Africa has the potential to produce €1 trillion ($1.06 trillion) worth of green hydrogen a year by 2035, allowing it to export the fuel and boost local industry, according to a study backed by the European Investment Bank.
By harnessing the world’s best solar energy resource a number of countries on the continent could produce the fuel, which is made by splitting water using renewable energy, at a cost of less than two euros a kilogram by 2030, the EIB and its partners, the African Union and the International Solar Alliance, said in the recently released report.
Demand for the clean-burning fuel is surging as the world looks for alternatives to climate-warming fossil fuels and as Europe seeks to lessen its dependence on Russian natural gas, supplies of which have proved unreliable due to the political tension created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Researchers assume that fuel would be produced in three major hubs on the continent – Egypt, a northwestern hub of Morocco and Mauritania and a Southern Africa hub of Namibia and South Africa. While plans to produce the fuel are most advanced in those nations a number of other countries ranging from Algeria to Nigeria and Mozambique have the potential to start production, they said.
Egypt would be the biggest producer at 20 million tons per annum, second would be the Southern African hub with 17.5 million tons while Morocco and Mauritania could together produce 12.5 million tons. About half of that, equivalent to 15% of Europe’s gas needs, could be available for export, the researchers said.
The fuel could also be used locally in the production of so-called green steel fertilizer.
Credit: Mark-Anthony Johnson