RIYADH: As the world is pushed to up the ante in energy transition, the Middle East region has a significant role to play in achieving this goal. Given the region’s dominant position in the energy sector, Siemens Energy recently launched an innovation hub in the UAE that will help the company drive the transition.
The company’s CEO and President Christian Bruch, who attended Saudi Aramco’s ‘In-Kingdom Total Value Add’ forum, told Arab News he is excited about the opportunity to work with stakeholders in Saudi Arabia.
As the Kingdom has some of the best universities as well as the world’s biggest oil and gas industries, Bruch said: “We are currently in various discussions with them and with the government agencies to identify opportunities for innovation.”
“We have a state-of-the-art manufacturing hub in Dammam, the largest facility of its kind in the region, where we plan to co-develop the technologies of the future.”
Bruch believes that innovations are more crucial than ever, as 45 percent of all emissions savings in 2050 will come from technologies that are not yet on the market today.
The CEO of one of the world's leading energy technology companies pointed out that the Gulf region in particular is impacted by climate change “because it’s warming twice as fast as the rest of the world and extreme heat and water shortages have been a reality here for decades.”
However, he said, the good news is that the region has immense potential for generating renewable energy due to its geographic location.
“We intend to harness this potential through renewable power generation and converting that to green hydrogen,” Brunch informed.
He went on to cite the example of the UAE, where Siemens Energy is working on a hydrogen project with Masdar, TotalEnergies, Etihad Airways and Lufthansa.
“In the first phase, we will focus on the production of green hydrogen for passenger cars and buses in the Masdar City area,” he said, adding that at the same time, a kerosene synthesis plant will convert the majority of the green hydrogen into sustainable aviation fuel.
In the second phase, he revealed the company will produce decarbonized fuels for the maritime sector.
Bruch explained that Siemens Energy aims to support Saudi Arabia in its journey to reach its 2060 goal of net-zero emissions through its bridging solutions.
“As part of its journey, the country wants to shift toward cleaner gas-burning instead of oil for its energy production. And we are supporting the country with our highly efficient gas turbine technologies that could later be used for hydrogen,” he said.
Responding to a question on what needs to be done to accelerate the pace of localization and manufacturing to enable the Kingdom to become a manufacturing hub, Bruch said: “Localizing value chains for the manufacturing processes plays an integral part in Saudi Arabia’s vision to become a manufacturing hub.”
In order to accelerate the pace to become a manufacturing hub, he feels Saudi Arabia should focus more on increasing knowledge transfer in the manufacturing process; strengthening the infrastructure for industries; improving access to funding; and encouraging innovation and development.
Bruch went on to say that the Kingdom will also need to address gaps in the supply chain in order to minimize imports of components and rely on homegrown supply chains.
The CEO revealed that Siemens Energy started its localization journey in Saudi Arabia in 2016 when it produced the first made-in-Saudi Arabia gas turbine from its factory in Dammam. “Since then, we have focused on training young Saudis and transferred knowledge and technology to create the largest facility of its kind in the region.”
He stressed that they are continuing to expand this facility and increase their localization level in the country. “Because that’s what matters in the end, even if it sounds like a platitude: we only have one planet and we all have to work together to prevent climate catastrophe,” Bruch concluded.