GE, Emirates Global Aluminium team on decarbonization

By Jack Burke29 November 2021

Hydrogen fuel, carbon capture studied

GE Gas Power and Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) are working to decarbonize the aluminum giant’s GE gas turbines, including by switching to hydrogen.

EGA has 33 GE natural gas turbines at Jebel Ali and Al Taweelah, with a total power generation capacity of 5200 MW. Electricity generation accounts for a significant proportion of EGA’s total greenhouse gas emissions. EGA is the world’s biggest ‘premium’ aluminum producer and the company’s metal is the largest made-in-the-UAE export after oil and gas. EGA has captive power plants at both Jebel Ali and Al Taweelah to meet its electricity needs and is the biggest electricity generator in the UAE after the Dubai and Abu Dhabi utilities.

The agreement between EGA and GE is in line with the ambitions of the UAE Government’s Hydrogen Leadership Roadmap, unveiled earlier this month in Glasgow during COP26. The roadmap will include development of a strategy to support low-carbon industries to contribute towards the achievement of the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.

EGA and GE to develop roadmap to decarbonize the UAE aluminum giant’s GE gas turbines, including by switching to hydrogen.

The agreement is the first GE Gas Power has entered globally to help explore potential solutions to lower the carbon footprint of power generation operations in the aluminum sector. EGA and GE intend to set up a joint steering committee to create and drive the decarbonization roadmap forward.

“Decarbonizing industries is a major pillar of the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, therefore EGA’s plan to switch to hydrogen fuel and expand the use of carbon capture, utilization and storage solutions supports our net-zero drive,” said Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, minister of Climate Change and the Environment. “With its efforts to reduce the emission intensity of its operations, EGA is a role model in environmental sustainability for the UAE’s industrial companies.”

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, CEO of EGA, said aluminum has an important role to play in the development of a more sustainable society, and it also matters how sustainably aluminum is made.

“Aluminium smelting is energy-intensive, and generating the electricity required accounts for more than half the global aluminum industry’s greenhouse gas emissions,” Bin Kalban said. “This work with GE will enable us to determine how we can reduce the carbon intensity of our power generation over the years ahead including by switching to hydrogen, and is an important step in our journey to ensure EGA’s aluminum can play its full part in helping the world tackle the generational challenge of climate change. It will also contribute to the achievement of the UAE’s Hydrogen Leadership Roadmap.”

The decarbonization roadmap will include the following areas:

  • Hydrogen: Explore options for replacing natural gas with hydrogen and hydrogen-blended fuels for combustion in EGA’s GE turbines
  • Carbon capture, utilization and storage: Explore the potential to integrate this technology into EGA’s power plants and implement the necessary changes required to the auxiliary and balance of plant systems

Using hydrogen as a fuel and adopting carbon capture, utilization and storage solutions could not only enable EGA to lower the carbon emissions from its electricity production, but also help to continue providing firm power on demand, supplying the reliable energy required to support their operations and growth,” said Joseph Anis, president & CEO of GE Gas Power Europe, Middle East, and Africa. “The initiative can serve as a model to emulate across various energy-intensive industries that require dependable, low carbon power generation capacity.”

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