Real debate in Tunisia should be on development of renewables, not on green hydrogen (Slim Zeghal)

The real debate in Tunisia should focus on ways to promote renewable energies instead of talking about or launching green hydrogen, which does not make much sense in Tunisia, said Slim Zeghal, member of the steering committee of the Arab Institute of Business Managers (IACE). Speaking at the monthly meeting of the IACE, held Wednesday in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, on the theme "The energy transition in Tunisia: green hydrogen, a solution for the future", Zeghal recalled that the production of green hydrogen requires green energy, but Tunisia produces only 3% of renewable energy. He estimated that there is no real use for green hydrogen in Tunisia, adding that the potential lies only in exporting it to European countries. In Tunisia, green hydrogen can only be used in the production of fertilisers, but its production remains "horrendously expensive", he said, adding that investing in this niche will make much more sense in the next five or ten years. Instead, the country needs to replace its gas imports for electricity generation with renewable sources that will cost much less, he pointed out. In this context, Zeghal recalled the trade balance is heavily in deficit due to the energy bill associated with gas imports. In addition, the production of green hydrogen requires drinking water, but the country currently faces a real problem of access to water resources, he said. He added that the production of green hydrogen requires the development of water desalination projects. However, such projects must first meet the needs of the population and the agricultural sector. For Zeghal, the state must simplify procedures for private and foreign investors who want to invest in hydrogen in Tunisia. For her part, Amel Miled, a doctoral engineer in energy engineering at the National Agency for Energy Management (ANME), said the implementation of the green hydrogen strategy has taken into account the various existing strategies in the fields of transport, water and energy. That strategy covers several aspects, including renewable energy production, water desalination and hydrogen transport. Miled pointed out that Tunisia can position itself as a supplier of green hydrogen to Europe, since the country has an export infrastructure through pipelines connected to Italy. In fact, Europe aims to import 10 million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030 and around 40 million tonnes by 2050, she said. Tunisia can also position itself in the production of green ammonia and synthetic fuels by recovering CO2 emissions from cement plants and replacing local consumption of conventional fuels with synthetic fuels, she added.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse