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    EU Plans New Standards for Low-Carbon Hydrogen Trade With Morocco

    The push to advance hydrogen as a clean energy source comes as the EU pursues its European Green Deal.

    06 Oct 2020

    Rabat – EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson called today for new standards for the trade in hydrogen with countries such as Morocco. Simson made the remarks while hosting the virtual Central and South-Eastern European Connectivity (CESEC) meeting of ministers.

    The EU sees hydrogen as an important renewable fuel for the future and hopes to streamline trade through a set of new rules. “To trade renewable and low-carbon hydrogen reliably across borders, we will need proper rules,” Commissioner Simson said at the CESEC meeting.

    The event introduced the International Renewable Energy Agency’s report “Renewable Energy Prospects for Central and South-Eastern Europe Energy Connectivity.” The report highlights that the region could see cost-effective renewable energy meet over one-third of its energy needs by 2030.

    Simson considers the energy source as an important low-carbon fuel to cut emissions from transportation and industry.

    At the same conference German Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier said, “we need to press ahead in Europe and with our international partners to make progress on the production of carbon-neutral hydrogen.”

    “Green hydrogen is a key energy source for the future, and we need it on the road to climate neutrality,” Altmaier stated ahead of the conference. Like commissioner Simson, he too called for a new set of standards. The EU must make “decisions now so that we can have a European market with common rules.”

    EU Morocco hydrogen trade

    The trade in hydrogen could become a promising new export product between Morocco and the EU. Morocco is traditionally an energy importing country but the new renewable could change this. Hydrogen production can occur through electrolysis using solar, wind, or water. Morocco is blessed with these renewable resources and could become an important hydrogen exporter to the EU.

    A major advantage of the renewable fuel is its potential for use in vehicles such as cars, ships, and trucks. Hydrogen fills a gap in the world’s energy needs that regular wind and solar energy cannot easily replace. EU countries such as Germany have already started work on hydrogen refueling stations on their highways, where soon hydrogen from Morocco could fuel cars and trucks.

    Morocco’s Minister of Energy Aziz Rabbah in June signed an agreement with EU member-state Germany to develop hydrogen production. “Morocco will benefit from this cooperation in various sectors,” Rabbah stated at the signing of the agreement.

    The development of hydrogen trade is a win-win situation for Morocco and the EU. Morocco could become an energy exporter while developing its green energy production and creating well-paying jobs across the country. For just central and south-eastern Europe, the use of these renewable fuels could save an estimated €3 billion annually by 2030, according to the report introduced at Monday’s CESEC meeting.

    Morocco’s potential with green ammonia

    Another major advantage of hydrogen production in Morocco is the ability to produce “green ammonia.”

    Ammonia is a key ingredient in fertilizers produced from phosphates, a mineral of which Morocco holds a majority of the world’s reserves. Morocco currently imports €500 million of ammonia every year in order to produce valuable fertilizers and could dramatically reduce this foreign dependence by producing green ammonia using hydrogen.

    New EU rules on the trade of hydrogen could help facilitate trade with Morocco and speed up Moroccan green energy production initiatives. The move towards hydrogen is likely to pick up pace in the short term as Germany’s economic minister has promised to do the “utmost to push the issue of hydrogen during Germany’s Council Presidency.”

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