Major companies have united in the Middle East in a joint research programme to unlock the potential of hydrogen (H2) energy use in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Industrial gas giant Air Liquide is involved in the project, along with Toyota Motor Corporation, Masdar, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Toyota distributor Al-Futtaim Motors.

The programme partners will jointly research into key issues around establishing a H2-based society, including production, logistics, scalability and business feasibility.

As part of the programme, a H2 station will built in May, 2017. Toyota will then begin driving and refuelling demonstration tests of its Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV) in the UAE later this year. 

The UAE has vast potential for the expansion of H2 production as Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman of the Toyota Motor Corporation Board of Directors, explained, “The country has excess capacity at H2 production facilities located at oil refineries, and the ability to produce H2 as a by-product.”

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The domestic government is currently promoting its new national agenda, the UAE Vision 2021, which prioritises air quality improvement, more use of clean energies and to make the nation a world leader in infrastructure quality. The UAE is aiming towards a 50% low carbon energy mix by 2050.

“As the government continues to promote new initiatives and pursues the creation of a H2-based society, the UAE is able to emerge as the world leader of next-generation clean energies,” Uchiyamada added.

The agreement between the corporations was announced on 16th January at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).