The UAE and parts of the Middle East are well positioned to tap into opportunities offered by hydrogen, an alternative clean fuel that could help the world transition to more sustainable sources of energy, experts say.
“In the region, we have access to competitive natural gas that may allow us to produce grey hydrogen, we have access to carbon capture and storage and that may allow us to produce competitive blue hydrogen,” Sergio Lopez, energy policy specialist at Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, said during a panel discussion at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week on Tuesday.
The availability of renewable sources of power will help the countries in the region to produce green hydrogen and nuclear energy will help in producing pink hydrogen, he said.
“The region will benefit from investing in hydrogen not only from the economic point of view but also from the environmental point of view.”
Current annual hydrogen sales represent a market value of about $174 billion, which already exceeds the value of annual trade in liquefied natural gas, and this could grow to $600bn by 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency said in a recent report.
The UAE is drawing up a comprehensive road map to position itself as an exporter of clean fuel and tap into its future potential.
The Gulf country aims to capture about 25 per cent of the global hydrogen market share and is in discussions with many countries to export it, said UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suhail Al Mazrouei.
“The UAE is very strategically geographically positioned in between Asia and Europe and has strong commercial relations with potential hydrogen consumers such as Japan, South Korea and China”, which will allow it to boost exports, Mr Lopez said.
One of the first Arab countries to declare a net-zero target, the UAE is developing numerous clean energy projects as it aims to become carbon neutral by 2050. It is currently constructing Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, the Arab world’s first multi-unit operating nuclear energy plant.
The UAE is also building renewable energy projects to boost the supply of clean energy in the country, including the world’s largest solar plant in Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi. Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region are also developing new renewable energy projects.