Hilmar von Schönfeldt

Hilmar von Schönfeldt (Ph.D. 1965) died in March of 2017. Von Schönfeldt was part of a group of about ten graduate students in Professor Charles Fairhurst's rock mechanics research group in the 60s. The diverse group of young men came from several European and Middle Eastern countries, as well as from the United States. Von Schönfeldt came to Minnesota after completing a graduate degree in Mining/Petroleum Engineering at the Technical University of Clausthal, Germany. His doctoral work was on the use of hydraulic fracturing for determination of stresses in rock at depth.

After receiving his degree, von Schönfeldt taught Petroleum Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He then moved into the petroleum industry where, among many accomplishments he helped pioneer the technology of long-hole horizontal drilling of coal seams to extract methane. Most recently, he was advisor to the World Bank on the application of coal bed methane drainage in China.