TUNISIA: Saudi Arabia’s Acwa to invest in hydrogen for the European market

11 06 2024 | 07:23Jean Marie Takouleu

Saudi company Acwa Power has signed an agreement with the Tunisian authorities for the development and production of green hydrogen in the country. This energy will be destined for the European market.

After Egypt, Mauritania and Morocco, it is now Tunisia’s turn to receive promises of investment from major energy companies. The latest to sign an agreement with the Tunisian government is Acwa Power. The company, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, plans to develop a three-stage project with a renewable energy production capacity of 12 GW.

The first phase involves the installation of 4 GW of electricity and 2 GW of electrolysis capacity. This infrastructure, including the battery storage system and seawater desalination for electrolysis, will be capable of producing 200,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year. The Tunisian government has included this new project in its National Green Hydrogen Strategy, published in October 2023.

A contribution to the national strategy

For Ouael Chouchene, Tunisia’s Secretary of State for Energy Transition, the agreement with Acwa Power “will make it possible to capitalise on Tunisia’s assets, including its strategic geographical location, its existing infrastructure and its skilled workforce, in order to create a more sustainable future for the country”. The Saudi company expects to have a combined hydrogen production capacity of 600,000 tonnes per year.

This hydrogen will be transported to Europe via the “SoutH2 Corridor”, a 3,300 km pipeline scheduled to link North Africa, Italy, Austria and Germany by 2030. Supported by the European Commission, this energy infrastructure will be capable of transporting 2.5 million tonnes of hydrogen per year under the Mediterranean Sea.

Acwa is launching its Tunisian project just a few days after the signing of an agreement between the Tunisian government, the TE H2 joint venture (TotalEnergies and the Eren group) and the Austrian energy company Verbund. This consortium will develop a project with an initial production capacity of 200,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year, expandable to 1 million tonnes per year, destined for Europe. Tunisia’s National Green Hydrogen Strategy aims to produce 8.3 million tonnes of green hydrogen and by-products a year by 2050.