UAE and UK hydrogen investment plans to support decarbonisation and job growth

Posted on 04 October 2022

​Cross-border investment opportunities in hydrogen can support decarbonisation and generate thousands of jobs in both regions, according to a new report. According to a report by Dubai-based World Green Economy Organisation, HSBC and sustainability business Zest AssoBy 2050, hydrogen is predicted to generate nearly $9 billion every year for Dubai’s economy and £13 billion in gross value for the UK.

The development of the hydrogen industry will also generate over 100,000 new jobs in each country under high-adoption scenarios. The report suggests that the UAE and the UK have a strong bilateral relationship and are currently working to advance the clean hydrogen sector. Further collaboration in policy, innovation, investment and business could reveal mutual benefits for climate and economic development.

In the last year, BP, clean energy business Masdar and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) stated that they would partner to develop low-carbon hydrogen facilities and decarbonised air-travel corridors between the UK and UAE. The three businesses will begin by focusing on producing 2GW of low-carbon hydrogen in the UK and UAE and continue expanding the partnership as the project develops further.

Hydrogen generated from renewable energy and natural gas is anticipated to become an essential fuel as economies and industries continue shifting toward a low-carbon world to mitigate climate change and global warming. Worldwide, the hydrogen sector is forecast to reach a value of $183 billion by 2023, an increase of over $50 billion since 2017. The French investment bank, Natixis, predicts that investment in hydrogen will exceed $300 billion by 2030. The report discusses how securing investment in both countries can support hydrogen projects as the demand for clean energy increases worldwide.

With investment in hydrogen currently standing at about 40% of the global requirement, the UAE and UK need to improve the viability of hydrogen projects to secure more investment. UAE groups like Masdar, the Emirates Development Bank, and the UK’s Infrastructure Bank could represent a green investment bank to reduce the risk, deliver the technical capability and generate private sector finance for this emerging market.

There is an opportunity to improve the UAE-UK cross-border investment into new and restructured pipelines, storage facilities, electricity transmission and port infrastructure. The UAE and the UK are also exploring the possibility of developing a strategic hydrogen reserve with the support of the government.

The UAE and the UK are already strong bilateral partners in the hydrogen industry and collaborate on investment innovation and trade. Jeffrey Beyer, the MD of Zest Associates and author of the report, recently told the National that the report suggests there is further to go. New investment partnerships can develop, and innovation and infrastructure can emerge in both countries through increasing bilateral investment. The UAE and the UK intend to become carbon neutral by 2050 and continue to accelerate investment further in the clean energy industry.

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