Namibia Wants To Fight Unemployment Through Innovative Renewable Energy Production

 

Namibia, a Southwestern African country popular for the largest free-roaming cheetah population, the second-largest canyon, and the oldest desert in the world, is taking innovative steps towards producing large quantities of renewable energy.

The project aims to kill two birds with one stone. It will feature the production of green hydrogen and a list of derived fuels. The facility construction and the hydrogen production process will bring significant economic benefits.

Namibia Plans to Make Fuel From Ocean Water

Belgian and Namibian representatives sign the renewable energy memorandum of understanding
Belgian and Namibian representatives sign the green hydrogen memorandum of understanding (Mou) (Image credit: The Brief)

A small town called Lüderitz will host Namibia’s green hydrogen project. Lüderitz once enjoyed a diamond boom. However, the city is now a glimmer of its former self. Its economic situation has consistently declined over the past decade and the city now has an unemployment rate of about 55%. So, why was it chosen to host such a huge project?

Lüderitz has a great landscape that features the Namibia desert and at its western end, the Atlantic Ocean. These water and land resources are key for the production of renewable energy. Consequently, the green hydrogen project will work by utilizing ocean water.

 

 

The production process will first begin with desalination to remove dissolved salt from the supply of water. After that, the water molecules will be broken down into its constituent elements; hydrogen and oxygen. The next process involves capturing these hydrogen molecules and extracting them for use in the production of various fuels.

Chemical procedures such as electrolysis will be employed during the hydrogen production. As a result, the project will require a huge supply of electricity. This is where the desert environment becomes useful. Namibia will tap its wind and solar energy to produce the desired electricity to run the hydrogen production facility.

Tackling Unemployment in the Process

A costly hydrogen production plant for making renewable energy
A costly version of the hydrogen plan located in Germany (Image Credit: BBC)

Technological developments of this magnitude usually promote large-scale employment opportunities. According to Hyphen Hydrogen Energy—the company in charge of the green hydrogen project—this will be the case here. The Namibian project is estimated to create over 15,000 job opportunities during its construction phase, and an additional 3,000 once the production starts.

The company further stated that constructing the hydrogen plant will run for a period of four years. The production process will begin sometime in 2026, and about 90% of the employees will be locals.

 

 

The Challenges and Benefits of Building a Green Hydrogen Hub

Namibia’s green hydrogen project is a truly exciting prospect. According to Mr. Balhoa who is a member of the town council, it will be “the third revolution of Lüderitz”. The councilman also believes that the project puts the town on the map.

This huge prospect is not free of challenges. The project requires an initial investment of close to $9.4 billion, a figure that is almost equal to the country’s entire 2020 GDP of $10.7 billion. By implication, the country is in search of several funding options. It hopes to add sustainable bonds to investment agreements already made by Germany and Belgium.

If Mr. Balhoa’s fears do not come through, the green hydrogen project will bring infrastructural growth as well as other rewards to the small town. The Namibian presidential economic advisor and hydrogen commissioner in person of Mr. James Mnyupe, said,

“[The project is an] economic recovery plan that is responsive, globally relevant, and systemic in nature. The idea is to turn Namibia into not just a green hydrogen hub, but into a synthetic fuels industry powerhouse.”

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