United Arab Emirates: Future meets desert

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Gigantic sand dunes, ultramodern cities, and a long coastline are the outstanding characteristics of the United Arab Emirates. Taken together, the seven emirates are a major center of global trade and continuous progress. A photographic journey through a country that in many ways is ahead of its time


Pauline Brenke

 “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” the motto of Expo 2020, is a good description of the aspirations of the United Arab Emirates. The global metropolis Dubai, which hosted the world fair—after it was postponed because of the pandemic—from October 2021 to March 2022, is an especially good example of the economic growth, innovation, and transformation the emirates are known for. One architectural symbol of these aspects is the “Museum of the Future” designed by the South African Shaun Killa, which resembles a sparkling eye. Adorned with Arabic calligraphy, its aim is to become a center of the latest developments in technology, business, and society, to provide space for presenting innovative projects, and to thematize future challenges that will face human beings. Attracted by a progressive mentality and a dynamic market, Evonik has also found a home in the Emirates

Welcome to the Hall of Fame for heroes of the silver screen: Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi—in the capital of the UAE—is the world’s biggest indoor adventure park. Under a gigantic roof that can be transformed into a blue night sky or a glowing sunset by meansof a deceptively realistic lighting system, visitors can meet their favorite characters from cartoons and blockbuster films. On more than 150,000 square meters, they can enjoy numerous rides and other attractions side by side with Bugs Bunny, Superman, and other fantasy figures. In crowded indoor spaces like these, the environmentally friendly disinfectant ­PERACLEAN® 15 from Evonik helps to counteract the spread of germs such as the COVID-19 virus.

The flavors of this region’s cuisine have been enriched over time by traders from all over the world who stopped off in the emirates in the course of their travels. Countries such as Turkey, Iran, and the lands along the Mediterranean have left traces of their cuisines here. India has also contributed an important ingredient: ghee, a kind of clarified butter that enhances the flavors of a dish especially well. One example of this effect is the traditional emirate baked lamb dish called ouzi, for which the marinated meat is cooked for 24 hours in a sand oven. The dish is served on rice with a spoonful of ghee. Catalysts from Evonik ensure that the fat has a longer storage life and better texture and stability.

 If you loved playing in a sandbox as a child, you’ll find that the United Arab Emirates are a real-life paradise. Lying directly before the gates of Abu Dhabi is the Rub al-Khali, the largest continuous sand desert in the world. It covers more than 650,000 square kilometers in all, occupying two thirds of the total area of the UAE. Dubai is surrounded by an impressive desert landscape. It offers a vast adventure playground for locals and tourists alike. One especially popular pastime is “dune bashing,” in which dune buggies are driven over sand dunes at headlong speeds. The tires of these vehicles are equipped with ULTRASIL® from Evonik for a better grip, which prevents dangerous slipping and swerving on the dunes.

 A petrochemical oil refinery on the coast of Dubai. Colossal plants like this one produce base chemicals derived from petroleum, which are ultimately used to make products such as plastics and cleaning agents. The United Arab Emirates are among the most petroleum-rich countries in the world. Over 85 percent of their economic revenue is based on the export of this fossil raw material. Persulfates from Evonik are powerful and especially stable oxidizing agents that are used for processing oil sands. The persulfates are also used for gel forming and breaking—processes that enhance the effectiveness of oil extraction. Looking forward, the Emirates intend to increasingly focus on renewable energy sources with their “Energy Strategy 2050.” One target is to increase their share of the overall energy mix to 50 percent.

Headquarters in the “golden city”

Evonik Gulf is represented in the United Arab Emirates at a location in Dubai that serves as the company’s headquarters for the Middle East and Africa. This is the central point from which Evonik manages its sales, marketing, business development, and communication in the region. Other business units that are represented include High Performance Polymers, Catalysts, and Coating Additives.

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Fotos: MOFT / Musharbak, picture alliance / AP Photo, Shutterstock / Snoop.cp, Lutz Jaekel / Laif, Getty Images


3rd March 2023

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