The present research aimed to investigate the role and effectiveness of hydrogen fuels and assess their place in the UAE. The research found that hydrogen fuels are an efficient and ecologically benign energy source with several applications and benefits compared to fossil fuels. However, hydrogen generation methods continue to be hazardous in terms of air pollution and climate change, necessitating the usage of renewables by hydrogen supporters. Despite research efforts, the UAE has yet to utilize hydrogen fuels on a broad basis.
Hydrogen holds a role in decarbonizing the energy industry and other significant areas of the economy because of its capabilities as a fuel, energy transporter, and storage medium. The significance of hydrogen in this process lies in the fact that it is more efficient and environment-friendly than the fossil fuels used for the same purpose. Global greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels continue to rise, highlighting the importance of transitioning to secure low-carbon energy sources (Hanley, Deane and Ó Gallachóir, 2018). Therefore, this research paper aimed to investigate the possibility of using hydrogen as a future fuel worldwide and in the UAE. It concluded that there are many possibilities and challenges to using hydrogen as a fuel instead of fossil fuels in the UAE.
Use of Hydrogen Instead of Fossil Fuels
In reducing air pollution
Using hydrogen instead of fossil fuels has applications in reducing air pollution. For example, Manoharan et al. (2019) describe hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that do not emit the same dangerous pollutants as internal combustion engines fueled by fossils. Moreover, Hanley, Deane, and Ó Gallachóir (2018) suggest that a long-term decarbonization scenario in global integrated energy systems will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 (p. 6). Thus, hydrogen-based transportation and energetics might lower the number of air pollutants.
In reducing soil erosion
Furthermore, hydrogen fuel might play a significant role in mitigating soil erosion. As such, climate change is becoming a primary concern for erratic weather patterns such as heavy rains, droughts, floods, and landslides, which result in soil erosion (Tiwari, 2022). Carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases are the main reasons for adverse climate change, and their emissions could be reduced by hydrogen as an energy carrier (Hanley, Deane, and Ó Gallachóir, 2018). Therefore, soil erosion might correspondingly be deterred by lowering air pollution.
In increasing economic development
The need for fossil fuels has significantly influenced countries’ economic development. In turn, hydrogen has been proposed as a future energy source. For example, hydrogen utilized for power storage provides economic benefits in boosting the efficiency of renewable energy sources (Ibrahim, Binofai, and Mohamad, 2022). Furthermore, hydrogen systems’ products can produce a significant profit for countries producing Power-to-Gas solutions and refueling systems (Parra et al., 2019). This tendency has a significant favorable influence on economic development.
Use of Technology and Machines to Enable the Use of Hydrogen
In reducing air pollution
Several ways exist for producing hydrogen fuel, some of which are natural gas reformation and electrolysis, the most often used technologies. In contrast to hydrogen derived from natural gas reforming, only low-carbon electrical sources such as hydro, solar, or wind power can be used to result in considerable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (Ibrahim, Binofai, and Mohamad, 2022). As a result, renewable energy must be used in technology and machines to produce hydrogen and reduce air pollution.
In reducing soil erosion
The direct burning of fossil fuels contributes to global warming by producing hydrogen from fossil fuels, accelerating soil erosion. However, hydrogen generated from renewable energy sources such as solar hydrogen power systems and electrolysis delivers ecologically beneficial energy owing to the recyclability of its creation and combustion (Hanley, Deane and Ó Gallachóir, 2018). The disadvantages of synthetic fuel and the advantages of the solar hydrogen system are apparent for the problem of purpose of soil erosion.
In increasing economic development
As was described before, hydrogen system products can generate significant profits for countries that manufacture Power-to-Gas solutions and refueling systems. In turn, the producers of such solutions might likewise sell these technologies and machines to other countries, which would boost their economic development (Parra et al., 2019). Moreover, even with a moderate climate policy scenario, hydrogen fuel vehicle sales volumes are expected to be significant in the future (Manoharan et al., 2019). As a result, the producing countries of such machines would experience positive economic growth.
Affects of Hydrogen Use
Around the world
Natural gas and coal provide virtually all of the hydrogen worldwide, which is not an environmentally-friendly method. Hence, hydrogen is already present on an industrial scale worldwide, but its production contributes to annual CO2 emissions (Parra et al., 2019). Producing hydrogen from low-carbon energy is expensive at the moment, which is why it is still difficult to assess the affects of its use worldwide (Parra et al., 2019). However, there is increasing interest in electrolytic hydrogen with falling costs for renewable electricity, particularly solar and wind.
