Namibia, South Africa to Partner on Major Green Hydrogen Pipeline

President Nangolo Mumba has announced that Namibia and South Africa are set to collaborate on a ground-breaking initiative to develop Africa’s first-ever green hydrogen pipeline.

He said this at the World Hydrogen Summit in the Netherlands, where Namibia’s Green Hydrogen Program will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with key stakeholders.

Details of The Partnership

According to Mumba, the partnership includes the Western Cape Development Agency (Wesgro) and the Northern Cape Economic Development, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (NCEDA) from South Africa, along with Gasunie, a leading Dutch hydrogen infrastructure developer.

“This partnership aims to study the feasibility of building Africa’s first cross-country green hydrogen pipeline, connecting Namibia and South Africa and facilitating significant trade of a new product between our two countries,” he said.

The MoU comes after South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa proposed a possible hydrogen partnership with Namibia in October 2020, as the neighbouring country planned to become a major exporter of green hydrogen, through the implementation of the Boegoebaai hydrogen power project.

Mumba added, “Namibia, like many African countries, views the 21st Century as a potentially transformative era for the continent, in which we can utilise new, greener and cleaner technologies to leapfrog towards industrialisation and subsequent economic transformation.

“This will enable us to create jobs, greatly reduce poverty and build inclusive, peaceful and stable societies that will give rise to genuine and lasting progress.

In this regard, the Namibian government, together with national and international stakeholders, is spearheading efforts to unlock the massive potential of Green Hydrogen.

“Over the past few years, Government through the Green Hydrogen Council, has worked tirelessly to position Namibia as the primary leader in the global market for Green Hydrogen and we are now starting to see concrete visible results.”

South Africa’s Hydrogen Plans

South Africa last year unveiled a N$300-billion (US$20 billion) investment pipeline under a Green Hydrogen National Programme, which has been designated as a Strategic Integrated Project (SIP) for accelerated development under the country’s Infrastructure Development Act.

The country reportedly has the potential to produce up to 13 million tonnes of green hydrogen and derivatives a year by 2050 but to do so would require between 140GW and 300GW of renewable energy, which would represent a massive scale-up in a context where South Africa had procured only about 7GW of wind and solar since 2011.

Among some of the envisioned projects is the development of a 2,500-km cross-border pipeline from Luderitz to Saldanha, a project which the Namibian Green Hydrogen Commissioner, James Mnyupe estimates will cost N$352.6 billion (€20 billion).

Mbumba further explained that Namibia currently hosts nine hydrogen projects across two developing hydrogen valleys, with the potential for a third anchored by its iron ore.

He also revealed the country’s plans to become a logistics hub for the Southern African region through the development of an ammonia bunkering hub and a green hydrogen-powered train.

These initiatives aim to decarbonise shipping and long-haul logistics routes, ensuring goods transported via Namibia’s ports minimise both scope 2 and scope 3 emissions.