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Abu Dhabi and UK partner plan green hydrogen complex

A green hydrogen complex in south-west France. The UAE wants to be a top 10 producer of green hydrogen by 2031 Patrick Batard/Hans Lucas via Reuters Connect
A green hydrogen complex in south-west France. The UAE wants to be a top 10 producer of green hydrogen by 2031
  • Hycap links up with ADDED
  • Aims to boost industrial sector
  • Plant and storage to be built

Abu Dhabi has linked up with Hycap, an asset manager that funds net zero projects, to develop an industrial complex for green hydrogen.

The facility will include an electrolysis plant, hydrogen storage and tankers for transport.

The partnership between Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and UK business Hycap hopes to attract international companies to the complex and bolster the sector’s value chain as part of the emirate’s green hydrogen ambitions.

Abu Dhabi published its hydrogen policy and regulatory framework in 2022 and announced last year that it intends to roll out a carbon certification framework for the hydrogen industry in 2024. 

ADDED also wants the green hydrogen complex to bolster Abu Dhabi’s industrial sector, which contributes 17 percent to its non-oil GDP and 9 percent to overall GDP.

The UAE’s National Hydrogen Strategy calls for hydrogen hubs to accelerate adoption.

Hycap will also work to develop Abu Dhabi’s green hydrogen industry, seeking to align supply and demand locally and to scale up to create a viable proposition for export sales growth.

The agreement with ADDED “is a demonstrable example of the commitment in the region to grasp the opportunity” of the energy transition, said Jo Bamford, chairman and founding partner of Hycap.

ADDED's Arafat Al Yafei with Jo Bamford, chairman of HycapSupplied
ADDED’s Arafat Al Yafei with Jo Bamford, chairman of Hycap. The UK business opened an Abu Dhabi office last November

French investment bank Natixis estimates that global investment in hydrogen will exceed $300 billion by 2030.

State-owned energy businesses Adnoc and Masdar have already linked up with UK giant BP on its planned blue and green hydrogen developments in Teesside, north-east England. 

Adnoc has a 25 percent stake in the design stage of BP’s blue hydrogen project, H2Teesside, while Masdar has signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire a stake in a proposed green hydrogen development, HyGreen Teesside.

Hycap opened an office in Abu Dhabi Global Market last November to support expansion across the GCC as Gulf governments race to decarbonise their economies. 

The UAE’s National Hydrogen Strategy aims to make it a top 10 producer of green hydrogen by 2031, with an output target of 1.4 million tonnes per year. 

Saudi Arabia’s National Hydrogen Strategy is targeting over $36 billion in investments by 2030 and includes plans for the world’s largest green hydrogen plant in Neom. Oman aims to produce at least 1 million tonnes of hydrogen annually by 2030, rising to 7.5 million by 2050. 

Arafat Al Yafei, executive director of ADDED’s Industrial Development Bureau, described the Hycap deal as an “important step” towards making Abu Dhabi “the most competitive industrial hub in the region”. 

The hydrogen rainbow

  • Green hydrogen is produced on a carbon-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. 
  • White hydrogen is a waste product of other chemical processes, while the use of coal as a fuel produces brown hydrogen.

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