According to Dipak Sakaria (energy transition expert at the UAE’s ministry of infrastructure, and energy), the UAE will publish its national hydrogen strategy in April. The UAE aims to be a “top 10” global hydrogen producer by 2031.
Sakaria stated that the strategy will be based on a preliminary roadmap published at the UN’s COP 26 Climate Summit in 2021. It will focus around 10 key elements. These include international collaboration, industrial growth and skills, green financing, infrastructure, and education.
Nawal Alhanaee, director of future energy at the ministry, said that the strategy will help identify the location for a hydrogen-rich region in the UAE.
Sakaria is seeing rapid progress in low-carbon hydrogen projects within the UAE. Seven of the 10 major projects are in development and have secured the financing required. Three others are close to that step.
In the past, the UAE has shown an openness to other production routes. Sharif Al Olama, the under-secretary of the ministry, stated last year that it could produce hydrogen in a variety of ways including natural gas with carbon capture, storage, water electrolysis, drawing on large solar-power generation capacities, and using nuclear power. Al Olama stated that it expects to produce 14mn-22mn tonnes of hydrogen per year by 2050.
Alhanaee reports that the UAE has spent more than $43 billion on clean energy in the last 15 years. The UAE plans to invest $163 billion by 2050. She said that the UAE has already invested more than $50 billion into 40 countries and will continue to do so in the coming 10 years.
Sakaria believes there is ample potential for hydrogen use in the UAE, particularly given current export challenges. Abu Dhabi and the northern Emirates have large steel and aluminium production sites, where hydrogen is crucial for decarbonising. Sakaria stated that hydrogen-derived products could be used, including e-methanol, to bunker at Fujairah port.