Cleanergy Namibia to construct hydrogen and ammonia production plant

NAMIBIA – Cleanergy Namibia, a joint venture that will develop green hydrogen production projects in Namibia, has announced the construction of a hydrogen and ammonia production plant in the Erongo region of Namibia.

The joint venture between Ohlthaver & List (O&L) and CMB. Tech will equip the plant with a solar photovoltaic power plant.

The capacity of the future installations is not known. But Cleanergy Namibia assures that this is a pilot plant, the results of which will be closely scrutinized for a more massive investment.

The project is a joint venture between the private Namibian group Ohlthaver & List (O&L) and CMB.Tech, a British company specializing in the development of green hydrogen applications in the industrial and transport sectors.

The pilot plant will be built in Erongo, a port region in west-central Namibia. Due to its proximity to the sea, this region is home to many renewable energy projects, ranging from solar power plants to large-scale electricity storage.

Cleanergy’s hydrogen will be produced with electricity generated by a solar photovoltaic plant built near the smelter.

According to Cleanergy Namibia, the hydrogen produced in the Erongo region could be used to produce green ammonia for applications such as heavy-duty transportation, including trucks, locomotives, mining equipment and ships.

The project will require an investment of US$18 million. Work begins this year and is expected to be completed in 2023.

According to the joint venture, the results obtained through this pilot project will enable the establishment of new facilities for large-scale production of hydrogen and green ammonia.

“Namibia has the potential to produce green molecules (such as hydrogen and ammonia) on a large scale and at low cost. Affordable green molecules are an essential part of the energy transition,” said Alexander Saverys, the managing director of CMB.Tech.

With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, Namibia is among the African countries with a high potential for solar energy production.

The addition of this potential with its wide access to the sea attracts many investors, especially in the field of new energies such as hydrogen and green ammonia. The largest investment announced to date in the southern African country is from Hyphen Hydrogen Energy.

The company, owned by German energy company Enertrag and investor Nicholas Holdings, wants to invest US$9.4 billion to produce hydrogen and green ammonia from wind and solar farms in the Tsau/Khaeb national park on the coast in southwest Namibia.

Relatively unknown a few years ago, green hydrogen is becoming more and more talked about in Africa. The continent is particularly targeted by energy solution providers for the development of this new energy.

The projects currently underway are mostly experimental, i.e., designed to test the technology to evaluate the possibilities of producing this energy on a large scale.

Green hydrogen is increasingly attracting the interest of global giants who are positioning themselves on the most dynamic markets of the African continent, particularly in Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, but also in Mauritania and Namibia for their potential in renewable energy.

Following the example of other nations in the world, African countries, notably South Africa, are betting on green hydrogen for the energy transition and decarbonization. The rainbow nation is the biggest polluter on the African continent, with its electricity mix largely dominated by coal.

Of its current installed capacity of 58 GW, more than 48.3 GW of electricity is generated from fossil fuels.

The country has been engaged for several years in its energy transition, which should lead it to close several of its power plants in the coming years, and to build new clean energy facilities.

Green hydrogen is presented as a solution capable of supporting sustainable development, with the creation of new green jobs.

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