In Germany, wind and sun do not supply enough energy to cover the demand for green hydrogen in the future. Within the framework of the National Hydrogen Strategy, the German government is therefore focusing on cooperation with Africa: An atlas of potential analyses possibilities for producing and exporting green hydrogen in South Africa.
It is still unclear exactly how high Germany’s demand for green hydrogen will be in 2050. One thing is certain, however: Germany will be dependent on exports from abroad. After all, Germany’s energy requirements are higher than the amount of energy that it can produce itself. The Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion currently assumes that Germany will have to import around 45 million tonnes of hydrogen by 2050.
The world needs green energy. Africa can provide it. With an atlas of green hydrogen potential, we are working with African partners to analyze the opportunities of green hydrogen for sustainable development on the African continent (H2.AFRICA). This will consider both local demand and opportunities for exporting green hydrogen to Germany. It is a core component of the German Federal Government’s National Hydrogen Strategy, which is to be adopted by the German Cabinet in 2019.
Green hydrogen, i.e. hydrogen produced by the sun and wind, is the energy carrier of the future. It is the key building block for a global energy turnaround. As a transmission belt, it brings renewable energies into all areas of life. It gives the steel and chemical industries, shipping and aviation, and the heating sector a new opportunity to achieve climate neutrality.
Europe needs African H2.AFRICA
Industry’s demand for hydrogen in Europe alone is expected to double to 665 terawatt hours (TWh) per year by 2030. Germany will account for about 78 TWh. In the transport sector, hydrogen could become the number one fuel by 2050, and up to 70 percent of cars and light commercial vehicles could run on it.
It is undisputed that Germany must import green energy in large quantities. This is the only way to achieve the climate targets by 2030 and beyond. Green hydrogen is a central option for this. Wind and sun in this country are not enough to supply green energy for the industrial location, but also for our highly mobile society. Elsewhere, however, wind, sun and water are available in abundance. Countries such as Australia, Chile, Argentina and Saudi Arabia see the market. They are already working on concrete business models. Green H2 hydrogen plays a key role here. It has a unique significance in terms of climate, energy, innovation and industrial policy.
Africa is Hydrogen Future
H2.Africa is predestined to take the first step into the hydrogen future. With green hydrogen, the geographical advantages of renewable energies could become a development driver for the societies there. By replacing fossil fuels, a major contribution can be made to climate protection.
With hydrogen partnerships for production and transport, we are opening the way to global energy markets and greater prosperity for the countries of Africa. In this way, we not only create the basis for German technology exports, but also guarantee a climate-friendly energy supply. There is still a historic opportunity to open up a completely new future market for the domestic plant and mechanical engineering industry and for technology developers. But time is pressing. The race for such new geostrategic partnerships is already in full swing. Countries such as China have long been taking a strategic approach to the continent – and this also applies to green hydrogen.
Germany is first Mover
German companies are also currently world market leaders thanks to our research funding. We must now do everything we can to ensure that they use this advantage in hydrogen technologies and act as “first movers” in Africa. With an atlas of potential for green hydrogen in Africa, we will therefore quickly clarify where green hydrogen – especially from politically stable countries such as the members of the G20 Compact with H2.Africa – can play a key role. Based on this, we will launch demonstration projects in Africa and elsewhere together with industry and science.
With technological showcases, we will make climate protection technologies “made in Germany” the new trademark of Germany. In December the Federal Government will present its National Hydrogen Strategy. With concrete measures on production, supply structures, use and research and development, it is broadly based. Tomorrow, together with the Minister of Economics, Transport and Development Aid, I will hold a large-scale conference with stakeholders from science, industry, civil society and specialist policy-makers.
Green African Hydrogen is King
For green hydrogen to succeed, we need a show of strength. That is why the perspectives, ideas and contributions of all partners are so important to us. Only together will we succeed in ensuring that Germany takes a global leadership position in green hydrogen. It’s all about climate protection, competitiveness and new market opportunities.