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NEOM firm exploring ‘uncharted territory’ to make world’s largest green hydrogen plant a reality: CEO

David Edmondson, CEO of NEOM Green Hydrogen Co. (Supplied)
David Edmondson, CEO of NEOM Green Hydrogen Co. (Supplied)
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23 May 2023 01:05:37 GMT9
23 May 2023 01:05:37 GMT9

Reina Takla and Nirmal Narayanan

RIYADH: In a move to help Saudi Arabia achieve its sustainability goals, NEOM Green Hydrogen Co. is breaking new ground in order to start the full-time operation of the world’s largest green hydrogen plant in 2026.

In an interview with Arab News, David Edmondson, CEO of NGHC, said the company is ready to face any challenges that may arise while building this hydrogen plant which could revolutionize the ongoing energy transition journey. 

“We are building the world’s largest plant to produce green hydrogen at scale. As a first-of-its-kind facility, and with key learnings not available to us with no other similar facilities in the world, we are very much navigating uncharted territory in the green hydrogen and sustainable energy space,” said Edmondson. 

He acknowledges that projects of this scale come with challenges but “we have already hired some great talent.” 

With the support of its shareholders and commitment from its technology partners, Edmondson said the company is “prepared for any scenario by leveraging the experience and expertise of everyone supporting us on the project.” 

The firm behind the mega-plant, which will integrate up to 4 gigawatts of solar and wind energy to produce up to 1.2 million tons of green ammonia, achieved the financial closure on the project in NEOM’s industrial city Oxagon at a total investment value of $8.4 billion.

This came after it signed financial documents with 23 local, regional, and international banks and investment firms. 

“Together, these banks and financial institutions have committed to funding our investment and, alongside those from across the region and around the world, we are privileged that the Saudi Industrial Development Fund and National Infrastructure Fund are among those supporting us,” added Edmondson. 

An equal joint venture between ACWA Power, Air Products, and NEOM, NGHC’s mega-plant will produce up to 600 tons per day of carbon-free hydrogen by the end of 2026. 

NGHC has also concluded the engineering, procurement, and construction agreement with Air Products as the nominated contractor and system integrator for the entire facility. 

“This substantial financial backing from the investment community shows the unmatched potential of NGHC’s green hydrogen project. With the financial close announced today, we are taking a massive leap toward opening the plant, in line with NEOM’s vision to accelerate renewable solutions,” said Nadhmi Al-Nasr, chairman of NGHC and CEO of NEOM. 

Mohammed Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power, said the company is proud to support and facilitate the successful financial close of the much-anticipated green hydrogen facility in the Kingdom, which will contribute to the goals outlined in Vision 2030. 

“We have a proven track record of leveraging innovative solutions and advanced technology to deliver clean, sustainable power at the lowest cost. This is a significant step forward in our shared purpose to accelerate the shift to clean energy and support the Kingdom’s decarbonization goals,” said Abunayyan. 

Edmondson further noted that shareholders and the investment community are giving sufficient support to make this green hydrogen project a reality in the future. 

“The 23 banks and financial institutions referred to previously are providing $6.1 billion in non-recourse financing as part of the total value. Such substantial backing from the investment community shows the huge potential of our project to lead the world in tomorrow’s hydrogen revolution and we look forward to making this vision a reality with their support,” he added. 

He said that technology is a major enabler as this green hydrogen facility is getting ready for its operation, noting that NGHC’s technology partners were selected early in the project development phase to ensure that “we were able to ensure a seamless integration across the whole facility.” 

NGHC’s CEO pointed out that the Middle East and North Africa region has all the potential to become a global renewable powerhouse, as there are already large areas of land where projects can be developed with abundant access to sunlight and wind. 

“For the MENA region, becoming a global hydrogen powerhouse in the decades ahead is a realistic possibility. Over many decades, the region has gained enormous significance as a global producer and exporter of energy,” Edmondson told Arab News. 

He concluded: “As fossil fuel reliance wanes and demands for cleaner energy increase, the region has an opportunity to assume this position in the field of green hydrogen, green ammonia and low-carbon fuels in general, as well as establish world-class infrastructure and internationally recognized certification systems.” 

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