A French power producer HDF Energy (HDF.PA) is constructing a 3.1 billion Namibian dollar (USD $181.25 million) hydrogen plant in Namibia, Africa. The plant will be complete in 2024, making it Africa’s first hydrogen power plant. The firm says that once the plant becomes operational, it will supply electricity 24 hours a day, all throughout the year.
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Currently, Namibia imports almost 40% of its power from neighboring South Africa. The southern African country is however well endowed with natural resources that can help tap into green energy. It is a very sparsely populated country and is one of the world’s sunniest countries. Therefore, it has a huge potential for both wind and solar energy.
Hydrogen is considered green if it is made with renewable power. Such hydrogen is very important since it can help deal with decarbonization. Hydrogen gas is mostly seen as the most suitable substitute for fossil fuels but its production is still limited across the world.
Similarly, Africa previously hinted at its intentions in becoming a leader in green energy across Africa. Namibia started putting up green energy plans as early as 2008, but little has been achieved over the years. With its focus now directed to hydrogen, the country may make significant progress in the green energy area.
In the HDF project, the solar panels will generate up to 85 megawatts of power to generate hydrogen through the cathode electrolysis method.
“Yearly we can produce 142 gigawatt-hours, enough for 142,000 inhabitants and that is conservative,” said Nicolas Lecomte, HDF Energy director for southern Africa.
Besides the project in Namibia, HDF is eying other projects across Africa. According to Lecomte, they will soon embark on other projects in Africa including one to be started in east Africa soon. There are also efforts from the European Union to support Namibia. If all goes well, Namibia hopes to start exporting its green hydrogen in the future to other countries that are not endowed with renewable energy sources.
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