|28 January, 2020

Omani-German joint venture to support hydrogen investments

Hydrogen Rise is a prominent German firm specialising in hydrogen fuel technologies

Image used for illustrative purpose. A man works at Enel SpA's new hydrogen-fuelled combined cycle power plant inside the Andrea Palladio Fusina plant in Venice

Image used for illustrative purpose. A man works at Enel SpA's new hydrogen-fuelled combined cycle power plant inside the Andrea Palladio Fusina plant in Venice

REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

An agreement was signed here on Monday for the establishment of a local Omani company that will support the development and commercialisation of hydrogen as a zero-emission energy source as well as feedstock for use in various industrial and petrochemical applications.

Hydrogen Rise Oman LLC is a partnership of Hydrogen Rise AG, a prominent German firm specialising in hydrogen fuel technologies, and Oman Educational Services LLC, a local company that owns, among other educational institutions, the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). Dr Bernd Wiemann, CEO of Hydrogen Rise AG and Dr Hussain al Salmi, CEO of Oman Educational Services, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations.

The MoU signing took place on the sidelines of the inauguration at GUtech of the Oman Hydrogen Centre a first-of-its-kind international competence hub dedicated to supporting education, research and technology inflows aimed at creating a new economy around the use of Green Hydrogen in the Sultanate.

Present at the launch of the Centre were a number of dignitaries, including Eng. Azza bint Sulaiman al Ismailiyah, Minister of Technology and Communications, as the Chief Guest, and Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas.

Later, in remarks to the Observer, Dr Wiemann said the new JV will begin exploring the potential to kickstart the growth of a nascent hydrogen energy industry in the Sultanate.

Having set up a private company here, we will now be looking to set up our first project. In this regard, we will be talking to major stakeholders, such as Port of Sohar, for example, to demonstrate to them the commercial relevance behind the development of hydrogen projects in Oman. We also wish to establish relationships between Germany, Japan (another leading global player in green hydrogen) and Oman to support the global transportation of hydrogen, as well as markets for this eco-friendly resource, Dr Wiemann stated.

Environmentally friendly hydrogen is billed as the ideal alternative to fossil fuels currently singled out at the principal contributor to greenhouse gas emissions driving global warming and climate change.

By harnessing renewable energy resources, chiefly solar and wind, hydrogen can be produced for local use, supply, storage and export, with the gas serving as an energy carrier in its own right in transportation and e-mobility applications, or used as feedstock in Oil & Gas, industrial and chemical processes.

According to Olav Carlsen, CFO of Hydrogen Rise, Omans future hydrogen industry has the potential to spawn the growth of a wider ecosystem that supports investments in industrial and petrochemical projects producing green hydrogen, green ammonia and synthetic fuel, among other decarbonised commodities.

In addition, the hydrogen economy will support the growth of an ecosystem encompassing, among other opportunities, storage of hydrogen in deep caverns, pipeline systems, grid injection, and water management. The Sultanate has the potential to export $20 billion worth of hydrogen annually by the year 2050.

Also in attendance at the MoU signing were Thomas Friedrich Schneider, German Ambassador to the Sultanate, and Prof Dr Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech.

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