Egypt's low carbon hydrogen development prospects
- Nov 18, 2021 10:10 am GMT
Egypt has one of the largest economies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and several of its industries are large sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As part of its contribution to mitigate GHG emissions within the framework of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, Egypt is focusing on the development of an ambitious renewable energy program.
Some of Egypt’s main industries are big consumers of hydrogen which is produced locally using indigenous natural gas without abatement of the CO2 emissions resulting from this production process. In the long-term, the production and consumption of this unabated hydrogen, known as grey hydrogen, could become a serious challenge for Egypt’s exports of manufactured products. Thus, the Egyptian government is planning to develop low carbon hydrogen alternatives and has set up an inter-ministerial committee to prepare a national hydrogen strategy for Egypt. It is interesting to note that Egypt is one of the first countries in the MENA region to have produced and used green hydrogen. In 1960, the Egyptian Chemical Industries (KIMA) company started producing green hydrogen using hydroelectricity supplies from the nearby Aswan dam to produce green ammonia (Choksi et al., 1980). However, when the KIMA plant was rehabilitated and expanded in 2019, green hydrogen production through electrolysis was stopped and KIMA switched to the production of grey hydrogen using the gas-based steam methane reforming process (Brown, 2019). Looking at a much wider scope of hydrogen utilization within Egypt, this paper explores the prospects for low carbon hydrogen developments in Egypt, focusing on the potential replacement of Egypt’s large domestic production of grey hydrogen with cleaner low carbon hydrogen alternatives.
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