The World Hydrogen MENA team are investing significant resources into enlarging and expanding 
the 2023 programme to ensure we have built an information-rich, world-leading agenda.

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2023 Agenda at a glance

"I attended World Hydrogen MENA for the very first time. I connected with many interesting people from the industry and also completed the first offtake agreement for GETEC Group. I will definitely join the next event."

GETEC Switzerland AG

2022 Key Takeaways

The Dash from Gas

Increasing fossil fuel volatility and rapidly rising energy security concerns has accelerated green hydrogen plans. The Russian invasion of Ukraine was preceded by clear manipulation of the natural gas market by Russia withholding and redirecting gas away from the EU to cause a price spike. Following the invasion this has widely been interpreted as a pre-invasion warning weaponization of energy to the EU, and has resulted in an accelerated “dash from gas”.

With green hydrogen now cost competitive with grey hydrogen, a large number of EU offtakers are seeking long term energy security. In response to the geopolitical crisis the REpowerEU plan has just increased the target for green hydrogen to 20 million tonnes by 2030 – of which 50% should be imported. That would require a huge investment equivalent to 42 “NEOM size” projects.

The Hydrogen Cost Curve & Technology Innovation

It is likely that hydrogen will follow a similar cost curve trajectory to solar or wind which have sharply reduced in costs for every doubling of the global installed capacity. It is predicted to fall faster than solar and wind because the cost curve is a factor of scale. In the hydrogen project pipeline there are 40+ GW scale projects, trying to be developed, of which NEOM is the first GW scale project to achieve FID. In solar it arguably took over 10 years to get to GW scale. Given today’s cost of natural gas, green hydrogen is already cheaper than grey hydrogen for the existing hydrogen markets of refining and fertilisers. There is now, no shortage of demand.

Furthermore, deployment led innovation will reduce the costs of electrolysis and other links in the value chain around the midstream such as shipping/storing/liquifying hydrogen and it’s derivatives. There is a merit order for clean energy whereby you should first attempt to use electrons, then second hydrogen etc and the lower order will only follow once the market has expanded, scaled and costs reduced.

  1.  Electrons

  2.  Hydrogen

  3.  Ammonia

  4.  Methanol

  5.  E Fuels

The Offtakers & Regulation are Critical

The long term commitment of offtakers is critical for the first wave of projects. EU and Asian offtakers are now signing. With MENA Governments now producing their own National Hydrogen Strategies, it is likely that we will also begin to see interest building from domestic offtakers. The EU’s CBAM carbon regulation, future possible “Book and Claim” regulation and CfD’s (contracts for difference) all very useful tools for helping to make hydrogen production projects bankable. We could see further industrial development opportunities for increasing location of plants in the MENA region to use the hydrogen in situ to export products as opposed to just exporting the fuel.

MENA Hydrogen: Solving Problems

Much debate has centred around the usage case for hydrogen molecules versus direct electrification. The impact of the law of thermodynamics with decreasing energy efficiency for every stage of energy conversion means that hydrogen and it’s derivatives must solve key “problems” to offset the efficiency losses and “reach areas where direct electrification cannot reach”. These “problems” could be a mix of: lack of land, lack of sun/ wind resources, energy storage for variability, cost of electricity transmission, battery range and cold degradation, power/weight ratio for mobility applications (trucking, shipping and aviation), energy storage for resilience and a need for the diversification of energy suppliers. 

Hydrogen Energy Vector & Strategic Reserve

Hydrogen and electricity are both energy vectors. Analysts predict that decarbonisation will lead to a huge growth in electrification from 20% to 60-70% of final energy demand by 2050. However it is almost impossible and extremely costly to build out infrastructure to achieve 100% electrification. Clean hydrogen will provide a cost effective and complementary solution by enabling clean energy to move both long distances from high resource areas and move across time to deal with seasonal variability. In addition stored hydrogen can act as a strategic reserve to help guarantee energy supply and can be stored in huge quantities in salt caverns to insulate local industries. The MENA region is best placed with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Morocco currently part of the top 5 global hydrogen countries (along with Australia and Chile) set to provide strong export capabilities to both the EU and Asia.

Would you like to find out more about our 2023 agenda?

Contact Nick Freeman for more information:

Nick Freeman