Mar 9, 2023, 8:48am EST

German firm to lead green hydrogen production in Mauritania

CreativeCommons/Ralmond Spekking

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The News

An international consortium led by Conjuncta, a German project developer, signed a $34 billion deal to produce “green hydrogen” in Mauritania.

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Know More

The project, which also includes Egyptian energy provider Infinity and Masdar, a renewable energy company owned by the United Arab Emirates government, will have a production capacity of up to 8 million tons of green hydrogen annually. That sum is equivalent to about 25% of the total hydrogen production of China, the world’s largest producer. It will equal roughly 80% of the production of the U.S., the second largest maker.

The investment going into the project — which will be built in four phases before completion in 2028 — equals more than three times Mauritania’s yearly GDP and is expected to create thousands of jobs.

“Our country is determined to play a leading position on the global map of the green hydrogen economy in the coming decades.” Mohamed Saleh, Mauritania’s Minister of Petroleum, Mines and Energy said. “We strongly believe that the development of the green hydrogen industry in Mauritania will bring environmental, economic and social benefits to our country and the world.”

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Step Back

Green hydrogen uses renewable energy to split H molecules out of water, but largely remains prohibitively expensive, with most hydrogen today currently “gray” — derived from fossil fuels, without carbon capture — or to a lesser extent “blue,” which utilizes carbon-capture technology. The production of green hydrogen emits no carbon.

Mauritania’s abundance of wind and the blazing sunshine of the desert region — as well as its proximity to the European market — could make it a major producer of green hydrogen.

Last year British oil and gas giant BP signed a memorandum of understanding with Mauritania to explore “the potential for large-scale production of green hydrogen" in the West African country.

Goldman Sachs estimates the world’s hydrogen market will be worth $1 trillion by 2050.