A Dubai-based project has been described as “the first industrial-scale solar-powered green hydrogen facility in the Middle East and North Africa”. Those behind the development are likely to catalyze the renewable energy sector in the region
In a statement on Wednesday, Siemens Energy announced that the electricity for the pilot project – in collaboration with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and Expo 2020 Dubai – would come from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park, a huge solar plant with production capacity. 5,000 MW by 2030.
Hydrogen is described by the International Energy Agency as a “versatile energy carrier” and has a wide range of applications and can be used in sectors such as industry and transport.
It can be made in a number of different ways. One method involves the use of electrolysis, where an electrical current breaks water into oxygen and hydrogen. If the electricity used comes from a renewable source such as wind or sun, some refer to it as “green” or “renewable” hydrogen.
Bruch stated that his company “invested a lot of money” in developing the technology. “But I think we are now in a position where some of these elements can grow very quickly,” he said, drawing parallels with other areas.
“When I look back on photovoltaics, it wasn’t that long ago that everyone … said it will never fly commercially, right?” Photovoltaics is a method of converting sunlight directly into electricity using the technology used in solar panels.
“The wind (was) the same …” It will never be competitive against hydrocarbons, it won’t work, “said Bruch.” It went faster than we all thought when it was scaled, “he said.
Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates. As a member of the OPEC oil cartel, the UAE is a major crude oil and gas producer, but also blessed with plenty of sunshine, the crucial component for solar power systems.
While Bruch is a major player in fossil fuels, he has been asked how much green hydrogen the UAE could produce and if he could see a future in which he would become an exporter of hydrogen.
“I wouldn’t really see the restriction from the UAE’s point of view if you also see the massive resources that you have on the renewable side.”
“I believe it has to be one of the most important future business models in the United Arab Emirates and in the entire region, it will also be in order to also be an energy exporter to the world in the future.”