In the UAE
In a carbon-constrained future, sustainable energy transitions in the UAE confront unique obstacles, including socioeconomic and geopolitical concerns. Natural gas and oil provide a significant portion of the country’s energy (Eveloy and Ahmed, 2022). The technical and economic feasibility of low-carbon multi-energy conversion, storage, and usage alternatives for the future UAE energy system is examined (Ibrahim, Binofai, and Mohamad, 2022). Hydrogen has the potential to offer clean energy, allowing for the decarbonization of heavy industry, heavy transportation, air transportation, marine transportation, and many industrial processes.
Interpretation of Data
Data suggest fossil fuels, which are present only in resource-rich countries, cause economic and environmental issues. On the other hand, hydrogen can be created from a variety of renewable sources and is readily transported and stored. As a result, it has the potential to become an essential fuel and energy storage component for the energy transition to a low-carbon economy based on green energy sources. In the future, hydrogen can contribute to lowering air pollution, as well as indirectly enhance the problem of soil erosion. Moreover, it provides economic development advantages to countries that develop, produce and sell products of hydrogen fuel systems and their mechanisms. However, renewable methods of producing hydrogen are still expensive, making them less attractive for implementation in countries worldwide. In the UAE, there is a challenge of dependence on fossil fuels, although the country has opportunities to enhance its industrial sector technologically and economically through hydrogen fuel solutions.
Implications for Scientists
The present research has significant implications for specialists in the fields of environmental and industrial engineering technology sciences, as well as geopolitics. As such, the paper highlights the importance of cost efficiency that could improve the availability and implementation of hydrogen fuels globally. Similarly, it provides insight into the possible economic development opportunities due to the power transition, which is to be studied by geopolitics experts.
Implications for Researchers
The provided information is significant for future researchers as well. As such, there is a need to investigate economic and administrative incentives that could be utilized by the UAE to overcome the challenges described in the paper. Moreover, it is essential to assess the existing attempts to implement hydrogen fuels in the country to provide data on their effectiveness to renewable energy stakeholders and governmental officials.
To conclude, hydrogen fuels are an effective and environmentally-friendly power source with multiple uses and positive effects compared with fossil fuels. However, hydrogen production methods remain dangerous in terms of air pollution and climate change, which necessitates the use of renewables by the advocates of hydrogen solutions. Similarly, the UAE has not yet implemented hydrogen fuels on a large scale, although there are investigation attempts.
The current study has significant consequences for environmental and industrial engineering technology sciences and geopolitics experts. The article emphasizes the significance of cost efficiency in improving the availability and deployment of hydrogen fuels internationally. It sheds light on potential economic growth prospects due to the power shift, which geopolitical specialists will investigate. There is a possibility to explore further economic and administrative incentives that the UAE may use to overcome the problems mentioned in the article.
The limitations of the study lie in the fact that most of the literature reviewed operates with theoretical data, such as projections of economic growth or lower carbon impact. However, there is little empirical data on the specific effects of implementing hydrogen fuels as power sources. Hence, there is no empirical evidence regarding the countries that transitioned to renewable energy sources from fossil fuels nowadays.
It is recommended to study further economic and administrative incentives that the UAE may use to overcome the problems mentioned in the article, such as fossil fuel dependency. Furthermore, it is critical to assess the country’s current efforts to implement hydrogen fuels in order to provide data on their effectiveness. The data should be communicated to renewable energy stakeholders and government officials for further consideration.
Eveloy, V. and Ahmed W. (2022) ‘Evaluation of low-carbon multi-energy options for the future UAE energy system’, Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments, 53. doi:10.1016/j.seta.2022.102584.
Hanley, E. S., Deane, J. P. and Ó Gallachóir, B. P. (2018) ‘The role of hydrogen in low carbon energy futures–A review of existing perspectives’, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 82(3), pp. 3027-3045. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2017.10.034.
Ibrahim, M. D., Binofai, F. A. S. and Mohamad, M. O. A. (2022) ‘Transition to low-carbon hydrogen energy system in the UAE: sector efficiency and hydrogen energy production efficiency analysis. Energies, 15(18). doi:10.3390/en15186663.
Manoharan, Y. et al. (2019) ‘Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles: current status and future prospect’, Applied Sciences, 9(11) p. 2296. doi:10.3390/app9112296.
Parra, D. et al. (2019) ‘A review on the role, cost and value of hydrogen energy systems for deep decarbonisation’, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 101, pp. 279-294. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2018.11.010.
Tiwari, A. (2022) ‘Hydrogen Leading the Green Energy Future’, Advanced Materials Letters, 13(2), pp. 2202-1690. doi:10.5185/amlett.2022.021690.