Set to reduce global emissions while catalyzing economic development in Mauritania, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) and Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Mines and Energy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on clean energy cooperation at the COP28 summit on Monday.
Signed by U.S. DoE Deputy Secretary, David Turk, and Mauritania’s Minister of Petroleum Mines and Energy, Nani Ould Chrougha, the MoU will facilitate the deployment of clean energy technologies for decarbonized steel production in the West African country.
“The rapid deployment of clean energy expertise internationally is essential for tackling the climate crisis, and Mauritania has enormous potential for low-cast, zero-emissions electricity production with its world-class wind and solar resources,” Turk stated.
The agreement will commit the U.S.-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to assess the technical and economic potential for green steel production in Mauritania. Developed with support from the DoE, NREL will deploy a molten oxide electrolysis technology, powered by renewable energy, to convert Mauritania’s iron ore into green steel.
“Mauritania is determined to move its iron industry towards transformation, drawing on the technology of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory,” Minister Chrougha stated.
Serving as Mauritania’s primary export, iron ore is shipped from the West African country to China where it is refined into steel, releasing CO2 emissions of approximately 25 million tons per year. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the MoU is poised to transition Mauritania from an iron ore exporter to a steel producer, moving the country up the mining value chain while driving transformative economic development.