Morocco is taking the first steps in the production of green hydrogen and consolidating its commitment to renewable energies. This is demonstrated by the installation of the first green hydrogen production system in the country, the result of a joint initiative between the Institute for Research in Solar Energy and New Energies (IRESEN) and the Mohamed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P).
This micro-pilot system aims to produce carbon-free hydrogen from an electrolyser and solar photovoltaic panels, as well as the production of other products such as ammonia, methane and green fuels. The project is part of "Power-to-X", a sustainable programme for synthetic fuel production and long-term energy storage in Morocco, set to promote sustainable mobility in the country.
"In addition to being a research and innovation tool, this micropilot will play a key role in the training and skills development of IRESEN and UM6P staff and their partners in the hydrogen ecosystem in Morocco," especially the National Hydrogen Commission and the Green H2 Morocco Cluster, according to the organisation's press release. In this way, the project aims to encourage investment and research by students, technicians, engineers and managers from the public and private sectors.
With the improvement of renewable energy infrastructures, Morocco is positioning itself as a potential country to produce green hydrogen at low cost and meet Europe's energy demands. The crisis caused by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and Western sanctions against Russian gas are forcing the continent to look for energy alternatives in countries like Morocco to support energy security in Europe, especially in the face of winter.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) recently published a report that expected Morocco to have the third lowest cost of green hydrogen production in 2050. A very possible assumption given the position of the Alawi kingdom in the ranking of renewable energies in which it is in third place, behind China and Chile.
IRENA's forecasts have been backed by Morocco's plans to increase its capacity not only in renewable energies but also in the supply of drinking water through water desalination. This is already attracting investment from several international companies such as Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power.
The investor considered a world-leading private developer in seawater desalination has expressed interest in expanding its operations to Morocco in the coming years. "We see emerging opportunities in Morocco and South Africa in the not too distant future," said the company's CEO at the Future of Desalination Conference in Riyadh.
Morocco, aware of current climate challenges such as water scarcity, has already implemented a desalination policy by installing the Chtouka Aitbaha plant in Agadir in 2018, the largest desalination plant in Africa. This commitment continues with Morocco's commitment to develop other desalination plants in Casabanca, Safi and Jorf Lasfar.
All in all, by 2050 Morocco is expected to produce 80% of its energy mix from renewable energy and reach net zero emissions in line with the internationally agreed deadline. These figures guarantee Morocco's plan to reduce its dependence on expensive, imported fossil fuels and switch to more reliable and sustainable renewable energy.