Namibia’s first green hydrogen demo plant launched

The Ohlthaver & List Group and their joint venture partner CMB.TECH launched Namibia’s first green hydrogen production plant to be built in the Erongo region.

Construction on the demonstration plant, specifically as a hub for hydrogen applications, is expected to commence this year with the aim to be operational by the end of 2023. O&L Group executive chairman Sven Thieme stated that the construction is expected to cost approximately US$18 million.

“Depending on the results of the demonstration plant, a larger scale production plant will follow in a second phase, possibly using ammonia as transport fuel,” he explained.

O&L Group and CMB.TECH announced their joint venture Cleanergy Namibia, which will develop green hydrogen production projects in the country, including leading the green hydrogen production plant and demonstration hub.

CMB.TECH, based in Belgium, builds, owns, operates and designs large marine and industrial applications that run on hydrogen and ammonia. It also offers hydrogen and ammonia fuel to customers, either through own production or by sourcing it from third-party producers.

“The aim is to produce green hydrogen from solar power, and distribute the clean fuel to heavy-duty applications like trucks, locomotives, mining equipment and ships. The O&L Group’s strong local Namibian footprint and expertise in the development of renewable energy parks, and the hydrogen and industrial knowhow of CMB.TECH, are a powerful combination to deliver this unique project,” Thieme noted.

He added that Namibia is a growing hub when it comes to the generation of renewable energy, whether that be through solar, wind or hydroelectric power, and this is what makes the country optimally positioned to explore the generation of green hydrogen, or hydrogen generated using renewable electricity.

According to him, the demonstration plant could prove to be the first step in creating an entirely new industry in Namibia, in addition to enabling invaluable knowledge transfer to the country. This will provide upskilling opportunities and create employment, driving further research, including collaboration with the University of Namibia, and developing future off-take opportunities in sectors such as transportation, mining, heavy machinery and power generation.

Through a virtual input at yesterday’s launch, CEO of CMB.TECH, Alexander Saverys, said Namibia has the potential to produce green molecules such as hydrogen and ammonia on a large scale and at low cost.

“Green and affordable molecules are an essential part of the energy transition. Cleanergy Namibia’s ambitions go beyond the initial production and demonstration plant,” he noted.

Saverys further said Cleanergy Namibia will simultaneously develop a much larger green hydrogen and ammonia factory in Namibia.

Representing government, James Mnyupe, economic advisor to President Hage Geingob, said the country has all the potential to be at the forefront of green hydrogen development that will significantly benefit the nation.

“The project is the real opportunity to change the face of the economy that has been struggling for years. Green hydrogen is an opportunity for the country to fight the high costs and to have energy security,” said Mnyupe. He added that the demonstration plant’s construction will employ a substantial number of people, thereby helping to alleviate the high unemployment rate.

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