Moroccan OCP Group, the world’s largest exporter of phosphates, has signed a cooperation agreement with German Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems in Halle (Saale), to develop solutions for a sustainable fertilizer.
The two sides pledge to work together to boost the use of renewable raw materials in the fertilizer industry. They will focus on two raw materials: Green Hydrogen, which is obtained by electrolysis using electricity from renewable energies, and which can be further processed into numerous products for the fertilizer industry; and Green Ammonia, consisting of Green Hydrogen and nitrogen, which can serve as a raw material for the production of fertilizers, amongst other uses.
“Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia offer tremendous potential to sustain the supply of raw materials to the fertilizer industry. They also reduce the industry’s dependency on oil, natural gas and any other fossil fuel”, says Prof. Ralf B. Wehrspohn, Director of the Fraunhofer IMWS.
“Responsibility for the environment has always been important to us, not just when working in our mines, but as a fundamental principle of our circular economy approach”, stresses Mostafa Terrab, Chairman of OCP.
“The use of Green Ammonia fits in with this strategy. It can help conserve valuable resources and provide our customers with sustainable new products. That’s why we are looking forward to strengthening our cooperation with Fraunhofer,” adds the OCP CEO
Under the leadership of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a pilot plant is already being built in Leuna (Germany), a site with a long tradition in the innovative industry. Green Hydrogen will be produced and made available for a group of companies based there from 2019.
A similar platform, which can also produce Green Ammonia, will be developed in Morocco by OCP Group and the Green Energy Park in Ben Guerir, with the support of Fraunhofer IMWS.
The German experts were advisors in the construction of the Green Energy Park, which opened in 2015. This test and research platform for photovoltaic modules and systems is one of the largest test fields for photovoltaic and solar thermal energy in Africa.
In the Green Energy Park, the performance characteristics of solar modules and systems as well as location-dependent influences such as solar radiation, wind, pollution and temperature can be investigated in real time.
As part of the new cooperation agreement, the two sides mull setting up an African Institute for Solar Ammonia.
“In the conception and establishment of the Green Energy Park, we have had very positive experiences with the cooperation with Fraunhofer. I am sure that pooling our expertise will once again provide excellent solutions and further promote the development of renewable energies in Africa,” says Badr Ikken, co-president of the Green Energy Park and General Director of the Moroccan Institute for Research in Solar Energy and New Energies (IRESEN), with which Fraunhofer IMWS has been cooperating since 2012.