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The Ministry of Energy has launched a call for tenders to find a consultant to develop a strategic plan for the production of green hydrogen. It will include a roadmap with key milestones for 2030, 2040 and 2050, as well as an analysis of demand, production methods, environmental impacts and economic opportunities.

Could green hydrogen, a hitherto unexplored avenue, be one of the levers for the future for Mauritius to achieve its energy transition and achieve the objectives it has set for itself? The country is preparing to exploit this promising and clean energy source (see box), usable as fuel in numerous applications, depending on the extraction method chosen.

The Ministry of Energy and Public Services has launched a call for tenders to find a specialized consultant who will be responsible for developing a strategic plan in this regard. To ensure a holistic and sustainable approach to the exploitation of green hydrogen, this plan will focus on several main axes.

The plan must include a roadmap for the progressive implementation of the initiatives, with key stages planned for the years 2030, 2040 and 2050. This phased approach will make it possible to manage technical and financial challenges while ensuring a transition in gently towards a hydrogen economy.

In terms of location, studies will have to be carried out in order to identify the sites most suitable for production. Locations will be selected based on their potential in renewable resources and their suitability for existing infrastructure.

Demand analysis

An in-depth assessment will first need to be carried out to determine the potential for use of this resource in existing economic sectors. A responsibility that will fall to the consultant. It will therefore have to analyze the opportunities and obstacles to the use of hydrogen in these sectors. It will also have to assess the costs and emissions associated with the use of energy.

Another of its tasks will be to quantify the demand for hydrogen in economic sectors and evaluate production methods. Its assessment should include details, such as technical requirements, infrastructure and efficiency of production methods.

Methodologies

The consultant will also have to evaluate the most appropriate technology for the production of green hydrogen in Mauritius among those available commercially. It will also identify, evaluate and recommend the infrastructure necessary for the deployment of production in economic sectors, based on efficiency, future scalability and cost-effectiveness.

The question of storage is also crucial. The exercise should therefore include the study of hydrogen storage, transport and distribution infrastructures, recommending the best option.

In addition, the consultant will have to analyze the demand for water and the impact on the water sector, to possibly consider desalination in the long term. Its role will also be to assess the potential energy generation capacity.

Prices and opportunities

On the economic front, the ministry expects the consultant to present a detailed analysis assessing the profitability of green hydrogen. It is essential to ensure that this new energy sector will be economically viable, while offering substantial environmental benefits. The consultant's mission will therefore be to assess the dynamics of supply and demand on the islands as well as commercial opportunities, while analyzing market structures and pricing mechanisms.

A thorough analysis of potential impacts on energy prices and market competition will also be necessary. Identifying opportunities for job creation and developing programs for skills development, research as well as capacity building will also be a key task. Finally, the consultant will have to identify and recommend measures intended to create opportunities for exporting green hydrogen.

What is hydrogen?

Hydrogen can play an important role in a sustainable energy future, especially if it is produced from renewable sources and integrated into a clean energy system. It is a promising and clean energy, usable as fuel in many applications. Its main advantage is that it only produces water vapor when burned or used in a fuel cell, making it environmentally friendly.

It can be produced in different ways, such as electrolysis (which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen with electricity), steam extraction (which extracts hydrogen from natural gas), decomposition of l ammonia and the conversion of biomass into gas. The environmental impact of hydrogen depends on the production method used.

Environmental impacts

Its role will also consist of carefully studying, in parallel, the environmental impacts of green hydrogen. It will have to identify the consequences as well as the risks linked to the production, storage, transport and use of green hydrogen.

The consultant must propose mitigation measures as well as strategies to minimize environmental impacts, in compliance with regulations and standards in force. The aim is to minimize any adverse effects. The objective is also to maximize benefits in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by carrying out cross-sectoral analyses.



Legislative framework

In order to promote the development of this emerging industry, the introduction of a legal framework will be necessary. This must encourage investments, while ensuring compliance with regulations in order to ensure the secure and efficient exploitation of green hydrogen.

The consultant will also have to analyze energy regulations as well as policies governing the production and use of this resource. It will need to identify permit requirements for production, storage, transportation and use.

The consultant will be expected to schedule meetings with stakeholders, including consultations with government agencies, local communities, utility companies and environmental organizations. Then, he will have to prepare a document to state the concerns of these entities.

Production costs

According to the International Energy Agency, the cost of producing hydrogen from natural gas ranges between USD 1.0 and USD 1.8 per kilogram. Using renewable electricity to produce hydrogen costs between USD 3 and USD 8 per kilogram.

These countries which have taken the plunge

Germany is one of the world leaders in the field of green hydrogen. It launched a national strategy in 2020. The United States also believed in the potential of green hydrogen, like California and Texas which launched programs to promote its adoption in various sectors, such as as transport, electricity and industry.

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