KSA plans to export green hydrogen to Europe by pipeline

1 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of crude, plans to sell green hydrogen produced in the kingdom to Europe by pipeline, according to its energy minister.

“If the economics allow for it”, Saudi Arabia would pipe the clean fuel all the way to Europe, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told an online summit of Riyadh-based International Energy Forum and the European Union, report agencies.

Saudi Arabia harbours ambitions to be an exporter of hydrogen as it adjusts to a shift in the global energy industry towards cleaner fuel sources.

Last year, a consortium comprising industrial gases company Air Products, Saudi Arabia-based clean energy firm Acwa Power and Neom, the planned futuristic mega city in the kingdom’s north-west, agreed on a $5 billion project to produce hydrogen using solar and wind power.

Hydrogen has become a popular alternative fuel among Gulf oil producers looking to diversify their energy sources. Blue hydrogen is derived from gas, while the green variant is produced from renewable sources.

Clean hydrogen can slash green house gas emissions from the hydrocarbons sector by 34 per cent, according to BloombergNEF. McKinsey estimates that the development of a hydrogen economy could generate $140bn in annual revenue by 2030 in the US alone.

Saudi Arabia hopes to tap into the hydrogen boom even as it presses ahead with plans to expand its renewable power capacity to diversify its energy mix.

In January, Prince Abdulaziz said he had hopes for the kingdom to become “another Germany” when it comes to renewables amid plans to generate 50 per cent of its power from clean sources.

More renewable projects, particularly in solar will be announced soon, Prince Abdulaziz told the IEF panel.

“I believe in the next month or so we will dazzle the world with how cheaply we can get our solar electricity.”

Saudi Arabia has already launched a renewables programme and is constructing its first solar and wind power plants. The world’s largest oil exporter also plans to develop atomic power for civilian use.

The kingdom has an ambitious renewables strategy and plans to add 60GW of clean energy capacity to the grid by 2030. Of this, 40GW will come from solar photovoltaic, 16GW from wind and 2.7GW from concentrated solar power.