Africa can produce 50 million tons of green hydrogen a year by 2035, according to a new study by the European Investment Bank (EIB), International Solar Alliance and the African Union, with the support of the Government of Mauritania, HyDeal and UCLG Africa. Green hydrogen is economically viable at €2/kg and can accelerate low-carbon economic growth across continent and reduce emissions by 40%.
The analysis highlights the benefits of harnessing solar power to create green hydrogen in four African hubs: Mauritania, Morocco, southern Africa and Egypt.
The “Africa’s Extraordinary Green Hydrogen Potential” report represents the first detailed research of the feasible development of green hydrogen across the continent. The new stufy combines analysis of investment opportunities focusing on three hubs: Mauritania - Morocco; southern Africa; and Egypt with a roadmap of technical, economic, environmental and financial solutions to unlock commercial development.
The study was previewed at the Mauritania Pavilion at COP 27 in Sharm el Sheikh by Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Salah, Minister of Energy of the Republic of Mauritania, Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance, Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa and Hakima el Haité former Minister of Environment of Morocco and Thierry Lepercq, President of HyDeal. Government leaders, ministers, international finance, business partners and civil society from across Africa attended the unveiling event. The report was formally handed over to partners on 20 December.
The analysis carried out by international consultancy CVA suggests that large-scale green hydrogen investment can accelerate decarboniZation by enabling large-scale African energy users, such as fertilizer and steel producers, to use green hydrogen. The research is enhanced by CVA’s strategic partnership with energy partners across Africa, Europe and around the world.
The study highlights that solar powered green hydrogen is economically viable and can be produced at less than €2 per kilogram—cheaper than traditional fossil fuel energy—and cater for local energy demand as well as allowinf green hydrogen to be exported to global markets. This is equivalent to energy costs of US$60 a barrel.
The research suggests three requirements to enable 50 million tons of green hydrogen to be produced in Africa by 2035:
National planning, regulation and incentive schemes need to mobilize private sector investment.
Pilot projects need to show successful green hydrogen generation, storage, distribution and use at both demonstration and commercial scale.
Market-based partnerships are needed to enable mass-scale domestic and international off-take and demand for green hydrogen, and increase cooperation to design, finance, build and operate green hydrogen production, storage and distribution infrastructure.
€1 trillion green hydrogen investment can deliver the equivalent of more than one-third of Africa’s current energy consumption, boost GDP, improve clean water supply and empower communities.
The new study outlines how production and transmission of green hydrogen can lead to a €1-trillion investment yielding 7 exajoules of energy (versus a consumption in Africa of 19.9 exajoules in 2021) and a correlative massive increase in GDP, creating hundreds of thousands of permanent and skilled jobs across Africa.
Large scale green hydrogen investment will transform supply of clean water in areas regularly impacted by drought and chronic water shortages and will help empower communities.
The new analysis estimates that green hydrogen investment can reduce carbon emissions in Africa by 40%, replacing 500 million tons of CO2 a year.
According to the study, large-scale green hydrogen generation can enable Africa to supply 25 million tons of green hydrogen to global energy markets, equivalent to 15% of current gas used in the European Union.