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Scaling up the hydrogen economy

Rt Hon Boris Johnson, former Prime Minister of the UK, gave a keynote address at the Summit. (Image source: Masdar)

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company PJSC – Masdar, the UAE’s clean energy powerhouse, held a successful Green Hydrogen Summit focused on accelerating the development of the global green hydrogen economy and supporting the energy transition

Governments and industries alike are recognizing that green hydrogen can and should play a central role in meeting crucial climate and emission reduction targets. The burgeoning industry is reflecting this with solid momentum on all front: new hydrogen technologies are rapidly being developed, ambitious national strategies and numerous new projects across the value chain are being announced, and partnerships are forming to translate these drivers into real developments.

Under the theme, ‘Building the Hydrogen Economy: From Dialogue to Reality’, the summit, which took place on 16 April alongside the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, assembled an impressive line-up of stakeholders including ministerial speakers from the UAE, Azerbaijan, Japan and the Netherlands, policymakers, industry leaders, forward-thinking investors and pioneering entrepreneurs.

A series of impactful dialogues addressed hydrogen’s critical role in decarbonizing the energy system and what is needed to unlock green hydrogen at scale the support the just energy transition on the journey to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Keynote speaker, former UK prime minister the Rt Hon Boris Johnson, praised the UAE as one of the world’s great centres of technological innovation and highlighted the longstanding ties between the United Kingdom and the UAE on renewable energy projects in the past and into the future, including green hydrogen. Johnson also commended HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Chairman of Masdar and president of COP28, for his leadership in delivering the UAE Consensus at COP28, citing the country’s hosting of COP28 as a “triumph” for reversing net-zero sceptics.

Swiss explorer and clean technology pioneer Dr Bertrand Piccard, chairman of Climate Impulse, revealed his latest renewables-fuelled globetrotting expedition: Circumnavigating the globe in anaircraft powered by green hydrogen. The new flight, which Piccard hopes to complete in 2028, follows his historic 23-day journey around the world in a solar-powered aircraft in 2015 that started and concluded in Abu Dhabi.

While Dr Piccard stressed his renewable-powered flying machine is not yet complete, he reiterated the importance of ambitious projects to curtail reluctance surrounding what he dubbed the “limitless potential” of green hydrogen.

“We are at the edge of a new energy revolution,” said Dr Piccard. “People say we will never be able to produce enough clean energy, but the impossible does not exist in reality; it exists only in the mindset of people who believe the future is an extrapolation of the past. The future requires us to be disruptive and invent completely new ways to think. We need solutions and flagship projects that show what we can do. This is why the Green Hydrogen Summit is important, we must show what is possible.”

The summit witnessed global hydrogen players engaging in insightful discussions on many critical topics, ranging from the role of hydrogen in the UAE, Europe, the USA and Asia, its potential for industries such as steel and transportation and how to make projects more bankable.

H.E. Parviz Shahbazov, Minister of Energy for Azerbaijan, H.E. Yoshida Nobuhiro, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry for Japan and Frederik Wisselink, Energy Envoy, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, The Netherlands, outlined national strategies and policies to accelerate green hydrogen economies.

Abu Dhabi’s low-carbon hydrogen policy and its potential to attract innovators, technology providers and key players in the green hydrogen sector while enabling Masdar to start developing cost effective, technology-driven, pioneering green hydrogen projects to the world were also highlighted.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, chief executive officer of Masdar, commented, “This year’s Green Hydrogen Summit assembled a highly impressive list of speakers and panelists who provided great insights into the enormous potential of the green hydrogen economy, while also addressing some of the challenges. Green hydrogen is a vital element of a sustainable energy transition for the UAE and global decarbonisation efforts and Masdar is working hard to accelerate investment in green hydrogen to advance the sector and support the diversification of the UAE’s economy and the global clean energy transition.”

The summit ended with a demonstration of Net Zero Navigator, the AI-driven platform which enables cross-referencing of current financial mechanisms, best policy environments and partnership models to allow the development and scaling of technologies, innovations and strategies to achieve net zero faster.

Masdar’s green hydrogen business aims to be a leading global producer by 2030, by which time it is looking to produce 1 Mtpa, supporting Abu Dhabi’s Low-Carbon Hydrogen Policy announced during COP28, following a trilateral strategic collaboration between Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, ADIO and Masdar to position the UAE as a global hydrogen leader.