Hydro’s expanding research and development presence in Qatar will help push aluminium in the Middle East.
Since Hydro established a presence in Qatar Science & Technology Park, Tormod Bjørk, a senior vice president in the Technology organization of the Primary Metal business area, has determinedly represented Hydro from a ‘novice’ office of 45 square meters. Now, he plans to join the major league.
So far, Bjørk and his colleague, Pierre Philippe from Hydro's building brand Wicona, who is selling building system solutions in the Middle East, are the only employees at the office. But Bjørk recently signed a new contract for expanding the space at the tech park to 500 square meters.
This is a huge step for Hydro’s R&D presence in Qatar, alongside the company's strong engagement in the large Qatalum aluminium plant now being built in Mesaieed close to Doha.
From the outside, Qatar Science & Technology Park looks like a spaceship. It is huge and the architecture is stunning. In a combination of glass, marble and steel(!), it is clear architects still have something to learn.
“I would have liked to see the steel replaced by aluminium,” said Executive Vice President and head of Projects, Tom Røtjer, during a visit of this fantastic complex, housing R&D units of major companies like Shell, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, GE and Cisco – to name a few.
Many of the great buildings being built in Doha have yet not seen the light – in the form of using modern aluminium.
“If you look around Doha, you will see a massive number of building projects,” says Bjørk.
“Most of these can benefit from the competence Hydro Building Systems possesses. The heat, humidity and the sun are intense, which give opportunities for aluminium as a metal and for Hydro as producer and inventor of Building Systems solutions.
The ‘Tornado tower’ in Doha is a recent project where Hydro Building Systems supplied its unique façade systems.
“The market situation for aluminium has changed our ramp-up profile at the R&D center. However, we are preparing for the next steps and we are now looking into establishing lab facilities and increasing our presence here,” Bjørk says.
“To Hydro, Qatar has a number of preferences in studying specific issues as heat stress, carbon competence – or expertise in handling CO2-related issues, integrated operations and outdoor coating. This last one is a project of interest to Hydro Building Systems. When we get our laboratories up and running we will focus and work further on these defined topics.”