Tunisia is positioning itself as a potential major supplier of green hydrogen to Europe, with the capacity to export between 5.5 million to 6 million tonnes of the clean fuel by 2050.
Belhassen Chiboub, the Director General of Electricity and Energy Transition at Tunisia’s Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, revealed these figures, citing data from the European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) initiative. The EHB initiative comprises a group of European energy infrastructure operators focused on establishing a dedicated hydrogen transport infrastructure across Europe.
Tunisia possesses the necessary resources and advantages to produce green hydrogen at competitive costs in the short and medium term, making it an attractive potential supplier to Europe. The country boasts abundant and complementary renewable energy sources, including solar and wind power. Moreover, Tunisia’s geographical proximity to Europe, where demand for green hydrogen is high, further enhances its potential as a key supplier.
To facilitate the export of green hydrogen to Europe, Tunisia plans to establish a network for transporting the fuel from Gabès and Tataouine to the Cap-Bon region. This infrastructure development aligns with Tunisia’s ambition to contribute significantly to Europe’s planned imports of green hydrogen from the region, which include Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya, with a total target of 11 million tonnes.
While Tunisia possesses the resources and geographical advantages for green hydrogen production, the scale of investment required presents a challenge. Producing one million tonnes of green hydrogen necessitates approximately $25 billion in investments. Consequently, Tunisia alone cannot bear the substantial capital requirements for large-scale production.
Water scarcity poses another hurdle for green hydrogen production in Tunisia, as water is a crucial component in the process. To address this issue, the Tunisian government plans to establish desalination plants in the southern and midland regions, particularly in Mahdia and Gabès. These desalination plants will not only cater to national drinking water needs but also contribute to the production of green hydrogen. The official explained that a desalination plant with a capacity of 200 m3/day can generate 8 million tonnes of hydrogen per year.
To fulfill Tunisia’s ambition of becoming a significant green hydrogen exporter to Europe, partnerships and collaborations will be vital. The country seeks to attract international investment and establish cooperative frameworks to share the financial burden associated with large-scale production.
Tunisia’s potential as a green hydrogen supplier presents a unique opportunity for economic growth and energy transition. It enables the country to leverage its renewable energy resources while contributing to Europe’s decarbonization efforts. By capitalizing on its natural advantages, establishing the necessary infrastructure, and fostering international partnerships, Tunisia can position itself as a key player in the emerging green hydrogen market.