Oman's Hydrogen Potential: Pioneering the Path to a Sustainable Economy

Hydrogen, despite being one of the most abundant elements in the universe, is a rarity in its pure form on Earth. However, our boundless imagination has led to the discovery of methods to harness the remarkable energy of hydrogen. Historically used by NASA to propel space shuttles, hydrogen has primarily served as a supporting player in the refining of hydrocarbons. But as the world grapples with the urgency of climate change, the renewable energy sector is increasingly recognizing hydrogen’s potential to generate clean energy with minimal pollution. Oman, with its unique geographical characteristics and well-developed oil and gas infrastructure, could emerge as a global leader in hydrogen exports in the coming years.

A study conducted by the Technical University of Munich and Hydrogen Rise AG, a German firm specializing in hydrogen fuel technology, revealed that Oman possesses the natural resources of wind and solar power necessary for large-scale hydrogen production. Moreover, its vast desert lands are ideal for the industrial-sized production envisioned in the study. Due to the abundance of these three crucial components, the cost of hydrogen production in Oman is projected to be significantly lower than the global average, estimated at only USD 3 per kilogram. Although further refinement of the study’s results is required, Oman has gained a head start in the race to become a major producer of this clean energy source.

Recognizing the immense potential of hydrogen, Oman inaugurated the Oman Hydrogen Center at the German University of Technology (GU Tech) in 2019. The center aims to establish a “hydrogen economy” in the country by fostering technological advancements and creating a market capacity for hydrogen production. Bringing together experts in research, technology, education, industry, and the economy, the center seeks to position Oman as an exporter of hydrogen. In pursuit of this goal, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Germany-based Hydrogen Rise Company and GU Tech owners, Oman Education Services Establishment, establishing a private company to sell hydrogen in both domestic and international markets.

DEME Concessions NV, a Belgian-based company, has proposed the construction of a solar- and wind-powered hydrogen production plant in Duqm. Situated in a port town with its special economic zone, SEZAD, Duqm is well-suited for hydrogen production due to its strategic location. With its significant wind and solar power potential, Duqm provides easy access to Oman’s onshore and offshore sites, making it ideal for hosting renewable generation assets. Feasibility studies are currently underway for the plant, with hopes of attracting investors by 2021. The electrolyzer, a crucial component of the plant used to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, is expected to have a capacity between 250-500MW.

Omani innovation platform, EJAAD, backed by the government, has formulated a national strategy for a hydrogen economy. Through a workshop involving over 40 stakeholders, EJAAD has laid the foundation for future policy frameworks, regulatory structures, strategic partnerships, and business opportunities within the Omani market. In addition to fostering a sustainable future, Oman’s hydrogen economy has the potential to diversify the Sultanate’s revenue streams, which heavily rely on hydrocarbon fuels. Estimates suggest that Oman’s hydrogen exports could be valued at USD 20 billion by 2050, positioning hydrogen as the new “liquid” gold.

Oman’s pursuit of hydrogen production represents a significant step towards a sustainable and diversified economy. With its ample wind and solar resources, as well as established oil and gas infrastructure, the country has a competitive advantage in the emerging hydrogen market. The establishment of the Oman Hydrogen Center, proposed hydrogen production plant in Duqm, and national strategies developed by organizations like EJAAD demonstrate Oman’s commitment to harnessing the potential of hydrogen. In addition to contributing to global efforts in combating climate change, Oman stands to benefit economically from its hydrogen exports. As the world transitions to a cleaner energy future, Oman’s hydrogen initiatives position the country as a pioneering force in the hydrogen economy.


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