Morocco to become leader in green hydrogen production market

11 July 2023 4 min. read

As excitement over green hydrogen grows around the world, Morocco is emerging as a leader in production. Huge investments in production plants and a coordinated national strategy show Morocco is serious about their goal to reach 80% renewable capacity by 2050.

Sometimes called the energy of the future, green hydrogen is likely to become big business in the short term. The benefits are clear: Green hydrogen is completely sustainable, produced using renewable energy like solar and wind power, and when the fuel is burned, water vapor is essentially the only byproduct.

With over 80% of the territory of Morocco being yearlong, sun-baked land, the country is particularly well-positioned to come out on top in the race to become a top producer. That is according to a analysis from consulting firm Deloitte, which studied the global outlook for green hydrogen.

Determination of the maximum available space for the installation of renewable energies using land-use data

The report features a map showing available space for renewable energy installations in Morocco, which clearly shows the country’s incredible potential.

By 2030, the amount of power generated from coal in Morocco is predicted to decrease from 38.8% in 2020 to 22%, and the portion of electricity produced from oil-based sources will reduce to 9.2%, down from 16.2% in 2020.

“Morocco has access to outstanding solar and wind resources, which is compatible with a highly competitive large-scale production industry leveraging its proximity to the European Union,” according to the Deloitte report.

Identifying potential green hydrogen importers and exporters

In 2019, Morocco created a ‘National Green Hydrogen Commission’, which according to the Ministry of Energy, aims to bring together the public and private sector in efforts to boost production. A press release from the Ministry of Energy explains how creating a green energy sector is important because it promotes growth and will end the country’s reliance on ammonia imports, with ammonia being one of the main byproducts of hydrogen production.

Ammonia is an important agricultural product used in fertilizers.

“Now is the time for hydrogen, and the global race is on. The time frame is short, the competition is intense, and a coordinated effort is critical for domestic competitiveness,” said Huyen N. Dinh, director of HydroGEN, a consortium of several US Department of Energy national laboratories.

Clean hydrogen supply by technology, 2030 to 2050

Just this year, French multinational TotalEnergies announced it would invest about $10 billion into a massive solar-powered green hydrogen and ammonia production project in Guelmim-Oued Noun, a region in southern Morocco.

It is not just Morocco – other regions like the Gulf Arab states and the Caucus region have also been increasingly eyeing hydrogen as a potential economic boon in the near to mid-term future. Besides being good business, it is also likely to be a key part of some countries’ sustainability transformations, as more countries around the world pledge net zero goals in line with international accords like the Paris Agreement.

While proponents have called green energy the sustainable fuel of the future with real potential to slow the climate crisis, they also admit it is very expensive. Producing hydrogen using energy from natural gas costs around $1.50 per kilogram while green hydrogen costs about $5 per kilogram.

Regional demand for clean hydrogen and its derivatives, 2030 to 2050

The sustainability of green hydrogen is in contrast to other types of hydrogen like so-called blue hydrogen, which allows for methane leaks when produced, and several other ‘colors’, some produced using other types of conventional energy like nuclear or other non-sustainable sources.

Critics say hydrogen is grossly inefficient and often passed off as green when, in fact, it is blue hydrogen, produced using energy derived from fossil fuels. For example, the International Council on Clean Transportation has indicated some contradictions in the way the European Union classifies hydrogen renewable energy certificates – the proof producers use to guarantee clean production.