MOROCCO: Belgium’s John Cockerill to set up an electrolyser production plant

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MOROCCO: the Belgian John Cockerill wants to set up an electrolyser production plant© Scharfsinn/Shutterstock

The Belgian company John Cockerill has announced the formation of a joint venture with a Moroccan company with the aim of investing in the development of the nascent green hydrogen industry in Morocco. The two partners plan to build an electrolyser production plant there.

In the hydrogen industry, which has been developing in Africa in recent years, the electrolyser is a key piece of equipment for converting electrical energy into chemical energy, notably hydrogen. This equipment could soon be manufactured in Morocco. This is the main objective of a joint venture that has just been formed between John Cockerill, a Belgian industrial group and an undisclosed Moroccan company.

In Morocco, John Cockerill will manufacture alkaline electrolysers. This is the most widespread technology for the production of electrolytic hydrogen, but also for the production of numerous chemical compounds, including chlorine. It is therefore very mature in the industry. According to John Cockerill, its ‘high power’ alkaline electrolysers will enable the production of hydrogen at a lower cost.

A favourable context

“We are honoured to be able to contribute to Morocco’s energy transition in the image of the Kingdom’s great successes, particularly in the aeronautics and automotive sectors, and we are determined to establish such a local ecosystem around hydrogen technologies,” says Raphaël Tilot, John Cockeril’s executive chairman.

Read also- MOROCCO: a green hydrogen R&D platform is created in Jorf Lasfar

The company, based in Seraing, Belgium, is entering the Moroccan market at a time when major groups are announcing mega-projects to produce green hydrogen and its derivatives, notably green ammonia. This is the case of Total Eren, the subsidiary of the French oil group TotalEnergies, which wants to set up installations capable of transforming 10 GW of clean electricity into hydrogen and green ammonia. Total Eren has obtained a 170,000 hectare site from the Moroccan government in the Guelmim-Oued Noun region.

The company headed by Pâris Mouratoglou is expected to invest 100 billion Moroccan dirhams, or 9.4 billion euros.  In parallel, Morocco has signed partnerships for the export of hydrogen, notably to Germany and Portugal. Recently, the Moroccan government published its Green Hydrogen Roadmap. And according to the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, green hydrogen is expected to promote economic growth, decarbonise industry and strengthen the security of its energy and non-energy input supply.

Jean Marie Takouleu 

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