$1 billion green hydrogen plant planned for UAE

Three South Korean companies have signed an agreement to build a $1 billion green hydrogen and ammonia production plant in the United Arab Emirates.

Korea Electric Power Corporation, Samsung C&T Corporation  and Korea Western Power, alongside the UAE’s Petrolyn Chemie, will build a plant that can produce up to 200,000 tonnes of green ammonia a year, Petrolyn said.

Green hydrogen – obtained by passing renewably-produced electricity through water to split the element from oxygen – has been touted by some as a key fuel for energy users looking to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Both the UAE and neighbour Saudi Arabia have set out ambitious plans for hydrogen, amid a growing economic rivalry between them.

The plant will be built in two phases in the KIZAD Industrial Area near the capital Abu Dhabi, with the first phase producing 35,000 tonnes before the second phase takes the project to full scale.

“Participating companies will achieve their respective Net-Zero vision through the Project. They are expected to…expand the drive of future growth in the global green hydrogen market by expanded reproduction of their future business model,” Petrolyn said.

According to the partners, the project will contribute to the reduction of the UAE’s carbon footprint and support the country in achieving its 2050 carbon neutrality goal.

The announcement comes as the region is poised for a real acceleration of its green energy capabilities.

Indeed, the Middle East’s green hydrogen market is set for a major boom in the coming decades, on the back of a global market that is set to reach $700 billion by 2050, according to a report by Arthur D Little.

In a report published last month, ‘Paving the way for green hydrogen’, the global management consultancy explored the role green hydrogen will have in the future energy mix, concluding that green energy “can be a key technology to bridge decarbonisation ambitions”.

In the sector, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are positioning themselves as frontrunners. Last year, for example, Saudi Arabia announced a strategic green hydrogen development alliance with Germany to generate, process, use, and transport clean hydrogen, representing a significant stride as the Kingdom increases its volumes of green hydrogen.

In the UAE, a green hydrogen project was inaugurated at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai in 2021.

In collaboration with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Expo 2020 Dubai, and Siemens Energy, the project was the first solar-driven green hydrogen producing facility in the MENA region.