Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, announced recently that it is joining forces with Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa Group, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Siemens Energy, and Japan’s Marubeni Corporation in an initiative designed to support the development of Abu Dhabi’s green hydrogen economy. (Photo quoted from Masdar’s official website)
Senior executives from each organization signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at a virtual signing ceremony, held prior to the start of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), taking place virtually in the UAE’s capital.
The initiative aims to establish a demonstrator plant at Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s flagship sustainable urban development community, to explore the development of green hydrogen, sustainable fuels and e-kerosene production for transport, shipping, and aviation. Masdar, Siemens and Marubeni will jointly develop the infrastructure to implement the demonstration project and each of these companies will contribute to secure the needed funding.
The project represents the first concrete step under a strategic partnership between Mubadala Investment Company, the sole shareholder of Masdar, and Siemens Energy, intended to accelerate green hydrogen capabilities in Abu Dhabi. That partnership sits under the over-arching framework for the development of the UAE hydrogen economy, the Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance, formed under MOU between Mubadala, ADNOC, and ADQ.
H.E. Thomas Bareiss, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, witnessed the signing. He said, "I am pleased to witness these cooperation agreements that underline the strategic partnership between Germany and the UAE in the field of hydrogen. It offers great potential for decarbonization and economic cooperation between our countries and companies. The new agreements are not only groundbreaking with regard to goals within the framework of our hydrogen strategy, they also underline the value of the German-Emirati energy partnership, which the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is supporting. Already since 2016, sustainable, efficient and renewable energy technologies and services have been actively promoted through bilateral exchanges."
Satoru Harada, Chief Operating Officer, Power Business Division at Marubeni Corporation, said, “Marubeni, being one of the largest power providers in Abu Dhabi operating five power plants, has had the great honor of working in Abu Dhabi for decades. It is only natural for us to embark on a new journey of green hydrogen production here in Abu Dhabi. We are very fortunate to be working with great partners for this project, and we look forward to contributing to the team, using our project structuring and financing experience.”
The first phase of the demonstration program will focus on the production of green hydrogen for passenger cars and buses in the Masdar City area. In parallel, a kerosene synthesis plant will be built to convert green hydrogen into sustainable aviation fuel. In the second phase of the program, the production of decarbonized fuels for the maritime sector will be explored. Through the program, the organizations involved can help to reduce the UAE’s carbon footprint, create domestic demand for sustainable fuels, and establish a local knowledge and industry base for their production.
Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, can be used as a substitute for fossil fuels in a wide variety of applications. Green hydrogen – produced through renewable energy – is likely to play a critical role in decarbonization strategies in a number of industries, including long-haul transport, shipping and aviation, where direct electrification is more challenging. Green hydrogen could compete on costs with fossil fuel alternatives by 2030, if its development is properly supported, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
While the demonstration program could potentially reduce CO2 emissions by 43,000 tonnes over its initial five-year implementation period of 5 years, if the demonstrated technologies for mobility, shipping and aviation were to be adopted and used for just one tenth of energy demand in those sectors, as much as 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions could be avoided annually.