Bricklaying of Africa’s first public green hydrogen refuelling station commenced last week Thursday, with Finance and Public Enterprises’ minister Iipumbu Shiimi officiating at the event. The project is being implemented by Cleanergy Solutions Namibia, a joint venture between the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group and CMB.TECH.
Commenting on Namibia’s green hydrogen strategy, which eventually targets the production of 10 to 12 million tonnes per annum by 2050, Shiimi said: This strategy positions Namibia as a key player in the emerging global green hydrogen market”.
The N$4 billion hydrogen production plant being erected in Walvis Bay uses solar energy for hydrogen production onsite. The hydrogen refuelling station is expected to be fully operational by mid-2024.
The facility is intended to supply hydrogen to trucks, port equipment, and railway applications. As an integral part of this project, a Hydrogen Academy will be established to educate and train locals on hydrogen technology and its wide-ranging applications.
“Cleanergy Solutions Namibia embodies our collective vision of pioneering change. This partnership with the CMB Group is more than a business alliance – it is a convergence of shared values and purpose, and together, O&L and CMB.TECH are crafting a narrative of meaningful impact, one where sustainability, innovation and collaboration intersect harmoniously,” said Sven Thieme, executive chairman at O&L.
“What truly excites us is the profound impact of this project. It is a catalyst for economic growth, empowers Namibians with expertise, and creates numerous local job opportunities. It is as authentic, caring and passionate as we are about a brighter, more sustainable world. Through this green hydrogen plant, refuelling station and training centre, we will not only demonstrate the feasibility of hydrogen production in the country, but also develop the skills and knowledge needed to sustain this new industry,” he added.
“This plant will be a valuable contribution to the emerging hydrogen industry in Namibia, and will provide us with the learnings that we can apply to the future expansion of the project”.
CEO of CMB.TECH, Alexander Saverys, stated: “Cleanergy is a very important investment for the CMB Group. It is the first major hydrogen production project in Africa, and will prove that green hydrogen can be produced efficiently and cheaply with renewable African sun. Our cleantech division CMB.TECH develops maritime and heavy industrial applications that will run on hydrogen: ferries, tugboats, container vessels, but also trucks, locomotives and mining equipment”.
The Cleanergy Solutions’ project includes a 10-hectare solar park with a hydrogen production facility equipped with a five- Megawatt Proton Exchange Membrane electrolyser and a five-Megawatt hour battery. This plant directly uses solar energy to produce hydrogen, which is then made available at the public hydrogen refuelling station for trucks and heavy-duty applications.
Green hydrogen production
According to Cleanergy, the electrolyser will produce green hydrogen, utilising the electricity input from the solar park and the energy stored in the BESS (Battery Energy Storage System). A hybrid control system will efficiently manage the electricity flow to ensure stable green hydrogen production, and a reliable and stable mini-grid.
“This set-up is unique worldwide, and will equip Cleanergy Solutions Namibia with the necessary knowledge for its future developments. The site is developed as a highly-adaptable project that can seamlessly incorporate additional activities and technologies. This inclusive approach aligns and supports Cleanergy Solutions Namibia’s goal to empower the Namibians through upskilling initiatives,” the company stated.
Cleanergy Solutions Namibia has committed to advancing hydrogen technology through a Hydrogen Academy. This initiative intends to foster local expertise, and train future professionals in all aspects of hydrogen production and its applications.
In addition, Cleanergy’s onsite workshop converts the fleet of trucks to dual fuel technology by a team of newly-trained technical staff.
Besides the development of the hydrogen production plant, Cleanergy is also exploring a partnership with Fortescue.
“By joining forces, both partners will operate in synergy to accelerate the new green economy in Namibia. We aim to make Walvis Bay a clean fuel hotspot in sub-Saharan Africa. The partnership has the focus to build a green ammonia plant next to the hydrogen production plant. This joint development between Fortescue and Cleanergy will mark the beginning of future-oriented cooperation,” the company statement added.