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Towards Green Hydrogen? - A Comparison of German and African Visions and Expectations in the Context of the H2Atlas-Africa Project


Green hydrogen promises to be critical in achieving a sustainable and renewable energy transition. As green hydrogen is produced with renewables, green hydrogen could become an energy storage medium of the future and even substitute the current unsustainable grey or blue hydrogen used in the industry. Bringing this transition into reality, for instance, in Germany, there are visions to rapidly build hydrogen facilities in Africa and export the produced green hydrogen to Europe. One problem, however, is that these visions presumably conflict with the visions of actors within Africa. Therefore, this study aims to provide an initial assessment of African stakeholders’ visions for future energy exports and renewable energy expectations. By comparing visions from Germany and Africa, this assessment was conducted to identify differences in green energy and hydrogen visions that could lead to conflict and similarities that could be the basis for cooperation. The National Hydrogen Strategy outlines the German visions, which clarifies that Germany will have to import green hydrogen to meet its green transition target. In this context of future energy export demand, a partnership between German and African researchers on assessing green hydrogen potentials in Africa started. The African visions were explored by surveying the partners from different African countries working on the project. The results revealed that while both sides see the need for an immediate transition to renewable energy, the African side is not envisioning the immediate export of green hydrogen. Based on the responses, the partners are primarily concerned with improving the continent’s still deficient energy access for both the population and industry. Nevertheless, this African perspective greatly emphasises cross-border cooperation, where both sides can realise their visions. In the case of Germany, that German investment could build infrastructure, which would benefit the receiving African country or countries and open up the possibility for the envisioned green hydrogen export to Europe.

Funding source: This work has been possible thanks to the funding of the H2AtlasAfrica project by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Germany

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