The Future Of Hydrogen Discussed At The “EU Hydrogen Forum in the UAE”

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The “EU Hydrogen Online Forum in the UAE: Hydrogen, the Energy Carrier of the Future” took place yesterday Wednesday, 25 November 2020 and was joined by approximately 250 participants. The event was presented by the Delegation of the European Union to the United Arab Emirates and the EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network

Governments around the globe are realizing that hydrogen produced from renewable electricity will play an indispensable role in the effort to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. Hydrogen is a versatile and climate-neutral energy carrier that can be used to drive down greenhouse gas emissions in sectors that are otherwise difficult to decarbonize.

During the opening, H.E. Andrea Matteo Fontana, Ambassador of the European Union to the United Arab Emirates, stated that “The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the vulnerabilities of our traditional economic model and changed the context for the clean energy transition worldwide.But we can turn the recovery into a once in a lifetime opportunity to build back better. Our European Green Deal guides EU green recovery dialogues and cooperation with our partners including the UAE. Through the recovery we can press fast forward to the green energy transition and jointly reach the goals of the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal”.

The Forum featured a high-level roundtable with the participation of H.E. Andrea Matteo Fontana, Ambassador of the European Union to the United Arab Emirates, H.E. Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, H.E. Suhail Al Mazroui, Minister for Energy and Infrastructure of the United Arab Emirates, Francesco La Camera, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Secretary-General of Hydrogen Europe. The round table was moderated by Frank Wouters, Director of the EU GCC Clean Energy Technology Network and was followed by two technical sessions.

“Hydrogen is an opportunity for our economy, for our climate but also for international cooperation.” noted H.E. Kadri Simson, EU Commissioner for Energy, during the roundtable. “Now, the EU is a leading oil and gas importer. If we scale up our hydrogen economy, as we intend to do, then that demand will by far outweigh our domestic production. And some EU Member States already intend to import green hydrogen to meet that demand.” “Connecting our hydrogen economies means we can advance supplies’ diversification and help develop stable and secure supply chains. What we are proposing is a global rules space market for hydrogen and at the heart of this market are harmonised safety and environmental standards.”

Among the regions that have favourable conditions to produce cost-effective hydrogen is the Gulf. The UAE as a regional leader in clean energy is ideally positioned to capitalize on a rapidly expanding renewable hydrogen export market worldwide, which is expected to reach a value of $300 billion by 2050. The production and export of renewable hydrogen can support the UAE in their goals to push for clean energy and economic diversification, ensuring their strong presence in the energy market. However, for international renewable hydrogen trade to become a reality, remaining obstacles regarding transport and storage technologies, certification schemes, and market design need to be resolved.
During the high level roundtable H.E. Suhail Al Mazroui, Minister for Energy and Infrastructure of the United Arab Emirates noted “We look at Europe with excitement seeing all of these (hydrogen) projects and plans by the European Union and by several of our allies in Europe and I think together we can exchange the learnings and enable large scale projects to contribute to reducing the cost of hydrogen in the future.” “We are very excited of the recent instruction by HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Vice chairman of the emirate’s Supreme Petroleum Council, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to instruct ADNOC to develop together with the different stakeholders in the country a hydrogen strategy to enable the full potential of hydrogen
in the UAE.”
Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA stated that “Enabling framework will be critical to realise the potential of green hydrogen. On that, IRENA today announces the launch of the report “Green Hydrogen: a Guide to policy making“. He also added “We see a lot of promising developments on green hydrogen. The EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council are well positioned to move forward with green hydrogen deployment. IRENA looks fwd to deepening collaboration with you (EU and UAE) as we jointly work on developing a sustainable energy future.”
The EU Hydrogen Forum provided an opportunity to exchange ideas and consider concrete options to move the hydrogen agenda forward in both regions. It engaged in discussion high level representatives from leading institutions and companies from the EU and the region including the European Commission, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), Hydrogen Europe, International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IHPE), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Qamar Energy, ENGIE, FICHTNER and others.

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