Wednesday, 22 February 2023

EFG Hermes’ Vortex Energy + Zouk Capital invest in British EV charging outfit



Good morning, ladies and gents. The weekend is on the horizon and climate news from the region seems to be picking up.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY- British EV charging outfit EO Charging has received financial backing from EFG Hermes’ clean energy investment platform Vortex Energy and London-based private equity and infrastructure fund manager Zouk Capital which together have made an USD 80 mn equity investment in the company. We have chapter and verse on this story and more in the news well below.


Fossil fuel companies aren’t doing enough to curb methane emissions, which last year hit the highest levels this decade despite pledges to reduce flaring and other leakages, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report yesterday. The world’s energy industry released nearly 135 mn tons of methane last year, surpassing levels in 2020 and 2021 and just below the record set in 2019, according to IEA data.

No excuse: While some progress has been made, “emissions are still far too high and not falling fast enough – especially as methane cuts are among the cheapest options to limit near-term global warming, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement. “There is just no excuse.”

There’s a cheap and easy fix: The IEA estimates that the global oil and gas industry could reduce emissions by 75% if it invests less than 3% of the USD 4 tn windfall gains it raked in last year on the back of soaring energy prices.

The story is getting coverage in the international press: Reuters | AP | Bloomberg | Financial Times.

HAPPENING TODAY- The World Sustainable Development Summit kicks off in New Delhi. The event will bring together political figures, policy experts and NGOs to discuss sustainable finance, the green energy transition, and accelerating climate policies. You can find more details on the agenda here.

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- Japanese delegation set to visit Egypt to scope out green investment opportunities: A delegation from the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation (JOIN) will soon visit Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) to explore potential investments, according to a cabinet statement. SCZone Chairman Walid Gamal El Din met more than 100 companies and financial institutions during a visit to Tokyo last week to drum up interest in Egypt, and told Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly earlier this week that Japanese companies are mainly interested in planned green energy projects in the zone.

WATCH THIS SPACE #2- EU countries remain divided on the role of nuclear energy in slashing emissions: Debate over whether nuclear-derived hydrogen should be allowed to count towards the EU’s renewable energy generation targets has delayed the finalizing of a text outlining the EU’s diplomatic priorities ahead of COP28 — which was supposed to be agreed on by member countries on Monday, Reuters reports.

The main sticking point? Whether the text should promote low-carbon hydrogen — including nuclear-derived hydrogen — or only hydrogen produced by renewables. This comes after months of debate between pro-nuclear countries and others seeking to exclude nuclear-based fuels from EU renewables targets.

SIGN OF THE TIMES – The price of EU carbon credits has hit a record high: The cost of polluting in the EU reached a milestone on Tuesday when the benchmark EU Allowance (EUA) contract broke a high of EUR 101 per ton, Reuters reports. EUAs incentivize manufacturers, power companies and airlines to invest in low carbon tech and switch to renewables by making them pay for each ton of carbon emissions. The historic trading value of EU carbon permits comes ahead of a deadline in April stipulating EU-based companies secure enough emissions allowances to offset their greenhouse gas production volumes in 2022.


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We’re excited to unveil our next C-level event in Cairo: The Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum, where we will take a deep dive into two of the most critical topics affecting our community.

Interested to learn more about how Egypt is planning on drumming up foreign direct investment (FDI) for all these green hydrogen, solar and wind agreements? Exports and FDI have never been more important to Egypt’s economy — or its businesses — than in the wake of the float of the EGP and the country’s positioning as a regional renewable energy hub. We think there’s a unique chance to build an export-led economy that makes Egypt a magnet for FDI and all the benefits that will come with it.

Want to join the conversation? Drop us a line on


The UAE will host the Annual Gulf Ins. Forum from Monday, 27 February to Tuesday, 28 February in Dubai. The event will host panel discussions on sustainable ins. for ESG, the role of Gulf ins. companies in securing renewables, the future of ins. for Autonomous Vehicles (AVs), ins. solutions to address climate change and environmental pollution, and the banking sector’s experience in issuing green and sustainability bonds. You can register for the event here.

Qatar will host the International Conference on Climate Change and Human Rights from Tuesday, 21 February to Wednesday, 22 February in Doha. The conference will gather over 300 participants from governments, think tanks, universities, and human rights institutions to discuss and present climate mitigation and adaptation policies from a human rights perspective.

Egypt will host the CSR Forum from 2-5 March at Somabay, Hurghada. The event aims to further discussions put forth during COP27 and boost private and public sector cooperation on climate action. You can register for the event here.

Qatar will host the Earthna Summit from 8-9 March in Doha. The event will bring together industry leaders and policymakers to explore tailored solutions for the energy transition in hot climates. You can register for the event here.

