1. Overview

Renewable hydrogen economies could address many of the economic and environmental challenges Africa faces.

Producing, exporting and consuming clean, renewable and sustainable Green Hydrogen would avoid imports of fossil-based fuels and chemicals. This would reduce dependency on foreign currencies and help improve trade balances. The savings from this and from reducing pollution (negative externalities), as well as socio-economic benefits, could fund new hydrogen programs.

Partnerships between industry, the financial sector, science institutions, the public sector and governments as well as large end consumers of green hydrogen could make these hydrogen economies happen rapidly. Hydrogen technology is ready for use and available now! New markets for it are growing rapidly and offer a great range of environmentally-friendly business opportunities.

Hydrogen technology can unlock the large amount of untapped renewable energy in Africa. Large scale storage and flexible transmission of renewable energy would achieve green electrification of Africa. Using hydrogen as an energy carrier, large scale renewable energy farms as well as mini-grid solutions could become commercially viable. 

Hydrogen has a high energy density (compressed at 700 bar) so it is the only environmentally friendly alternative fuel for rail and automotive use. It could fuel vehicles carrying heavy loads and long-haul transport in trucks and buses. It could also power the millions of lightweight utility vehicles that Northern and sub-Saharan societies depend on.

There’s a secondary application of renewable hydrogen after the power and transport sectors. It serves the chemical industry (such as for making fertilizer), the steel industry (used as a reduction agent) and as a reliable fuel for high temperature industrial processes.

Northern and sub-Saharan Africa are ideal environments for developing the first hydrogen economies from scratch. That’s because the flexibility of hydrogen is highly valued by African authorities. They understand that it is the most versatile energy carrier and could be the crucial missing link in their transition to green energy. 

2. Vision

The AHP will lay the foundation for establishing hydrogen economies and societies in Africa.

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3. Goal

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The Green African Hydrogen Deal

African nations will gain many economic and environmental benefits from the African Green Hydrogen Deal.

 

The Deal will allow rapid development of the new hydrogen technology with all its socioeconomic benefits (described in full in the ‘Benefits’ section). In return, African national and local governments will enact rules and regulations that allow economically and commercially feasible hydrogen projects to get started and develop quickly. 

This green hydrogen technology revolution is uniquely achievable in Northern and sub-Saharan Africa because:

  1. The region is not locked into old energy technologies (unlike Europe and other areas), so large scale depreciations and exit risks aren’t an issue

  2. African governments have the power and flexibility to kickstart such a development in a very short time

  3. National hydrogen energy plans can be developed from scratch in the region - they’re not constrained by existing political and economic interests, as in other parts of the world

  4. African governments are already proactively and decisively supporting environmental policies (e.g. Ethiopia’s green policies)

  5. There are unlimited natural resources for producing low cost green electricity and green hydrogen

  6. A rapidly growing, young population demands innovative green energy concepts in these growing economies.

The goals of the African Green Hydrogen Deal:

1.  Relieve

Alleviate the financial and economic challenges caused by

  • dependence on foreign currencies

  • external damage created by foreign companies (e.g. air, water, landscape pollution)

  • unfair international wealth distribution 

 

2.  Raise

Elevate national African economies by creating a high value industry and jobs, making them leading forces in the rapidly developing new green hydrogen technology market

3.  Revolutionize

Make African nations initiators and leaders of the next industrial revolution in Green Hydrogen - simultaneously revolutionizing the economy, society and environment 

4. Strategies

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Export Markets and the Trans-African Hydrogen Routes

The first hydrogen economies will begin with construction of large scale P2G renewable energy facilities for exporting green hydrogen or hubs along important trans-African highways. They’ll also be built in ports, where hydrogen stations will provide fuel for long haul heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses and trains powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

African governments will grant concessions for the right to produce green hydrogen for and export it to energy-importing nations. The fees for concessions will increase the inflow of foreign currencies into African economies

Hydrogen routes will connect major mining centers that use heavy duty hydrogen vehicles (such as forklifts, tugs and bulldozers.) They will connect harbors, trade centers, metropolitan areas overland and connect near-shore islands with hydrogenpowered ferries. In metropolitan areas where there’s severe air pollution, lightweight and convertible hydrogen fuel cell business vehicles could provide sufficient reliable energy to run a small business during the day and to supply electricity to the owner’s home at night. These vehicles will make clean transport and power available and affordable for everyone.

P2G stations and hydrogen automotive applications are complementary business solutions, systems and products. In the hydrogen economy, the consumer transports green energy from large scale, independent renewable energy production facilities and from local mini-grids to wherever they need to consume the energy.

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This is a new, revolutionary concept for Africa and would remove its current dependency on the electricity grid for energy. 

With its large trans-African highway network, Africa offers great business opportunities for the new and rapidly growing hydrogen technology sector. These are five feasible hydrogen routes along existing trans-African highways and business centers:

  1. Beira - Harare - Lusaka - Lubumbashi - Lobito -Luanda

  2. Cape Town - Gaborone - Bulawayo - Lusaka - Mbeya - Nairobi - Addis Ababa - Djibouti

  3. Gaborone - Windhoek - Walvis Bay - Lüderitz

  4. Durban - Johannesburg - Harare - Lilongwe - Blantyre - Mbeya - Dar es Salaam

  5. Mombasa - Kampala - Kigali - Bujumbura - Mwanza - Bagamoyo - Dar es Salaam

 

This is not an exhaustive or final list: other routes could also be constructed.

 

But significantly, these five hydrogen routes connect 15 capitals (metropolitan regions) as well as several significant mining regions and 11 major harbors. 

5. Benefits

Economic and Social:

  1. Reduced dependency on foreign currencies

    • Stronger national currencies and financial budgets

    • Reduced risks associated with international US dollar denominated loans

    • Fairer international wealth distribution

  2. Electrification of rural and urban regions

  3. Creation of state-of-the-art, cutting edge business sectors and jobs

  4. Reduced costs associated with externalities

  5. Much lower investment and exit risks compared to large scale fossil fuel and nuclear power plants and large grids, due to diversification and new energy supply concepts

  6. Ideal technical solutions for the large size and region specific needs of Africa (long haul, heavy duty, heavy load and lightweight utility vehicles)

  7. Economic growth and socio-economic benefits

  8. Increase in tax revenues

Environmental:

 

  1. Reduced carbon dioxide emissions

  2. Cleaner air, soil and water. No toxic substances or pollution from hydrogen fuel. No costly externalities.

  3. Less deforestation (e.g. clean cooking)

  4. Mitigate the risks of terror and exploitation that can be associated with climate displacement (climate change related migration)

  5. Cutting edge technology is scalable to meet the challenge of rapid population growth