Walvis Bay gets Africa’s first green hydrogen plant


Walvis Bay in Namibia will be home to Africa’s first green hydrogen plant, with construction of the plant already kicking off last week.

The plant is expected to be fully operational by the middle of next year and is described as groundbreaking in Namibia’s pursuit of sustainable development and green industrialisation.

The project, called Cleanergy Solutions Namibia, is jointly undertaken by the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group and CMB.TECH. The project amounts to about NAD3.5 billion (R3.5 billion).

Alexander Saverys, head of CMB.TECH, says the hydrogen production plant will use solar power for hydrogen production on site. The innovative facility will supply hydrogen to trucks, port equipment and railway equipment.

“As an integral part of this project, a hydrogen academy will be established to educate and train local residents about hydrogen technology and its wide application,” says Saverys.

Sven Thieme, head of O&L, says the core of Cleanergy’s business lies in the solar power plant, which extends over 10 ha. This is accompanied by a hydrogen production facility equipped with a 5 MW electrolyser and a 5 MWh battery.

“This plant establishes the first hydrogen production plant of its kind in Africa, which uses solar energy directly from the plant to produce hydrogen, which is then made available at a public fuel station,” says Thieme.

Namibia boasts ample renewable energy sources, such as sun and wind, especially in its coastal regions. According to the Namibian Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises, Iipumbu Shiimi, these natural resources not only offer the potential for Namibia to meet its own energy needs, but also to become a major exporter of clean energy, especially to the European Union ( EU).

“Namibia’s green hydrogen strategy focuses on using renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which is in line with its commitment to reduce carbon emissions and promote economic growth. This strategy positions Namibia as a key player in the emerging global green hydrogen market,” said Shiimi.

Thieme says the project will have a major impact on the country and community of Walvis Bay.

“It is a catalyst for economic growth, empowers Namibians with expertise and creates numerous local job opportunities. The project is authentic and everyone involved is passionate about establishing a more sustainable world. Through this green hydrogen plant, fuel station and training center we will not only demonstrate the feasibility of hydrogen production in the country, but also develop the skills and knowledge needed to sustain this new industry.”

The Namibian government made a request in 2021 to promote so-called clean industries in the country. Namibia’s Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group and Belgium’s CMB.TECH have started a joint venture to meet this need.

Ohlthaver & List (O&L) is Namibia’s largest private group of companies, with revenues contributing approximately 4% to GDP. CMB.TECH is a Belgian company that builds, owns, operates and designs large marine and industrial applications operating on hydrogen and ammonia.