UAE’s Masdar Seeks Early Mover Advantage In Emerging Market For Green Hydrogen

Over the previous decade and a half, Abu Dhabi’s Masdar has constructed itself into one of many world’s largest builders of renewable vitality tasks. Now, because the United Arab Emirates prepares to host the subsequent UN local weather summit, COP28 on the finish of the yr, it’s branching out into a wholly new enterprise space – inexperienced hydrogen.

Hydrogen is seen as essential to reaching international web zero targets. It may be used for a variety of purposes, together with energy technology, vitality storage, transportation (notably heavy transportation resembling delivery and trucking). It may also be used to make sustainable aviation gas (SAF), and, most crucially, it provides a method to decarbonize “hard-to-abate” industries resembling metal, aluminium and cement, the place utilizing renewable vitality alone shouldn’t be attainable, in addition to different high-carbon industries resembling fertilizer.

“Sure industries require ‘inexperienced molecules’ to decarbonise (fairly than inexperienced electrical energy)” mentioned Dr Faye Al Hersh, technique know-how specialist at Masdar, talking throughout Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which the corporate hosted. For metal and cement, CO2 is a part of the manufacturing course of fairly than only a product of the vitality used however it’s attainable to decarbonise manufacturing through the use of hydrogen as a substitute.

Whereas present strategies of manufacturing (referred to as gray hydrogen), which take away the hydrogen from methane fuel, are massively carbon-intensive, it’s attainable to provide low-carbon hydrogen, both by capturing the carbon and storing it (blue hydrogen) or through the use of renewable electrical energy and an electrolyser to provide the fuel, which is called inexperienced hydrogen.

Within the wake of an injection of capital from Taqa, Abu Dhabi’s nationwide vitality firm, the Mubadala Funding Firm and ADNOC, the Abu Dhabi Nationwide Oil Firm, it’s this sector that Masdar is hoping to assist create.

In line with Al Hersh, Masdar is hoping each to export hydrogen from the UAE and to construct amenities in different markets. By 2030, it plans to be producing 1 million tonnes a yr, alongside its goal of 100GW of renewable vitality capability by the identical date. The largest markets for inexperienced hydrogen are anticipated to be Europe, as a result of it’s encouraging the manufacturing of inexperienced hydrogen fairly than blue, and the US, because of the incentives for hydrogen manufacturing within the recently-passed Inflation Discount Act. In the meantime, markets in Asia together with South Korea and Japan, wish to use inexperienced ammonia in energy stations and business.

When it comes to sectors, each aviation and the maritime sector are set to be topic to decarbonisation rules that may considerably improve their demand for cleaner fuels. Hydrogen can be utilized in plane in its pure type in addition to making SAF, which can be utilized as a ‘drop-in’ gas to switch standard jet gas.

But there are nonetheless many points to be labored out all alongside the worth chain, together with one of the best ways to move hydrogen. In its pure type, hydrogen is troublesome to retailer and to move. However it may be transformed to different derivatives, for instance, being mixed with nitrogen to make ammonia, which can be utilized as a gas in energy stations, or made into methanol, which can be utilized as a delivery gas. “It’s best to provide hydrogen within the type that the offtaker desires to make use of it as a result of there are complexities in reconverting again into hydrogen,” says Al Hersh.

In the meanwhile, as a result of the market is so nascent, most tasks require an offtaker ready to pay a premium for inexperienced hydrogen. The principle price for inexperienced hydrogen is the vitality required to provide it, so a supply of low cost renewable vitality is essential to make tasks commercially viable.

One other difficulty that isn’t but settled is the know-how that will probably be used within the electrolysers. The 2 principal applied sciences are PEM (proton change membrane) and alkaline, with stable oxide a attainable choice sooner or later however much less mature than the opposite two. Nel Hydrogen says that PEM electrolysers are more likely to be most well-liked for smaller and decentralised tasks, whereas alkaline gadgets are probably for use for larger-scale industrial tasks. The prices of electrolysers are set to fall dramatically within the subsequent few years, because of a mix of technological enhancements and economies of scale.

Masdar has introduced plenty of early-stage tasks, together with a partnership with Fertiglobe and Engie to construct a 200MW inexperienced hydrogen plant within the UAE; a undertaking to provide hydrogen and SAF with Siemens, TotalEnergies, airways Etihad and Lufthansa, Marubeni and Khalifa College. The corporate can be growing tasks within the UK, Egypt and Azerbaijan.

“We intention to leverage our footprint in current tasks and markets,” says Mohamed El Ramahi, government director for inexperienced hydrogen on the firm. “We wish to goal a market share of at the least 15% of inexperienced hydrogen derivatives. We imagine we are able to cut back the price of hydrogen from $4 to $2 by 2030.”

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Jean Nicholas

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