The price of hydrogen remained a “challenge” according to the UAE’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, as he addressed a high-level roundtable at the COP28 climate summit where 39 countries endorsed the Hydrogen Declaration of Intent to pursue mutual recognition of hydrogen certification schemes.

The declaration, coupled with a public-private action statement with the International Hydrogen Trade Forum, was being called a “historic” new step towards unlocking the socio-economic benefits of cross-border value chains for hydrogen and its derivatives.

Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, UAE spoke about the crucial need to make hydrogen affordable. “If it is not affordable, then we are not meeting the strategy,” he said. “In the UAE, we have a dedicated strategy on hydrogen, primarily green hydrogen and the aim is to provide it at the right price.”

Al Mazrouei continued: “We are actively working to reduce the cost of hydrogen and taxing of carbon will come, but it will add the burden to consumers, so we need to work on ensuring the price is right.”

The minister further added that they had to be mindful by providing incentives to the private sector to move towards the hydrogen journey, “by not only increasing production, but utilising hydrogen in industries.”

The UAE’s National Hydrogen Strategy 2050 aims to strengthen the country’s position as a producer and supplier of low-emission hydrogen by 2031, which includes fostering the domestic market, developing a regulatory framework and policies that support hydrogen as a sustainable fuel for the future, strengthening regional collaboration to establish a regional hydrogen market, and bolstering investments in research and development to improve the cost effectiveness of hydrogen production, transport and utilisation.

Al Mazrouei said the country is on track to scale hydrogen capacity to 1.4 million tonnes per annum by 2031, with more than 70% of that being green hydrogen. This will increase to 15 million tonnes or more by 2050, he added.

(Reporting by Bindu Rai, editing by Seban Scaria)