Photovoltaics plays a central role on the way to a CO₂-free energy system. The semiconductor property of silicon is crucial for its use. In 1954, Eberhard Spenke succeeded for the first time in obtaining semiconductor silicon with a purity level of over 99.999 percent – also known as the Siemens process. To this day, around 80 percent of the world’s hyperpure silicon is produced using this technique. His research led to a joint venture between Siemens and AEG, which had also been working in the field of silicon power semiconductors. In 1990, eupec was launched, which is now Infineon, the world leader in semiconductors. Another area of Spenke’s research after studying physics in Bonn, Göttingen and Königsberg involved the development of hot conductors.
In 1958, Eberhard Spenke was awarded the Ring of Honor by the Association of German Electrical Engineers, VDE, one of the largest technical and scientific associations in Europe.