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COP26: UAE targets 25% of global low-carbon hydrogen market by 2030


Targets exports with hydrogen roadmap launch

Eyes key markets in Japan, S Korea, Germany

Aims for over 500,000 mt/year hydrogen production

  • Author
  • James Burgess
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  • Andy Critchlow
  • Commodity
  • Coal Energy Transition Oil Metals Petrochemicals Energy Transition The Path to Net Zero
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  • COP26

The UAE is targeting a 25% global market share of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030 with the launch of its "hydrogen leadership roadmap" at the UN Climate Change Conference.

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The roadmap sets out support for domestic, low-carbon industries and aims to establish the country as a leading hydrogen exporter, the UAE state news agency said Nov. 4.

The UAE already has seven hydrogen projects underway, and is targeting a large share of key export markets, including Japan, South Korea, Germany and India, as well as other markets it identifies as "high potential" in Europe and East Asia.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., ADNOC, produces over 300,000 mt/year of hydrogen, and plans to increase this to 500,000 mt/year.

S&P Global Platts hydrogen price assessments show northwest European and Japanese markets significantly higher than potential export markets such as Australia, which along with the UAE, is one of several lower-cost renewable hydrogen production sources well placed to develop future exports.

The spread between proton exchange membrane electrolysis assessments (including capex) Nov. 3 showed European prices (Netherlands, $14.94/kg) almost three times those in Australia (New South Wales, $4.71/kg). The comparable assessment for Japan was $9.30/kg.

"The UAE is well positioned to be a leader in low-carbon hydrogen with natural competitive advantages for both blue and green hydrogen," Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Suhail bin Mohammed al Mazrouei, said in a statement.

Blue hydrogen is produced from fossil fuel sources in conjunction with carbon capture and storage, while green hydrogen uses renewables to power electrolysis of water.

The UAE has abundant hydrocarbons, as well as existing large-scale hydrogen and ammonia production facilities and access to competitive solar PV energy and large-scale CCS, the statement said.

ADNOC has already sold four test cargoes of blue ammonia, the Emirates News Agency said.

"Green hydrogen production remains in its infancy, requiring an international collaboration to accelerate its development," al Mazrouei added. "Green hydrogen is envisaged to play a significant role in UAE's domestic strategy to meet the UAE 2050 Net-Zero goals and which will also assist globally by exporting hydrogen."

The UAE was the first Middle Eastern country to commit to a net-zero emissions target, when it made the announcement Oct. 7, with AED 600 billion ($163 billion) in planned investment for renewables.

The country has one of the highest per capita energy consumption rates in the world.

The UAE's roadmap also aims to develop opportunities for hydrogen in low-carbon steel production and sustainable kerosene, as well as in other domestic industries, the ENA said.

The country will support the development of its hydrogen business with a "clear" regulatory framework, technology developments and green financing, it said.