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OCP Group and Fraunhofer IMWS sign MoU

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World Fertilizer,

OCP Group has announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Fraunhofer IMWS to work jointly on solutions for a sustainable fertilizer industry.

The MoU will see continued cooperation, with the aim of increasing the use of renewable raw materials in the fertilizer industry. The focus is on two particular raw materials: green hydrogen and green ammonia. Green hydrogen is obtained by electrolysis using electricity form renewables engines. It can be further processed into a number of products for the fertilizer industry. Green ammonia, meanwhile, consists of green hydrogen and nitrogen, and can serve as a raw material for the production of fertilizers, amongst other uses.

Ralf B. Wehrspohn, Director of the Fraunhofer IMWS, said: “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. I am pleased that our many activities in the area of Chemistry 4.0 are being perceived internationally, and that we can now continue to advance these technologies with a globally leading company such as OCP, to prove that green hydrogen and green ammonia can be used on an industrial scale – and at prices that make sense for the companies.”

Mostafa Terrab, Chairman of OCP, added: “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. 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.”

Under the leadership of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a pilot plant is already under construction in Leuna, Germany. Green hydrogen will be produced and made available for a group of companies based there from 2019. A similar platform, which is also able to 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 delegation from Morocco also visited the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical- Biotechnological Processes (CBP) in Leuna, and discussed the opportunities of biotechnological phosphorus modification and electrocatalytical synthesis of ammonia.

In the statement, OCP claims that the German-Moroccan cooperation has repeatedly proven itself. Experts from Halle were advisors in the construction of the Green Energy Park, which originally 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 the African continent. 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, there were also discussions regarding the possible establishment of an African Institute for Solar Ammonia.

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, said: “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.”

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