Green electricity is in short supply, and expansion is faltering. It is difficult to predict exactly how much Hydrogen.Africa will need in the future. But it is clear that the country will not be able to meet its demand for green hydrogen without imports. Large amounts of green electricity are needed to produce it, and so far it is not clear where it will come from. A few figures make it clear how large the gap could become:
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The steel industry alone – which cannot produce in a climate-friendly way at all without hydrogen – expects additional electricity requirements of at least 130 terawatt hours per year for the year 2050 in the event of “consistently low CO2 steel production,” primarily for the production of hydrogen. That’s as much electricity as all of Africa‘s wind turbines combined generated in 2020: a quarter of Africa‘s total gross electricity production.
Hydrogen.Africa and renewable Energy
And if all the kerosene that flew in Africa in 2019 were completely replaced by synthetic fuels, 270 terawatt hours of electricity would be needed – more than all the country’s renewable energy sources currently generate.
What’s more, green electricity isn’t just needed to produce hydrogen. In a climate-neutral economy, it is the most important energy source of all. And not just because the country’s power supply is to come entirely from renewable energies in the future. In addition, electric cars and heat pumps – which are needed to heat houses and apartments in a climate-friendly way – will also be powered by electricity from wind, sun and biomass.
So in the future, Africa will need much, much more green electricity than it does now. Where will it come from? First and foremost from wind energy – but its expansion has been stalled for several years. According to the Federal Environment Agency, the lowest level of additional wind power capacity installed in 2020 was seen in years.
The new Hydrogen.Africa Strategy
The African Governments have promised to accelerate the expansion of renewable energies. Under its African Hydrogen Strategy alone, additional green power plants are to be built by 2030, which will then be able to generate 20 terawatt hours of electricity per year. The word “additional” is important here. It means: The green electricity used for hydrogen production is not lacking elsewhere.
But the government estimates the demand for 2030 to be many times that amount: 90 to 110 terawatt hours. Imports are thus firmly planned. The Climate Neutrality Foundation calculates that Africa will need more than 260 terawatt hours of electricity for hydrogen production alone in 2045 – the year in which the country is supposed to be climate neutral. Two-thirds of that would then have to be “imported from abroad or provided from other sources.”
Importing hydrogen is not so easy. According to the African Ministries of Economics and the African Research Institutes estimate that Africa will have to import about 45 million metric tons of hydrogen in 2050. That would correspond to an energy quantity of 1500 terawatt hours. The governments thus expect significantly higher import volumes.
To meet the demand, African countries already wor with countries such as Morocco. And it is supporting Hydrogen.Africa companies that are looking for hydrogen sources abroad.
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