Africa could be Europe’s source of cost-effective and sustainable energy.
Three recent studies have pointed to the continent, particularly Morocco, as the nearest, least expensive source of green hydrogen, which is often called the oil of the future. The EU Commission signed a pact with the country to invest millions in producing the fuel for export from the Mediterranean region to Europe.
In December 2022, The European Investment Bank published a study that claimed Africa is worthy of a 1 trillion-euro investment in green hydrogen.
The study, commissioned jointly by the European Investment Bank, the International Solar Alliance, the African Union, Mauritania’s government, and the trade association HyDeal and United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), found that the continent could produce 50 million tons of green hydrogen a year by 2035 at or below $1.09/kg, a price which is considered economically viable.
Green hydrogen could, according to the study, make the continent an international energy powerhouse.
However, reaching the goal will require the installation of a massive number of solar panels in Africa.
Despite the huge infrastructure required, a study published in January by the energy consultancy firm, Aurora found that in the near future, importing green hydrogen will be Europe’s best option for sourcing clean fuel, as it would be cheaper to buy it from other countries than produce domestically.
“The levelised cost of producing hydrogen at a representative location in each of these countries in 2030 falls below Germany’s production cost range,” the study found.
“Despite additional transport and conditioning costs, imports remain competitive. Importing hydrogen to Germany from Morocco, transported by ship as liquid hydrogen, presents the most competitive option in 2030, costing $4.99/kgH2,” it concluded.
Having decided to wean itself off fossil fuels, the EU has turned to other sources of energy, making green hydrogen a pillar of its plan.
In 2020, it adopted the hydrogen strategy, but it has always known that it would have to turn to third parties to meet all its energy needs. The REPowerEU strategy, released in 2021 in the wake of the war in Ukraine, proposes importing 10 million tons of green hydrogen from “reliable suppliers” by 2030.