HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has emphasized that green hydrogen represents one of the pillars of a sustainable future that depends on accelerating the transition to carbon neutrality to support a green economy. Al Tayer made these remarks during his speech at Gastech Exhibition & Conference 2021, which is hosted in the UAE under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and supported by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure.
“Organising this leading global event highlights the UAE’s efforts of the wise leadership, in the transition towards a green economy by moving to a new energy landscape where clean and renewable energy are key components, creating a carbon-neutral future, as well as consolidating Dubai’s position as a global hub for clean and renewable energy. Today, the world is witnessing an increasing interest in investing in clean and renewable energy sources that will change the global energy landscape in the coming years, especially for countries looking to quickly recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, by shifting from fossil fuels to environmentally friendly and relatively low-cost energy sources, including hydrogen,” said Al Tayer.
“There are three main types of hydrogen. They are defined based on how they have been produced and the carbon in them. Green Hydrogen, which is of interest to us in line with Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, is produced by electrolysis using renewable energy sources. Blue Hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels with full or partial carbon capture. Grey Hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels without removing carbon. Green hydrogen represents one of the pillars of a sustainable future that depends on accelerating the transition to carbon neutrality to support a green economy. Recently, Green Hydrogen has been receiving more global attention as a clean energy source that can support global efforts to reduce carbon emissions, which is a costly process, as well as dealing with climate change and global warming. Its objectives are to develop the green mobility sector and reduce carbon emissions from various industries, and transportation, as well as generating electrical and thermal energy. This means it can help reduce CO2 emissions,” noted Al Tayer.
The world is witnessing an expansion in implementing pilot projects to produce hydrogen. These are likely to be the cornerstone for commercial expansion for various applications in many areas such as industry, transportation, and inside homes. This will become possible as governments continue to support research and development to increasing efficiency and continuously reduce the cost of hydrogen production, as well as providing financial incentives and regulations for the emerging hydrogen production projects, to make them more attractive in terms of cost and logistics.
Green hydrogen is expected to reduce the costs of producing clean energy and raise the efficiency of its production. It is expected to compete with hydrogen produced using fossil fuels and associated with carbon emissions. However, given the current maturity level of green hydrogen production technologies and its uses, we still need to make significant efforts in research and development for large-scale electrolyzer and fuel cell applications, studying the technical and economic feasibility of hydrogen combustion technologies, as well as ensuring the technical and economic feasibility of long-term hydrogen storage.
Al Tayer explained that electrolyzer technology needs to mature, and unit sizes need to increase to 100 MW to 300 MW, compared with the typical 5 MW to 10 MW units deployed today. Such a development would allow for electrolyzer cost reductions of more than 50% and increase the efficiency of the amount of power required to produce a unit of H2 to over 70%. Global hydrogen demand is expected to increase from around 75-85 million metric tons (mMT) in 2020 to around 580 mMT in 2050.
Global studies show that if low-carbon hydrogen is deployed in the most appropriate applications and if global emissions are in line with the 2°C Paris targets, the global market for low-carbon hydrogen and hydrogen-based synthetic fuels could hit $1 trillion by 2050. Among the countries working on this are China, the United States, India, Russia, Brazil, Germany, and South Africa.
Al Tayer highlighted Dubai’s experience in the transition towards renewable and clean energy. DEWA’s total production capacity of clean energy has increased to around 10% of Dubai’s energy mix and will reach 13.3% in phases by the end of 2021 to Q1 of 2022. We work on diversifying the clean energy sources to include photovoltaic solar panels, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), Green Hydrogen using renewable energy, and pumped-storage hydroelectric power, in addition to studying the use of wind power.
The Green Hydrogen project, which has been implemented in collaboration between DEWA, Expo 2020 Dubai, and Siemens Energy at DEWA’s R&D Centre in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, is the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa to produce hydrogen using solar power. The plant was designed to facilitate future applications and test platforms of different uses for hydrogen, such as energy production, transportation and industrial uses.
“Hopes are high for Green Hydrogen. Thanks to the contributing efforts of our R&D Centre, we believe that green hydrogen production will take the same positive trend as solar power, wind power, and batteries. In our path towards zero carbon emissions, green hydrogen plays a particularly important role in decarbonising the industry, and integrating renewables in the power generation and transportation sector, among other roles. I am sure that organising this cycle of the Gastech in Dubai will add to its successes and achievements over the past years, support the energy sector, enhance sustainability, accelerate the transition towards renewable and clean energy, and find solutions to current and future challenges,” concluded Al Tayer.