Namibia well placed to be a Green Hydrogen Leader – Worley

Dr Hans Dieter Hermes addressing the Green Hydrogen Conference in Windhoek.

Namibia is well positioned to play a leading role in the world energy transition being driven by cleaner alternatives such as green hydrogen.

One of the world leaders in energy transition with a footprint in 49 countries, Worley, has thrown its weight behind Namibia and is ready to help the country make the most of an inexhaustible energy carrier that has the greatest potential to take the world to the end of the energy transition.

Addressing the recent Green Hydrogen Conference held in the capital, Dr Hans Dieter Hermes, Vice President for Hydrogen at Worley, said Namibia had all the key elements needed to succeed – excellent solar and wind resources, as well as functional ports linking the country to the key markets.

“It is therefore important to get things right from the onset and leverage on already available research,” said Dr Hermes, in his presentation titled, ‘The Hydrogen Market until 2050 – Boosts and Barriers’.

He said the high decarbonisation expectations in the world will drive up the demand for green hydrogen from various sectors of the economy, such as industry, transport, energy and heating in buildings. This will require large installed production capacities and an international trade market.

“Governments, developers, investors, suppliers, engineers, researchers, traders, off-takers, and societies, need to cooperate to remove the barriers to scale up low carbon hydrogen to meet the demand. Then, we do have a chance to reach net zero emissions by 2050,” Dr Hermes told the conference.

He said the European Commission’s “REPowerEU” plan has set a target of 20 million tonnes of hydrogen to meet the regional bloc’s demands by 2030. Of this, 10 million tonnes are earmarked to be produced locally and the other 10 million tonnes to be imported from countries like Namibia.

The European Commission’s REPowerEU plan contains a suite of concrete measures to phase out Russian fossil fuels by 2027 and boost the EU’s renewable energy production and energy efficiency measures.

Europe is expected to lead the green hydrogen projects pipeline in the near term, with Namibia and the rest of Africa scaling up from 2025, Dr Hermes said.

Central Europe holds the greatest potential for hydrogen imports from Namibia and Africa given the scale up of domestic consumption and resource constraints.

Dr Hermes said investment costs in green hydrogen are driven by solar and wind energy, with power generation plants making up 62% of the total investment. Hydrogen production facilities will account for 19% of the total investment, water supply (8%) and erection of ammonia plants (6%).

Dr Hermes cautioned that Namibia needs to make the necessary moves to ensure that the enabling elements such as regulatory frameworks, infrastructure, supply industry and trained specialists, were in place.

Regulatory requirements were needed to drive standardisation/taxonomy, certification, offtake facilitation instruments (CfD, guarantees) and to enable the forming of a hydrogen products trading price.

Investments in ports (“hydrogen ready” terminals), storage capacities, pipelines and distribution networks was a must, while shared assets for hydrogen projects, such as pipelines, also needed to be put in place.

Addressing a breakfast meeting on green hydrogen held under the theme ‘Opportunities for investors in Namibia’, which took place on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, in May this year, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian-based Worley, Chris Ashton, said his company stood ready to support Namibia’s green hydrogen targets.

“We look forward to seeing where the conversation goes and working with the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) to support Namibia’s green hydrogen targets,” Ashton said.

He said Worley is part of the solution as the company has been involved in commercial applications of hydrogen for decades and has delivered more than 200 low-carbon energy projects, and in total, over 3 300 energy transition projects globally.

Ashton said Worley has expertise in the production, transport, storage, processing and use of hydrogen.

“Green hydrogen is a central component with enormous potential to support the transition to a lower carbon future. It can help sectors that are struggling to decarbonise. Namibia not just has the natural resource, natural competitive advantage, but it has a clear strategy,” said Ashton.

Worley believes in the long-term potential of green hydrogen, which it describes as the “glue that can hold the future low‑carbon construct together”.

Today, less than one percent of current hydrogen production is low-carbon. This means most of the hydrogen being produced comes from fossil fuel plants that release carbon into the atmosphere. However, pathways already exist for a hydrogen economy that can quickly and reliably slash emissions.

Thus, Namibia has committed to using the country’s renewable energy potential to reduce the world’s reliance on carbon-based fuels.  As such, green hydrogen is key to the country’s future energy systems. 

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