Indian clean energy company ReNew Power has signed an agreement with Egyptian authorities to develop a green hydrogen factory in the Sokhna Industrial Zone, situated on the western shore of the Gulf of Suez. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) is a preliminary agreement to establish a US$8bn industrial complex within the greater Suez Canal Economic Zone, a 461km investor-friendly special economic zone adjacent to the canal.
The promoters envisage the US$710m initial phase of the project – expected to commence in 2023 – will produce 20,000 tonnes of green hydrogen and 100,000 tonnes of green ammonia. During the second phase, starting in 2025, capacity will be scaled to 200,000 tonnes of green hydrogen and 1 million tonnes of green ammonia.
Hydrogen – made by splitting water molecules with electrolysis – is a clean energy source and a potential alternative to fossil fuels. Both hydrogen and ammonia are considered ‘green’ if the energy used to manufacture them comes from renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal. Hydrogen is used in the production of ammonia.
Egypt, the host of the COP27 climate change conference in November, aims to establish the Suez Canal Economic Zone as a hub for the manufacture of green fuels for both the export market and bunkering (the supply of fuel for use by ships). The North African country is considered an attractive market for green hydrogen production thanks to its abundance of renewable energy resources, established industrial sector, developed infrastructure and access to markets.
Earlier this year, shipping giant Maersk also inked an agreement with Egypt to conduct a feasibility study for the production of green hydrogen and marine fuel, which Maersk intends to offtake for its own operations. Maersk has recently invested heavily in hydrogen-based clean fuels as part of a pledge to be carbon neutral by 2040. According to the company, the availability of green energy and fuel in sufficient quantities and at cost-competitive prices are among the biggest challenges to the decarbonisation of global shipping.
‘Siemens Energy supports Egypt to develop Green Hydrogen Industry’, Siemens Energy, 24 August 2021
‘Maersk explores new ways to accelerate green fuel production’, Maersk, 28 March 2022
‘The road to net-zero carbon; Egypt races for green hydrogen’, Daily News Egypt, 25 May 2022
‘SCZONE during “Africa Energy forum 2022”: Transformation to Green Economy in Africa starts from Egypt next November’, Suez Canal Economic Zone, 22 June 2022
‘Here’s why Maersk is investing so heavily in hydrogen-based clean fuels’, Fortune, 30 June 2022
‘Green hydrogen: A viable option for transforming Africa's energy sector’, Africa Renewal, 13 July 2022
‘SCZONE signs MOU with Indian “ReNew power” for 220,000 tons of green hydrogen production’, Suez Canal Economic Zone, 27 July 202