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TotalEnergies and VERBUND Explore Green Hydrogen Production in Tunisia

TotalEnergies and Austria’s electricity company VERBUND will study the feasibility of producing green hydrogen in Tunisia for export to central Europe via pipelines, the French supermajor said on Tuesday. 

TE H2, an 80/20 joint-venture formed by TotalEnergies and EREN Groupe, and VERBUND have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tunisia to study the implementation of a large green hydrogen project, H2 Notos, in the North African country for export to Central Europe through pipelines.

H2 Notos is expected to produce green hydrogen using electrolyzers powered by large onshore wind and solar projects and supplied with desalinated sea water. The project aims to produce 200,000 tons of green hydrogen annually during its initial phase, with the potential to scale up production to one million tons per year in South Tunisia. 

The project will have access to the European market through the SoutH2 Corridor, a hydrogen pipeline project connecting North Africa to Italy, Austria, and Germany, which is expected to be commissioned around 2030. The project is expected to utilize more than 70% repurposed infrastructure, with new pipeline segments where necessary. 

“By combining competitive hydrogen production in Tunisia and pipeline-based transportation, we can ensure a long-term supply at scale to support a sustainable transition of our customers to green hydrogen as well as support a sustainable economic development in Tunisia,” said Michael Strugl, chief executive of VERBUND.

While heavy industry and governments pin their hopes on hydrogen for faster decarbonization, and power-generating companies and oil and gas majors look to diversify into low-carbon hydrogen production, costs are still high for green hydrogen production and hold back massive deployment of projects, analysts say. 

Forecasters, including the International Energy Agency (IEA)—a staunch supporter of all things green – acknowledge that costs need to be slashed significantly if clean hydrogen is to play a major role in the energy transition. 

“Low-emission hydrogen production can grow massively by 2030 but cost challenges are hampering deployment,” the IEA said in its Global Hydrogen Review 2023 report in September 2023. 


By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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