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Abu Dhabi to build $1 billion green hydrogen and ammonia plant

Abu Dhabi:  Abu Dhabi said a private company will spend more than $1 billion to build a solar-powered hydrogen and ammonia plant, as investors and governments in the Middle East step up efforts to develop emissions-free energy.

The facility will be located at the Khalifa Industrial Zone and built by Helios Industry, according to state-run Abu Dhabi Ports Co. The project will initially include 100 megawatts of solar capacity, rising to 800 megawatts in the future, Abu Dhabi Ports said in a statement. The hydrogen that's produced will be converted into ammonia for export.

At peak capacity, the plant will produce 40,000 tons a year of green hydrogen, which will be used to make 200,000 tons of ammonia.

Dubai, Oman and Saudi Arabia have also announced plans to manufacture green hydrogen. The fuel is created when renewable energy is used to split water atoms, in a process that leads to no carbon emissions.

Hydrogen, which emits only water vapor when burned, is seen as crucial for the switch from oil and gas to cleaner fuels. The technology to make it is still expensive, however, and it's expected to remain a small market for at least the next several years.

Abu Dhabi's state oil company, known as Adnoc, announced a plan this week to develop what's known as blue ammonia. That's produced when natural gas is converted into hydrogen with the carbon-dioxide emissions being captured