Photo: Courtesy of Emirates News Agency

Germany ups its hydrogen game as it renews energy ties with UAE

Germany intends to strengthen and accelerate hydrogen cooperation with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an effort to secure future energy supplies and reduce dependence on Russian gas.

This was concluded following a visit of Robert Habeck, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, to the UAE on 21 March 2022.

In view of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the energy security of Germany is a priority, according to the Minister. In the UAE, Habeck emphasized that his country wants to strengthen its commitment to the production of green hydrogen.

“The faster we are with hydrogen, the less gas we need,” Habeck said in Abu Dhabi.

During the visit of Habeck on Monday, who also serves as a Vice-Chancellor of Germany, four hydrogen cooperations and one research cooperation were concluded.

The cooperation agreements set a comprehensive hydrogen value chain between German companies and the UAE companies including Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

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What is more, the Fraunhofer Society and the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure of the UAE have agreed on a cooperation agreement to intensify the exchange of knowledge in the field of sustainable energies and applied hydrogen technologies. 

As explained, the UAE has “very good prerequisites” for the cost-effective production of hydrogen from renewable energies and envisages the first hydrogen deliveries to Germany already in 2022.

The projects that were supported as part of the 2017-established Emirati-German energy partnership can make a concrete contribution to securing future energy supplies with climate-friendly hydrogen.

“The accelerated expansion of hydrogen supply chains is key to the transition to sustainable energy. I welcome the planned cooperation between German and Emirati companies and the research cooperation between Fraunhofer and the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy,” Habeck commented.

“There is a great need for research and direct implementation, especially in the production, storage and transport of green hydrogen in the UAE, and the import and use in Germany. Today’s partnerships thus make a twofold contribution — they strengthen the achievement of our climate goals and at the same time our energy security.”

Green hydrogen, which is produced without CO2 emissions on the basis of renewable energies, is expected to enable decarbonization in the steel and chemical industries for example, and replace fossil energies such as Russian gas in the long term.

Germany wants to accelerate the conversion from conventional natural gas to green hydrogen. As part of the decarbonization agenda, the European country wants to use the National Hydrogen Strategy to reach the demand for clean hydrogen of up to 3 million/t per year by 2030, most of which should be imported. Demand could increase to over 11 million/t per year by 2050. 

Germany secures LNG supplies from Qatar

While in the Arabian Gulf, Habeck also visited Qatar on 20 March.

The two countries agreed on a long-term energy partnership. Qatar, which is among the three largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters in the world, is expected to intensify LNG supplies to Germany in the coming years.

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QatarEnergy said on Sunday it has been in talks with German firms on the supply of Qatari LNG to Germany for a number of years. However, until recently, such discussions did not materialize into definitive agreements. This was mainly due to the lack of clarity on the long-term role of gas in Germany’s energy mix and the requisite LNG import infrastructure.

However, this changed following the recent announcement by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz who revealed Germany’s plans to build two LNG terminals in the near future in an effort to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

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The LNG terminals are planned to be located in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven.

“The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has also put the issue of energy security at the center of international discussion. More than ever, we need to promote a global energy transition and currently promote the diversification of natural gas sources. On the one hand, we need more liquefied natural gas in the short term and temporarily, and we want to land it in our own German terminals,” Habeck said on Sunday.

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