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The case for the Hydrogen Economy

Amid the current paradigm shift to address climate change and the recent Russian war on Ukraine and it subsequent consequences on the rising of oil prices, understanding the need for renewable energy as a sure and safe option for energy security is taking central stage amongst world leaders. Hydrogen is emerging as a promising solution to decarbonize industries as it doesn’t emit CO2 and guarantee energy sufficiency for countries that have so far relied almost entirely on unrenewable energy.

The European Hydrogen roadmap

In July of 2020, the Commission of the European Parliament has communicated its hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe by the year 2050. The EU is betting on hydrogen as an essential source of energy to help decarbonize manufacturing industries and achieve carbon neutrality. The commission outlined its ambition to build 80 gigawatts of electrolyzers by 2030 within its borders and in nearby countries. This strategy is being supported even by major energy and natural gas companies such Shell and Total.

However, the Russian-Ukrainian war has pushed the EU to face its pressing energy insufficiency as it imports more than 45% of its gas from Russia which it has pledged to reduce by two-thirds by the end of the year 2022. This new geopolitical context is pushing European leadership to readily act to ensure self-sufficiency on energy by diversifying its suppliers and increasing renewable hydrogen production.

Building the Hydrogen economy in the US

The Biden Administration has recently signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes a provision for $9.5 billion in funding to build hydrogen hubs. This move is seen as a stepping stone to establish the basis of a solid hydrogen economy for the future where factories and power plants will be running on this sustainable energy.

Several states are forming partnerships and alliances to either secure funding to produce green hydrogen or utilize an already existing infrastructure to form a hydrogen hub.

Plug Power, a company provider of hydrogen fuel stationed in New York, aims to become the largest green hydrogen facility in North America by producing 45 metric tons per day of green liquid hydrogen. This increased production of hydrogen will be used to decarbonize heavy industries and the transportation sector in several states.

Hydrogen and the potential of energy sufficiency in Tunisia

The unfortunate sinking of a fuel-laden ship in the shores of Gabes in the 15 th of April signals the need for more sustainable energy sources that won’t have a disastrous impact on our environment.

Aside from the environmental perspective, the Finance Law of 2022 states that oil prices are expected to raise by 3% this year which further highlights Tunisia’s energy deficit. As a solution to the country energy problem, the government is focusing on green energy such as wind and solar in order to increase electricity production by 30% by the year 2030.

However, the current vision of the government for green energy isn’t as ambition as it should or could be. Diversifying energy sources which includes green hydrogen is a safer bet to ensure Tunisia’s energy sufficiency. The aimed growth of wind and solar isn’t fast or substantial enough to decarbonize industries or to decrease the country’s energy deficit. Tunisia can establish itself as a key partner in the emerging European hydrogen economy by developing hydrogen hubs and exporting hydrogen production to Europe.