Africa-focused transitional energy company, Chariot, has raised $9.5 million for the development of a feasibility work program on a large-scale green hydrogen project in Mauritania. The upstream-to-green power company, in September, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Mauritania, and had been given exclusive access to 14,400km2 of on- and offshore areas for the development of the 10 GW Project Noor green hydrogen plant. With an estimated cost of $3.5 billion, the project currently awaits its pre-feasibility and feasibility studies on solar and wind power – energy sources used to produce green hydrogen through the process of electrolysis.
With the full support of Mauritania’s Minister of Petroleum, Mines and Energy, H.E. Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Saleh, Chariot is currently seeking partners for the project, with the prospect of developing a world-class consortium, which, according to Saleh, “promises to bring a combination of environmental, economic, and social benefits to our country,” noting that Mauritania has the potential to become a world leader in the production of green hydrogen through renewable energy sources.
“At 10 GW, it’s too big a project for Chariot on its own, so it will be developed by a consortium,” stated Chariot CEO, Adonis Pouroulis in late-November, adding, “We will bring in a partner within five months. We caught the attention of some big players with the announcement of the green hydrogen project in Mauritania – and all of a sudden there are inbound calls. We are talking to some people.”
Operating in Mauritania since 2011, and having invested roughly $30 million in the west-African country, Pouroulis suggested that the project could be capable of producing approximately 600,000 tons per year of hydrogen for export to international markets, noting that green hydrogen may either be exported as a liquid, or as ammonia.
With the potential to revolutionize the world’s energy sector, green hydrogen is expected to contribute greatly towards the decarbonization of African economies, with its production being highlighted as a solution for sustainable development, the creation of new green jobs, and serving to facilitate the transport of renewable energies. Green hydrogen has become an increasingly attractive market for companies and countries that aim to position themselves well within the global energy transition.
Chariot, currently aiming to fast-track Project Nour, has stated that it would begin working on the project immediately through its in-house team and that the pre-feasibility and feasibility studies would involve environmental, macroeconomic, and social impact studies, as well as the assessment of the west-African country’s solar and wind resources. Mauritania has some of the best wind power density in the world off its north coast, coupled with a high solar radiation potential due to its proximity to the Sahara Desert, facilitating the potential to produce the cheapest and cleanest hydrogen in Africa, which, in conjunction with its proximity to European markets, could position it as a world-class exporter of green hydrogen. The pre-feasibility studies will examine certain issues related to the project’s environmental impact through its installation of wind and solar infrastructure with regards to its land use, soil erosion, and the potential for the development to disrupt bird migration.
Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Mines and Energy has reported the estimated potential of 2,000 to 2,300 kWh per square meter of solar energy production capacity, with the country also recording average wind speeds of 9 meters per second in its coastal areas. Solar and wind energy from proposed generation plants will be sent to a desalination plant on Mauritania’s coast to generate clean water required for electrolysis, a process through which hydrogen is produced from electrical to chemical energy and may be stored, in the form of electricity, within a fuel cell. It is important to note that, if the energy used for electrolysis is derived from renewable sources, the hydrogen produced is considered ‘green’.
With most national determined contributions towards decarbonization in Africa having identified transportation as a priority area for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in carbon-intensive sectors, green hydrogen is noted as being highly beneficial with regards to pollutants coming as a result of mobility.
In addition to Project Noor, the Ministry has also signed an MoU with Australia’s renewable energy developer, CWP Global, in May for the development of the $40 billion Project Aman, which will be developed in the north of the country, covering an area of 8,500km2, and will include 30 GW of installed solar and wind capacity for the production of green hydrogen.
Due to its insurmountable and unparalleled potential for renewable energy production, Africa is well-positioned to take advantage of green hydrogen, with Mauritania being placed as the destination for some of the world’s most ambitious green hydrogen production projects currently being developed on the continent.
In response to sub-Saharan Africa’s growing demand for new oil and natural gas, and renewable energy projects, and increasing interest from international stakeholders to invest, develop, and succeed on the continent, Energy Capital & Power will hold the MSGBC Oil, Gas, & Power 2021 conference and exhibition during December 2021. Focused on enhancing regional partnerships, spurring investment and development in the oil, natural gas and power sectors, the conference will unite regional international stakeholders with African opportunities, serving as a growth-oriented platform for Africa’s energy sector.