Launch of UAE-UK Clean Hydrogen Collaboration report at World Green Economy Summit
Updated: Nov 6, 2022
The UAE and UK can supercharge their hydrogen ‘special relationship’, says report launched at the World Green Economy Summit.
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The United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom have an opportunity to leapfrog competitors in the global race for leadership in clean hydrogen through a broad-based collaboration spanning policy, innovation, trade, and investment, according to a new report launched today at the World Green Economy Summit (WGES) in Dubai.
This landmark report lights the path for how the UAE and the UK can forge a comprehensive partnership to develop clean hydrogen. Strong actions have already been taken from the public and private sectors in both countries, but to fully realize the economic and environmental potential of clean hydrogen we must go deeper, faster and this study sets out practical measures for how we can achieve that," said Jeffrey Beyer, Managing Director of Zest Associates and the author of the report.
The report is a joint initiative between WGEO and Zest Associates, a UAE-based sustainability consultancy, and was sponsored by HSBC. It aims to accelerate the clean hydrogen industry in the UAE and UK by identifying priorities and finding opportunities to strengthen cooperation. The report draws on insights from nearly 100 international hydrogen experts to prioritize 39 areas of importance across policy, innovation, investment, infrastructure, supply, demand and skills, adding substantially to the world’s body of knowledge on the subject.
(Left to right) Jeffrey Beyer, Managing Director of Zest Associates and report author, Waleed Bin Salman, Vice Chairman of WGEO and report partner, and Sabrin Rahman, Managing Director - Head of Sustainability for Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey for HSBC and report sponsor.
“Clean hydrogen is an opportunity to grow and diversify the economies of the UAE and UK whilst making progress on their net zero commitments," said Beyer. “Both countries are already the strongest hydrogen partners globally, and should enhance this special relationship via bilateral platforms to coordinate hydrogen supply chains, research and demonstration initiatives for new hydrogen technologies. The UAE and UK agreeing a common method for measuring the emissions intensity of hydrogen can be a first step to creating a robust global standard that ensures hydrogen delivers its low carbon promise.”
Both the UAE and UK’s net zero commitments depend on clean hydrogen to deliver emission reductions, especially in the industrial and heavy transport sectors where it is very difficult to achieve emissions reductions by other means. Hydrogen is also key to both countries’ economic development agendas. It offers a pathway to greater energy independence in the UK – which the new Prime Minister Liz Truss has signaled is a top long-term priority – as well as economic diversification in the UAE, and job creation in both countries.
By 2050, hydrogen is estimated to deliver up to $8.7 billion (AED 32 billion) annually to Dubai’s economy alone, and $14.8 billion (£13 billion) Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK, as well as over 100,000 new jobs in each country under high-adoption scenarios. These opportunities are driving multibillion-dollar investments, individually, and jointly through bilateral agreements such as the strategic partnership between bp, ADNOC and Masdar to build low carbon hydrogen hubs like the UK’s Teesside industrial cluster, TeessideH2.
The report says existing agreements like the £10 billion (AED 42 billion) UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership (signed by UK Office for Investment and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company) or the Memorandum of Cooperation on Industrial and Advanced Technologies Co-operation (signed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology) could be enlarged and focused on hydrogen to match the scale of investment required to achieve net zero.
The report notes existing agreements like the £10 billion (AED 42 billion) UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership, signed by the UK Office for Investment and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, or the Memorandum of Cooperation on Industrial and Advanced Technologies Co-operation, signed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, could be enlarged and focused on hydrogen to match the scale of investment required to achieve net zero.
As hydrogen’s prominence continues to grow, the report recommends specific ways in which the UAE and UK deepen its already strong collaboration across policy, investment, innovation and business to strengthen both countries’ positions domestically and internationally. The UAE and UK acknowledge clean hydrogen as pivotal to their decarbonzation and development agendas, and they are already capitalizing on joint action. The report sets out several different pathways and initiatives for greater cooperation at the government, corporate, research and investment levels.
This study draws its insights from nearly 100 hydrogen experts. The study involved an extensive literature review of over 150 sources. This informed four expert Roundtables, which brought together 33 leaders from both the UAE and UK from across the policy, innovation, business and investment communities to discuss priorities and identify collaboration opportunities.
The Roundtable outcomes were distilled into 39 areas of importance, which were grouped into seven thematic areas and formulated into a survey. The areas include policy approaches, increasing supply, increasing demand, encouraging investment, scaling up, advancing innovation, and developing skills.
Over 60 international hydrogen experts responded to a survey on these seven areas. They scored each of the 39 areas to evaluate their individual importance and ranked them in clustered groups to determine their relative merit. The outcomes are included in this report to substantiate its findings.