An ambitious bid by Oman’s authorities to usher in a multi-billion dollar hydrogen-based economy in the Sultanate received a major boost over the weekend with the formal launch of a feasibility study paving the way for the growth of a new industry around this green fuel.
EJAAD, the Sultanate’s premier platform for energy innovation, has taken upon itself the task of preparing the groundwork for a feasibility study aimed at unlocking the potential for hydrogen as a new economic engine for the country.
Announcing the move in a tweet, EJAAD said: “Under the leadership of Eng Salim bin Nasser al Aufi, the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, EJAAD has officially kicked off the work on the hydrogen feasibility study for the Sultanate.”
The announcement came during a virtual forum attended by key officials representing as many 72 local and international organisations and stakeholders — an event “deemed as an important step towards Oman’s hydrogen economy”, EJAAD noted.
Environmentally friendly hydrogen is billed as the ideal alternative to fossil fuels currently singled out as 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.
The Ministry of Energy and Minerals, which is spearheading the development of a Hydrogen Economy in the Sultanate, has mandated EJAAD to oversee this effort. EJAAD was jointly established by the ministry along with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and The Research Council to serve as a collaborative platform where industry, academia and government can interact and engage in energy-related research and innovation activities.
A workshop organised by EJAAD earlier this year brought together many of these stakeholders in a landmark effort to help establish the “fundamental building blocks” underpinning the growth of a full-fledged hydrogen-based economy in the Sultanate. Over the course of the year, a number of private and public sector organisations have unveiled major plans to invest in small and large-scale hydrogen-based projects in the Sultanate.
In January, German specialist Hydrogen Rise AG announced a partnership with Oman Educational Services LLC, a local company that owns the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), to establish a local Omani firm focusing on the development and commercialisation of hydrogen.
According to Hydrogen Rise, Oman’s 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. The Sultanate, it says, has the potential to export $20 billion worth of hydrogen annually by the year 2050.
On its heels came the announcement by DEME Concessions, a subsidiary of Belgian-based conglomerate DEME Group, that it will partner with Omani investors to support the development of a “world-leading” green hydrogen plant in Duqm. With a proposed electrolyser capacity estimated between 250 and 500 megawatts (MW), the project will rank among the largest of its kind in the Middle East.
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