Sharjah's Bee'ah to build region's first waste-to-hydrogen plant

The UAE is drawing up a comprehensive road map to position itself as an exporter of hydrogen and tap into the clean fuel’s potential

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: Khaled Al Huraimel, Group Chief Executive officer giving the tour of the facilities at Bee'ah Waste Management.  Ruel Pableo for The National for Anna Zacharias story
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Sharjah waste management company Bee’ah plans to build the region’s first waste-to-hydrogen project with UK-based Chinook Sciences.

The project, part of a $180m gasification undertaking in the emirate by the two companies to turn waste into energy, will cater to growing demand for a green version of the alternative fuel in the region.

It will include a plant and a fuel station for vehicles that run on hydrogen.

Oil-exporting countries in the Middle East plan to produce hydrogen for export in the future.

The UAE is drawing up a comprehensive road map to tap into the clean fuel's potential.

Globally, the size of the hydrogen industry is expected to hit $183 billion by 2023, up from $129bn in 2017, according to Fitch Solutions.

French investment bank Natixis estimates that investment in hydrogen will exceed $300bn by 2030.

State entities Adnoc, Mubadala and ADQ formed an

this year to develop a hydrogen economy in the UAE.

Green hydrogen will be cheaper than natural gas by 2050 as the cost of solar power continues to decline, according to BloombergNEF research.

"Green hydrogen will be a vital pillar of our future energy landscape and Bee’ah has been looking into this market for some time now with Chinook, in alignment with our long-term strategy to develop new, sustainable energy solutions,” said chairman Salim Al Owais.

The company plans to support the UAE's hydrogen economy, energy diversification and decarbonisation efforts, he said.

The addition of a fuel station adjacent to the plant will overcome challenges related to costly transport fees, the company said.

The station will use the green hydrogen produced by the waste-to-hydrogen plant from non-recyclable plastic waste and waste wood.

The clean alternative fuel will then be fed into the filling station for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

"Bee’ah has always recognised the value of energy recovery from waste and, through this new project, we aim to support a circular economy across [several] fronts throughout the region,” said group chief executive Khaled Al Huraimel.

Earlier this month, Dubai inaugurated its first green hydrogen plant at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the site of the UAE’s biggest solar plant. The pilot project was developed by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Expo 2020 and Germany’s Siemens Energy.

It aims to demonstrate how to produce hydrogen from solar power, store it and re-electrify it.

The green variant of the fuel is produced entirely from renewable sources.