By Gift Briton

Experts have warned that the world does not stand a chance of keeping to 1.5 degrees without a massive scale-up of renewable energy, including the green hydrogen economy.

Green Hydrogen is produced by using electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas (electrolysis). It is called green hydrogen when the energy used in splitting the water is renewable such as solar and wind. The hydrogen gas produced this way can be used as fuel in several areas including industries.

Jonas Moberg, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Green Hydrogen Organisation, speaking during a side event at Africa’s Climate Summit (ACS23), observed that for a long time, the green hydrogen economy has not been part of the mainstream discussions on decarbonization.

However, against the backdrop of increasing urgency to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the interest in green hydrogen is growing.

Moberg observed that the green hydrogen economy holds a huge potential for Africa. It can help address the challenges of low economic growth, poverty and climate change through decarbonizing economies by creating energy value chains with zero carbon emissions, especially in hard-to-abate sectors.

However, to unlock this potential, Moberg says that investments at unprecedented scale are required.

“Africa stands to benefit hugely from the green hydrogen space. Africa has the capacity to exploit the green hydrogen but we need to help build that capacity. We need the right laws and the right financing and we need to make sure that everyone is finding their way towards this industry,” he said.

According to a joint research report by the Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance(AGHA) and McKinsey &Company, global hydrogen demand is predicted to grow almost sevenfold by 2050, driven by the increasing momentum to decarbonize and policy interventions by governments.

Also, the falling production cost of green hydrogen globally is also expected to be a key factor influencing demand. Global hydrogen production is expected to drop by almost 60% by the end of this decade due to the overall decrease in the cost of renewable energy and the increase in electrolyzer capacity.

This cost decrease, according to the report, together with policy support for the adoption of hydrogen technology could make green a leading cost-effective, low carbon and clean energy solution by 2030.

Several African countries especially those in the north and south of the continent are well positioned to be significant players in the green hydrogen space, mainly due to their high potential in renewable energy generation, particularly solar and wind, the report reads.

To realize these ambitions, the AGHA-with eight members after Ethiopia and Angola joined other members including Egypt, Kenya, Mauritania, Namibia, Morocco and South Africa during the Africa climate week- was founded to catalyze Pan-African momentum towards green hydrogen and to comment and augment initiatives among its members.

Moberg noted that Africa has over 70 announced green hydrogen projects but they all need finance to get off the ground.

As a result, during the side event, AGHA together with Green Hydrogen Organization, made a call for public and private finance institutions to invest $6 billion each year between now and 2030 into renewable energy and green hydrogen projects.

“Public and private funding programs are needed to bring down the production costs of green hydrogen in Africa and encourage its uptake in hard-to-abate industrial and transportation sectors,” Moberg said.

Furthermore, significant additional investment will be required to build enabling infrastructure and end-use equipment to transport and deploy green hydrogen and its derivatives in hard-to-decarbonize sectors.

“Much of the technology we have. We have the green hydrogen which we have never really used before because we have had cheap oil and gas but now when we have realized that we need it, we need to start seeing that it grows and we use it more,” he narrates.