotics field. He then trained as a state-certified electrical engineer in Karlsruhe, after which he moved to the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), where he deepened his knowledge in the field of measurement and control technology. Christian has more than ten years of experience in hardware and software development. He joined Synhelion in 2019 and is our lead developer for heliostat control systems. In his free time, he enjoys sailing and skiing.

  • Dr. Lukas Geissbühler
    Head Thermal Systems

    PhD in Mechanical Engineering/Thermal Energy Storage

    Lukas earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich. During his PhD and the subsequent postdoc position his research focus was on the development of novel energy storage technologies for concentrated solar power plants, solar fuel production, and electricity storage. He has authored several scientific publications and patents. In 2018, Lukas joined Synhelion as Head Thermal Systems.

  • Marco Gil
    Logistics Coordinator

    MA International Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management, MA History

    Driven by his interest in Corporate Social Responsibility and Strategic Corporate Philanthropy, Marco gained two Master’s degrees from the University of Bologna and the Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. After his studies, he worked in the film industry as a unit manager for over 10 years. He joined Synhelion to pursue a career in clean energy.

  • Olesia Incarbone
    Head Administration & HR

    CAS HR Development & Diagnostics, CAS Event Management

    Olesia has a proven track record in Global HR, specializing in Learning & Development. Building on her background in Project Management, Event Management, and Tourism, she gained over 15 years of experience in Project Management and Operations Management. Olesia joined Synhelion in 2022 to support the team and accompany the growth of Synhelion by optimizing administrative and HR processes. Outside of her commitment to the company, Olesia is also active as a yoga teacher.

  • Daniela Jesacher
    Communication & Media Design

    Daniela Jesacher

    Design Management Diploma

    Daniela holds several degrees in the fields of design, handicraft, and economics. Being interested in a broad range of design topics, she has worked for various private companies, in advertising agencies, and for universities. Her work experience ranges from graphic design to web and video productions and corporate design. She comes from the beautiful East Tyrol and enjoys going there to visit her family and to hike in the mountains.

  • Carmen Murer
    Head Corporate Communication

    BA in Multilingual Communication

    Carmen holds a degree in Multilingual Communication from Zurich University of Applied Sciences. Before joining Synhelion in 2020, she worked as a project manager, translator, proofreader, and team leader in the language industry. At Synhelion, Carmen combines her professional experience with her passion for clean technologies and sustainability.

  • Vincent Nettelroth
    Project Engineer

    Dipl.-Ing. Mechanical Engineering

    Vincent obtained his degrees in Mechanical Engineering from RWTH Aachen University and University of Applied Sciences Aachen. He performed research at the Solar Institute Jülich (SIJ) and the German Aerospace Center and worked as a product developer at several engineering and design companies. His achievements include several patents, and he was part of a Red Dot Design Award winning team. He joined Synhelion in 2021 and is now responsible for heliostat development, calibration, and agile transition support. Being a crafty outdoors lover, you will find Vincent on weekends hiking in the forest or on a lake with his self-made canoe.

  • Stefan Niederwestberg
    Project Engineer

    MSc in Energy Economics and Informatics

    Stefan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Renewable Energy Technologies from University of Applied Sciences Nordhausen and a Master’s degree in Energy Economics and Informatics from University of Applied Sciences Aachen. Prior to joining Synhelion, he worked as a research engineer at Solar Institute Jülich (SIJ), where he gained extensive experience in the planning, design, and construction of CSP facilities.

  • Matthias Offergeld
    Project Engineer

    Dipl.-Ing. Mechanical Engineering

    Matthias holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from RWTH Aachen University. He worked for eight years at the German Aerospace Center, where he acquired experience in the fields of air receivers and measurement technologies for solar tower plants. Together with colleagues he filed two patents and won the SolarPACES 2021 Technology Innovation Award. Matthias joined Synhelion in 2022 as a project engineer. In his free time he pursues his passion for sports and nature.

  • Adriano Patané
    Test Facilities Technician

    Polymechanic EFZ

    Adriano is a trained polymechanic with specialization in technical maintenance. When he worked for the EU-funded SUN-to-LIQUID project, he discovered his passion for solar fuels and found his vocation. Adriano joined Synhelion in 2020 and is in charge of the technical aspects at our test sites. Alongside his commitment for Synhelion, he currently studies mechanical and design engineering.

  • Moritz Patriarca
    Project Engineer

    MSc in Mechanical Engineering

    Moritz performed his MSc in Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich. For his Master’s thesis, he commissioned and tested a solar reactor for on-sun solar fuel production in Madrid. To pursue his commitment to sustainable technologies, Moritz joined Synhelion in 2021. He enjoys immersing himself in different cultures and exploring new countries and languages.

