21 May 2021, 13:16
Edgar Meza

Germany eager to partner with West African countries on green hydrogen

Clean Energy Wire

The German government is taking firs steps to partner with West African nations in the development of a hydrogen production. Federal education and research minister Anja Karliczek presented the “Green Hydrogen Potential Atlas" on Thursday, outlining the immense potential for a partnership between Germany and West Africa. “Many African countries have very good prerequisites for the production of green hydrogen,” Karliczek said. “We would like to start a cooperation with them.” West Africa has the potential to generate up to 165,000 terawatt hours of green hydrogen per year – about 1,500 times Germany’s estimated hydrogen demand for 2030, the ministry said.

“Green hydrogen offers a real opportunity to initiate a development in Africa that is being driven by the African states themselves,” Karliczek added, noting that the region could become a global green hydrogen powerhouse. She stressed that Germany only wants to import energy from the region once the local market is supplied. Describing it as a win-win situation, Karliczek added: “Africa can supply itself with energy and benefit from hydrogen exports. Germany covers its need for green hydrogen and benefits economically from the export of technology."

Green Party MP Ingrid Nestle said in a press statement that although it was important to pursue such projects, the German government had still not defined clear social and ecological criteria for the import of green hydrogen. "Improvements are urgently needed here. While the huge production possibilities for cheap green hydrogen are emphasised by the government, the transport question and its costs remain unclear," Nestle added.

The research ministry is funding the joint H2 Atlas-Africa Project ​from 2020 to 2022 with around 5.7 million euros. A feasibility study aims to identify suitable locations for green hydrogen production and carry out production, transport and processing tests. The project will include the 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The initial results of the study show that three-quarters of ​​West Africa’s land area is suitable for wind turbines and the electricity production costs are only about half of the comparable costs in Germany. By using wind and solar energy, West Africa could produce up to 165,000 terawatt hours of green hydrogen annually, 120,000 of which could already be produced for less than 2.50 euros per kilogram. By comparison, green hydrogen in Germany currently costs between 7 and 10 euros per kilogram. Green hydrogen is a key part of Germany’s climate protection efforts.

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