Germany’s Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek and Director General Obeth M. Kandjoze of Namibia’s National Planning Commission agreed to establish a hydrogen partnership between Germany and Namibia and signed a Joint Communiqué of Intent (JCoI).
The global race for the best hydrogen technologies and the best sites for hydrogen production is already on. We believe that Namibia has an excellent chance of succeeding in this competition. We want to take this chance together. I am proud that Germany is the first country to officially form a hydrogen partnership with Namibia. The Federal Research Ministry will provide up to 40 million euros in funding from the economic stimulus package for cooperation within the framework of this partnership.
Namibia has enormous potential for scaling up a green hydrogen industry. It has a lot of vast unused space. High wind speeds in Namibia mean that the generation of wind power is particularly profitable. Solar power harbors an even greater potential thanks to over 3,500 hours of sunshine per year. This is almost twice as much as Germany has to offer. We therefore think that one kilogram of hydrogen from Namibia will eventually cost between €1.50 and €2.00. This would be the most competitive price in the world which would be a huge locational advantage for hydrogen ‘made in Namibia’.
The National Hydrogen Council estimates that hydrogen demand of German industry alone (excluding refineries) will amount to 1.7 billion tons per year—and this demand is likely to grow further. This estimate underlines that we need large amounts of hydrogen and we need it quickly and at low cost. Namibia can provide both.—Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek
Dr Stefan Kaufmann, Innovation Commissioner for Green Hydrogen and Member of the Bundestag, said that the partners plan to carry out a feasibility study and use its results to implement joint pilot projects and to strengthen capacity building for training skilled professionals on the ground.
The feasibility study is aimed at exploring the potential of a green hydrogen industry, including innovative seawater desalination technologies, in Namibia as well as possibilities of hydrogen export to Germany.
Based on this study, Dr Kaufman said, pilot projects will test schemes for green hydrogen production in Namibia and for hydrogen transport.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is providing funding for the identification of suitable sites for green hydrogen production in Africa within the framework of the Atlas of Green Hydrogen Generation Potentials in Africa. Preliminary calculations show that Namibia offers ideal conditions for the generation of wind and solar energy and thus for the production of green hydrogen.
However, Namibia is also the most arid country in sub-Saharan Africa. If the partners can successfully demonstrate solutions for seawater desalination and hydrogen production under such extreme conditions, they could provide a blueprint for other regions and lay the basis for the global scale-up of the hydrogen economy. Accordingly, seawater desalination is at the heart of the German-Namibian cooperation.
Previous analyses have shown that desalination only has a very minor effect on the price of hydrogen as it accounts for only about 1% of production costs.
Namibia intends to be able to export green hydrogen even before 2025. Due to the country’s low population density and moderate population growth, Namibia will be able to meet its own demand for renewable energy and green hydrogen quickly and thus cross the export threshold relatively quickly.