  • Nicolas Rauser
    Software Engineer

    MSc in Computational Engineering Science

    Nicolas performed his MSc in Computational Engineering Science with specialization in software development and renewable energy at RWTH Aachen University. In his academic work, he focused on software communication and data distribution systems for heliostat field control. Nicolas joined Synhelion in 2022 to support the software development team. When he’s not working, you might find him hiking on a mountain or experimenting in the kitchen.

  • David Rutz
    Project Engineer

    MSc in Mechanical Engineering

    David obtained his MSc in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich in 2019. During his Master thesis he was part of a team that demonstrated for the first time the production of drop-in fuels made entirely from sunlight and air. David joined Synhelion in 2020 as Project Engineer. He is an enthusiastic traveler who particularly enjoys discovering the Alps with his mountain bike.

  • Damian Schöb
    Project Engineer

    MSc in Mechanical Engineering

    Damian graduated with a MSc in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich in 2022, focusing on project management and energy science. For his Master thesis, he commissioned and tested a solar reactor for calcination and clinkerization of cement raw meal driven by solar-heated absorbing gases in Madrid. To continue his commitment to a more sustainable cement and transportation sector, Damian joined Synhelion as a Project Engineer in 2022. Being a culture and outdoor lover, you will find Damian either traveling, hiking, or doing sports.

  • Alfonso Villegas
    Project Engineer

    MSc in Mechanical Engineering

    Alfonso received his MSc in Mechanical Engineering from EPFL in 2021. He specialized in energy, in particular in the modelling and optimization of energy systems. During his Master thesis, he designed and modelled an industrial solar fuel production plant focusing both on the fuel synthesis part and on the process integration. Alfonso joined Synhelion in 2021 with the ambition of leading the way toward a zero-carbon based economy. In addition to playing many sports, he is also an amateur chess player.

Board of Directors

  • Hans Hess
    Chairman of the Board

    Hans Hess

    Hans Hess is an accomplished entrepreneur, manager, investor, and engineer. Over the course of his career, he has been chairman and board member of several industrial companies and Swiss organizations, such as Swissmem, economiesuisse, and the ETH Board. He was CEO of Leica Geosystems AG, which he successfully listed at the Swiss Stock Exchange SIX. In 2006, Hans Hess founded his own company, Hanesco AG, which provides international management services and invests in Swiss companies. Hans Hess holds a Master Degree in Material Science from ETH in Zürich and a Master Degree in Business Administration from University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

  • Daniel Rüdisüli
    Member of the Board

    Daniel Rüdisüli is a seasoned investment advisor and finance expert. He is co-owner of the multi-family office Swiss KMU Partners AG, which is dedicated to sustainable and future-oriented investments with attractive returns. Daniel’s core activities are the establishment of individually tailored family office structures as well as accompanying families into a successful, stable, and safe future.

  • Dr. Stephan Feldhaus
    Member of the Board

    Dr. Stephan Feldhaus is the CEO of SMS Concast AG, part of the SMS group, which is a global leading partner for the metals industry. Over the course of his career, he has held several management positions within the SMS group. He is an award-winning scientist and holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from RWTH Aachen University.

Advisors

  • Prof. Aldo Steinfeld
    Scientific Advisor

    Aldo Steinfeld

    Aldo Steinfeld (PhD University of Minnesota, 1989) is Full Professor of the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich. He holds the Chair of Renewable Energy Carriers. He has authored over 350 research articles in refereed scientific journals and filed 25 patents. His contributions to science and education have been recognized with the ASME Rice Award (2006), the Yellott Award (2008), the European Research Council Advanced Grant (2012), the International Solar Energy Society’s Farrington Daniels Award (2013), the Heat Transfer Memorial Award (2013), and the ASME Kreith Energy Award (2016). Professor Steinfeld is member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences and the Pan-American Academy of Engineering.

  • Prof. Giorgio Mazzanti
    Strategic Advisor

    Giorgio Mazzanti joined Synhelion in 2016 in the role of strategic advisor. As Professor for Industrial Chemistry he researched for more than 20 years at the Politecnico di Milano. He filed several patents together with Giulio Natta (Nobel Prize laureate) in the field of new polymers. For example, he invented polypropylene, the second most used plastic in the world. After his time at the Politecnico, Giorgio was Managing Director of the Montedison Group, and Executive Vice President and President of the ENI Group.

  • Prof. Bernhard Hoffschmidt
    Strategic Advisor

    Bernhard Hoffschmidt is the Director of the Institute of Solar Research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR). His research focuses on solar thermal power stations, energy flux in porous materials, and the energy efficiency of buildings.
    Besides that, he is also the Managing Director of the Brainergy Park Jülich GmbH, a project corporation of the municipalities Jülich, Titz, and Niederzier. The company is pursuing the development of a new business park in Jülich, which aims to transfer technology from the region’s research facilities into local value creation.
    Hoffschmidt was born in 1964 in Cologne. He studied 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 University.
    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 of Solar Research was founded in 2011.