By: Joseph Ilonga
The German government has allocated N$500 million to four local green hydrogen pilot projects in the Erongo region; this is according to James Mnyupe, the Presidential Economic Advisor and Green Hydrogen Commissioner. The announcement was made today in Windhoek at the Namibia Green Hydrogen Conference held under the theme Namibia: Towards a Green Hydrogen Hub in Africa. Speaking at the official opening of the two day event, Mnyupe says that in order to lay the groundwork for the country’s mega green hydrogen project, the German government signed a joint commitment of intent with the Namibian government to the tune of 40 million euros. According to Mnyupe, from the 40 million euros committed by the German government , 30 million euros which is about N$ 500 million has been awarded to four successful pilot projects. The projects are intended to begin laying out the infrastructure to support the main Green Hydrogen plant in the country that will be constructed at the Port of Luderitz. “About a year ago we signed a joint commitment of intent with the German government and then unlocked 40 million euros. Thirty million euros was earmarked to build pilot projects in Namibia, to actually start building infrastructure in the country sooner than the mega project that would come in Luderitz. Quite a few of those projects are actually in the Erongo region. Essentially we will be allocating 30 million euros for these four projects, that is about half a billion Namibian dollars,” says Mnyupe. According to Mnyupe, Cleanergy Green Hydrogen Refuelling Station, Daure, Namport, and TransNamib are the successful recipients of the funds for the Green hydrogen pilot projects. The projects that include an aspect of agriculture mostly offer solutions in the areas of logistics and refuelling in the green hydrogen industry. Hans Dieter Hermes, the Vice President of Hydrogen Worley who spoke on behalf of Cleanergy gave an outline of their pilot project which is a refuelling station and a training centre in the Erongo region. Hermes says that the hydrogen refuelling station project is interlinked with the other pilot projects which all depend on each other for their success. “The hydrogen that we produce there will actually act as an enabler and will power the related partner projects in the port, transport, and the mining sector” says Hermes. According to Hyphen Hydrogen Energy representative, Konrad Boshoff their pilot project is in partnership with TransNamib and plans are underway to develop hydrogen diesel dual-fuel locomotives, a first for Africa. "The location of the project would be Walvis Bay to Kransbeg,aligned just to the north-east of Walvis Bay and we will be doing roundtrips between Walvis Bay to Kransberg. The project will include two locomotives that will be converted in different ways in order to use hydrogen as a co-fuel substituting the diesel with hydrogen," says Boshoff. Boshoff added that the reason behind the pilot project is both from a risk point of view for the railway sector. He further stated the project aims to ensure that the locomotives always have a reliability of service and to introduce green hydrogen as a gradual means to power locomotives. Namibia's potential to become a major player in the market for green hydrogen energy has increased as a result of the event, which drew close to 400 participants from the private and public sectors. The two-day Namibia GreenHydrogen Conference was organised by the Economic Association of Namibia (EAN) in association with the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) and with funding from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.