Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) recently organized an international workshop entitled The Hydrogen Energy Opportunity for Qatar. The two-day event sought to inform stakeholders on the country’s hydrogen energy opportunities, promote discussions regarding a national strategy, and facilitate international collaboration in the areas of policy, business and research, and saw the participation of over 50 delegates from eight countries including Japan, Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland and Qatar.
Organized in line with QEERI’s mandate to support Qatar in tackling its grand challenges related to energy, water and the environment, the workshop brought together leading international experts and national stakeholders from the public, private, academic and industry sectors. The Hydrogen Energy Opportunity for Qatar also reflected the unprecedented attention currently being paid to hydrogen energy as well as global efforts to harness its full potential.
Dr. Marcello Contestabile, Principal Economist at QEERI and chair of the workshop, explained: “There is a growing international consensus that hydrogen has a key role to play in a deeply decarbonized energy system. Conversely, there is also a need for large investments and international cooperation to ensure that hydrogen technology is scaled up and rolled out, and for markets to be created for the end product.
“Qatar is already playing a global role in the energy transition as a major supplier of the cleanest fossil fuel and is taking assertive steps to reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of the LNG it delivers through methane management and CCS. Hydrogen will allow the country to take this further and continue to profit from its endowment of natural gas in a low carbon world. To make the most of it, however, a joint approach at the national and international level is required.”
He added: “The timeliness of the event is demonstrated by the very strong and enthusiastic response we received from international experts and national stakeholders alike. We provided a forum for the necessary conversations to begin and look forward to continuing to play our part supporting the development of a hydrogen ecosystem in Qatar.”
Dr. Jose M Bermudez, Energy Technology Analyst in Hydrogen and Alternative Fuels at the International Energy Agency (IEA), said: “Hydrogen could play a key role in the energy transition, especially in hard to abate sectors where direct electrification will be challenging and sustainable biomass availability will not be able to meet energy demands. However, this will require to significantly expand hydrogen use and, at the same time, switch hydrogen production to low-carbon routes. This is not an easy endeavour and will require a lot of collaboration and coordination at all levels and, especially, at international level.”
He added: “The first step that countries should take is to develop their national hydrogen strategies that take into due consideration the evolution of the international landscape. Platforms like this workshop, bringing together local and international stakeholders, are ideal to stimulate the conversations and knowledge sharing that is required to develop strategies that will shape the role of hydrogen in a future clean energy system”
His comments were echoed by Yousef Al-Jaber, Vice President of Innovation & Change Management Total E&P Qatar. “Hydrogen is a key milestone in the future to supply decarbonized gas and LNG. Today the players have an opportunity to dominate the future world of hydrogen if they lay the right strategy. Therefore, the workshop organized by QEERI is coming at the best time for all the stakeholders in the energy sector.”
“Despite the difficulties that we face with the COVID-19 crisis, QEERI has successfully managed to organize a fruitful workshop on the future of hydrogen and the role it could play in a decarbonized energy future. The workshop was attended by experts and professionals from all over the globe sharing their knowledge and inspiring one another. QEERI is truly providing a great platform for innovation.”
Dr. Abdul Sattar Al Taie, Executive Director, QNRF opened the event with the welcome address, and Dr. Marc Vermeersch, Executive Director of QEERI, highlighted the institute’s commitment towards supporting Qatar diversify its energy mix. The round table discussions saw the active participation from representatives of all key oil and gas companies in Qatar, as well as international research and policy institutions, industrial organizations and consultancy firms.
Highlighting the importance of such conversations among stakeholders, Dr. Marc Vermeersch said: “It is absolutely imperative that we combine forces and work collectively to achieve the targets set forth by the Qatar National Vision 2030. The Hydrogen Energy Opportunity for Qatar workshop provided a platform not just for knowledge sharing and learning global best practices, but also to discuss how each of us can contribute towards building a robust and efficient strategy for Qatar.”
QEERI is committed to assisting Qatar to diversify its energy mix, and focuses on sustainability research, development and innovation across its various centers including the Energy Center, Water Center, Environment and Sustainability Center, Corrosion Center and its Earth Sciences Program.
For more information on the work of Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, please visit hbku.edu.qa/en/qeeri
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