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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey Beyer

New initiative brings together UAE and UK on clean hydrogen

9 Jan 2022

Signing ceremony kicking off the study: Abdulfattah Sharaf, HSBC UAE CEO and Head of International, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of World Green Economy Organization, Jeffrey Beyer, Managing Director of Zest Associates

A new research paper will explore potential clean hydrogen collaborations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Kingdom (UK), as part of a joint commitment between the World Green Economy Organization (WGEO), a Dubai-based international platform that drives coalitions to enable green economic growth and Zest Associates.

The report, sponsored by HSBC, will seek to uncover mutual opportunities to accelerate the development of the respective clean hydrogen markets of the UAE and the UK. Its research will engage business leaders, industry associations, policymakers, innovators and academics across both countries.

Zest Associates, a UAE-based sustainability consultancy with links to the UK and expertise in green finance, policy and cleantech innovation, is leading the report’s research.

“Our goal is to show how the UAE and UK can move from ambition to action,” said Jeffrey Beyer, Managing Director at Zest Associates. “We are bringing together the key players – big and small – to identify collaborative opportunities and show how cooperation brings mutual benefits to all parties. The report will set out the practical steps that the UAE and UK can take to create the conditions for a clean hydrogen market to thrive, while at the same time matching up companies and innovators to catalyze deals and technology development in clean hydrogen.”

The research paper will examine opportunities in the green hydrogen space between the two countries, with scalable suggestions for collaborations and partnerships. It will map innovation priorities, profile hydrogen companies, and look at how policy and regulatory collaboration between the UAE and UK can facilitate trade, encourage foreign direct investment, and guarantee the low carbon credentials of hydrogen.

“As the UAE and UK look to deepen their trading relationship and spur investment and innovation in low-carbon technology, it is critical that we create spaces for dialogue and the exchange of ideas that lead to real practical action. This report will align with the WGEO’s objective to enable and implement bankable and sustainable green projects and programmes by linking technology, capacity-building and finance,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of WGEO.

Research for the report will include stakeholder meetings and workshops to test and validate findings. There will also be a panel discussion on the report’s conclusions in the first half of 2022.

Abdulfattah Sharaf, HSBC UAE CEO and Head of International said: “HSBC is committed to helping lead the transition to net zero and this research will help improve the understanding of how hydrogen’s economic and environmental benefits can be built into the low carbon journeys of the UAE and UK.”

The announcement of the report builds on recent public statements aimed at supercharging the economic relationship between the UK and UAE, with a focus on cleantech and low carbon infrastructure, including expansion of the UAE-UK New Energy Partnership.

In September this year, the UK Office for Investment (OfI) and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, signed an agreement at Downing Street to significantly expand the UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership (UAE-UK SIP), a framework for investment announced in March 2021.

As part of the agreement, the UAE has committed to investing £10bn ($13bn USD) across three sectors: technology, infrastructure, and energy transition, as well as building on the existing program of life sciences investment. ADNOC, BP and Masdar announced they are expanding the UAE-UK New Energy Partnership to explore development of clean hydrogen hubs in both the UAE and UK at an initial scale of at least 2 gigawatts (GW), comprising 1 GW in the UAE and 1 GW in the UK.

The report will also support the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Emissions Strategy 2050 to provide 100% of the energy production capacity from clean energy sources by 2050.

“The report will look at how the UAE and UK can work together to guarantee that hydrogen delivers a genuinely low carbon solution,” said Mr Beyer. “It’s time to move away from ‘green and blue’, and towards a framework that lets each country capitalize on their competitive advantages while protecting the climate. By leveraging its inexpensive renewable energy, existing oil and gas infrastructure, commercial-scale CCUS [carbon capture utilization and storage] capabilities, and capacity to innovate around new methods like methane pyrolysis, the UAE can become a major player in clean hydrogen and the UK could be a key export market.”


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