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Green Hydrogen — Morocco Makes Big Moves

The Belgian company John Cockerill has announced the formation of a joint venture with a yet unnamed Moroccan company with the aim of investing in the development of the nascent green hydrogen industry in Morocco. The two partners plan to build an electrolyser production plant there. This is another step forward in the use of natural resources in the North Africa Middle East (NAME) area, according to Afrik21.

According to Wikipedia, John Cockerill has gone from the production of steam engines in the 1800s to making electrolyzers in the 21st century. “In the late 2000s the company developed high temperature solar receivers for solar power stations, with the first installation in 2014 as part of the Khi Solar One power station at Upington, South Africa. John Cockerill sold 33% of the world’s hydrogen high-pressure electrolysis in 2021.”

The hydrogen industry has been gaining momentum in Africa in recent years. Electrolysers are a key piece of equipment for converting electrical energy into chemical energy, notably hydrogen. This equipment could soon be manufactured in Morocco. This is the main objective of the joint venture that has just been formed.

“In Morocco, John Cockerill will manufacture alkaline electrolysers. This is the most widespread technology for the production of electrolytic hydrogen, but also for the production of numerous chemical compounds, including chlorine. It is therefore very mature in the industry. According to John Cockerill, its ‘high power’ alkaline electrolysers will enable the production of hydrogen at a lower cost,” Afrik21 writes.

“The company, based in Seraing, Belgium, is entering the Moroccan market at a time when major groups are announcing mega-projects to produce green hydrogen and its derivatives, notably green ammonia. This is the case of Total Eren, the subsidiary of the French oil group TotalEnergies, which wants to set up installations capable of transforming 10 GW of clean electricity into hydrogen and green ammonia. Total Eren has obtained a 170,000 hectare site from the Moroccan government in the Guelmim-Oued Noun region.”

“We are honoured to be able to contribute to Morocco’s energy transition in the image of the Kingdom’s great successes, particularly in the aeronautics and automotive sectors, and we are determined to establish such a local ecosystem around hydrogen technologies,” says Raphaël Tilot, John Cockeril’s executive chairman.

It is expected that Total Eren, headed by Pâris Mouratoglou, will invest 100 billion Moroccan dirhams ($9.95 billion). Meanwhile, Morocco under new agreements will export hydrogen to Germany and Portugal, and national government published a Green Hydrogen Roadmap. Here’s more from GH2: “The Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines and Environment set out a roadmap on green hydrogen in 2021 under the National Hydrogen Commission (created in 2019). The country is expecting a demand up to 30 TWh by 2030 and 307 TWh by 2050, that would require 2GW in renewable energy sources.”

“By 2030, the country envisages a local hydrogen market of 4 terawatt hours (TWh) and an export market of 10 TWh, which, taken together, would require the construction of 6 GW of new renewable capacity and support the creation of more than 15,000 direct and indirect jobs (MEM, 2021).”

The World Energy Council study estimated the global market for green hydrogen and its derivatives at 20,000 TWh in 2050. The study, “Economic Opportunities of Power-to-X in Morocco,” demonstrated Morocco could account for 4% of global demand by 2030. “Based on the calculations in the country’s roadmap, it is estimated that the green hydrogen industry and its derivatives in Morocco could meet a demand of between 13.9 TWh and 30.1 TWh in 2030, which could reach between 153.9 TWh and 307.1 TWh in 2050.”

These initiatives are a great example of the development of NAME’s natural resources backed by government action, western capital, and university-level research.

 
 
 
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David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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