With the world racing to turn solar and wind resources into green hydrogen that will fuel the energy transition, Africa is no exception. In fact, the continent boasts one of the world’s largest potentials for producing green hydrogen from low-cost renewable electricity. Green hydrogen is created when renewable energy, such as wind or solar, is used to power the separation of hydrogen from oxygen in water molecules. This results in hydrogen that is carbon-free and can be used as a fuel, producing only water as waste, making it a sustainable option for the planet.
Africa’s hydrogen potential is enormous, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicting that by 2030, the continent could produce 80% of the new power generation it needs from solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and other renewable energies. Africa has 60% of the world’s best solar resources, making it an ideal location for the development of green hydrogen. Moreover, hydrogen could help the 600 million Africans who currently do not have access to electricity.
A revolutionary project is set to make history in the Suez Canal this year. Led by Norwegian clean energy company Scatec, an electrolyzer will be installed near its southern end. Supplied by US fuel cell business Plug Power Inc., it’ll produce 45 metric tons of green ammonia per annum – enough to meet demand from Egypt Basic Industries Corp (EBIC) under a long-term purchase contract! The location couldn’t be better: with 18% of global trade passes through the canal annually, green ammonia can provide much needed power that’s suitable for maritime transport operations.
In Namibia, a green hydrogen panel discussion during the Namibia International Energy Conference discussed the prospects of green hydrogen for driving socioeconomic growth and industrialization in the country. Namibia has made significant progress through project announcements, the signing of deals, and adjusted policies to kickstart a green hydrogen boom both domestically and across the southern African region. Rich with renewable energy resources and focused on accelerating energy access and economic growth, the country has partnered with international and regional stakeholders to develop large-scale green hydrogen facilities that will be used both domestically and regionally.
Africa’s potential for green hydrogen is vast, and it is seen as a game-changer for sustainable energy on the continent. There are already low-carbon hydrogen projects under way or under discussion in Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, and South Africa. Moreover, the falling cost of solar units and hydrogen production is predicted to further increase Africa’s hydrogen potential.
The development of green hydrogen in Africa represents an opportunity for the continent to change its economic structure. Countries like Namibia are export-driven economies that export raw materials, but they want to focus on the manufacturing aspects of their economies. Crafting a whole new synthetic fuels act that will be one of the most competitive around the world is essential to ensure competitiveness in the global market. An enabling environment is also needed for Africans looking to develop this industry.
Furthermore, the development of green hydrogen in Africa can have a significant impact on the lives of people who do not have access to electricity. Africa has been plagued by energy poverty for years, and green hydrogen can be a viable solution to this problem. The hydrogen industry cantransform Africa’s energy landscape
The hydrogen industry has the potential to transform Africa’s energy landscape. With abundant solar and wind resources, the continent has a huge potential for producing low-cost, green hydrogen using renewable electricity. Countries such as Egypt, Namibia, and Morocco are already making strides towards establishing green hydrogen production facilities and exploring its potential for powering socioeconomic growth and industrialization.
Africa’s Potential for Green Hydrogen Production
Africa has one of the world’s biggest potentials for producing hydrogen from low-cost renewable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The continent has 60% of the world’s best solar resources, with arid and semi-arid areas ideal for wind and solar. By 2030, Africa could produce 80% of its new power generation from renewable energies, the IEA predicts.
Egypt’s First Green Hydrogen Facility
Egypt is set to have its first green hydrogen production facility up and running by November 2023, according to a project consortium led by Norwegian clean energy company Scatec. The facility will be located near the southern end of the Suez Canal and powered by a 100 MW renewable energy plant.
The electrolyzer provided by US fuel cell business Plug Power will produce over 45 metric tons of green ammonia per year to be sold to nearby liquid ammonia company Egypt Basic Industries Corp (EBIC) under a long-term purchase contract. With green ammonia suitable for fueling maritime transport, the plant’s location within reach of a shipping lane carrying 18% of global trade is significant.
Namibia’s Green Hydrogen Potential
Namibia has partnered with international and regional stakeholders to develop large-scale green hydrogen facilities that will be used both domestically and regionally. The country has made significant progress through project announcements, the signing of deals and adjusted policies to kickstart a green hydrogen boom. The speakers also discussed how green hydrogen can be used to tackle energy poverty and intermittency challenges associated with renewable technologies such as wind and solar.
Morocco’s Green Hydrogen Plant
Morocco is set to construct a MAD100 billion (US$10.7 billion), 170,000-hectare green hydrogen plant in the south of the country at Guelmin-Oued Noun, which will be operational in 2027. French renewables developer Total Eren has already begun topographical surveys, assessments of solar and wind power resource, and techno-economic studies for the facility, which will harness a reported 10 GW of unspecified clean energy generation capacity to produce hydrogen and green ammonia.
The Future of Green Hydrogen in Africa
Green hydrogen offers Africa a unique opportunity for powering sustainable economic and industrial development, as well as tackling underlying energy poverty. To successfully capitalize on this potential however, countries must be ready to invest in the necessary policy framework and infrastructures – with vital consideration of skills training, data gathering initiatives and innovative technologies. The success or failure of green hydrogen is ultimately dependent upon stakeholders taking action; it’s up to those at policymakers’ level all the way down to industry players ensure that Ghana (and other African nations) can benefit from its transformative capacity within this lucrative sector.
The hydrogen industry is set to play a significant role in Africa’s energy transition, with abundant solar and wind resources providing a huge potential for green hydrogen production. Countries such as Egypt, Namibia, and Morocco are already making strides towards establishing green hydrogen production facilities, with the potential to transform Africa’s energy landscape while powering socioeconomic growth and industrialization.
Africa has the potential to become a powerhouse of green hydrogen production, potentially transforming its energy supply and creating economic opportunities while reducing carbon emissions. With plentiful renewable resources, supportive government policy and increasing private sector investment in this key technology, there’s plenty reason for optimism that African nations may soon reap the rewards of clean energy growth. The continent is well-poised to meet these lofty ambitions – though obstacles remain – resulting not only in improved access but also enhanced prosperity and a greener future.
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