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Aqaba : A potential green industrial hub

Hamzeh
Hamzeh S. Al-Alayani is general manager at Edgo, worked with Petrofac, an international EPC energy company, in the Middle East, North Africa and UK, and he is a regular commentator on regional energy and industrial matters. (File photo: Jordan News)
Jordan has been one of the world leaders in fertilizer mining innovation for over 70 years, which is why a potential green fertilizer hub in Aqaba, ideally positioned near low-cost renewable resources and plenty of available land and raw materials, would place Jordan to be a cost leader and allow it to take advantage of the growing demand for fertilizer and green hydrogen. اضافة اعلان

Aqaba's industrial ports’ proximity to the crossroads of Asia and Africa will also aid the new transition, cementing Jordan's leadership in a new era with a net-zero economy.

The fertilizer market size surpassed $193.3 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.9 percent from 2022 to 2030. Fertilizer companies and miners in the Middle East have chalked up record profits and ramped up production amid a global commodity rally this year. This is a trend widespread across the region. Locally, Jordan Phosphate Mines' gains skyrocketed by more than 1,000 percent, and Arab Potash reported a roughly 260 percent increase in net income in the first quarter of this year. With these supply shocks, Jordan is in a sweet spot and has an excellent opportunity to improve its reliability as a supplier to key markets.
With cost-optimal production resources such as renewable energy, Jordan could become a significant hydrogen export hub and be at the forefront of a new global hydrogen trade as the technological advancement and manufacturing scale-up.
Rising prices and profits will encourage Jordanian companies to adopt transformational investment. This could be done by forming strategic alliances and joint ventures to expand their geographic footprint and low-carbon pathway for the fertilizer and chemical industries that further strengthen and capitalize on the existing reputation. This transition will also derive economies of scale by consolidating their shared functions, including commercial and strategic sourcing, supply chains, and distribution.

Sustainability has become imperative for the Kingdom, as well as for the region. With cost-optimal production resources such as renewable energy, Jordan could become a significant hydrogen export hub and be at the forefront of a new global hydrogen trade as technological advancement and manufacturing scale-up. Cost reduction and increased expansion in renewable energy production electrolyzes, carbon capture, utilization, and storage necessary to make clean technologies cost-competitive against conventional high-carbon production routes also play an important role.

Therefore, Aqaba could become a prominent player in building a more sustainable fertilizer future by creating a market niche and enhancing Jordan’s regulatory framework for eco-industrial parks. This includes incentives for technology, innovation, and sustainability goals for green product supply to create an added-value partnership in this domain.

Aqaba, a climate champion, can build on the momentum of COP27 and COP28 to get the green finance architecture. This synergy, among the mobilization of capital to emerging markets, empowers the transition process and fosters the necessary growth to achieve the required economies of scale that enable green hydrogen projects that would help decarbonate the industry.

Delivering the far-reaching change needed to tackle the climate and environmental emergency will require total mobilization of public and private national resources. The government would be a facilitator in accomplishing the net-zero transition. The private sector would be a leader and have an opportunity to assume more prominent roles in advancing this critical goal.

Success, however, requires visionary and forward-looking leadership at both individual and institutional levels. These investments can include a complete eco-industrial park consisting of a logistics hub in Aqaba using railways to carry the raw materials and supply the city with desalinated freshwater and expand renewable energy to achieve the green fertilizer goal of Aqaba.


The writer is general manager at Edgo, worked with Petrofac, an international EPC energy company, in the Middle East, North Africa and UK, and he is a regular commentator on regional energy and industrial matters.


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