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Masdar and Adnoc agree trio of green hydrogen deals

Inpex Masdar Abu Dhabi Masdar
Abu Dhabi's Masdar and Japan's Inpex will investigate making polypropylene from hydrogen and carbon dioxide
  • Mitsubishi and Inpex to partner on polypropylene production schemes
  • Adnoc, Toyota and Al Futtaim to test hydrogen refuelling stations
  • UAE considers green hydrogen key to achieving net zero goals

Abu Dhabi renewable energy company Masdar has agreed a deal with two Japanese energy and chemicals firms to explore production of commercial-scale polypropylene made from carbon dioxide and green hydrogen in the UAE. 

Masdar has teamed up with Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical Group Corporation and Inpex Corporation, a Japanese oil and gas company.

They have signed an initial agreement to investigate the financial and technical feasibility of the scheme.

Polypropylene is a type of plastic material used to manufacture everyday items such as bottles, jars and food packaging. E-methanol is a synthetic fuel that can be used to decarbonise maritime transportation.

In developing the project, Masdar and its partners are hoping to help companies in the maritime sector and related industries to reduce their carbon footprints, they said. 

Masdar has signed a related agreement with Inpex to carry out a feasibility study to operate an e-methane business in Abu Dhabi, using hydrogen to produce e-methane and export it to Japan.

In a separate move, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) said it has started building the Middle East’s first high-speed hydrogen refuelling station.

The plant will create clean hydrogen from water using an electrolyser powered by clean grid electricity, Adnoc said on Tuesday.

The state-owned oil giant has partnered with automobile companies Toyota Motor Corporation and the UAE’s Al Futtaim Motors to test the refuelling station using a fleet of clean hydrogen-powered vehicles. 

Hydrogen creates no carbon emissions and has the highest energy per mass of any fuel, Adnoc said. It can therefore give vehicles a longer driving range and quicker refuelling times than with battery electric vehicles.

The UAE is investing in renewable forms of energy production and distribution as part of its efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

Green hydrogen is hydrogen generated by renewable energy, or from low-carbon power. It has much lower carbon emissions than “grey” hydrogen, which is derived from fossil fuels. 

Globally, green hydrogen is considered a key component of the journey to net zero and GCC countries including the UAE and Saudi Arabia are exploring its use as a potentially lucrative market and one that would help them meet decarbonisation goals.

The UAE’s National Hydrogen Strategy aims to position the country among the largest producers of hydrogen by 2031.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and French energy firm Engie signed an agreement last week to develop green hydrogen projects in the kingdom.

“Hydrogen will be a critical fuel for the energy transition, helping to decarbonise economies at scale, and it is a natural extension of our core business,” Adnoc managing director and group chief executive Sultan Al Jaber said of the Masdar deal today. 

“Through this pilot, we will gather important data on how hydrogen transportation technology performs as we continue to develop the UAE’s hydrogen infrastructure.”

As part of the project, a second station, in Dubai Golf City, will be fitted with a conventional hydrogen fuelling system, allowing the partners to make scientific comparisons.

“Today’s agreement will enable us to join forces and further unlock the potential of green hydrogen to drive industry and growth while reducing emissions,” Masdar chief executive Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said.

Mitsubishi Chemical Group’s chief executive Jean-Marc Gilson added: “The chemical industry is faced with the dual challenge of reducing its greenhouse emissions, while participating in the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. 

“With this in mind, our ambition to use carbon dioxide as a key starting raw material is a very important stepping stone towards a sustainable future.”

Inpex president and chief executive Takayuki Ueda said: “We position carbon recycling and methanation as one of our five net zero businesses, and this joint initiative with Masdar to explore the production of clean e-methane is fully aligned with our decarbonisation efforts as well as our long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi.”

The hydrogen rainbow

  • Green hydrogen is produced on a CO2-neutral basis through water electrolysis. 
  • Turquoise hydrogen is created when natural gas is broken down into hydrogen and solid carbon with the help of methane pyrolysis.
  • Blue hydrogen is generated from the steam reduction of natural gas. 
  • Grey hydrogen is obtained by steam reforming fossil fuels such as natural gas or coal. 
  • Sometimes other colours are ascribed to hydrogen, based on how it is produced. For red, pink and violet hydrogen, the electrolysers are driven by nuclear power. 
  • Yellow hydrogen is hydrogen produced from a mixture of renewable energies and fossil fuels. 
  • Hydrogen that is a waste product of other chemical processes is referred to as white hydrogen, while the use of coal as a fuel produces brown hydrogen.