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Cornerstone of N$3,5b green hydrogen plant laid at Walvis

THE minister of finance and public enterprises, Iipumbu Shiimi, yesterday laid the first brick for the N$3,5-billion Cleanergy Solutions Namibia state-of-the-art green hydrogen plant, refuelling station, and hydrogen academy at Walvis Bay.

This marked a watershed moment in Namibia’s journey towards sustainable development and green industrialisation.

This will be the continent’s first green hydrogen plant, and is expected to start production by mid-2024.

In 2021, the Namibian government issued a challenge to foster clean industries within the nation, and Namibia’s Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group and Belgium’s CMBTech formed a joint venture to answer the call.

“Today we witnessed the beginning of an exciting journey for the town of Walvis Bay, the Erongo region, and Namibia,” Shiimi said during his keynote address.

He pointed out that Namibia boasts ample renewable energy sources, such as sun and wind, particularly along its coastal regions.

These natural assets provide not only the potential for Namibia to meet its energy needs, but also to become a major exporter of clean energy, particularly to the European Union (EU).

Namibia’s green hydrogen strategy focuses on using renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, aligning with its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and fostering economic growth.

“This strategy positions Namibia as a key player in the emerging global green hydrogen market,” Shiimi said.
A memorandum of understanding with the EU aims to level the playing field for industries in Europe and Africa, especially those in countries with fewer environmental regulations.

“By aligning its industrial practices with global standards, Namibia can avoid carbon tariffs and solidify its reputation as a reliable trading partner to the EU,” Shiimi said.

Industries like manufacturing, mining, and agriculture – key pillars of the Namibian economy – are expected to adapt to sustainable practices to avoid carbon-related tariffs.

This shift will contribute to multifaceted sustainability and numerous job opportunities.
The minister emphasised the significance of collaborative efforts between the government and the private sector in achieving global financial sustainability goals.

“Namibia has a golden opportunity to become a sustainable clean energy powerhouse,” he said.

According to Shiimi, yesterday’s event not only represents an investment in the future of Namibia, but also contributes to addressing global challenges like climate change and environmental sustainability.

“We are kick-starting a green industrial revolution, not just for Namibia, but for the world,” he said.

O&L boss Sven Thieme said at the heart of Cleanergy’s venture lies a solar park spanning 10 hectares, accompanied by a hydrogen production facility equipped with a 5MW electrolyser and 5MWh battery.

“This plant establishes the first hydrogen production facility of its kind in Africa, directly harnessing solar energy from the park to produce hydrogen, which is then made available at a public refuelling station.

“Additionally, our workshop is responsible for converting the initial fleet of trucks to dual fuel technology, utilising locally produced hydrogen,” he said.

The hydrogen academy will play a vital role in fostering local expertise in hydrogen technology, he added.

“Through this initiative we aim to train and educate future professionals in all aspects of hydrogen production and its application.
“This is the first step to show green hydrogen is feasible,” Thieme said.