Is Green H2 the New Energy Frontier for the Continent of Africa

Is Green H2 the New Energy Frontier for the Continent of Africa?

As part of their efforts to contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions to levels agreed during the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, Africa is also exploring the relatively new green H2 market. Given that part of the agreement which more than 30 African countries signed was to find efficient and clean energy systems, there is no doubt that green H2 is an option to consider. Indeed, it has been identified worldwide as a clean energy source, especially if it uses energy from other clean sources such as wind and solar power. 

Arguably, every country that signed the agreement has its targets regarding efficiency levels to achieve in their respective energy sectors. So, given that electricity generation has over the years been among the leading contributors of carbon emissions, there are plans to find appropriate renewable energy sources as replacements. While such renewable alternatives exist, including green H2, there are a couple of issues that are making their use a little bit difficult in the energy sector. So, until there are innovations that solve those challenges, CO2 emissions will remain a threat. 

Green hydrogen, specifically the type that is produced through the process of splitting water otherwise referred to as electrolysis is championed as a perfect option. More precisely, green H2 has been identified as the most suitable one in Africa. Some sustainability enthusiasts argue that green H2 is the new energy frontier in the continent of Africa. It is for this reason that various big green hydrogen projects in Africa have gathered attention as well as support from various global development agencies. Indeed, there are projects worth billions of dollars currently underway and some are already looking promising. However, these efforts and strides taken are not without hassles. 

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One of the biggest hurdles regarding the exploration of green H2 as the best option to help reduce carbon emissions is transmission as well as storage. More specifically, the challenge is finding a perfect storage system for the energy generated without having to carry out inefficient, and in most cases, long-distant energy transmission. But that’s not all! There have also been questions regarding the irregularity in the amounts of energy generated from renewable sources. That means for domestic use, they are okay, but for industrial or large-scale use, they are not efficient and effective. However, given the magnitude of research activities ongoing, there might soon be technologies that will solve these challenges crippling green H2. 

Over the last few years, Africa has risen to be the world’s preferred green H2 location. The preference is associated with its greater availability of space in terms of land, port facilities, easy access to water sources and growing penetration of renewable energy sources among others. With these strategic advantages, there is a consensus that if the potential that exists in Africa is exploited well, the continent might in the coming years become a leading green H2 export hub. It’s for this reason that Development Finance Institutions (DFI’s) are supporting various green H2 initiatives in the continent. Individual countries that are also signatories to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and are interested in exploring the green H2 market are also making their great investments. 

In conclusion, green H2 projects and markets in Africa are gathering pace. Although costs associated with green H2 are not competitive, there are indications that in future, this renewable energy source might replace, natural gas and coal. It’s for this reason that green H2 is a source to watch and invest in the quest to reduce unwanted carbon emissions in Africa and, indeed, the whole world.

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