Dubai: The Dubai’s utility service provider DEWA is working alongside Siemens, Masdar, Mubadala and thyssenkrupp, the German industrial giant, to explore hydrogen production and bring it to market at a nominal price.
“The hydrogen will come from here [UAE] to Germany - we will not be the ones who produce, but the question is how do we get the hydrogen from the UAE to Germany?” said Dr. Cetin Nazikkol, CEO - Regional Platform Asia, Pacific and Africa at thyssenkrupp. “By 2025, we will require 75,000 tonnes of hydrogen and which can go up to 750,000 tones. We are looking at a long-term supply contract [10 years]. This will boost local manufacturers and investors’ confidence to ramp up production to meet our demand.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the First NMI Gulf Future Conference, Nazikkol spoke about the challenges involved in transporting hydrogen from the UAE to Germany. He said, “There are no direct line connections, but co-operation between the two countries is already in place - we are in constant dialogue.”
UAE’s hydrogen prospects
Earlier this month, UAE launched a ‘Hydrogen Roadmap’, which aims at creating a vibrant ecosystem transiting towards a new model of sustainable economic growth trajectory. Green hydrogen is expected to play a significant role in UAE’s domestic strategy to meet net zero goals and also assist globally by exporting hydrogen.
“This is an area the UAE is looking at investing in over the long run,” said Sarah Bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, UAE Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology. She also spoke about maintaining the resilience of the overall supply chain and diversifying trade relations.
Talking about Europe’s energy transition and its impact on the Gulf countries, Yousif Ahmed Al Ali, Assistant Under-Secretary for Water, Electricity & Future Energy Affairs, UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said: “Being one of the major exporters of energy, we think we can also export other forms of renewable energy.”
Bring hydrogen to market
Talking about catering to market demand, Michael Bueker, Senior Vice-President for Finance at Siemens Energy Middle East & UAE, said, “It is not a matter of competition in the marketplace, it is more to do with serving the demand. Who else can join to make this new economy work as fast as possible at scale.”
“When it comes to hydrogen production, on one side we have to scale up, and on the other side, we have tools to ensure the cost-efficiency.” Nazikkol said, adding that the cost of bringing hydrogen to the market will be ‘very high’ and bringing it to an optimal level is ‘challenging’ as it involves R&D, exploration, and transportation to the market.
German companies are increasingly looking to the GCC market for growth. With an export volume of $18.4 billion in 2020, the region is the seventh-largest export destination for German industry outside Europe. In Saudi Arabia and the UAE alone, an estimated 1,250 German companies are represented with their own branches.
“For the German economy, the UAE and the rest of the GCC are not only important markets but enormous partners in this part of the world – a relationship that goes beyond trade,” said Ralf Wintergerst, Chairman of the North Africa Middle East Initiative of German Business, NMI. “Together with their local partner companies, German firms work together deep into the value chain,”
The Gulf Future Conference aims to provide a platform for dialogue between businesses and political leaders from the MENA region and Germany. International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) was the Exclusive Free Zone Sponsor of the conference.