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Green Hydrogen Production and Use in Low- and Middle-income Countries: A Least-cost Geospatial Modelling Approach Applied to Kenya


With the rising threat of climate change, green hydrogen is increasingly seen as the high-capacity energy storage and transport medium of the future. This creates an opportunity for low- and middle-income countries to leverage their high renewable energy potential to produce, use, and export low-cost green hydrogen, creating environmental and economic development benefits. While identifying ideal locations for green hydrogen production is critical for countries when defining their green hydrogen strategies, there has been a paucity of adequate geospatial planning approaches suitable to low- and middle-income countries. It is essential for these countries to identify green hydrogen production sites which match demand to expected use cases such that their strategies are economically sustainable. This paper therefore develops a novel geospatial cost modelling method to optimize the location of green hydrogen production across different use cases, with a focus on suitability to low- and middle-income countries. This method is applied in Kenya to investigate the potential hydrogen supply chain for three use cases: ammonia-based fertilizer, freight transport, and export. We find hydrogen production costs of e3.7–9.9/kgH2 are currently achievable across Kenya, depending on the production location chosen. The cheapest production locations are identified to the south and south-east of Lake Turkana. We show that ammonia produced in Kenya can be cost-competitive given the current energy crisis and that Kenya could export hydrogen to Rotterdam with costs of e7/kgH2 , undercutting current market prices regardless of the carrier medium. With expected techno-economic improvements, hydrogen production costs across Kenya could drop to e1.8–3.0/kgH2 by 2030.

Funding source: This material has been produced with support from the Climate Compatible Growth (CCG) programme, which brings together leading research organizations and is led out of the STEER centre, Loughborough University. CCG is funded by UK aid from the UK government.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Germany ; United Kingdom

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