OPN Green Hydrogen energy
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Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the global initiative championed by the UAE and its clean energy powerhouse Masdar to accelerate sustainable development, will hold its first summit this year to highlight green hydrogen’s growing importance in the global drive towards net zero.

The Green Hydrogen Summit on January 18 will be one of the key events at the ADSW 2023, which will convene heads of state, policymakers, industry leaders, investors, youth, and entrepreneurs, for a series of impactful dialogues ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), to be held in the UAE from November 30-December 12. COP28, the Emirates Climate Conference, will see the conclusion of the first global stocktake of the Paris Agreement — assessing the progress made by countries on their national climate plans.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Chairman of Masdar, said, “We stand at a critical moment as nations prepare to gather in the UAE to highlight progress on meeting climate objectives and to explore pathways to net zero. Ahead of COP28, ADSW2023 will provide a platform for vital dialogue between key stakeholders and decision makers, as we look to forge alliances and develop innovative solutions to deliver an inclusive energy transition. The UAE and Masdar have long believed that green hydrogen will play a key role in that energy transition and as we continue to explore low-carbon and zero-carbon energy solutions, the time is right for green hydrogen to take a more central role at ADSW.”

Hydrogen’s value chain

The inaugural Green Hydrogen Summit, held in partnership with the Hydrogen Council, Atlantic Council, International Renewable Energy Agency and Dii Desert Energy, will cover topics including, developments in hydrogen production, conversion, transport, storage, and use. It will include high-level discussions focused on the development of the UAE hydrogen economy, the role of government and regulation, and panel sessions on a broad range of topics including innovation, sustainable finance, green energy in Africa, and hydrogen’s value chain.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer, Masdar, said, “As green hydrogen continues to show growing promise as a critical enabler of our net-zero future, we must unlock its full potential by accelerating research and development and investment in this vital sector. Masdar is excited to launch the ADSW Green Hydrogen Summit to support the development of the UAE’s green hydrogen economy and help realise the global energy transition. This inaugural summit will also pave the way towards COP28 in the UAE, where we can expect green hydrogen to be a key component of a future low-carbon energy market.”

ADSW host Masdar announced in December the formation of its new green hydrogen business to support the UAE’s green hydrogen economy. Masdar’s green hydrogen business aims to produce up to one million tonnes of green hydrogen per annum by 2030. Masdar is already actively involved in a number of projects related to green hydrogen production, including agreements with leading Egyptian state-backed organisations to cooperate on the development of green hydrogen production plants, targeting an electrolyser capacity of 4 gigawatts by 2030, and output of up to 480,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year.

The downside to hydrogen

Current hydrogen production is responsible for more than 900 Mt (million tonnes) of global CO2 emissions per year — that’s more than the total CO2 emissions from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar combined. With this in mind, I’m glad that green hydrogen is at the top of the sustainability agenda in MENA. We need to be working faster to drastically reduce hydrogen pollution, as it has the potential to cause more harm than oil if left unchecked.

Recent scientific breakthroughs, like the world’s first successful nuclear fusion experiment and a renewed interest in green hydrogen technology, are bringing us closer to achieving net zero. Governments and industry need to keep up this momentum to effect tangible change by the end of the decade and ensure a habitable planet for future generations.

ADSW, established in 2008, brings together heads of state, policymakers, industry leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, and youth to discuss, engage and debate climate action and innovation to ensure a sustainable world.

Giving women a greater voice

The first international sustainability gathering of the year, ADSW 2023 will feature the ADSW Summit, hosted by Masdar on January 16. It will focus on a wide range of critical topics including food and water security, energy access, industrial decarbonisation, health, and climate adaptation.

As in previous years, ADSW 2023 will feature partner-led events and opportunities for international engagement on sustainability-related topics, including the International Renewable Energy Agency’s IRENA Assembly, the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum, and the World Future Energy Summit.

ADSW 2023 will also mark the 15th anniversary of the Zayed Sustainability Prize — the UAE’s pioneering global award for recognising excellence in sustainability. Masdar’s Youth for Sustainability platform will hold the Y4S Hub during the week, which aims to attract 3,000 young people, while the annual forum for Masdar’s Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) platform will also be held, giving women a greater voice in the sustainability debate.

— Dr Abdullah Bilhaif Al Nuaimi is the former UAE minister for climate change