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COP27: Hydrogen Day marked massive push for Green Hydrogen ecosystem

At the on-going 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, November 8 turned out to be a 'hydrogen day' with a slew of sessions and announcements relating to the promotion of hydrogen energy towards carbon-neutrality and sustainability in global nations.

Image for representation purposes only. Source: Shutterstock (Alexande Kirch)

At the Climate Action Innovation Zone, the 'Hydrogen Transition Summit' took place alongside COP27 ministerial meetings. The summit convened regulators, decision-makers, and investors with a comprehensive perspective on global deployment and investment momentum. It discoursed on how cost, technology, and infrastructure barriers can be overcome to make hydrogen solutions competitive in global markets.

In particular, speakers at the summit discussed on various public and private financing mechanism to promote green hydrogen. Sherif Elkholy, Partner, Head of Middle East & Africa for Infrastructure at Actis said, "Once we start to see some significant hydrogen projects reaching financial flows and starting to ship products, I think there will be a lot of capital that will be chasing to invest into hydrogen."

The participants agreed that the development and scaling up of H2 technologies are necessary, with improvements in cost-competitiveness and new infrastructure are required to break the barriers that hinger hydrogen adoption despite political and business momentum.

Speaking at the 2022 Hydrogen Transition Summit, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe told delegates that Europe is banking on the potential of Africa in producing and distributing H2 to meet its (Europe's) hydrogen and energy goals.

"It is important to understand that Europe cannot do it on its own. We do not have enough space, wind, or sun to produce what is required. Our neighbouring continent, Africa does have the potential", he noted.

Siefried Heugemann, Director-General of the African Hydrogen Partnership, said, "There is super strong domestic market potential in Africa. We will support the development of the export markets greatly by developing domestic markets in Africa", he said.

At the sidelines of the COP27 events, European Commission signed MoUs with the Namibia and Egypt on hydrogen and renewable energy, in the presence of its president Ursula von der Leyen. These agreements are part of the commission's strategy to import 10 million tonnes of hydrogen by 2030, in addition to 10 million tonnes of domestic production.

Namibia secured a 540 million euros in climate finance from the Dutch government and European Investment Bank, as the country aims to become a leader in hydrogen production in the African region.

Egypt, on the other hand, will aim to establish 'conducive certification of renewable hydrogen that can be traded between Egypt and Europe', according to the agreement with the European Commission.

The commission earlier concluded an agreement with Kazakhstan on November 7, which focused on renewable hydrogen in the Central Asian country, along with other deals on raw materials supply chain and batteries.  

Further, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) signed a joint declaration to advance sustainable energy through the role of green hydrogen.

The partners have agreed to facilitate information exchange between key stakeholders and develop effective enabling mechanisms for green hydrogen production and use-cases. They will also work on develop joint knowledge initiatives to help policymakers and businesses adopt business case for green hydrogen.

At the IRENA pavilion, a high-level roundtable under COP27 presidency with a theme 'Investing in the Future of Energy: Green Hydrogen' was held. This multi-stakeholder session encouraged dialogue between countries across the green hydrogen value chain, especially on current production, the expected scenarios of production to meet the needs, as well as the current and future policies and their impact to that end.

*With inputs from H2 View (www.h2-view.com)

Author : Dhiyanesh Ravichandran
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