By Laurent Furedi, Country Manager, ENGIE QatarA key player in the global energy market, Qatar is now set to play a significant role in the rapidly advancing green hydrogen revolution.Green hydrogen, which featured in several emission reduction pledges announced at the UN Climate Conference - COP26, last year in Glasgow, is a renewable energy that can be produced with minimal environmental impact. It is produced by splitting water by electrolysis, generating only hydrogen and oxygen. As this process is energy-intensive, there is a strong focus on leveraging renewable sources to keep it carbon-free. When powered by renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, hydrogen is widely regarded as the most effective fuel for the future and a critical enabler of the global transition to sustainable energy and net-zero emissions economies. It is expected to play a key role in improving the quality of life by reducing air pollution in cities and bringing clean, non-polluting energy to different industries. These include the chemical industry and heavy-duty mobility sectors that have so far proved difficult to decarbonize.With a recent report estimating that the green hydrogen sector will grow 55.2% annually by 2028, coupled with the strong global momentum for greener energy options, Qatar’s expertise in the oil and gas sector, as well as its leading role in the energy market, place it in a strong position to leverage and benefit from this growth.Green hydrogen will benefit Qatar in two ways: forging a new sustainable business model that supports its economic diversification goals while staying true to its global commitments to slash carbon emissions. These include a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030 as part of its new National Environment and Climate Change Strategy. This pledge builds on Qatar’s earlier commitments to greener energy, including introducing a new Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in late 2021 and the inclusion of climate change in the Qatar National Vision 2030.Qatar, conscious of its position as one of the world’s biggest producers of LNG, also highlighted its commitment to greener energy with a strong presence at COP26.The country’s first large-scale solar power plant was announced in January 2020 to deliver sustainable, affordable domestic clean energy. Qatar’s government is also driving long-term research into environmental energy solutions, from reducing methane to integrating carbon capture and storage technologies across operations. A confluence of other factors set against Qatar’s ongoing commitment to green energy also makes it the right time for the country to position itself as a trailblazer in the green hydrogen sector. The rising cost of fuel coupled with increased production costs has left countries frantically considering alternatives, while renewables are becoming cheaper to produce as the cost of raw materials plummets. Qatar will also benefit from growth in adjacent industries such as fertilizer and chemical production. The country is one of the world’s largest producers of ammonia and urea and a leader in the petrochemical industry. However, continuing the journey to transform Qatar’s energy sector will require ongoing collaboration between the private and public sectors. Therefore, partnerships with global leaders in hydrogen energy solutions such as ENGIE will be crucial for Qatar to emerge as a major green hydrogen energy market player. ENGIE brings extensive global capabilities in green hydrogen. In the region, ENGIE recently announced joint plans with renewable energy firm Masdar to explore a UAE-based green hydrogen hub. The two companies are looking to develop projects with a capacity of at least 2 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, with a total investment in the region of US$5 billion. The road ahead is not easy. Getting to global net-zero emissions by 2050 will require about 306 million tonnes of green hydrogen derived from renewable energy each year, according to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report.That said, decarbonizing the world must remain a global priority. Qatar, which has played a significant role in international watershed events, can now help address one of its most critical challenges, climate change.