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Germany receives first hydrogen shipment from UAE

October 22, 2022

The first official delivery of hydrogen from the United Arab Emirates has arrived in Hamburg. Germany hopes the fuel will help replace coal and natural gas in energy-intensive industries.

UAE Industry Minister Sultan al Jaber and German Economy Minister Robert Habeck
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck (R.) with UAE Industry Minister Sultan Al JaberImage: Marcus Brandt/dpa/picture alliance

Germany took formal delivery of its first batch of hydrogen from the United Arab Emirates on Friday as a deal negotiated by Economy Minister Robert Habeck during a visit there earlier this year.

Habeck was at a ceremony in the northern port city of Hamburg to mark the occasion and opened a gas spigot in a symbolic gesture.

"Now more than ever we have to pull forward the switch to hydrogen," said Habeck.

Germany has been looking to hydrogen as a possible "greener" replacement for fossil fuels in industry in a bid to reach climate targets, but the "switch" has been hastened by Russia cutting off gas exports amid tensions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

UAE Industry Minister Sultan Al Jaber, who was also at Friday's ceremony, said his country had put much effort into hydrogen technology and was willing to work with Germany in the quest for new advances.

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Modest beginnings

Friday's delivery in Hamburg was of just a single container with 13 metric tons (14.3 US tons) of liquid ammonia, a common way to store the gas, which is difficult to transport. However, further shipments are planned.

The hydrogen delivered was also "blue" hydrogen, which is manufactured using fossil fuels. To meet its ambitious climate target of cutting greenhouse emissions to "net zero" by 2025, Germany is hoping to make the switch to "green" hydrogen created with the help of renewable energy.

Hamburg is hoping to become a hydrogen hub and has plans to build an electrolysis facility that could process the fuel.

For now, however, Habeck noted that imports will also be key to building up supplies.

How close is Germany to 'green' hydrogen?

tj/sms (AP, dpa)

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