Last Sunday, Egypt kicked off the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27), which runs until November 18 in Sharm el Sheikh. And one of the topic discussed will be: green hydrogen, which is an economic issue for several African countries.
In a platform in “Jeune Afrique,” an expert recalls that a dynamic is taking place on the African continent to take advantage of this sector which is still emerging. Last May, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Egypt, Morocco and Mauritania launched the Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance. The structure makes it possible to better collaborate and harmonize their political and regulatory frameworks, while finding common financing solutions. According to Richard Kiplagat, “The interest of these countries for hydrogen is explained by the alignment between their production potential and their socio-economic needs. They all have abundant renewable energy sources – solar, wind, geothermal and/or hydro. Some are also rich in raw materials needed for electrolysis -the process of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen- such as platinum group metals, of which the stock is highly concentrated in South Africa.”
If Namibia and Morocco have already spoken to make their ambitions known, Egypt has nothing to envy them. Indeed, it signed an agreement with Germany just before COP27 to supply it with green hydrogen.
France is also interested in Egypt. As proof: the Medef International hydrogen task force devoted to it a webinar on the subject last May. It is learnt that a “multitude of agreements have been signed between the Egyptian government and local and international companies for the production of low-carbon hydrogen in Egypt. For instance, the Emirati Masdar has joined forces with the Egyptian Hassan Allam Utilities for the production of green hydrogen in the economic zone of the Suez Canal. The agreement notably plans to produce 4 GW of hydrogen. As for the Hydrogen Task Force, it was approached by the Egyptian Ports Development Group (EPDG) with the aim of involving French companies in the development of H2demonstrators at COP 27.
As regards to the French government, it reminded that despite “a context marked by the war in Ukraine and its destabilizing consequences on the energy market…France is meeting its climate objectives and continuing its transition.” It intends to become “a champion of clean energy, sustainable transport, and low-carbon industry.” It has been recalled that the French President of the Republic presented the vast France 2030 investment plan in October 2021. This plan is buoyed by a €30 billion investment (about 30.15 billion USD) and it will, among other things, “make France the leader in green hydrogen, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector by 35%, and produce 2 million electric and hybrid vehicles as well as the first low-carbon aircraft.”
A French delegation will be present during the event, in particular on the French pavilion. On the website of the Ministry of Ecology, it is written that on November 15, the Pavilion will host a conference on the topic of “Large-scale deployment of low-carbon energies: focus on nuclear and hydrogen.” Among the speakers, there will be the International Energy Agency (IEA), the SFEN (the French Nuclear Energy Society), and the VINCI Group.
As for Europe, the Clean Hydrogen Partnership organised a “Hydrogen Transition Summit COP 27” on November 8. This debate on cooperation between Europe and Africa was moderated by Bart Biebuyck, the Executive Director. It will bring together decision-makers, industrialists and investors.
It should also be noted that green hydrogen will be one of the topics discussed within the UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub (UGIH) set up by the UN Climate on the occasion of the conference. “Green hydrogen takes centre stage at COP 27, driving innovation in the collective commitment to green energy,” as you can read on the UNFCCC website. “While the hydrogen production market is expected to grow by up to 9.2% per year until 2030, today, more than 95% of hydrogen production comes from fossil fuels. The UGIH is exploring green hydrogen development opportunities aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.” as clarified on the website.
*UNFCCC: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Article written by Laurent Meillaud, translated by Marina Leite and reviewed by Logan King.