Fertiglobe, the world’s largest seaborne exporter of urea and ammonia combined, has announced the start of the commissioning of the first phase of the green hydrogen plant in Ain Sokhna, Egypt.
The announcement was made during an event at Cop27 that was attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.
Egypt Green, which is owned, built and operated by Fertiglobe, Scatec, Orascom Construction and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, marks an important milestone in the development of a green hydrogen ecosystem in Egypt and the broader African region, the entities said on Tuesday.
The commissioning of Egypt Green marks another important step in the journey to unlock the potential of hydrogen and its carrier fuels, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and UAE special envoy for climate change, said.
“As the world meets in Sharm El Sheikh for Cop27, this project represents a practical response to the need to meet rising energy demand with minimum emissions,” Dr Al Jaber said.
“The first integrated green hydrogen plant in Africa, delivered in record time, shows what can be achieved when we collaborate around a shared ambition.
“Fertiglobe will continue to leverage its knowledge and experience in hydrogen and ammonia, to make low and zero carbon fuels more available, as the world seeks a realistic pathway to a decarbonised energy system.”
The facility is the first integrated green hydrogen plant in Africa, and when fully developed will consist of 100 megawatts of electrolysers, powered by 260MW of solar and wind. It aims to deliver up to 15,000 tonnes of green hydrogen as feedstock for production of up to 90,000 tonnes of green ammonia per year in Fertiglobe’s existing ammonia plants.
The consortium is in the process of finalising engineering and technology choices for the full-scale 100MW plant and the partners aim to reach a final investment decision on the facility in 2023, the entities said.
Fertiglobe, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Netherlands-listed OCI, raised about $795 million from its initial public offering on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange last year, amid strong demand from international, regional and local investors.
“It is a true milestone that puts Egypt and Africa firmly on the map as one of the best places in the world to develop a green hydrogen hub, thanks to available land, abundant renewable energy sources, the significant pool of skilled labour and our location on global cross-roads,” Nassef Sawiris, executive chair of OCI and executive vice chair of co-owner Fertiglobe said.
Green hydrogen, which is produced from water using renewable energy sources, has the potential to play a significant role in decarbonising hard to abate sectors, such as heavy industries, power and global shipping.
Ain Sokhna has a strategic position close to the Suez Canal economic zone with the possibility of using renewable electricity to develop an industrial hub near global shipping lanes.
The global hydrogen industry is expected to be worth $183 billion by 2023, up from $129bn in 2017, according to Fitch Solutions. French investment bank Natixis estimates that investment in hydrogen will exceed $300bn by 2030.
Hydrogen has the potential to cover 12 per cent of global energy demand and cut 10 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency said in March.
“We see a massive green hydrogen demand driven by strong policy support globally, and Africa is perfectly positioned to take advantage of its low-cost renewables and strategic position,” Terje Pilskog, chief executive of co-owner and leading renewable power producer Scatec, said.
Ayman Soliman, chief executive of co-owner the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, said this project is a showcase of transitioning from “pledges to implementation, delivering on Egypt’s promise to the world to create a regional hub for green energy and transforming the Suez Canal into a green corridor”.
“We are setting a precedent with our foreign and local partners from the private sector by establishing the first integrated green hydrogen plant in Africa and emerging markets that caters to the growing demand for clean energy,” he said.