GHD, Fraunhofer and UAE’s MOEI develop National Hydrogen Strategy

The strategy sets the stage for the UAE’s ambitious hydrogen goals, with the next milestone being the development of a Low Carbon Hydrogen policy

GHD and Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Integrated Energy Systems CINES have partnered with the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MOEI) to deliver a comprehensive National Hydrogen Strategy.

The project was commissioned by the government of the UAE; the strategy is said to be built around the UAE’s vision to become a leading global producer of low-carbon hydrogen by its 60th anniversary in 2031.

The strategy sets a goal of leveraging the country’s abundant natural gas reserves, high solar radiance, and favourable position as a global energy and business hub. With the added advantage of substantial financial resources and a high credit rating, the UAE is well-positioned to become a global leader in low-carbon hydrogen production. The strategy is a fact-based analysis that evaluates the opportunities and challenges associated with establishing a hydrogen-based economy in the UAE, and has been endorsed by the MOEI.

A partnership between GHD and Fraunhofer was formed to ensure the successful delivery of this project. In addition to liaising with stakeholders to co-design the strategic framework, GHD gathered stakeholder insights including ongoing projects, planned initiatives, enablers, and worked with MOEI to develop a roadmap for establishing the UAE hydrogen economy, a statement from GHD noted.

“Hydrogen has the potential to play an important role in the UAE’s transition to a low-carbon economy. We are committed to implementing the National Hydrogen Strategy to unlock opportunities and benefits and achieve our net-zero target. Our goal is to establish the UAE as a leader in the global hydrogen market, create new economic opportunities and contribute to a more sustainable future for all,” explained His Excellency Eng Sharif Al Olama, MOEI’s Undersecretary for Energy and Petroleum Affairs.

The partnership is said to have also incorporated Fraunhofer’s technical parameters derived from its HYPAT – Hydrogen Potential Atlas project, along with extensive research from primary and secondary literature sources, to ensure the accuracy of the data on hydrogen production and domestic forecasted targets. The combined expertise and experience of GHD and Fraunhofer played a pivotal role in the successful delivery of their project and contributed to positioning the UAE as a frontrunner in hydrogen development and drive sustainable growth and advancements in the field, the statement added.

The strategy sets the stage for the nation’s ambitious hydrogen goals, with the next milestone being the development of a Low Carbon Hydrogen policy.

The National Hydrogen Strategy presents several key highlights, which include:

  • Exponential hydrogen production growth: The strategy targets a production of 1.4m tonnes per annum of low-emission hydrogen by 2031, out of which 71.4% will be green hydrogen. By 2050, the country aims to increase production tenfold to reach 15m tonnes per annum.
  • Green job creation: The strategy sets a target of creating thousands of new green jobs by 2031. This initiative not only drives economic growth but also contributes to developing a skilled workforce in the renewable energy sector.
  • Hydrogen infrastructure expansion: The UAE plans to establish two hydrogen oases (hubs) by 2031 to support the hydrogen economy. Additionally, a hydrogen centre for research and development will be set up by 2031, with the vision of transforming it into a globally recognised innovation centre for hydrogen by 2050.

Thomas Evans, Executive Advisor at GHD added, “Building a successful hydrogen economy requires multiple complex enablers to come together, including infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and a clear and consistent policy environment. GHD is committed to unlocking sustainable pathways to net-zero, and developing a hydrogen economy is a critical part of the broader decarbonisation puzzle.”

Dr Jan Frederik Braun, Head of Hydrogen Cooperation (MENA Region) at Fraunhofer CINES concluded, “This hydrogen strategy, which has been developed together with all key hydrogen and energy stakeholders in the UAE considers all aspects of the hydrogen value chain: production, distribution and usage. The UAE’s opportunities to create value in the emerging global hydrogen market will lie in its ability to produce innovative and competitive hydrogen-based end products along the entire value chain. As Europe’s largest applied research organisation, Fraunhofer has the expertise and experience to develop and test hydrogen technologies for industrial partners in the UAE and bring them to market.”

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