Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala), The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and ADQ, today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance (the Alliance). The Alliance partners will collaborate to establish Abu Dhabi as a trusted leader of low-carbon green and blue hydrogen in emerging international markets. They will also work together to build a substantial green hydrogen economy in the UAE.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Alliance will develop a roadmap to accelerate the UAE’s adoption and use of hydrogen in major sectors such as utilities, mobility and industry, through their respective operating companies and with international partners. Mubadala, ADNOC and ADQ will also align on their approach to international markets, for projects developed under the Alliance, to position Abu Dhabi as a reliable and secure supplier of hydrogen and its carriers to customers around the world as demand grows.
The companies are building on their complementary strengths to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s hydrogen leadership. ADNOC already produces around 300,000 tons per annum of hydrogen for its downstream operations, with plans to expand to more than 500,000 tons, and is well placed to build on its advantaged position as a major natural gas reserves holder and producer, with existing infrastructure and strong partnerships and customer relationships around the world. The signing today follows ADNOC’s agreement last week with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan to explore cooperation on fuel ammonia and carbon recycling, harnessing technologies which will enable the hydrogen economy.
Mubadala will contribute through Masdar, its global renewable energy champion, and its extensive network of international technology and investment partners and other relationships. ADQ will bring together its portfolio companies across the energy value chain, with companies such as Abu Dhabi Ports, Abu Dhabi Airports, Etihad Rail, Etihad Steel, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) to enable activities undertaken by the Alliance.
While the Alliance will pursue green hydrogen domestically, ADNOC will continue to develop blue hydrogen independently within the UAE, leveraging its existing capacity and capabilities.
The development of a local hydrogen economy is a natural proposition for the UAE. Its strong track record and industrial capacity across the energy value chain, coupled with its geographic location advantages, and growing local and export demand, mean that the country is uniquely positioned to establish a clean hydrogen economy.
What is Green Hydrogen
For a colourless gas, hydrogen gets referred to in very colourful terms.
According to the nomenclature used by market research firm Wood Mackenzie, most of the gas that is already widely used as an industrial chemical is either brown, if it’s made through the gasification of coal or lignite; or grey, if it is made through steam methane reformation, which typically uses natural gas as the feedstock. Neither of these processes is exactly carbon-friendly.
A purportedly cleaner option is known as blue hydrogen, where the gas is produced by steam methane reformation but the emissions are curtailed using carbon capture and storage. This process could roughly halve the amount of carbon produced, but it’s still far from emissions-free.
Green hydrogen, in contrast, could almost eliminate emissions by using renewable energy — increasingly abundant and often generated at less-than-ideal times — to power the electrolysis of water.
A more recent addition to the hydrogen-production palette is turquoise. This is produced by breaking methane down into hydrogen and solid carbon using a process called pyrolysis. Turquoise hydrogen might seem relatively low in terms of emissions because the carbon can either be buried or used for industrial processes such as steelmaking or battery manufacturing, so it doesn’t escape into the atmosphere.
However, recent research shows turquoise hydrogen is actually likely to be no more carbon-free than the blue variety, owing to emissions from the natural-gas supplies and process heat required.