Huge hydrogen project to be built in the UAE

Representatives pose during the signing of an agreement to build a $1 billion green hydrogen and ammonia production plant in the UAEPhoto credit: Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) / Handout.

By Anders Lorenzen

The wealthy Gulf state, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has unveiled plans to build a $1 billion green hydrogen and ammonia production plant. 

It is to be constructed by three Korean companies in cooperation with the UAE’s company Petrolyn Chemie, and will upon completion be capable of producing 200,000 tonnes of green ammonia a year. 

The plant is to be built in two phases in the KIZAD Industrial Area near the capital Abu Dhabi. In the initial first phase, it will be producing 35,000 tonnes before the second phase takes the project to full scale.

From fossil fuels to hydrogen

Many Gulf countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia are turning their attention toward hydrogen, with the countries keen to portray themselves as playing their bit in the energy transition. However, many hydrogen projects put forward are still produced with fossil fuels

Green hydrogen is obtained by passing renewably-produced electricity through water to split the element from oxygen, a process known as hydrolysis. The energy industry has increasingly favoured these kinds of projects arguing that they produce a key fuel for energy users looking to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

In a statement, Petrolyn said: “Participating companies will achieve their respective Net-Zero vision through the Project. They are expected to…expand the drive of future growth in the global green hydrogen market by expanded reproduction of their future business model.” 

In recent years, several large global companies have joined forces, and hydrogen partnerships and consortiums have been launched. Their aim is to make use of all the skills necessary in order to produce green hydrogen.

Historically the driver of UAE’s and Saudi Arabia’s economies is oil production. While Gulf countries are not yet making any promises to scale back oil production they are starting to heavily invest in the energy transition.

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