Reinhart Baehr passed away on Tuesday, February 14, 2023. He was born in Bad Kösen/Saale, Germany on April 23, 1935.
After receiving his PhD from the Technical University Braunschweig in 1967, he worked for the Brown Boveri & Cie. (BBC) at the German transformer factory in Mannheim. He started with the design optimization of a tramway transformer. The high reliability of the fleet used under hard operating conditions confirmed his successful calculations. Then he joined the high voltage department.
The challenge of manufacturers was to meet the demand of the future transformer grids with extra high ratings (1000 MVA and above; 400kV to 700kV and above). New dimensioning studies were developed with computers as well as new production methods. These advances were presented by Reinhart Baehr at the 24th CIGRE session in 1972. In the 70’s, Reinhart contributed to build the most powerful transformers in the world.
After the merger of ASEA and BBC in 1988, Reinhart became responsible for the quality controls in several ABB transformer factories. He was also involved in international ABB activities for his high level of expertise. For the same reason, Reinhart was chosen in 1986 by the CIGRE Transformer Study Committee (SC12) to report on the applications of new materials.
From 1994 to 2000, he chaired this SC12. A period during which the process of globalisation and deregulation had different impacts on the transformer manufacturers and the utilities. The guide for customer specifications was then really supported by Reinhart as an aid to purchase large transformers with relevant quality controls and design reviews. The dissemination of the knowledge with the CIGRE Brochures was also an important matter to him. Let us quote two examples, the thermal aspects (factory tests, hot-spot, monitoring) and the effects of particles on the dielectric strength. Reinhart used to conduct the SC meetings with rigor, listening to different points of view for precisely defining the WG’s scope and the Paris Preferential Subjects (repair, transportation, installation, bushing reliability, shunt reactors, instrument transformer failures, HVDC converter transformers, short-circuit tests, life assessment). Similarly, he rigorously negotiated the field of collaboration with a few other Committees (SC13, SC14, SC15). Finally, let us underline that he was in support of collaborative research to understand the Static Electrification worldwide problem responsible for many strange and sudden failures.
Beyond technical exchanges, the Colloquia offers convivial moments between fellow CIGRE members. Reinhart spoke warmly with our hosts about their country's history, architecture, music, painting, traditions, ... Reinhart Baehr received the CIGRE Distinguished award in 1996 and the Honorary Title in 2000. He continued to work for a while as a consultant after retiring from ABB in 2001. He led a small group of CIGRE alumni. He came to Paris to attend the 2022 session. He enjoyed classical music very much and playing Bach with his violin accompanied by his brother Ulrich on the piano. He played tennis for most of his life, including many hours and matches with his two eldest grandsons. Reinhart leaves behind his wife Hildburg, his sons Hanno and Martin, and four grandchildren.
Reinhart will always remain in our memory as a man of great culture and a very good friend.
A2 Chairman 2000-2004