A recent report predicts that North Africa will become the main source of green hydrogen by 2050, while Europe will be the main market for an industry that is still in its infancy.
According to a report by consulting firm Deloitte, the report predicts that green hydrogen “will redraw the global energy and resource map as early as 2030, creating a market worth $1.4 trillion annually by 2050.”
Hydrogen fuel, made from natural gas, biomass or nuclear power, is considered “green” and is produced using electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar power and carbon-free wind power when hydrogen molecules are separated from water. emissions.
Climate expert Mohamed Benabou said, “North Africa is a region that is well-positioned to play a pioneering role in the use of renewable energy.”
In an interview with Al-Hurrah, the expert pointed out that North African countries may occupy the most advanced ranks in the energy transition towards clean energies, but they do not all have the same climatic and geographical conditions to be the best students in energy efficiency. indicators.
And he continues, “One of the most important factors in this discrepancy is the current high cost of producing renewable energies, despite their relatively low cost. In this context, Morocco plays an important role in the production of clean energy. The Kingdom of Morocco is among the top four countries in climate action, while most of the North African countries benefit from a favorable climate for harnessing solar and wind energy, which will increase their competitiveness in the energy sector.
Not an easy target
Less than one percent of the world’s hydrogen production currently qualifies as “green.”
But the climate crisis, coupled with private and public investment, has spurred rapid growth in the sector.
The pressure group Hydrogen Council pointed out that there are more than 1,000 hydrogen projects around the world.
He explained that projects launched before 2030 will require investments of about $320 billion.
Environmentalist and researcher Nadia Heimti says that green hydrogen is a clean energy, and to produce it, it must resort to clean methods that are alternatives to fossil production and do not depend on oil or coal.
Despite the report’s expectations, Hamiti says in an interview with Al-Hurrah that North African countries are still unable to give up fossil fuels.
The researcher believes that green hydrogen is “a very ambitious solution, but its production requires high technologies and investments, because its production requires conditions, and even its transportation requires conditions.”
And he continued in his speech, “We as countries affected by climate change like water shortages and fires contribute to the solution as affected countries, so these projects should be funded by grants, not loans. It is unfair to ask affected countries to contribute to solving a crisis they have not contributed to.” His revelation.
Among the benefits of green hydrogen, according to Hamiti, is that it will “help address climate change and meet targets including not exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius on the 2030 horizon.”
By 2050, according to Deloitte, the main export regions for green hydrogen will be North Africa ($110 billion annually), North America ($63 billion), Australia ($39 billion) and the Middle East ($20 billion).
Management consulting reports reflect the interests of their corporate clients, including some of the largest carbon emitters.
But the need to meet climate goals and generous subsidies is raising demand for all forms of clean energy, including green hydrogen.
The aviation and long-haul shipping industries, which do not have the electric batteries used in ground vehicles, are looking to use hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels.
Sun and wind
Also, the emergence of a clean hydrogen market from solar and wind energy will make the industry more inclusive for developing countries, the report says.
It would also allow the South’s steel industries to stop using coal, for example.
At the moment, however, 99 percent of global production is still “ash,” meaning hydrogen produced by splitting methane molecules, which releases greenhouse gases regardless of the type of energy used to complete the process.
The green system releases hydrogen from carbon-free water molecules (H2O) using electricity from a renewable energy source.
Experience in its infancy
Shaden Diab, an expert in weather and climate change, says, “Green hydrogen is beneficial to the environment, but the related technology is still in its infancy, and we have to wait to see if its production price can compete with fossil fuel production.”
The expert believes that there are big challenges, “we are at a point where we have to succeed in practicing the technology and the results have to be competitive with fossil fuels.”
Regarding its benefits, Dayan believes that its production “could greatly reflect the revitalization of industry in North Africa and Morocco and energy exports to Europe, which could be a successful business that stimulates the labor market in North Africa.”
However, the expert concludes, “There are industry challenges in making this process successful in the domestic market and then working to make it successful in the foreign market.”
This is where North Africa could play an important role, said Sébastien Duquette, manager of Deloitte’s energy and modeling group and co-author of the report, which is based on data from the International Energy Agency.
“We see that many North African countries, such as Morocco and Egypt, are interested in the hydrogen issue, and ‘hydrogen strategies’ are being announced only a few years after the EU and the US,” he told AFP. .
“Morocco has a very strong wind energy potential, which is often overlooked, and a huge potential for solar energy, and Egypt is on track to become a major exporter of hydrogen to Europe, in 2050, thanks to the existing natural gas pipeline,” he pointed out. can be adapted to transport hydrogen.
In his interview with the expert Benabo Al-Hurra, green hydrogen can contribute to support the economy of North African countries, especially with the demand for this energy in the Gulf countries.
“Many Arab countries from the Middle East and North Africa are moving towards green hydrogen production, and the global demand for consumption of this important commodity is increasing, especially the EU countries are moving towards it.”
He continues, “Intensive production of green hydrogen in North African countries will benefit the economies of these countries, specializing in the energy sector from university and higher education, thus strengthening the capabilities of national capacities and employing specialized workers in the field. , in addition to large investments in infrastructure to keep pace with these projects.” This will have a positive impact on the economy.”
The report predicts that investment in carbon capture and storage as a solution to methane-based hydrogen emissions will end by 2040, the current strategy of the oil-rich Gulf states, as well as the United States, Norway and Canada, and that this hydrogen produced in this way is not classified as green, but rather “blue”. Classified as