UAE taking 'concrete steps' to be among top 10 green hydrogen producers

The nation, with its strong commitment and experience in renewable energy, as well as its abundant solar resources, is ideally suited to produce it

Photo: The Green Hydrogen project
Photo: The Green Hydrogen project

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Wed 18 Jan 2023, 6:37 PM

The UAE is well positioned to be a leader in green hydrogen production and is finalising its National Hydrogen Strategy to reach the target, a top official from the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure said.

Sharif Salim Al Olama, Undersecretary for Energy and Petroleum Affairs at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, noted that hydrogen as a reliable and clean fuel of the future offers a viable solution to the climate crisis.

“Global demand [is] expected to reach 30 million tonnes per annum by 2030 and over 600 million tonnes by 2050. This represents 12 per cent of the total global energy demand. In order to reach this potential, and truly make an impact on the energy sector, we must focus on scaling up green hydrogen production and deployment,” Al Olama said, while delivering the opening address of the inaugural Green Hydrogen Summit held as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Al Olama underlined that the UAE, with its strong commitment and experience in renewable energy, and abundant solar resources, is ideally suited to produce green hydrogen at scale.

“As such, hydrogen will further enable the diversification of the UAE economy through the expansion of existing industries and the growth of new ones.”

Al Olama highlighted that the UAE has set an ambitious target of becoming one of the top 10 global hydrogen producers by 2031 and is taking “concrete steps” to make this target a reality.

“We are currently in the process of finalising our national hydrogen strategy, which will focus on meeting green hydrogen demand both domestically and internationally, and will target key segments that are hard to abate – such as aviation, maritime, steel, aluminum cement, power, refining, and heavy duty transportation. The strategy represents a comprehensive plan that aims to achieve global leadership when it comes to the fuel of the future, while also supporting economic growth.”

The UAE aims to account for 25 per cent of major hydrogen markets, including India, South Korea, Japan and Germany.

“We are also investing in the development of a local green hydrogen industry through [the] formation of strategic partnerships with private sector players.”

In December 2022, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala) and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) became shareholders in Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) – Abu Dhabi’s flagship clean energy company. Under the new partnership, Masdar will become a national clean energy champion for the UAE and has an ambitious target of growing to at least 100GW of renewable energy capacity globally by 2030.

Addressing the challenges

Al Olama opined that in order to truly unlock the potential of green hydrogen, some key challenges need to be addressed.

“These include reducing the cost of production, improving transportation and storage, and ensuring the safety as well as the availability of regulations and standards. Governments, industries, and the private and financial sectors must all work together to create the right conditions for scaling up green hydrogen.”

Al Olama pointed out the importance of investing in the development of the technology and infrastructure needed to produce and transport green hydrogen, while also creating a market for green hydrogen.

“We must collaborate with international partners to share knowledge and expertise in the development and deployment of green hydrogen technology. We need to work with our partners to align policies, standards and regulations to develop international trade in green hydrogen. We need both pragmatic game-changing partnerships, solutions and outcomes.

That is why we are working closely with our international partners and stakeholders to continue transforming our energy systems and opening up new fields of business,” he said, and added that the road to decarbonisation is hard and challenging but it is the “only road to take”.

“The future is now; it is ours to harness and build, and green hydrogen is leading the way.”


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