The Arabia CSR Awards is accepting applications until Friday, 30 June. The award winners will be announced during a ceremony on Wednesday, 4 October.

The first MENA Solar Conference is accepting applications from published researchers specialized in PV technology until Sunday, 30 April. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority will be hosting the conference from 15 to 18 November, in conjunction with the Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition and the Dubai Solar Show 2023. Researchers can submit their papers here.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.


EFG Hermes’ Vortex Energy + Zouk Capital make USD 80 mn equity investment in British EV charging company

Vortex Energy + Zouk Capital invest in British EV charging company: EFG Hermes Holding’s clean energy investment platform Vortex Energy and London-based private equity and infrastructure fund manager Zouk Capital will make an USD 80 mn equity investment in British EV charging company EO Charging, according to a joint statement (pdf).

About EO Charging: Founded in 2014, EO Charging has deployed more than 80k chargers to businesses and consumers in more than 35 countries around the world. The London-based company provides charging infrastructure for global companies including Amazon, DHL and Uber.

This is EO Charging’s first go at fundraising since its SPAC collapse: The company called off a USD 675 mn merger with First Reserve Sustainable Growth — a New York-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) — in March last year due to market volatility.

Valuation + equity stakes undisclosed: The companies said that Zouk Capital led the funding round but didn’t disclose how much they will contribute to the USD 80 mn investment or the corresponding equity stakes acquired in the firm. EO Charging founder Charlie Jardine hinted at a lower valuation in an interview with the Financial Times, telling the salmon-colored paper: “You can see what is happening in the market.”

Where’s the money going? EO Charging will use the funds to further expand its business in North America and Europe, after having established its position as a leader in the UK market, the statement said.

Vortex’s fourth fund has plenty more dry powder to deploy: The investment was made through the Vortex Energy IV Fund, which was launched in 2021. The fourth fund is anchored by EFG Hermes, Abu Dhabi sovereign institutional investors and family offices, and an unnamed Asian family office. Back in July 2021, EFG Hermes announced its first close of USD 200 mn for Vortex IV, which it planned to grow to USD 750 mn by this year. Vortex IV has focused on Spanish wind and solar developer Ignis Energia, into which it has so far invested around EUR 300 mn. The fund has plans to eventually invest EUR 625 mn in Ignis in return for an estimated 49% stake.

What they said:“This investment is critical for us, as it ticks the box on delivering our vision and strategy for Vortex Energy and Vortex IV specifically,” Vortex Energy CEO Karim Moussa told Enterprise Climate. Vortex targets investment across the whole energy transition value chain, and in this sense, the new EO investment complements its existing investment in Ignis Energia, he added.

Europe is a key market to target for EV infrastructure expansion — particularly as certain countries plan to sell only EVs starting in 2030, Moussa said. “There are currently 375k public chargers across the EU — and this needs to increase to 3.4 mn by 2030. So it’s a massive increase that needs to happen to fulfill upcoming demand,” he added.

Advisors: Improved Corporate Finance advised Vortex on M&A, White & Case was counsel, and PwC was the financial and tax advisor. Fladgate were counsel to Zouk Capital, while EO Charging’s was advised by Evercore (M&A) and Birketts (legal).


Japan’s IHI could invest in green hydrogen projects in Egypt, Oman

Japanese investment for Egypt, Oman green hydrogen projects? Tokyo-headquartered engineering firm IHI could invest in proposed green hydrogen and ammonia projects in Egypt and Oman under an agreement signed with Indian renewables company Acme Group. The MoU will see the two companies conduct feasibility studies into Acme’s planned projects in Egypt, Oman, India and the USA, potentially leading to the Japanese firm participating as either an investor or an offtaker, according to the statement.

Acme has signed initial agreements to establish plants in Egypt and Oman: The Indian clean energy firm signed an MoU to explore establishing a green hydrogen facility with a 2.2 mn ton production capacity in Egypt last August. Earlier in 2022, Acme and Norway’s Scatec formed a joint venture to develop a plant in Oman that would produce up to 1.2 mn tons of ammonia powered by 3.5 GW of renewable energy in Oman.


Interest is growing in green hydrogen-powered steel production — and MENA could play a leading role

As Europe races to decarbonize its steel industry, MENA could be poised to lead in “green” steel production: Europe’s steel players face big choices between now and 2030 on whether to invest in renewing heavily-polluting infrastructure or switch to carbon-cutting production processes, as they work to make good on decarbonization pledges, the BBC noted last week. Several emissions-reduction options are available, including retrofitting plants with carbon capture tech and using biomass as a substitute for coal. But the only way to produce zero-emission steel is to use green hydrogen, multiple stakeholders argue. For MENA, this opens up chances to become a green steel hub.

