Masdar is joining forces with Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa Group, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Siemens Energy, and Marubeni Corporation, in an initiative designed to support the development of Abu Dhabi’s green hydrogen economy.

Senior executives from each organization signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at a virtual signing ceremony yesterday, held prior to the start of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), taking place virtually in the UAE capital this week.

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 an 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, but 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.”

Attending the signing ceremony was His Excellency Mohamed Bin Jarsh Al Falasi, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy. His Excellency said, “The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Hydrogen Cooperation between Siemens, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa Group, Masdar, Marubeni, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, and the Department of Energy reflects our collective commitment to developing a hydrogen ecosystem in Abu Dhabi.  The emirate is well-positioned to exploit this modern fuel and drive the growth of the hydrogen market both in the MENA region and globally. Importantly, adding hydrogen to our energy mix in Abu Dhabi will support our economic diversification and sustainable development strategies.”

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer, Masdar, said, “Green hydrogen has the potential to become the foundation fuel for a future clean economy, and will be a game-changer for decarbonisation strategies as we look to achieve climate goals and deliver a more sustainable future for all. Masdar has been exploring hydrogen production and generation for more than a decade – today we believe the time is right to accelerate investment in this technology. The UAE’s abundant solar resources, combined with our infrastructure, resources and knowledge base in the energy industry will help us to become a key player in the global hydrogen economy.”

Tony Douglas, Group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group, said, “Etihad Airways has made a long-term commitment to Sustainability under our Greenliner programme which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The decarbonisation of aviation remains the most important challenge facing the industry and will require significant investments in efficiency and innovation with a focus on developing technologies to switch to sustainable fuel sources to allow the UAE achieve its CORSIA targets.

“Non-fossil fuel-based liquid hydrocarbons are the next logical step towards achieving significant decarbonisation in aviation, and this partnership is an extension of Etihad’s efforts to look into alternatives suitable for the UAE, where we have already explored halophyte-based biofuel and are now expanding that into research and development of synthetic fuel from green hydrogen.”

Annette Mann, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Lufthansa Group, said, “Power-to-Liquid fuels are essential for the energy transition in aviation and a key technology for climate-friendly flying. Green hydrogen is a key ingredient to produce renewable jet fuel. Abu Dhabi is among the most promising locations for a production site. The Lufthansa Group is delighted to participate in this project and explore the Power-to-Liquid supply concept.“

Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President, Khalifa University, said: “Through this partnership, Khalifa University is pleased to contribute to the development of green hydrogen fuel, which is expected to be one of the important clean energy sources in the near future. Our researchers are currently working on hydrogen production and storage, especially in major technology areas. This enables us to develop ways to utilize hydrogen and fuel cells in applications such as stationary energy, portable energy and transportation. We believe that, through our research and academic expertise in sustainable energy technologies and in collaboration with our partners, we will play a pivotal role in promoting the development of the green hydrogen economy.”

Dietmar Siersdorfer, Managing Director of Siemens Energy Middle East, said, “This significant agreement highlights the importance of collaboration with a strong and diverse group of partners across industrial sectors, to drive forward and realise the potential of green hydrogen in decarbonisation. The UAE’s visionary leadership is creating solid foundations for a successful green hydrogen economy and is the base for a new ecosystem.”

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 honour 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 industrial 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 decarbonisation 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.

Source: https://masdar.ae/
Image source: Courtesy of Masdar

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