Hydrogen fuel cell in a research laboratory

Japan and UAE to collaborate on hydrogen tech and supply chain

Image credit: Luchschen/Dreamstime

Japan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have agreed to work together on technology to produce hydrogen and create an international supply chain, Japan’s industry ministry has announced.

The collaboration, marked by a memorandum of cooperation between the oil-producing UAE and energy-importer Japan, reflects “mounting enthusiasm” for investment in hydrogen, which offers a cleaner source of energy to help fight climate change.

The aim of the agreement is that Japan should be able to import hydrogen produced in the UAE, which may be produced from fossil fuel but its emissions are captured and used in industry. The two countries will also cooperate to boost hydrogen demand in the UAE.

Japan’s government set a goal in December 2020 to boost its annual hydrogen demand to 3 million tonnes by 2030, up from around 2 million tonnes at present, and to 20 million tonnes by 2050 as part of a green growth strategy to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Meanwhile, the UAE seeks to reduce the carbon footprint by implementing the 2050 energy strategy aiming at reducing carbon dioxide in the country by 70 per cent and raising the individual and institutional consumption efficiency by 40 per cent by the year 2050.

According to Suhail Al Mazroui, the UAE’s minister of energy and infrastructure, the nation also aims to diversify the future energy mix and raise the contribution of clean energy to the total energy mix produced in the country to 50 per cent.

Al Mazroui said the agreement extends a historic partnership between UAE and Japan in various fields, which includes the close collaboration in the energy, infrastructure and transport sectors.

Such partnerships support the direction of the two countries towards achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, as well as contributing to forming the shift towards clean, renewable energy by relying on hydrogen production.

Al Mazroui added the nation aims to intensify its efforts to enhance investment opportunities in hydrogen and promote work on developing technologies and reducing costs for green and blue hydrogen production: “The agreement also aims to open broad prospects for growth and development as part of the two countries’ efforts to diversify the energy mix, relying on clean energy, building more partnerships, and strengthening cooperation to take advantage of the opportunities associated with the global leadership of the UAE and Japan in the fields of innovation, technology, and sustainability.

“This agreement pursues, as well the cooperation, to exchange information related to hydrogen production, building the supply chain and transport to Japan and exchanging information to develop regulations and policies.”

Hydrogen, mostly extracted from natural gas or coal production, has long been used in applications ranging from rocket fuel to the production of fertilisers.

As governments seek to address climate change, the goal is to shift to emissions-free green hydrogen produced using renewable power and to broaden its use to include replacing fossil fuel energy in industrial processes and using it as transport fuel. However, many hurdles still remain involving cost and infrastructure.

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