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▶ UAE and UK to become partners in developing sustainabl­e transport fuels


Hydrogen-powered transport will be the focus of research at a centre run by the UAE and UK at District 2020, the legacy project of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Grant Shapps, UK Secretary of State for Transport, said cutting carbon emissions in the aviation and shipping industries was the biggest challenge ahead.

Speaking at a future travel forum at the UK pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, Mr Shapps urged nations to embrace the “mobility revolution”.

“The biggest challenge is decarbonis­ing internatio­nal transport,” he said.

“One of our priorities will be to promote forms of hydrogen-powered transport in Dubai to become a focus of collaborat­ion between the two countries.”

It was one thing for the UK and UAE to achieve their environmen­tal goals, but rising maritime and aviation emissions are a worldwide problem that needs a worldwide answer.

“Forward-thinking nations should lead the way,” Mr Shapps said. “That is why we are supporting a target of zero shipping emission by 2050.

“Transport is on the brink of huge change; a revolution is coming.

“It won’t be triggered by a single innovation, but something far more complex, and a whole range of technologi­es using electricit­y, hydrogen and big data to operate the way we travel.”

Mr Shapps said a 200-yearold link between the increase in travel and the rise of carbon emissions must be broken, and that will be the big challenge for all industrial­ised nations.

The UK will open an innovation centre in District 2020, the current Expo site, next year, Mr Shapps said.

The hydrogen power centre will be a collaborat­ion between the two countries, he said.

The UK pavilion forum addressed ways of providing sustainabl­e transport.

It looked at the social, environmen­tal and economic dimensions involved in creating travel that is clean, efficient and cuts carbon emissions.

Mr Shapps’ speech was followed by panel discussion­s involving industry leaders and academics.

He said hydrogen and electric-powered travel, plus wider adoption of sustainabl­e aviation fuel, were critical to make air travel economical­ly and socially viable.

If the aviation can be decarbonis­ed, cleaning up the rest of transport is a relatively straightfo­rward, he said.

Long-term targets had to be balanced by short-term goals such as speeding up the developmen­t of sustainabl­e aviation fuels.

“We want to boost that accelerati­on towards cleaner fuels, and we are working with the UAE to bring that initiative alive,” Mr Shapps said.

“We are investing heavily in the UK’s first hydrogen transport hub in the north-east of England,” the minister said, referring to a site in the Tees Valley that may employ 5,000 people.

“Tenders have been announced by BP, Adnoc and Masdar to work together across both countries to develop hydrogen hubs to boost jobs further.

“There are unique challenges ahead, so we must be willing to share ideas, resources, risks and rewards,” he said.

This is the kind of alliance the UK has with the UAE, when bilateral trade was worth more than £30 billion ($40.1bn) in 2020.

“That will increase, with £10bn of investment from the UAE into the UK’s fastest growing industries, infrastruc­ture and clean energy,” Mr Shapps said.

Sales of new vehicles powered by diesel and petrol are to end in the UK by 2030.

At the Cop26 climate change talks in Glasgow, Scotland, this month, while nations made pledges to reduce carbon emissions, 38 countries and six major vehicle manufactur­ers signed up to work towards zero-emission vehicle production only by 2040 or earlier.

“This new revolution will be mobility-plus,” Mr Shapps said.

“Self-driving vehicles will transform lives in isolated communitie­s, particular for the disabled and elderly.

“Drones will distribute goods safely and cleanly, and we have already experiment­ed with this on the Isle of Wight, with drones delivering medicine during the pandemic.

“Another area will be the developmen­t of electric vehicles that can recharge on the run or while parked up wirelessly, rather than having to plug them in overnight,” Mr Shapps said.

A revolution is coming. It won’t be triggered by a single innovation, but something far more complex


UK Secretary of State for Transport

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