UAE aims to use nuclear energy to power hydrogen production

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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The UAE aims to use nuclear energy to power its hydrogen production while also evaluating collaboration opportunities with international players, according to Abu Dhabi-based holding company ADQ.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Company (ENEC), part of ADQ’s portfolio, may provide the necessary power for hydrogen production.

During an online panel organized by the US-UAE Business Council, ADQ Investment Director Mr. Hamad Al Hammadi remarked that “ENEC will have an integral role as a baseload provider of power that is considered clean energy.”

The UAE, which produces nearly 4.2 percent of global crude output, has big plans to tap into hydrogen’s potential as a renewable fuel source that can help countries slash emissions. ADQ formed an alliance with Mubadala Investment Company and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company earlier this year to improve hydrogen export capabilities.

Solar energy can also be used to create green hydrogen, which is made from renewable resources.

Mr. Al Hammadi pointed out, however, nuclear energy provides a consistent, round-the-clock baseload for power generation. “It’s a long program where we want to make sure that we leverage on it, and this gives us access to a hydrogen that can be sold and exported internationally.”

Pink hydrogen is the name given to hydrogen generated by nuclear power.

Mr. Badr Al Olama Associate Director of Mubadala told the panel that the element has “the highest potential to become the clean energy source going forward. Cracking the code on green hydrogen in the UAE could contribute to the creation of thousands of jobs in a new sector. Green hydrogen could reach 530 million tonnes by 2050, displacing 10.5 billion barrels of oil.”

According to US-based Fitch Solutions, the global hydrogen market is projected to expand to $183 billion by 2023, up from $129 billion in 2017. French investment bank Natixis estimates that investments in hydrogen to top $300 billion by 2030.

The UAE Cabinet approved a nationwide hydrogen vehicle system, as the country ramps up the development of blue and green hydrogen variants. This week, Mubadala and Snam, an Italian company, signed an agreement to collaborate on “joint investment and development” of hydrogen.

Mr. Al Hammadi commented that the ADQ-Mubadala-ADNOC hydrogen alliance “is already actively assessing several international partnerships. We’re looking for the best fit in terms of technology Research and Development (R&D) and execution capability, as well as end-product uptake.”

The alliance’s partners are currently working on creating a plan for hydrogen production in Abu Dhabi.

Related: ADNOC & South Korea’s GS Energy unite to work on hydrogen economy