Green hydrogen investments were not unusual in Africa a few years ago, but now energy solutions firms are focusing on the continent to develop this new energy through trial projects aimed at determining its large-scale production potential.
Given the region’s renewable energy potential, global giants situated in active markets on the African continent are devoting greater attention to green hydrogen production, notably in Egypt, South Africa, and Morocco, as well as Mauritania and Namibia.
Many experts feel that hydrogen has the potential to change the global energy industry, and certain African nations are attempting to catch up with the rest of the globe in order to establish this new market.
Green hydrogen is a solution for storing and transmitting renewable energy sources that are known to be intermittent, and it can also help to decarbonize emerging economies if it is created with renewable power.
The electrolysis of water (H 2 0) produces hydrogen, or more accurately diatomic hydrogen (H 2); this process transfers electrical energy into chemical energy.
The dihydrogen created in this manner may be utilized to generate energy in two ways: directly with oxygen (0 2) or as electricity in a fuel cell.
When sustainable energy sources such as hydropower, solar energy, or wind power are used entirely in the electrolysis of water, the result is green hydrogen.
Because renewable energy are typically intermittent, green hydrogen is initially used to store electricity. For a solar power plant, this means producing electricity during daylight hours and turning the electricity into green hydrogen.
It’s worth mentioning that in the absence of a major source of renewable energy, this gas, which produces just water vapor, may be transformed back into electricity (the sun).
Green hydrogen will also play a major part in the transportation sector’s decarbonization. Sasol, a South African chemical conglomerate, is gearing up to enter the growing green hydrogen industry.
With the advent of hydrogen-powered cars in the South African market, Toyota Motors South Africa (TSAM), a subsidiary of Japanese carmaker Toyota, has inked a collaboration agreement to develop green hydrogen for pickup trucks.
Because the topic of sustainable mobility is receiving growing concern among African policymakers and investors, hydrogen might have a substantial influence on mobility pollution on the continent.
According to the World Bank, the transportation sector has been designated as a priority area for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions in carbon-intensive sectors in the majority of the NDCs created lately by African nations.
Many African countries are still trying to put in place meaningful measures for moving to clean transportation.
Current alternatives, particularly electric ones, are not generally accepted at the moment due to high prices and a lack of infrastructure for sustainable transportation, such as electric car charging stations and stable electrical grids.
Africa is interested in green hydrogen investors because of its capacity to provide sustainable energy.
This is why, despite not being a model country in terms of clean energy production, Mauritania was chosen to host one of the most promising green hydrogen production projects now under construction on the African continent.
The “Noor” project is being developed by the British business Chariot with the goal of manufacturing and exporting 10 gigawatts of hydrogen, with the company generating the necessary power from wind and solar farms.
The Mauritanian government granted Chariot exclusive rights to perform feasibility studies for the production of clean power across a total land and marine area of around 14,400 square kilometers.
The largest African conglomerates, like Mauritania, are intending to export green hydrogen to foreign markets.
Egypt is one of Africa’s prospective green hydrogen production hubs, and Cairo continues to draw investors interested in using the nation as a green hydrogen production and export hub.
Egypt has persuaded investors that its independent energy producers have successfully accomplished a number of clean energy projects, and four energy businesses have inked agreements with Egyptian authorities to conduct hydrogen research and development.
Siemens, a German conglomerate, and Eni, an Italian oil corporation, are among those attempting to diversify their operations by investing in renewable energy.
Similar agreements were reached with the Belgian DEME Group and the Norwegian Scatec, which are presently running six solar power facilities totaling 380 MW in the Aswan Governorate’s Benban complex (1650 MW).
Morocco, which wants to engage in the budding green hydrogen sector, is relying on international collaboration to get the funding it needs.
Rabat has secured agreements with Portugal and Germany in order to export green hydrogen produced in Tangiers, Morocco’s port.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), for its part, aims to complement the Moroccan government’s efforts by conducting technological and commercial feasibility studies.
The agency also contributes to the creation of public-private collaboration models and is active in the development of new hydrogen value chains, with the goal of laying the groundwork for their commercialization on a national and regional scale.
Germany has committed $40 million in research and development financing to Namibia’s generation of new green hydrogen energy.
Windhoek has inked a $9.4 billion deal with Haven Hydrogen Energy, a joint venture between German renewable energy company Intertrag and investment firm Nicholas Holdings.
According to the World Bank, this sum will be similar to Namibia’s current GDP of $10.7 billion by 2020.
Haven Hydrogen Energy plans to build facilities in Cao/Khaib National Park on the country’s southwest coast that will be capable of creating 300,000 metric tons of green hydrogen by converting 5,000 megawatts of power supplied by wind and solar farms.
Namibia currently lacks a well-structured green hydrogen production plan; nonetheless, the initial review is ongoing, and Namibia is making substantial progress with private investors.
Egypt is the only country that has made concrete financial promises so far, and the Egyptian government plans to invest $4 billion over the next few years to assist the development of green hydrogen.
The earliest advancements in R&D were made in South Africa, with French firm ENGIE doing fieldwork at the Mugala Kwena platinum mine, which is run by Britain’s Anglo American and is located in Limpopo Province.
This prototype green hydrogen generation project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Norwegian business “Scatec’s” “release” service, which will offer solar energy to ENGIE for two years and will deliver roughly 616 kilowatts of solar energy.
As part of Anglo American’s aim to achieve carbon neutrality in mining and processing activities by 2040, this renewable energy will be turned into hydrogen.
Mining trucks will be powered by green hydrogen created at the Mugala Kona mine, and the hybrid model, which is presently being constructed in South Africa, will be capable of carrying a weight of 290 tons.
Scatec is also working in Egypt with the objective of creating green ammonia for shipping, which will be made from green hydrogen.
In addition to the Egyptian Sovereign Wealth Fund, the Norwegian energy business has initiated a project with Fertiglobe, an ammonia-producing company controlled equally by OCINN of the Netherlands and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
The Scatec facility will be capable of converting 100 megawatts of green hydrogen into green ammonia, which is required to minimize greenhouse gas emissions caused by nitrogenous fertilizers.