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Saudi Arabian Hydrogen Energy

by Owen Morgan

Saudi Arabia is widely known as the world's largest exporter of oil, producing millions of barrels every day. This has given the country significant global influence and enabled it to form alliances with Western nations, despite its authoritarian government and laws. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia has been involved in numerous controversies, such as human rights violations in Yemen, the detention of elites in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Despite these issues, the country's enormous influence from its oil exports has made it one of the closest allies of the United States, and a significant player on the global stage.

However, the world is changing rapidly, and many countries are striving to become carbon neutral by 2040, 2050, or 2060. Achieving this goal requires transitioning from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources. Therefore Saudi Arabia faces a critical question: what is its future as a major energy supplier, given the shift towards renewable energy? As the world's energy demands continue to rise, Saudi Arabia must also explore alternatives to its traditional dependence on fossil fuels, not only for environmental reasons but also for its own GDP. The country's economy and culture are deeply rooted in its energy exports, and it will need to make a significant transition towards sustainable energy sources in order to maintain its global influence. This is an opportunity for Saudi Arabia to lead the way toward a more sustainable future, while also securing its economic stability.

Saudi Arabia has taken advantage of this opportunity and has made a major investment in hydrogen power with some speculation on their choice of sustainable energy. A March article from Bloomberg News looks at the Saudi Arabian energy company Acwa Power, and its plans to build two green hydrogen power plants at the cost of 8.5 billion dollars. However, the biggest worry about hydrogen power is the price. It is not yet cost-effective however, due to Saudi Arabia’s huge GDP and dependence on fuel for that GDP it makes sense. Moreover, one of the biggest concerns with sustainable energy, in general, is storage and transportation. The world has a massive infrastructure for the production and transportation of liquid fuel. The global system of oil transportation has been developed for hundreds of years and for sustainable energies to be viable a completely new system would need to be put in place.

However, hydrogen fuel can use existing oil infrastructure. As the world's largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia has a massive network and infrastructure for exporting liquid fuel. It would be a huge turnaround and very expensive for them to destroy infrastructure to try and sell

wind or solar power while hydrogen fuel can piggyback off that system. Using solar and wind power, which Saudi Arabia is perfect for, the country can cleanly produce green hydrogen to use themselves and sell globally.

Saudi Arabia’s investment in hydrogen energy will be very expensive and difficult for the country but it is the best option for the country in years to come.


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