Energy for Growth Hub
Op-Eds Jun 10, 2024 Cipher

Africa’s clean hydrogen path must begin with clearing the hype

Future of Energy Tech

Originally published in Cipher, June 10, 2024.

Africa has gained global attention as a prospective hub for hydrogen made with renewable energy. Ambitious models and optimistic leaders have fueled the notion that Africa, with its abundant solar and wind energy resources, has a special edge for low-cost, large-scale renewable hydrogen, resulting in upwards of 60 proposed projects across the continent.

Nearly all of the 95 million metric tons (Mt) of hydrogen consumed globally today is made from fossil fuels. However, a clean alternative that uses renewable power and an electrolyzer, a device that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, is emerging. If produced at scale and low cost, renewable hydrogen can serve as a carbon-free energy alternative in heavy-industry and transportation sectors, where fossil fuel substitutes are hard to come by.

African countries have a lot to gain, and a lot to lose, from investing heavily in the nascent clean hydrogen industry. Jumping in too deep and too early may lock countries with emerging economies into high-cost and high-risk investments, while waiting too long could cause them to miss the window to shape the market as it emerges.

Read the full article here.