Hydrogen – A Clean Alternative?
For decades now, hydrogen has been championed by many as the best alternative to fossil fuels, with the ability to provide a new, clean source of energy.
The world’s biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, is currently investing in a multi-billion dollar hydrogen plant on the Red Sea coast to position itself as the largest producer of hydrogen in the world. While construction is yet to begin on the site, the country expects it to produce over 650 tonnes of hydrogen daily when the facility opens in 2026.
Russia and the United Arab Emirates are also some of the countries seeking to capture the largest chunk of the market with the proposed facility. Commentators predict that the competition will be tough, but forecast that the market will be worth $650 billion by 2050.
The hydrogen plan on the Red Sea is a business venture between America’s Air Products and Saudi Arabia’s Power Neom.
Unlike oil, green hydrogen is the most carbon friendly option involving water and renewable energy. Many commentators are already saying Saudi Arabia must position itself as the leading source of new energy. Given the country’s vast reliance on oil, it is desperately seeking to find other sources of income for its economy as the Western world seeks to decarbonise.
Green hydrogen is made using renewable energy to split water in an environmentally friendly form. On the other hand, blue hydrogen is made by splitting methane molecules in natural gas and therefore capturing the carbon output. Saudi Arabia is ideally suited now to producing both blue and green hydrogen.
Furthermore, the company is an excellent producer of solar and wind resources and well suited to export to Europe.
Hydrogen has the potential to be hugely significant, as it can power cars which can be refilled with hydrogen at filling stations similar to conventional petrol stations.