Hydro will invest close to USD 7 million in the center over its first three years. The center will open early this year, and eventually grow to a staff of about ten people.
The Hydro Technology Center will improve safety and productiveness of the Qatalum smelter, through both technology development and training. Its first projects will focus on hot-climate working conditions, environmental issues and cross-cultural technology management.
“Being located at Qatar Science & Technology Park, the center will be able to collaborate closely with the many universities at Qatar Foundation and Qatar University. This will provide study opportunities and ultimately create technology-based employment for local graduates," says the head of the Hydro Technology Center, Tormod Bjørk.
Jan Arve Haugan, responsible for Technology and Part Owned Smelters in Hydro, says: “Establishing a technology center within Qatar Science & Technology Park gives us a unique arena for interaction between experienced R&D resources and innovative and ambitious students at local universities, combined with access to Qatalum. This will create a “Fast Track” to solve important challenges within production technology, energy recovery and environment”.
The technology center will be a part of the same organisation as Hydro’s three other research centers, one in Neuss, Germany, and two in Årdal and Porsgrunn, Norway. Employees are expected to come from many parts of the world, creating a multicultural environment.
Dr. Tidu Maini, Executive Chairman of Qatar Science & Technology Park, said: “Part of building a knowledge-based economy means developing and applying the world’s best operating techniques to local industry. The Hydro Technology Center is a great example of this, and will position Qatar as an innovator and not just a producer of aluminium”.