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MMEC 2024: “Mozambique Has the Potential to Become a Regional Leader in Energy and CO2 Management” – HyAfrica

MMEC 2024: “Mozambique Has the Potential to Become a Regional Leader in Energy and CO2 Management” – HyAfrica

During the 10th edition of the Mozambique Mining and Energy Conference and Exhibition (MMEC), Júlio Carneiro, Research Leader at HyAfrica Project – a Portuguese company that explores natural hydrogen deposits – highlighted Mozambique’s potential as a regional leader in energy supply and CO2 emissions management, comparing the country to Norway in its model for importing and storing CO2 in the North Sea.

Julio Carneiro, speaking on the renewable energy panel at MMEC 2024, emphasised Mozambique’s ability to use its hydrocarbon resources sustainably. ‘Developed countries that used fossil fuels for their development now impose restrictions on developing countries. The country, with its resources, needs to use them for its economic development, and this is compatible with managing CO2 emissions,’ he said.

Since 2015, Mozambique has been exploring its capacity to store CO2, with estimates pointing to a capacity of 200 gigatonnes in the Rovuma basin. ‘These are values that compensate for all the emissions that the country may generate, and many of the neighbouring countries, which don’t have storage capacity, have large CO2 emissions,’ he explained.

The researcher also highlighted the importance of the entry into force of the cross-border and fair carbon mechanism, which, he said, from 1 October 2023, will require certain sectors to pay the same costs for CO2 emissions when exporting to the European Union. ‘This is an important motivation for you to use when that need to reduce emissions is demanded and at the same time utilise your fossil resources.’

In addition to CO2 management, Julio Carneiro pointed to natural hydrogen as a promising energy resource. ‘We’re talking about a new renewable resource because this hydrogen is of geological origin and is produced by the interaction between rocks at great depths over millions of years. It’s absolutely sustainable,’ he emphasised.

In addition to the aspects already mentioned, the HyAfrica researcher also touched on the essential role of regional collaboration in managing energy resources and CO2 emissions. ‘Collaboration between southern African countries is vital for implementing an effective strategy that allows not only the sustainable exploitation of natural resources, but also the joint management of carbon emissions,’ he pointed out. This approach would allow Mozambique to maximise its role as a regional leader, offering technical and infrastructural support to neighbouring countries that lack CO2 storage capacity.

Julio Carneiro also emphasised the importance of investing in technology and infrastructures for CO2 capture and storage, stressing that such investments are essential for achieving decarbonisation targets. ‘Investing in advanced technology is crucial, because as well as benefiting the environment, it provides an economic return for the country by positioning it as a centre of excellence in CO2 management technology in the region,’ he stressed.

Another relevant point in his speech was the need for environmental awareness and education as the foundation for the success of CO2 management initiatives.‘Involving local communities and educating them about the benefits of sustainable resource and emissions management is a fundamental step towards ensuring the acceptance and success of the environmental policies implemented.’

Finally, Julio Carneiro drew attention to the potential for international funding, which can be accessed to support renewable energy and emissions management initiatives in Mozambique. ‘There are global and regional funds that are available to support countries that take proactive measures in environmental management and the development of sustainable energy. Mozambique should take advantage of these opportunities to finance its initiatives and projects,’ he concluded.

HyAfrica is a project that aims to develop a new generation of renewable energy by harnessing natural hydrogen to produce electricity. This hydrogen, present in certain African geological environments, can be used to generate electricity in isolated systems, benefiting rural and remote communities that do not have access to the electricity grid.

The project is coordinated by the Portuguese company Converge!, a spin-off from the University of Évora, and represents the first international research initiative focused on the exploration and use of natural hydrogen as an energy source in Mozambique.

The consortium includes several renowned institutions, such as the Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics (LIAG) in Germany, the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy Systems Technology IEE, Mohammed Premier University in Morocco, the University of Lomé in Togo, the Universities of Limpopo and Pretoria in South Africa, as well as Eduardo Mondlane University and the National Directorate of Geology and Mines in Mozambique.

The conference, organised by the Ministry of Mining Resources and Energy (MIREME) through the National Hydrocarbons Company (ENH), in partnership with AME Mozambique and AMETrade, is taking place in Maputo under the slogan ‘Partnerships for Prosperity: Unlocking Mozambique’s Resources to Advance National and Regional Economic Growth’. It lasts two days (2 and 3 May) and brings together government officials, businesspeople and experts in the extractive and oil and gas fields.

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