Masdar, Adio and Abu Dhabi's DoE sign deal to boost hydrogen economy

The agreement aims to establish the UAE as a world centre for hydrogen production and export

Abu Dhabi last week launched its low-carbon hydrogen policy, which establishes the framework for the hydrogen sector. Victor Besa / The National
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Abu Dhabi’s energy department, its investment office and the emirate’s green energy company Masdar have signed an agreement to speed up the development of the hydrogen economy to position the UAE as a global centre for low-carbon hydrogen.

The trilateral agreement between the Department of Energy, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Masdar, signed at the UN climate summit Cop28 in Dubai, aims to boost the production and export of low-carbon hydrogen from Abu Dhabi, the companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The deal is also aimed at providing “the market conditions to attract international investment and co-development” that will help in further diversifying the UAE economy and generating knowledge-driven employment opportunities in the county.

“Sustainable hydrogen is integral to the Abu Dhabi energy transition, playing a vital role in realising the UAE's net-zero strategy,” said Ahmed Al Rumaithi, undersecretary of the Department of Energy.

“Low-carbon hydrogen, a promising technology, stands as a cornerstone for the development of a sustainable industrial sector in the Emirates, fostering economic growth, adding substantial value and generating quality jobs.”

By connecting production centres, offtakers, and hydrogen storage across the UAE, the latest collaboration provides an opportunity to use shared hydrogen infrastructure that generates economies of scale.

It also helps in creating a hub for clean hydrogen and its derivatives, enabling further decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors.

“The Abu Dhabi ecosystem is working in unison to support the global transition to a net-zero future,” said Badr Al-Olama, director general of Adio.

The collaboration between the three entities will be a “catalyst for the UAE to become one of the world’s foremost producers of clean hydrogen”, he added.

The deal follows the launch of Abu Dhabi’s Low-Carbon Hydrogen Policy, which has created a framework to boost production on a much larger scale.

The strategy aims to scale up local hydrogen production to 1.4 million tonnes a year by 2031, and 15 million tonnes annually by 2050. The target is a crucial step forward in meeting the country’s net-zero emissions goal by mid-century.

Masdar, a pioneer in exploring low-carbon hydrogen production since 2008, is developing and investing in strategic projects throughout the hydrogen value chain in the UAE and beyond.

The company aims to boost its green hydrogen production capacity to a million tonnes a year by 2030. Half of the targeted capacity will be produced in Abu Dhabi, with local demand projected at about 200,000 tonnes a year while the remaining volume will be exported.

“This [latest deal is an] important stride forward in Abu Dhabi’s green hydrogen funding and investment initiatives bringing to life the UAE’s National Hydrogen Strategy, as well as positioning Abu Dhabi as the leading global hub for the production and export of low-carbon hydrogen at scale,” Masdar chief executive Mohamed Al Ramahi said.

Masdar has developed projects in more than 40 countries and has more than 20 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity. The company has invested, or committed to invest, in projects across continents with a combined value of more than $30 billion and aims to grow its generation capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2030.

On Wednesday, Masdar signed a joint study agreement with the Netherlands for supply of green hydrogen to Amsterdam.

The agreement, signed between Masdar, Port of Amsterdam, SkyNRG and Zenith Energy Terminals, will "assess the viability of a dedicated liquefied green hydrogen supply chain serving the industry cluster in Amsterdam", Masdar said in a separate statement.

It follows the preliminary agreements signed earlier this year between Masdar and four Dutch companies.

On Tuesday, Masdar and Spain’s Iberdrola signed a €15 billion ($16.25 billion) partnership to evaluate the development of offshore wind and green hydrogen projects in key markets including Germany, the UK and the US.

The companies will also look to further invest in the 1,400-megawatt East Anglia 3 offshore wind project in the UK, Masdar said.

Updated: December 06, 2023, 2:34 PM