MENA has recently been identified as a hotspot for “greenifying” the industry: MENA could lead the world in “green” steel production, according to a report (pdf) last year by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). By 2035, Egypt could produce some 45 mn tons of green steel annually while the North-West African hub of Morocco and Mauritania could produce some 30 mn tons per year, under a hypothetical scenario put forward by recent research (pdf).

Steel is one of the world’s three highest-emitting materials, alongside aluminum and cement: Steelmaking was responsible for some 7-9% of the world’s carbon emissions in 2020. This is due to the use of high-carbon coking coal as a fuel source to heat iron ore pellets at very high temperatures and liquify the pure iron — a process known as coal-fuelled blast furnace and basic oxygen furnace (BF-BOF). As of 2019, some 71% of global crude steel production used BF-BOF, according to data cited by the IEA.

Why does MENA have a green steel advantage? Because production is already dominated by a lower-emissions process — using grey hydrogen: The main steel production process used in MENA — Direct Reduced Iron-Electric Arc Furnace (DRI-EAF) technology — involves using carbon monoxide and natgas-derived hydrogen to turn iron ore into iron, the IEEFA report notes. MENA’s steel industry accounted for nearly half of global DRI-EAF production in 2021 — in part, because of our abundance of gas, the report notes. The process emits an average of 1.2 tons of CO2 equivalent (tCOe) per ton of steel produced compared to BF-BOF’s 2.2 tCOe/ ton of steel produced, according to data-driven climate tech platform Carbon Chain.

With green hydrogen, emissions could plummet further: Substituting grey hydrogen for green using electric arc furnaces powered by renewable energy could make the DRI-EAF process zero-emissions, according to IEEFA report author Soroush Basirat.

MENA could immediately begin shifting towards green hydrogen use: It could be possible to swap 30% of the natgas currently used with green hydrogen in direct reduction plants without any major equipment modifications as a first step towards using 100% green hydrogen to produce zero-CO2 emissions steel, the IEEFA report tells us. MENA’s strong overall potential for green hydrogen development is another key advantage for the region when it comes to leading green steel production, it adds.

And it would be less costly for us than for other regions: “MENA’s existing DRI-EAF capacity means no extra investment is needed for replacing the base technology. All new investment could be focused on expanding production of green hydrogen among other renewables,” the IEEFA report notes. For most economies — which use primarily coking coal-reliant BF-BOF technology — the cost of shifting to green hydrogen-powered steel production would be “prohibitively high,” Bloomberg tells us.

We can see Europe embarking on a green steel push: Last week, the European Commission (EC) approved EUR 55 mn in German state aid to support ArcelorMittal's plans to build a steel production plant powered by green hydrogen. The EC also approved a EUR 460 mn direct grant to support ArcelorMittal España’s plans to build an iron plant largely based on clean hydrogen use. And Swedish startup H2 Green Steel is targeting the production of 5 mn tons of green steel every year by 2030, with plans to roll out its first commercial batches of the material by 2025.

The GCC has its own green steel plans: Oman’s Jindal Shadeed Iron and Steel (JSIS) plans to set up a USD 3 bn green steel plant targeting 5 mn tons of steel annually by 2026. Some 30-40% of this would be for consumption in Oman and the GCC, with the rest earmarked for export to the Middle East, Europe and Japan. The UAE’s Emirates Steel Arkan plans to partner with two Japanese firms to look at setting up an iron ore processing facility in Abu Dhabi that could be partly powered by green hydrogen, due to begin production in 2H 2025. And Saudi Arabia is reportedly looking to invest some USD 266 bn in a host of green hydrogen-focused areas — including the creation of industrial centers for green steel and aluminum.


The Netherlands is accusing Russia of planning sabotage operations against several assets including North Sea wind energy plants, Reuters reports. According to Dutch intelligence agency MIVD, Russia has conducted activities indicative of espionage in a bid to map and disrupt the country’s energy networks in the North Sea, and said that a Russian vessel was spotted at a Dutch wind farm before being escorted by the Dutch navy.

This wouldn’t be the first act of sabotage in the North Sea: Western nations and Russia have traded accusations of sabotage after a series of explosions damaged the Russian-owned Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines last year. The multi-bn USD Nord Stream network is a vital energy link transporting Russian gas to Germany, and is able to ship 55 bcm of gas per year.

United Airlines is backing sustainable aviation fuels: United Airlines has established an investment fund to channel more than USD 100 mn into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) technologies, it said in a statement yesterday. The United Airlines Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund will support start-ups working to decarbonize the aviation industry through sustainable aviation fuel research, technology and production, it said. The US carrier’s fund partners are JPMorgan, Chase, Honeywell, GE Aerospace, Boeing, and Air Canada.


