A UAE-UK green hydrogen corridor has been identified as a spur for bilateral growth, with a new study commissioned to explore collaboration in this space.
Dubai-based World Green Economy Organisation, a global platform that drives coalitions to enable green economic growth, is teaming up with sustainability consultancy Zest Associates to conduct research into potential areas of collaboration between the two countries to boost investment and innovation in low-carbon technology.
The report will explore mutual opportunities in green hydrogen, which is derived from renewable sources, with the aim to engage business leaders, industry associations, policymakers, innovators and academics across both countries.
“As the UAE and UK look to deepen their trading relationship and spur investment and innovation in low-carbon technology, it is critical that we create spaces for dialogue and the exchange of ideas that lead to real practical action,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, chairman of WGEO.
“This report will align with the WGEO’s objective to enable and implement bankable and sustainable green projects and programmes by linking technology, capacity-building and finance.”
Hydrogen – which can be produced from both renewable energy and natural gas – is on track to become a more important fuel as economies and industries transition to a low-carbon world to mitigate climate change and global warming.
The report aims to enhance the already close economic relationship between the UK and UAE, with a focus on cleantech and low-carbon infrastructure, including expansion of the UAE-UK New Energy Partnership.
In September, British energy company BP, clean energy company Masdar and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company said they would work together to develop low-carbon hydrogen hubs and decarbonised air-travel corridors between the UK and UAE.
While the partnership initially aims to produce 2 gigawatts of low-carbon hydrogen in the UK and UAE, comprising 1GW in each country, the intention is to expand the initiative as the project progresses.
September also marked the signing of the UAE-UK Partnership For The Future Agreement and the expansion of the Sovereign Investment Partnership between Mubadala and the UK Office for Investment, with £10 billion ($13.59bn) committed to the technology, infrastructure, life sciences and clean and renewable energy sectors over the next five years.
In November, Ahmed Al Sayegh, UAE Minister of State, said industry must change if the UAE and UK were to hit their net-zero goals, with scope for future manufacturing, engineering and construction partnerships helping to decarbonise the sector.
Mr Al Sayegh, who is also co-chairman of the UAE-UK Business Council, a thought leadership forum, said there was “great potential for the UK and UAE to work together in addressing these challenges” as the Emirates looks towards the Cop28 environment summit in two years' time.
The new research paper will map innovation priorities, profile hydrogen companies and consider how policy and regulatory collaboration between the two countries can help trade, encourage foreign direct investment and guarantee the low-carbon credentials of hydrogen.
A panel discussion in the first half of this year will then analyse the findings.
“Our goal is to show how the UAE and UK can move from ambition to action,” said Jeffrey Beyer, managing director at Zest Associates, which is leading the study.
“We are bringing together the key players – big and small – to identify collaborative opportunities and show how cooperation brings mutual benefits to all parties. The report will set out the practical steps that the UAE and UK can take to create the conditions for a clean hydrogen market to thrive, while at the same time matching up companies and innovators to catalyse deals and technology development in clean hydrogen.”
The report, sponsored by HSBC, supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Emissions Strategy 2050 to provide 100 per cent of the energy production capacity from clean energy sources by 2050.
Abdulfattah Sharaf, HSBC UAE chief executive and head of international, said the research would "help improve the understanding of how hydrogen’s economic and environmental benefits can be built into the low-carbon journeys of the UAE and UK".
In May 2021, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) unveiled its first solar-driven green hydrogen production plant in the Middle East and North Africa region in a partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai and Siemens Energy, as it seeks to demonstrate the production of green hydrogen from solar power, storage and re-electrification.
The centre has been built to accommodate future applications and test platforms for different uses of hydrogen, including energy, potential mobility and industrial uses, with Dewa inviting global consulting companies to submit offers to develop an ambitious strategy for green hydrogen production.
Green hydrogen is also big on the UK's net-zero agenda, with BP planning to set up HyGreen Teeside, a large-scale green hydrogen production plant in North-East England, generated with wind, water and solar energy, which will deliver up to 500Mwe of green production by 2030.