London, Jan 22 : The government of Abu Dhabi has announced a 15 billion dollars initiative to develop clean energy technologies using hydrogen.
According to a report in BBC, the five-year initiative is described by the Gulf state as "the most ambitious sustainability project ever launched by a government".
The 15 billion dollars fund, which the state hopes will lead to international joint ventures involving much more money, is being channelled through the Masdar Initiative, a company established to develop and commercialise clean energy technologies.
"As global demand for energy continues to expand, and as climate change becomes a real and growing concern, the time has come to look to the future," said Masdar CEO Dr Sultan Al Jaber.
"Our ability to adapt and respond to these realities will ensure that Abu Dhabi's global energy leadership as well as our own growth and development continues," he added.
The initiative will involve the development of a hydrogen plant, which will link the world's currently dominant technology, fossil fuel burning, with two technologies likely to be important in a low-carbon future - carbon sequestration and hydrogen manufacture.
At this plant, hydrogen will be manufactured from natural gas by reactions involving steam, producing a mixture of hydrogen and carbon dioxide.
When hydrogen is burned, it produces no CO2. Eventually, hydrogen made this way could be used in vehicles, though in Abu Dhabi it will be used to generate electricity.
"It's important because it shows that you can generate hydrogen without carbon release from fossil fuels," said Keith Guy, an engineering consultant and professor at the UK's Bath University.
"When you look at how hydrogen could be made economically, the route that many people have been looking at, through electrolysis of water, is incredibly expensive," he explained.
The government of Abu Dhabi has also announced plans for "Masdar City", housing about 50,000 people, that will produce no greenhouse gases and contain no cars.