UAE and Egypt to produce hydrogen
The Emirati Company Masdar owned by the state investment fund Mubadala and Egyptian Hassan Allam Holding specializing in renewable energy development have signed two memorandums with several companies and organizations in Egypt on building the electrolysis plants with the total capacity of 4 GW for production of 480,000 tons of ‘green’ hydrogen per year.

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The project aimed at exports to Europe is supposed to be implemented by 2030 on the Mediterranean coast and in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, with the participation of the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, the local Renewable Energy Authority, and the Egyptian Sovereign Fund.

The project strength is its geographical proximity to the European market which will remain one of the drivers of the global demand for hydrogen in the coming years. According to the S&P Global Platts estimates, hydrogen consumption in the EU is about 10 million tons per year, of which just over 90% comes from oil refining as well as ammonia and methanol production. By 2030, the demand for hydrogen might grow by another 11 million tons. At the same time, Switzerland, which is not an EU member, is actively developing hydrogen driven vehicles. The Korean Hyundai company supplied the first ten fuel cell trucks with the carrying capacity of 12,000 tons in 2020, and it is going to raise their number to 1,600 units by 2030. In their turn, the Swiss regulators canceled the transport tax for the fuel cell vehicles with the carrying capacity exceeding 3,000 tons.

Another project advantage is a relatively high availability of the renewable energy sources (RES) in Egypt. The share of the hydropower plants (HPPs) in the generation mix in the country in 2020 was 7 percent, and all the other renewable sources – 5 percent, according to the BP World Energy Outlook. The total installed capacity of the RES plants rose from 3.5 GW to 6.2 GW between 2012 and 2021, according to estimates of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). At the same time, the Egyptian government plans to increase the capacity to 10 GW by 2024 (excluding the joint project of the Masdar and the Hassan Allam Holding).

Egypt is not the only African country planning to become a major hydrogen producer. For example, Namibia is going to implement a project with the capacity of 300,000 tons by the end of the 2020s, within the framework of which 3 GW of electrolysis capacities will be put into operation. The site for them will be the Tsau Khaeb National Park located on the Atlantic Ocean coast. Hydrogen will be converted into ammonia there, and then exported to foreign markets.


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April 2022