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German firms sign deals in UAE as Berlin seeks alternative energy supplies

German Economy Minister, Robert Habeck in Berlin, Germany on 11 January 2022 [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş/Anadolu Agency]
German Economy Minister, Robert Habeck in Berlin, Germany on 11 January 2022 [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş/Anadolu Agency]

German companies have signed agreements with firms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to build up a hydrogen supply chain, Germany's Economy Ministry said on Monday, as Berlin looks to cut carbon emissions and reduce its reliance on Russian energy, Reuters reports.

The deals were signed during a visit by German Economy Minister, Robert Habeck to Gulf States to discuss long-term energy supplies. Berlin is investing in cleaner energy and aiming to cut its reliance on Russian energy as part of Western efforts to put pressure on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Germany's Hydrogenious and utility Uniper UN01.DE, along with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) ADNOC.UL and JERA Americas, will undertake a joint demonstration project for hydrogen transport, the ministry said in a statement.

The agreement aims to build a supply chain of hydrogen produced by renewable energy from the UAE to Wilhelmshaven in Germany, based on Hydrogenious' Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC) technology.

Hydrogen from sources like wind and solar is recognised as an important clean energy source. But it is a very light element, making it potentially difficult and costly to transport over large distances.

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A statement issued by Uniper in Germany said the consortium would tackle these challenges by combining ADNOC's energy sources, JERA Americas' energy trading experience and Uniper's involvement in Middle Eastern hydrogen projects and customer base with Hydrogenious' expertise.

ADNOC also signed contracts with German copper manufacturer, Aurubis NAFG.DE, and energy firms RWE RWEG.DE, Steag and GEWEC to ship so-called blue ammonia – a low carbon method of producing the compound – to Germany.

Hamburger Hafen & Logistik AG (HHLA) HHFGn.DE and ADNOC will cooperate to transport the blue ammonia.

The CEO of Thyssenkrupp TKAG.DE, which hopes to list its hydrogen unit, Nucera, on the stock market this year, accompanied Habeck on the trip.

Additionally, German research organisation, The Fraunhofer Society, and the Emirati Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure agreed to deepen the exchange of expertise in sustainable energy and applied hydrogen technology.

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