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Abu Dhabi plans hydrogen carbon certification framework

Hydrogen power: Abu Dhabi hopes that a carbon certification scheme for hydrogen it plans to lead will be adopted globally Reuters/Denis Balibouse
The White Dunes project seeks to produce 10 gigawatts (GW) in wind energy, 7 GW in photovoltaic energy and 8 GW in electrolysis
  • UAE aiming to lead hydrogen development
  • Hopes other countries will adopt cert scheme
  • R&D centre being set up

Abu Dhabi plans to roll out a carbon certification framework for the hydrogen industry next year in a bid to become a leader in developing the clean fuel. 

The emirate plans to apply the framework to both its production and use of hydrogen, Carlos Gasco Travesedo, energy policy adviser and executive director at Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, told AGBI. 

The department has been drafting the certification and accompanying licensing schemes since 2022. This has included talks with global certification companies about measuring and accrediting the carbon intensity of the hydrogen it produces.

Travesedo said that 2024 will be a “critical year” in terms of rolling out the framework. “We need to make sure that our policy framework and the following regulations are fit for purpose,” he explained. 

“But we’re not in a race for time. We are in a race for quality. This is a framework that has to be developed from scratch as it doesn’t exist anywhere else at the moment.” 

The long-term plan is that other countries around the world will adopt the hydrogen certification scheme. Travesedo said the department was talking to governments around the world to promote the necessity of measuring hydrogen’s carbon intensity on a global scale.

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

“The key enabler to achieving a sustainable hydrogen economy is to actually understand and measure the carbon intensity of each batch of hydrogen produced or hydrogen by-products,” Travesedo said.

“That is the only way we can determine the climate change impact it will have.” 

Earlier this month AGBI reported on how the UAE is investigating the production of pink hydrogen, which is generated through electrolysis powered by nuclear energy.

The country already produces blue and grey hydrogen, which are made from natural gas, and green, created through the electrolysis of water.

Speaking at the Energy Markets Forum in Fujairah on 11 October, Sharif Salim Al Olama, undersecretary for energy and petroleum affairs in the UAE’s energy and infrastructure ministry, said that the Emirates hope to produce 1.4 million tonnes of hydrogen per annum by 2031 and 15 million tonnes by 2050.

Today there are seven hydrogen projects in different levels of maturity across the country. 

To advance related technologies, the UAE will establish a hydrogen centre for research and development in 2031. It will be developed into a recognised innovation centre globally for hydrogen by 2050.

Travesedo said the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy would launch its 2050 energy outlook towards the end of next month, just before the Cop28 summit.

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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