Japan and the UAE have signed a hydrogen co-operation agreement, aiming to speed up bilateral support for collaboration in hydrogen production and development of a supply chain for exports to Japan.
Japanese vice trade and industry (Meti) minister Kiyoshi Ejima and the UAE’s energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei signed the co-operation deal yesterday during a virtual meeting. The two ministers also agreed to work towards further deepening bilateral ties and materialising a joint hydrogen project.
The latest agreement adds to a deal signed in January this year between Meti and Abu Dhabi’s state-owned oil firm Adnoc to co-operate in developing fuel-use ammonia and carbon recycling technology.
The UAE is looking to become a major global hydrogen supplier, taking advantage of its abundant hydrocarbon and renewable energy resources, with plans to become a decarbonised society by 2050. Japanese trader Marubeni has teamed up with Abu Dhabi-based renewable firm Masdar to build a solar-powered electrolyser in the emirate to produce hydrogen.
Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor has also been working with Masdar and Adnoc since 2017 as part of a joint research programme to explore the potential of using hydrogen in the UAE, using its fuel-cell electric vehicle Mirai.
Japan is betting on hydrogen to achieve its 2050 decarbonisation goal. The country’s hydrogen demand is projected to hit 3mn t/yr in 2030, before reaching 20mn t/yr by 2050. Much of the demand will need to be met through imports of blue and green hydrogen because of constraints on domestic renewable power and carbon capture and storage (CCS) capacity.
Meti is working on Japan’s energy policy revision that calls for maintaining strong ties with oil and gas producer nations, not just to sustain oil and gas output but also to seek hydrogen and ammonia opportunities, as well as CCS. Japan’s biggest oil refiner by capacity Eneos and Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Saudi Aramco last month agreed to study the development of blue hydrogen and ammonia supply chains.
The UAE is the second-biggest crude exporter to Japan after Saudi Arabia, supplying around 800,000 b/d in 2020, down by 12pc on the year.
By Rieko Suda