New models of economy: UAE ambitious actions towards green hydrogen economy

The UAE's vision is to be one of the world's leading producers of low-carbon hydrogen, continuing its pioneering efforts to drive the global energy transition and foster environmental stewardship while supporting a prosperous future for the country and its residents.

The UAE is increasingly focusing on hydrogen in its energy transition strategy. This shift positions the country as a potential leader in hydrogen storage, production and transportation, leveraging the role of sustainable energy solutions in combating climate change.

In an era where sustainable energy solutions are becoming priority, the UAE emerges as a pioneering force in spearheading the transition towards a green hydrogen economy. With a strategic vision centred on diversifying its economy, the UAE recognized the value of green hydrogen in helping her achieving its long-term objectives.

National Hydrogen Strategy

The UAE's vision is to be one of the world's leading producers of low-carbon hydrogen, continuing its pioneering efforts to drive the global energy transition and foster environmental stewardship while supporting a prosperous future for the country and its residents. It focuses on low-carbon hydrogen production and demand generation to decarbonise industries such as heavy industry, long-haul transportation, aviation, and shipping, demonstrating the government's commitment to meeting its carbon emission reduction targets under the Paris Agreement.

The country's large natural gas reserves, together with its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, enable the development of low-carbon hydrogen generation technologies. Overall, Low-carbon hydrogen will provide an economic opportunity for the UAE to maintain its position as a strategic energy producer, exporter, and global energy market leader.

The UAE has launched ambitious steps outlined in the The National Hydrogen Strategy 2050  which strive to support low-carbon local industries, diversify its economy and enhance the UAE’s position as one of the largest producers of hydrogen by 2031.

The strategy focuses on enablers such as Global Collaboration, Policy and Regulation and Enabling Infrastructure that the UAE will take to accelerate the growth of the hydrogen economy and reduce emissions in highly emission-intensive sectors. The UAE's dedication to green hydrogen transition is reflected in ground-breaking efforts that aim to position the country as a global leader in developing enabling infrastructure for new economic and energy models.

Dubai's First Green Hydrogen Plant

In May 2021, Dubai has commissioned its first green hydrogen plant, a $14 million US project located in Expo City Dubai. The project, a public-private partnership between (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) DEWA, and Siemens Germany, covers 10,000m2 and is the first solar-driven green hydrogen producing facility in the MENA region.

The plant can produce 20 kg of hydrogen per hour and is expected to meet DEWA's energy storage capacity by 2030. Further applications and test platforms for hydrogen use in industrial and mobility applications can also be housed at the plant.

2GW Green Hydrogen to Ammonia Project

The second large-scale project is the Green Hydrogen to Ammonia project by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA) and Abu Dhabi which aim to develop an industrial-scale green hydrogen-to-ammonia project in Abu Dhabi. The project seeks to convert green hydrogen into liquid ammonia for ships using ammonia as bunker fuel and export ammonia via specialized gas carriers from Abu Dhabi Ports.

The ammonia production plant will have a direct pipeline to the Khalifa Port, allowing large volumes of ammonia to be delivered directly to the port. This industrial-sized project aims to transform the Khalifa Port into a major hub for green ammonia exports to international markets.

The growing demand for export

The worldwide low carbon hydrogen export market is expected to reach 200 million tonnes per year by 2050, worth $300 billion yearly with countries with plenty of resources and well-developed infrastructure leading the industry. The UAE, with its low renewable energy costs, is a major player in this sector.

This low-cost renewable energy will improve low-carbon hydrogen export possibilities as well as the competitiveness of hydrogen-containing products such as green steel and green ammonia. The UAE's superior infrastructure, existing export facilities, ports, and geographical location will position it as a major worldwide player in this area. Until 2031, exports will include chemicals and industrial products including ammonia, synthetic fuels, and green steel.

With the enormous opportunities provided by the transition to green hydrogen, the UAE can serve as a model for other MENA and global countries looking to accelerate their green transition, as the transition to green hydrogen not only promises to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, but it also opens up new avenues for economic growth, job creation, and technological innovation.

Sources :

Jacob Benoy P. “UAE Leads a Wave of Hydrogen Fuel Projects in the GCC.”

National Hydrogen Strategy report. UAE Government Portal. 2024.

Strategy&. The dawn of green hydrogen. 2020.

TAQA Group and Abu Dhabi Ports Planning 2 GW Green Hydrogen to Ammonia Project. 2021.