Africa, the next pivotal green hydrogen market by 2050?

Africa, the next pivotal green hydrogen market by 2050?

The European Investment Bank, the International Solar Alliance and the African Union unveil a study on the potential of green hydrogen in Africa, with the support of the Mauritanian government, HyDeal and UCLG Africa. The analysis highlights the benefits of harnessing solar energy to create green hydrogen in four African hubs: Mauritania, Morocco, Southern Africa and Egypt.

The report highlights that Africa enjoys renewable energy capacity factors ranging from 28% to 36% for solar and 26 to 51% for onshore wind.

The report estimates that optimal exploitation of the solar and wind potential of African countries should enable the continent to produce between 30 and 60 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year by 2050, or around 10% of the world market for hydrogen. green hydrogen at this horizon.

The authors of the report expect in this context that an African hydrogen industry with such a high production capacity will generate between 1.9 and 3.7 million direct jobs. It would also increase the continent’s cumulative gross domestic product from $60 billion to $120 billion by 2050.

The proximity of certain major centers of demand, including Europe, should also place the continent in an optimal position to become a major exporter of green hydrogen.

Harnessing African solar power to produce 50 million tons of green hydrogen per year by 2035 can help secure global energy supply, create jobs, decarbonize heavy industry, boost global competitiveness and to transform access to drinking water and sustainable energy.

“Africa has the best solar energy in the world and transforming this energy into green hydrogen can boost energy security, reduce emissions and pollution and decarbonise industry and transport. The European Investment Bank is working with partners in Africa and around the world to harness its renewable energy potential to produce low-cost green hydrogen on a large scale.The report on the extraordinary potential of green hydrogen in Africa shows the concrete possibilities to transform access to green energy and clean water on the continent and beyond,” said Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Salah, Minister of Energy of the Republic of Mauritania.

To produce between 30 and 60 million tons of green hydrogen per year, however, the continent would have to mobilize investments estimated between 680 and 1300 billion dollars by 2050. The largest part of the investments (320 to 610 billion dollars) would be devoted to the construction of solar power plants and wind farms needed to produce 1,500 to 3,000 terawatt hours of renewable energy, more than 50 times Africa’s current production from solar and wind power.

The report also reveals that African countries now account for only 3% of decarbonized hydrogen production project announcements on a global scale, noting however that this share has been increasing rapidly for three years.

In total, 23 projects have been announced on the continent for cumulative investments of nearly 100 billion dollars (30 billion for equipment and around 70 billion dollars for the renewable energies necessary for the production of hydrogen).

These projects concentrated mainly in the sub-regions of North Africa and Southern Africa representing an electrolysis capacity of approximately 48 gigawatts. However, 90% of their future production is intended for export.