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Uwe Zwiefelhofer Head of Region MENA & Managing Director, Linde Engineering Middle East

UAE - Energy & Mining

Uwe Zwiefelhofer

Head of Region MENA & Managing Director, Linde Engineering Middle East


Uwe Zwiefelhofer is currently Head of Region MENA & Managing Director of Linde Engineering Middle East, located in Abu Dhabi. From 2019-2021, he was based in Singapore, where held the position of vice president business development and sales of Linde Engineering in APAC. Prior to that, he was based in the Middle East as general manager of a Linde AG branch office. Earlier, he served as head of business development for the petrochemical division of Ferrostaal in Germany. He previously worked with Lurgi AG (later Air Liquide) where he started his professional career in the field of process engineering. Zwiefelhofer holds a diploma in chemical engineering from University Erlangen, Germany.

"The energy transition is a natural extension for our business, both in the engineering world, as well as our investment world."
Linde Engineering Middle East has a great opportunity to apply its technological, executional, operational, and applicational know-how of energy to the UAE’s own energy transition.
How has the significance of the UAE in Linde’s global portfolio changed over the years, and where does it rank now?

There are two answers to the question of relevance for Linde. Historically, the UAE was extremely important in the petrochemical area. It has a well-developed petrochemical industry in Borouge, and Linde has been supplying the technologies and the plans. We have established an excellent relationship with the local players and have executed billion-dollar projects. When we put this all together, which is why the UAE became the regional headquarters for GCC countries. In addition, Linde has a close relationship on the investment side.

How is Linde creating the strategies going forward in terms of being part of the major energy transition, and how important is the UAE in this transition?

Linde is today one of the largest hydrogen producers worldwide. We produce approximately 4% of the global hydrogen production, and we call all the technologies along the hydrogen value chain proprietary technologies. We have, in house, all the technologies from the green and blue production of hydrogen and ammonia to conversion technologies. We also have applications such as hydrogen refueling stations. We are present along the entire value chain based on our own proprietary technologies, which is why the energy transition is a natural extension of our business. It is a unique position for a company to able to combine its technological, executional, operational, and applicational know-how.

What would a feasible plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 involve?

Since we have the expertise in designing and building traditional petrochemical complexes, we know where to optimize these complexes and how to decarbonize them. We are in a position, not only here but globally, to work with our customers in order to optimize and decarbonize their existing assets in the petrochemical arena as well as other carbon-intensive industrial assets. We have the technologies to capture CO2 from existing conventional technologies and conventional plants. This is where we advise and where we work together with our customers to decarbonize existing assets and integrate new green ones.

How do you see the financing side of the energy transition being solved?

It is a challenge, though it is also a chance because the global south has the opportunity. There is no conventional legacy or burden of conventional large-scale industries heavy in carbon emissions. These countries now have the unique opportunity to start something new from scratch without the burden of existing old assets that need to be decarbonized or the companies attached to it that might resist this move. The global south is blessed with wind and solar radiation, much better than the north. That is a major opportunity for the global south to tap into this new energy development.

How do you explore, within the organization itself, new technologies to further create more sustainable technologies?

We have created a dedicated department that employs all these new technologies, in plants, operations, and efficiency improvements of existing plants. It is called Linde Advanced Operating Services, and it employs state-of-the-art technologies like AI, VR, design tools, and so on. The other element here is risk mitigation. Linde is making a contribution in terms of greenfields projects, particularly in the area of renewable hydrogen. Every project that we are seeing now is new. There is no large-scale electrolyzer yet, so we are building the first 24MW electrolyzer, and 100MW and 200MW will come soon. Large, financially strong corporations are needed to back the execution. This is part of the risk mitigation for this new industry that is developing rapidly. This is why we are also confident that we will play our role because of our financial strength.



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