Engie, Masdar Form $5 Billion Green Hydrogen Alliance

Solar panels in Abu Dhabi, April 2019.

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Of dharma Engie and Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy trading company Masdar have formed a strategic alliance focused on the development of green hydrogen related projects.

In an announcement late last week, the companies said the deal will “explore the co-development of a green hydrogen hub based in the UAE.”

While minor details of the plan are relatively sparse, companies will be looking to develop projects with 2 gigawatts of electrolyzer capacity.

Investments for this initiative will amount to approximately $5 billion. In a statement, Engie CEO Catherine MacGregor described renewable hydrogen as “an essential tool for the energy transition.”

Engie and Masdar said they will leverage existing infrastructure to “target local supply initially, with the aim of expanding capacity to create a giga-scale green hydrogen hub for GCC, with the potential to export to other markets.”

The GCC refers to the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.

Hydrogen has a wide range of applications and can be deployed in many industries. It can be produced in a number of ways.

One method involves using electrolysis, with an electric current splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen.

If the electricity used in this process comes from a renewable source such as wind or the sun then some call it green hydrogen or renewable hydrogen.

A member of the oil group OPEC, the United Arab Emirates is a significant producer of crude oil and gas. It is also blessed with large amounts of sunshine – the key ingredient for solar installations.

In May, a project based in Dubai was described as “the first industrial-scale solar green hydrogen facility in the Middle East and North Africa”. was inaugurated.

In a statement at the time, Siemens Energy said power for the pilot project will come from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, a vast solar facility slated to have a production capacity of 5,000 megawatts by 2030.

The deal between Engie and Masdar, announced on Friday, then heated up following news that the Spanish power company Iberdrola and Sweden’s H2 Green Steel have cooperate and develop a major facility that will produce green hydrogen.

Last Thursday, the companies said the 2.3 billion euro ($2.6 billion) project would help them establish a green hydrogen facility with 1 gigawatt of electrolytic capacity.

Read more about clean energy from CNBC Pro

While there is excitement about hydrogen’s potential, some business leaders remain cautious in assessing its prospects, at least in the short term.

In July, for example, Enel CEO Francesco Starace said yes “There is no capital competition between hydrogen and renewables.”

“Hydrogen is a niche today, and it’s a niche that needs to evolve into a commercial standard and become… big, competitively priced industry,” Starace said, while also signaling that such a change could take 10 years. Engie, Masdar Form $5 Billion Green Hydrogen Alliance


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