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Abu Dhabi to partner with British Petroleum on hydrogen power

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and BP will also help Etihad Airways develop sustainable aviation fuel, which is nearly impossible to obtain at present.
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) announced a low-carbon hydrogen partnership today with British Petroleum (BP) and the Emirati renewable energy firm Masdar

ADNOC, which is owned by the Emirati government, and BP agreed to conduct a feasibility study for an unspecified low-carbon hydrogen energy project in Abu Dhabi. The two companies also pledged to explore the development of sustainable aviation fuels with Masdar and Etihad Airways. The fuel would be developed "solar-to-green hydrogen and municipal waste gasification," the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office said in a statement. 

ADNOC and Masdar also signed a series of agreements with BP on the development of low-carbon hydrogen and green hydrogen in the Teeside industrial center in the United Kingdom, according to the release. 

What it is:  Green hydrogen is sourced from renewable energy. Hydrogen is separated from water using electricity that comes from renewable sources such as solar or wind power. Making green hydrogen affordable requires low-cost electricity via renewable energy, making the energy source relatively far off in terms of widespread availability. 

Low-carbon hydrogen refers to energy produced from hydrogen with carbon emissions below a certain threshold. Low-carbon hydrogen is formed using nonrenewable resources, according to the European Union’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.

Morocco is a leader in green hydrogen development in the Middle East and North Africa region. 

Why it matters:  Oil and gas remain key parts of the United Arab Emirates’ economy, but the Gulf state is increasing its investments in various forms of green technology. Earlier this month, the UAE sovereign wealth fund Mubadala signed an agreement related to electric vehicle charging stations in Abu Dhabi. In April, the Dubai-based AMEA Power won the rights to build solar power plants in Morocco. 

The development of sustainable aviation fuel sourced from biological material is particularly relevant to the Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad. Earlier this month, Etihad said that sustainable aviation fuel is “incredibly difficult” to obtain. 

Know more:  The International Renewable Energy Agency, the first intergovernmental organization dedicated solely to renewable energy, is based in Abu Dhabi. The agency believes green hydrogen has potential, but said in 2020 that “production costs must be cut to make it economical for countries worldwide.”