Are we at risk for climate change-borne diseases in the region? The spread of malaria into new areas in sub-Saharan Africa over the past few decades could be a result of changing temperatures, a team of researchers revealed in a study published in the Royal Society journal last week. The researchers found that over the past 100 years, mosquitoes that transmit malaria in sub-Saharan Africa — namely Anopheles mosquitoes also known as marsh mosquitoes — have moved to higher elevated areas by about 6.5 meters annually, and away from the equator by 4.7 kilometers per year.

Can we tell if this is climate change related? The paper’s lead author and biologist at Georgetown University Colin Carlson told the New York Times that the pace of the spread of mosquitoes is consistent with climate change. The dataset included long-term surveys from malaria programmes, as well as other data gathered from peer-reviewed publications, technical reports, and archival records from 1898 to 2016.



27-28 February (Monday-Tuesday): The Annual Gulf Ins. Forum, Dubai, UAE.

MARCH 2023

7-9 March (Tuesday-Thursday): Middle East Energy Exhibition, Dubai, UAE.

8-9 March (Wednesday-Thursday): Earthna Summit, Doha, Qatar.

14-16 March (Tuesday-Thursday): Arab Aviation Summit (AAS), Al Hamra International Exhibition & Conference Centre, Ras al Khaimah, UAE.

15-19 March (Wednesday-Sunday): Qatar International Agricultural and Environmental Exhibition, Doha, Qatar.

22-24 March (Wednesday-Friday): K.ey – The Energy Transition Expo, Rimini Expo Centre, Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

22-24 March (Wednesday-Friday): UN 2023 Water Conference, New York, NY, United States.

APRIL 2023

6 April (Thursday): Arabia CSR Awards 2022 Clinic (online).

MAY 2023

1-4 May (Monday-Thursday): Arabian Travel Market, Dubai, UAE.

2-7 May (Tuesday-Sunday): Salon International de l’Agriculture au Maroc (SIAM), Meknes, Morocco.

16-18 May (Tuesday-Thursday): Seatrade Maritime Logistics Middle East, Dubai, UAE.

29-31 May (Monday-Wednesday): Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

JUNE 2023

1-3 June (Thursday-Saturday): Envirotec and Energie Expo, Tunis, Tunisia.

13-14 June (Tuesday- Wednesday) The Arab Green Summit, Dubai, UAE.

13-14 June (Tuesday- Wednesday) Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Africa Conference, Marrakesh, Morocco.


Chariot Limited and Total Eren’s feasibility study on a 10 GW green hydrogen plant in Mauritania to be completed.


2-4 October (Monday-Wednesday): WETEX and Dubai Solar Show, Dubai, UAE.

4 October (Wednesday): Arabia CSR Gala Awarding Ceremony, UAE.


30 November – 12 December: Conference of the Parties (COP 28), Dubai, UAE.



KSA’s Neom wants to tender three concrete water reservoir projects to up its water storage capacity by 6 mn liters.


Early 2023: Egypt’s KarmSolar to launch KarmCharge, the company’s EV charging venture.

1Q2023: Oman will award two blocks of land for green hydrogen projects in Duqm, Oman.

Mid-2023: Sale of Sembcorp Energy India Limited to consortium of Omani investors to close.

Phase C of the 900-MW of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai to be completed.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) steam cracker furnace powered by renewable energy to come online.

4Q2023: Oman to award four blocks of land for green hydrogen projects in Thumrait, Oman.


End-2024: Emirati Masdar’s 500 MW wind farm in Uzbekistan to begin commercial operations.

QatarEnergy’s industrial cities solar power project will start electricity production.

First 1.5 GW phase of Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to be operational.


Second 1.5 GW phase of Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to be operational.

UAE to have over 1k EV charging stations installed.


1Q 2026: QatarEnergy’s USD 1 bn blue ammonia plant to be completed.

End-2026: HSBC Bahrain to eliminate single-use PVC plastic cards.

Iraq’s Mass Group Holding wants to invest EUR 1 bn on its thermal plant Mintia in Romania to have 62% of run on renewable energy, while expanding its energy capacity to at least 1.29k MWh.


MENA’s district cooling market is expected to reach USD 15 bn.


UAE’s Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) wants to provide AED 35 bn in green financing.

UAE targets 14 GW in clean energy capacity.

Tunisia targets 30% of renewables in its energy mix.

Qatar wants to generate USD 17 bn from its circular economy, creating 9k-19k jobs.

Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to generate 10.5 GW of energy.


Qatar to capture up to 11 mn tons of CO2 annually.


Qatar’s Public Works Authority’s (Ashghal) USD 1.5 bn sewage treatment facility to reach 600k cm/d capacity.


Nigeria aims to achieve its net-zero emissions target.

Enterprise Climate is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; and Infinity Power (tax ID: 305-170-682), the leading generator and distributor of renewable energy in Africa and the Middle East. Enterprise Climate is delivered Mon-Thurs before 4 am UAE time. Were you forwarded this copy? Sign up for your own delivery at Contact us on