The efforts of the Environmental Compliance Office (ECO) to support industry, the environment, green hydrogen manufacturing, and green economy applications were the subject of a two-day workshop in Minya this week organised by the Environment and Development Writers Association in cooperation with the ECO, an affiliate of the Federation of Egyptian Industries.
Industrial sector contributions to carbon dioxide emissions make up 18 per cent of the total percentage targeted as the energy efficiency component of Egypt’s 2035 Sustainable Development Strategy.
Towards this end, and within the framework of the Saving Energy is a Craft initiative in the chemical industries sector, measures are being taken to rationalise energy consumption in industrial facilities to reduce gas emissions that pollute the environment and the carbon dioxide emissions responsible for global warming.
The chemical industries sector was selected because of the number of its industries and its ability to save electrical and thermal energy by more than 30 per cent.
Sherif Al-Gabali, chair of the Steering Committee of the ECO, said the office was implementing a Best Practices for Improving Energy Efficiency in Industrial Facilities Programme, with the aim of saving energy, building capacities, and supporting companies to implement energy efficient technologies.
The programme is run in cooperation with the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy and the Egyptian-German Committee on Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Protection (JCEE), represented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
Since 2005, the ECO has been providing up to LE7 million in green revolving loans to be repaid in annual installments ranging from one to five years. This includes a grace year and declining annual administrative expenses of 3.5 per cent and is designed to help companies apply technologies to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy in industrial facilities, Al-Gabali said.
Ahmed Kamal Abdel-Moneim, executive director of the ECO, said the state was focusing on the efficient use of energy resources in order to achieve sustainable energy supplies at an affordable cost for investors and to decrease the effects of increased energy consumption on climate change.
The Saving Energy is a Craft initiative is conducting feasibility studies to increase economic returns and calculate the expected reduction in carbon dioxide emissions as a result of the implementation of these technologies, he added.
Fifty factories were selected in the first phase of the initiative from a total of 110 to raise the skills of 175 certified energy managers in cooperation with an international expert and local specialists. The broader aim is to increase the number of technical managers and experts specialising in energy management and compliance with Egypt’s electricity law, Abdel-Moneim said.
The ECO measures the carbon footprint of organisations in Egypt in cooperation with a host of bodies, including the Ministry of the Environment and the Egyptian Organisation for Standardisation and Quality, Abdel-Moneim said.
After Egypt’s success in hosting the UN COP27 Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh last year and in the light of the state’s keenness to localise the production of green hydrogen, as one of the agents leading to a reduction of carbon emissions in industrial sectors, the ECO has conducted studies on green hydrogen applications in different industries.
This step is in line with international regulations meant to encourage the green economy, such as the European Green Deal and the cross-border carbon tax.
Abdel-Moneim said his office was cooperating with the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to prepare a technical study to evaluate low-carbon hydrogen production technologies in industry and evaluate technologies for hydrogen and ammonia production in Egypt.
The study also examines industrial sectors that may use green or blue hydrogen for production.
Wafaa Ismail, head of the energy sector at the ECO, said that the initiative is meant to localise the technological components needed to improve the efficiency of boilers, insulation systems, and motors in 20 factories selected based on technical standards. The aim is to improve energy and equipment performance without negatively affecting productivity and growth.
Adel Taha, a sustainable development expert at the ECO, said hydrogen is used primarily in the production of ammonia, which consumes a million tons of hydrogen on an annual basis. It is also used in oil refineries and the production of steel and methanol.
He said that there are different forms of hydrogen based on the source of the energy used in its production. Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis — a process of using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Grey hydrogen is produced using natural gas and water vapour, a process that generates carbon dioxide. Blue hydrogen is produced the same way as grey hydrogen, but the carbon dioxide gas is stored through a different process.
The Federation of Egyptian Industries has been adopting an initiative to develop the chemical industries sector, Taha said. The initiative was originally launched in Canada in 1985 and is currently being applied in 66 countries. It is meant to use resources effectively, reduce hazardous waste, improve health, safety and environmental management, and promote the sustainable management of chemicals.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 16 March, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly