Report: UAE-UK can be global leaders in hydrogen production

Report: UAE-UK can be global leaders in hydrogen production
(Supplied / Zest Associates)
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Updated 26 October 2022

Report: UAE-UK can be global leaders in hydrogen production

Report: UAE-UK can be global leaders in hydrogen production
  • Aim for 100% green energy 2050 plan, says consultancy head
  • Projected $8.7bn to Emirates, $14.8bn to Britain, 100k jobs each

LONDON: The UAE and the UK have a global leadership opportunity to develop clean hydrogen, through a broad collaboration involving policy, innovation, trade and investment, according to a new report released on Monday.

The report is a joint initiative of the World Green Economy Organization and Zest Associates, a UAE-based sustainability consultancy, and sponsored by HSBC. It draws on insights and studies from nearly 100 international hydrogen experts to prioritize 39 areas across policies, innovation, investment, infrastructure, supply, demand and skills, adding substantially to the world’s body of knowledge on the subject. Initial findings were shared at the World Green Economy Summit 2022.

“We have an ambitious strategy in place to produce and leverage green hydrogen, which represents one of the pillars of a sustainable future that depends on accelerating the transition to carbon neutrality to support a green economy,” said Saeed Mohammed Al-Tayer, chairman of WGEO, a UAE-based international platform that builds coalitions to enable green economic growth worldwide.

“This study is part of our efforts to support the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Emissions Strategy 2050 to provide 100 percent of the energy production capacity from clean energy sources by 2050,” he added.

“This report shows how the UAE and the UK can forge a robust partnership to develop the green hydrogen sector. We have seen strong actions and willingness to cooperate from the public and private sectors in both countries, but to fully realize the economic and environmental potential of green hydrogen, more and faster measures must be taken.

“This aligns with WGEO’s commitment to a global economic transition through sharing best global experiences and practices that are key pillars for this development. Through this comprehensive study, we intend to help accelerate the clean hydrogen industry in both countries by identifying priorities and finding opportunities to strengthen cooperation,” he said.

The report stated that by 2050, hydrogen is estimated to deliver more than $8.7 billion annually to the UAE economy, and $14.8 billion Gross Value Added to the UK, as well as over 100,000 new jobs in each country under high-adoption scenarios. These opportunities are driving multibillion-dollar investments individually and jointly, through bilateral agreements such as the strategic partnership between BP, ADNOC and Masdar to build low carbon hydrogen hubs like the UK’s H2Teesside, the report stated.

“By working together, the UAE and UK can harness hydrogen’s enormous economic potential and lead the global low carbon transition,” said Sabrin Rahman, managing director and head of sustainability for Europe and the Middle East at HSBC. “The International Energy Agency estimates that $1.2 trillion of investment in hydrogen will be needed by 2030 to reach net zero. At HSBC, we recognize the huge potential of this sector and we’re working with partners and policymakers to develop the clean hydrogen ecosystem as part of a net zero future.”

Jeffrey Beyer, managing director at Zest Associates and the report’s author said: “Clean hydrogen is an opportunity to grow and diversify the economies of the UAE and UK whilst making progress on their net zero commitments (and) both countries are already the strongest hydrogen partners globally and should enhance this special relationship via bilateral platforms to coordinate hydrogen supply chains, research and demonstration initiatives for new hydrogen technologies.”

He added that the two countries agreeing on “a common method for measuring the emissions intensity of hydrogen can be a first step to creating a robust global standard that ensures hydrogen delivers its low carbon promise.”

The report says existing agreements could be enlarged and focused on hydrogen to match the scale of investment required to achieve net zero. These include the £10 billion ($11.5 billion) UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership, signed by the UK Office for Investment and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, or the Memorandum of Cooperation on Industrial and Advanced Technologies Cooperation, signed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology.