Green hydrogen is set to transform the energy landscape and economy in northern and southern Africa, with several large-scale hydrogen developments planned for construction in 2022.
Egypt’s Green Hydrogen Plant
With substantial solar and wind loads and close proximity to European markets, Egypt is spearheading the accelerated construction of the largest green hydrogen project globally. Expected to be completed ahead of COP27 in November, which will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the project aims to utilize green hydrogen as feedstock for green ammonia production, which will be produced at an existing ammonia plant in Ain Sokhna on the Gulf of Suez. Project developers include Norway’s Scatec, the UAE’s Fertiglobe, Egypt’s Orascom and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt. The facility will feature a mammoth 100MW electrolyzer to be supplied by the U.S.’s Plug Power, which will enable the production of 90,000 tons of green ammonia per year.
South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley
With world-class solar and wind resources and access to platinum group metals used in electrolyzers, South Africa offers strong potential for the cost-effective production and global export of hydrogen. In October 2021, the South African government took a step toward unlocking this potential by conducting a feasibility study for the establishment of a hydrogen valley, in partnership with Anglo American Platinum, Bambili Energy and Energie SA. The study identifies three hubs and nine potential hydrogen projects across transport, industrial and construction sectors that have the capacity to deploy hydrogen-fuelled solutions and stimulate new areas of economic activity. Starting near Mokopane in Limpopo, the country’s mining hub for the sourcing of coal, platinum group metals, South Africa’s proposed hydrogen valley will continue through the industrial and commercial corridor to Johannesburg and then Durban.
Mauritania’s Project Nour
In Mauritania, Chariot Ltd. has been granted the exclusive development rights by and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the local government to develop the 10MW green hydrogen development, known as Project Nour, spanning 14,400 KM2 across on- and offshore acreage. Solar- and wind-rich Mauritania has the potential to be one of the cheapest suppliers of green hydrogen on the continent, featuring offshore wind speeds of over 10 meters per second and some of the highest solar insolation levels globally. Meanwhile, Australia’s CWP Global also signed an MoU last May to construct the 30GW wind/solar/green hydrogen Aman plant in the country’s northern desert, indicating the keen interest of foreign investors in the country’s hydrogen potential.
Namibia’s SCDI Green Hydrogen Project
Also in Southern Africa, Namibia is developing its first hydrogen megaproject, set to produce roughly 300,000 tons of green hydrogen per year. Located near Tsau Khaeb National Park, the site represents one of the most resource-rich locations globally for co-located onshore wind and solar resources. Hyphen Hydrogen Energy has been selected as the preferred bidder for the project and will complete its construction in phases: the first phase will produce 2GW of renewable electricity by 2026, to be used for green hydrogen production and carries an estimated cost of $4.4 billion. Further expansion is expected to take place in the next few years, expanding renewable generation capacity to 5GW and creating 3GW of electrolyzer capacity at a total estimated cost of $9.4 billion.
Morocco’s HEVO Ammonia Project
Last July, Morocco’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Environment launched the HEVO Ammonia Morocco project in Rabat, representing the largest announced green hydrogen and green ammonia project in the country to date. With an estimated investment value of over $850 million, the project’s construction will be undertaken in phases, with the first phase commencing in 2022. Upon full completion, the facility will produce 183,000 tons of green ammonia and eliminate 280,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually. Project developers include Fusion Fuel Green and Consolidated Contractors Group, while trading firm Vitol has signed an MoU to manage the offtake of green ammonia from the site. The North African country is pursuing domestic production of hydrogen in a bid to reduce the importation of gray ammonia for phosphate production, as well as enable regional export to Europe and other neighboring markets.