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Green Hydrogen Production and Its Land Tenure Consequences in Africa: An Interpretive Review


Globally, a green hydrogen economy rush is underway, and many companies, investors, governments, and environmentalists consider it as an energy source that could foster the global energy transition. The enormous potential for hydrogen production, for domestic use and export, places Africa in the spotlight in the green hydrogen economy discourse. This discourse remains unsettled regarding how natural resources, such as land and water, can be sustainably utilized for such a resource-intensive project, and what implications this would have. This review argues that green hydrogen production (GHP) in Africa has consequences where land resources (and their associated natural resources) are concerned. It discusses the current trends in GHP in Africa, and the possibilities for reducing any potential pressures it may put on land and other resource use on the continent. The approach of the review is interpretive, and hinges on answering three questions, concerning the what, why, and how of GHP and its land consequences in Africa. The review is based on 41 studies identified from Google Scholar, and sources identified via snowballed recommendations from experts. The GHP implications identified relate to land and water use, mining-related land stress, and environmental, ecological, and land-related socioeconomic consequences. The paper concludes that GHP may not foster the global energy transition, as is being opined by many renewable energy enthusiasts but, rather, could help foster this transition as part of a greener energy mix. It notes that African countries that have the potential for GHP require the institutionalization of, or a change in, their existing approaches to land-related energy governance systems, in order to achieve success.

Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Germany ; Namibia

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