Growing global demand for green hydrogen should be an eyeopener for the government, the private sector and all parties concerned to prioritise this clean energy resource, building up required infrastructure for this strategic domain of business.
Hydrogen is increasingly used in power generation and industries such as steel, glass and cement, which are difficult to slash its emissions.
Egypt has the potentials to become a global hub for green hydrogen using renewable energy in production thanks to its unique geographical location, at the juncture of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa.
Neighbouring Europe, one of the world’s top importing markets for clean energy products, boosts Egyptian endeavours to lure global investors to set up hydrogen projects.
Moreover, Egypt has all necessary infrastructure to export green hydrogen to European countries, banking on its natural gas export network.
The North African country has a competitive advantage as roughly 15 per cent of the world’s shipping traffic passes through the Suez Canal annually. That may turn it into a global hub for bunkering with green fuels.
Therefore, the plans and strategies of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) should be in line with the state’s drive aimed at boosting a green hydrogen industry and green economy in general.
SCZone has adopted an action plan consistent with Egypt’s Vision 2030 to gradually shift to green economy. It also comes in line with Egypt’s hosting of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) scheduled for November 7-18.
Green hydrogen is defined as hydrogen produced by electrolysing water or splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen via renewable electricity or low-carbon sources.
Hydrogen can also be produced from hydrocarbons, hydrogenated carbon, and natural gas.
The hydrogen production methods include water electrolysis, oil reforming, natural gas steam methane reforming and coal gasification.
According to Statista, world countries produced around one million metric tonnes of green hydrogen between 2015 and 2018.
Green hydrogen has been a resource of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the wake of rising global demand for clean energy to reduce dangerous carbon emissions and shift towards a green economy.
According to World Bank, the global hydrogen market topped $135.5 billion in 2018. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates the volume of hydrogen produced at 55-70 million tonnes annually.
According to a World Bank study, hydrogen is not a new technology for developing countries.
“Large-scale green hydrogen production has previously occurred in developing countries, such as Egypt, India, and Zimbabwe, and its reestablishment could create local economic opportunities for industry while facilitating higher rates of variable renewable energy deployments,” the World Bank said in a study titled “Green Hydrogen in Developing Countries”.
Certainly, the expansion of green hydrogen investments is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the African Union 2063 Agenda for accelerating modern, efficient, reliable and cost-effective renewable energy across the continent.
The Electricity Ministry unveiled last month the signing of a number of agreements to launch a pilot project to produce green hydrogen in Egypt. German-based H2 Industries has revealed it will launch a $3 billion plant for converting waste into hydrogen in East Port Said.
Thyssenkrupp, another German-based group for technology-based solutions, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Electricity to launch a green hydrogen plant.