Mauritania’s abundant solar and wind potential, coupled with its strategic location and proximity to international markets such as Europe, has made the country a highly attractive green hydrogen market. As global capital and technology providers turn their interest towards the market, Mauritania is well positioned to become a major player in the global green hydrogen market.
A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), launched at the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2023 conference this November, outlines three key strategies Mauritania can adopt to establish itself as a leading green hydrogen export hub.
Ammonia Shipping as Cost-Effective Global Distribution
Despite the high costs associated with converting hydrogen to ammonia, the overall costs of transporting ammonia – specifically by sea – is substantially lower compared to that of liquid hydrogen, making ammonia a strategic method of distribution. Leveraging green ammonia as a hydrogen carrier to global and long-distance markets will therefore provide Mauritania with an efficient and safe alternative for monetizing and distributing the resource.
At the same time, international trade of ammonia is already well-developed, with the infrastructure established and technologically mature. According to the report, approximately 150 terminals and ports can handle ammonia. As Mauritania’s green hydrogen and ammonia market grows, it becomes imperative to enhance port infrastructure to support exports. Through strategic investments in Mauritania’s ports, the country is well positioned to supply the global market.
Competing Globally Through Green Iron
Mauritania can capitalize on its strong mining industry and future green hydrogen supplies to establish itself as a global green iron supplier. In 2022, the country achieved a significant milestone by exporting 13 million tons of iron ore, generating approximately $1.3 billion in revenue. Embracing the production of iron that is powered by green hydrogen presents a substantial opportunity to lower mining costs while facilitating the export of higher-value refined iron products.
Currently, large steel importers such as the United States are the European Union are looking at importing sponge iron from regions with low-carbon energies and space for large-scale project developments. In this scenario, Mauritania is strategically placed to become the preferred supplier.
Pipeline Development: Creating Direct Export Links to Europe
The construction of a pipeline connecting Mauritania to Spain offers a viable solution for exporting hydrogen to Europe. Through pipeline infrastructure, the MSGBC country will have a competitive edge over other potential suppliers – including Namibia, Brazil, and Australia – who are projected to heavily depend on shipping for distribution in the future. Mauritania is already progressing towards leveraging pipelines for green hydrogen exportation with renewable energy developer Gaia Future Energy and energy firm Hydeal inking a deal to spearhead a project capable of transporting one million tons from Mauritania and Morocco to Europe by 2030 and up to five million tons by 2035.