The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center’s (KAPSARC) Research depicts that Saudi Arabia can be the leader in the world for supplying hydrogen as the green energy revolution is taking place.
Hydrogen is produced with carbon-friendly gas which is nontoxic using renewable energy. Expert suggests by 2050, hydrogen might play a significant role in achieving climate goals.
The current price of gas is under $5. Saudi Arabia has an abundance of sunlight and this gives them an advantage in the global market. The market for clean hydrogen is anticipated to reach $11 trillion in the coming 30 years.
With the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), KAPSARC is working to seek opportunities for the kingdom in clean hydrogen development. Research efforts include large-scale technology deployment, demand markets, infrastructure usage, and resource requirements.
The center is conducting a research project on the challenges and opportunities for Saudi Arabia in the future global hydrogen market. As part of this work, Dr. Jan Frederik Braun, and Rami Shabaneh, recently published a commentary that explores the future of clean hydrogen within and beyond the Kingdom.
Hydrogen can assist to “decarbonize” segments of the energy value chain, such as industrial process heating, heavy-duty and long-haul road transport, aviation, and shipping.
Frederik Braun, Researcher at KAPSARC, said, “KSA has the skills, infrastructure, and resources to produce blue and green hydrogen on a large scale.”
“Transport is the third-largest CO2-emitting sector in the Kingdom. Hydrogen produced from renewables-based electricity or natural gas is well-suited to decarbonize parts of the transport sector where fuel cell electric vehicles outperform battery electric vehicles, for example, in terms of shorter charging requirements. This applies to heavy-duty and long-distance transport vehicles like trucks and buses as well as high utilization light-duty vehicles like taxis,” he said.
“In this context, NEOM recently announced a joint venture with Hyzon Motors and Modern Group Plan to supply 10,000 locally built, zero-emission commercial trucks for the GCC markets, of which Saudi Arabia is by far the largest,” he added.
Rami Shabaneh, a senior research associate in the markets and industrial development program said that estimates of the future role of hydrogen depended on decarbonization policies.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) estimates hydrogen could contribute up to 24% of total energy demand if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. By comparison, the Hydrogen Council estimates the gas will make up 18 percent of energy demand if global warming reaches 2 C by 2050. Meanwhile, BP estimates hydrogen to account for 7% and 16% of total final energy consumption in their rapid and net-zero scenarios, respectively.
“It would require comprehensive decarbonization measures, production cost reductions, and scaling up infrastructure and demand for hydrogen to play a significant role as a fuel,” Shabaneh said.
“It would require comprehensive decarbonization measures, production cost reductions, and scaling up infrastructure and demand for hydrogen to play a significant role as a fuel,” he added.
KAPSARC and KAUST, are also looking to collaborate with leading researchers of the world, are not just focusing on Kingdom but also looking for opportunities to import across the world including the EU and Japan as these countries are achieving their targets of hydrogen.
“The Kingdom’s hydrogen ambitions could benefit immensely from scaling up production, cooperation, demand and infrastructure through clean hydrogen ‘hubs’ across the GCC. Saudi Arabia has the skills, infrastructure, and resources to produce blue and green hydrogen on a large scale,” Braun further added.
“Hydrogen is one of many solutions to decarbonize and not the only solution. The scale for local use cases and exports will depend on the economics and the pace of development of the hydrogen economy in regions beyond the Middle East, especially in Europe, North America, and Asia. In this way, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries can build economies of scale and pool human, capital, and technical resources cost-efficiently,” he continued.