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Can North Africa Seize Green Hydrogen Chance?

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As Europe seeks to decarbonize to achieve its climate change commitments, some European policymakers and industry bodies are pushing green hydrogen produced in North Africa as a viable solution. Carbon-free green hydrogen made from renewable electricity and water could play a critical role for Europe, which cannot do this itself on the scale required given its limited land area and population density. North Africa’s rich solar and wind resources offer Europe the chance of hydrogen imports via existing hydrocarbon infrastructure, which could be cost-effectively re-tasked. The opportunity could prove attractive to both sides. Europe could develop a low-carbon resource on its doorstep, while some politically unstable and economically fragile North African states could create new markets, replacing some oil and gas exports with hydrogen. Pilot projects are sprouting across Morocco, Algeria and Egypt. In late July, the $850 million Hevo Ammonia Morocco project was launched involving Dublin-based Fusion Fuel Green, Athens-based contractor CCC and Swiss trader Vitol, which would manage the offtake. A first phase could see a 183,000 ton green ammonia plant in Morocco, which could abate 280,000 tons of CO2 per year. In Egypt, Siemens signed a memorandum of understanding with Cairo last month to develop a hydrogen-based industry with export capability. In Algeria, the new Energy Transition and Renewable Energies Ministry, state Sonatrach, German development agency GIZ, and consultancy Tractebel are all looking into green hydrogen's potential.

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