As the world’s thirst for renewable energy rises, Oman Hydrogen Centre comes into realty with a promise to shape the Sultanate’s role within the global energy transition.
Referred to as the game changer, green hydrogen in Oman has come into being with the inaugural event of Oman Hydrogen Centre incubated at GUTech in coordination with Hydrogen Rise from Germany, aiming to become an international competence hub for research, technology, education, industry application and economy.
At a function held at the university under the auspices of Eng Azza bint Sulaiman al Ismailiya, Minister of Technology and Communications, and in the presence of Shaikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al Salmy, Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs, Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas, Ambassador of Federal Republic of Germany, Thomas Friedrich Scheider, said Germany will be an importer of renewable energy.
“This opens new opportunities for commerce and trade. Oman has a great potential to be an exporter of green hydrogen,” he said. He also welcomed an Omani-Germany energy dialogue and welcomed Omani experts on a study tour to Germany. He also proposed to dedicate a day as Omani-Germany Energy Day.
“Why do we need hydrogen? Because the sun does not shine at night when it is needed the most,” said Olav Carlsen, CFO of Hydrogen Rise, while speaking on the importance of hydrogen in Oman.
Speaking to the Observer, he said: “The Hydrogen Centre will produce knowledge. If you want to build new industries, it is important not to just build technology and bring it from outside but it is important to educate the people in the country so that the technology can be managed in the long-term domestically by the experts who are educated within the country.”
A statement from the German University of Technology in Oman noted that the main vision of Oman Hydrogen Centre is to support Oman in the globally changing energy industry and to pave the way for ‘Oman Hydrogen Economy.’
The statement added, “With an Oman market perspective of $20 billion by 2050, hydrogen is a supplement and especially in the long-term, a substitute for oil and natural gas.”
The highlight was also on the need to take an aligned stand between the stakeholders — the government, Oman Hydrogen Centre as well as the local and global industry that is moving towards the energy transition.
At the beginning the focus of the Oman Hydrogen Centre is going to be on the academic and confidence building through research and development. “I think the knowledge has to be applied with technology as one cannot just do it in theory. It will be a combination of applied research and academic research in combination with international partners such as universities in Japan or Europe,” said Carlsen from Hydrogen Rise.
He pointed that hydrogen is an old technology but green hydrogen produced through renewable energy resources in these quantities much needed in the future is new technology.
“Today the world needs two million tonnes of green hydrogen. The International Energy Agency says by 2050 this will be 500 million tonnes,” he pointed out.
The capacity, technology, storing underground large quantities of green hydrogen gas, means of shipping it, transporting it through pipelines, compressing hydrogen and substituting natural gas with hydrogen are all research topics that are all being looked into.
“Oman is already a larger producer of hydrogen as hydrogen is already required in many industrial processes such as refinery, aluminium processes, metal production but the hydrogen used now is currently produced from fossil fuel. In the future this will not be allowed anymore because import and export of these products will require certifications. The hydrogen industry in Oman has to be green. It can be achieved through solar energy,” he said.
The need however would be on investments in research and development.