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Power to Liquids Roadmap | UAE

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World Hydrogen Leader Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

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The power-to-liquids (PtL) approach will allow the Emirates to use its considerable advantages – including intense sunshine and sustained winds – to decarbonize while avoiding some of the challenges of traditional sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) pathways. PtL involves the conversion of electricity into hydrogen, which is then combined with captured carbon to synthesize renewable hydrocarbons. Both dedicated and surplus electricity can be used for production, allowing PtL to create value from surplus power when the Emirates’ supply exceeds the demand.

The sustainable crude produced by PtL can be refined in conventional facilities using the existing national infrastructure. The resulting SAF can be used to power existing and future aircraft sustainably. Aviation is uniquely important to the United Arab Emirates, with more aviation activity compared to the size of the economy than any other large country. The aviation industry supports over 13% of the national GDP, and more than one in every ten people in the Emirates depends on aviation for a job.

Emissions from aviation, however, are projected to double by 2050 – even allowing for increased fuel efficiency – so the energy used to power the aircraft must be decarbonized. The lack of biological resources makes it hard to scale traditional methods of SAF production. It is unlikely that hydrogen aircraft will be available in time to decarbonize the Emirates’ predominately long-haul network. PtL mitigates many of these challenges and supports existing national initiatives. These initiatives and advantages compound to create an opportunity for the Emirates to lead the production of low-cost, low-carbon jet fuel from electricity while supporting the national energy and industrial sectors.

 

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