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HDF Energy progresses on hydrogen power plant

2022-09-13  Edgar Brandt

HDF Energy progresses on hydrogen power plant

HDF Energy is developing the Renewable Swakopmund, a green hydrogen power plant in Swakopmund, Erongo region. Once operational, the project is expected to enhance local clean electricity generation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, directly contributing to the country’s security of electricity supply. The project is scheduled to be commercially operational in 2024 and constitutes an estimated investment of N$3.1 billion.

With the recent acceptance of the Scoping Report by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, HDF Energy Namibia can now proceed with finalising the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment report. 

HDF Energy Director for Southern Africa, Nicolas Lecomte said: “This important step in the permitting process confirms a favourable context for the project. As a result, HDF Energy is one step closer to constructing the first green hydrogen power plant in Africa, among the first that HDF Energy deploys globally. It comforts the capacity of Namibia to become a trailblazer in green hydrogen power that others will emulate. This step is also one of many that ensures compliance with the Namibian laws and for the benefit of the Namibian people.”

HDF Energy’s power plant uses no fossil fuels, chemicals or toxic substances. The project fully relies on renewable energy resources and hydrogen storage and operates using minimal water in a closed loop system. Furthermore, the project is expected to create 300 direct jobs during its construction phase and 45 during the operational phase with more jobs anticipated to be created indirectly across the value chain. According to the HDF website, the project also aims to contribute to Namibia’s knowledge base and development of the green hydrogen economy through partnerships with universities and training institutions.

Meanwhile, a joint venture between the Ohlthaver and List (O&L) Group and its international Belgium-based partner, CMB.TECH, has established Cleanergy Solutions Namibia to set up a hydrogen pilot plant and refuelling station along the Namibian coast. Cleanergy was one of four local projects that received part of a 30 million euro grant from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). 

“One of these four projects include our Cleanergy pilot plant and refuelling station. We plan to be up and running at the end of 2023. We are immensely proud of this initiative, which is a first in Namibia. With our training centre we want to upskill Namibians to kick start the hydrogen economy in Walvis Bay,” explained Eike Krafft, Group Director: Innovations at the O&L Group. 

Globally, green hydrogen has been hailed as a vital carrier of non-fossil energy and worldwide countries are trying to decarbonise their industries and guide economies towards a greener energy future. 

“We know that Namibia has vast potential to develop a strong green hydrogen industry and become a key player in global energy markets. We have all the ingredients necessary (wind, sun and seawater) to develop a sustainable green hydrogen industrial base to drive socio-economic growth and O&L is pleased to be one of the forerunners in this new industry in our country,” said Krafft.

Depending on the results of Cleanergy’s demonstration plant, a larger scale production plant will follow in a second phase, possibly using ammonia as transport fuel.

Furthermore, to ensure overall direction and cohesion between new policies needed for the hydrogen industry as well as existing legislative frameworks, Namibia is in the process of developing its national green hydrogen strategy. 

According to Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Namibia is considering developing a full-scale green hydrogen industry with upstream and downstream opportunities for the country’s private sector along the entire value chain. 

Upstream opportunities exist in areas such as wind turbines and solar panels assembly, IT services, consulting, and water provision, while downstream prospects range from the production of fertilisers, green ammonia, green zinc, aviation and diamonds as well as the construction of port and rail networks. 

“Namibia seeks to realise the full potential of the sector and identify areas for local participation and value addition in order for the country to take full advantage of such opportunities, create jobs and improve the socioeconomic welfare of Namibia’s people,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila at the recent Green Hydrogen Conference in Windhoek.

The PM emphasised that government is committed to establishing a competitive and transparent process for the development of the green hydrogen project, which is designed to maximise national benefits and lay the foundation for long-term participation in a growing global green hydrogen and ammonia market.

2022-09-13  Edgar Brandt

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