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09.11.2019 International

African Hydrogen Is The Stuff Of The Future

Anja Karliczek is Federal Minister of Education and Research in Angela Merkel's government cabinet.
Anja Karliczek is Federal Minister of Education and Research in Angela Merkel's government cabinet.

Federal Minister Anja Karliczek believes that green hydrogen produced in Africa could help Germany achieve its climate goals. The world needs green energy. Africa can provide it. Together with African partners, we are analysing the opportunities of green hydrogen for sustainable development on the African continent with a green hydrogen potential atlas.

Both local needs and opportunities for exporting green hydrogen to Germany are to be considered. It is a core component of the German government's National Hydrogen Strategy, which is to be adopted by the 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 revolution. As a transmission belt, it brings renewable energies into all areas of life. It gives the steel and chemical industries, shipping and air traffic as well as the heating sector a new opportunity to achieve climate neutrality.

The 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 around 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 large quantities of green energy. 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 Germany are not enough to supply the industrial location, but also our highly mobile society, with green energy. 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 hydrogen plays a key role here. It has a unique significance in terms of climate, energy, innovation and industrial policy.

Africa is predestined to take the first step into the hydrogen future. With green hydrogen, the geographical advantages of renewable energies could become the development engine for local societies. At the same time, the replacement of fossil fuels can make a major contribution to climate protection.

With hydrogen partnerships for production and transport, we are opening the way for Africa's states to global energy markets and greater prosperity. In this way, we not only create the basis for German technology exports, but also guarantee a climate-friendly energy supply.

New strategy for hydrogen
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 of the essence. The race for such new geostrategic partnerships is already in full swing. Countries such as China have long been taking strategic action on the continent - and this also applies to green hydrogen.

German companies are also currently world market leaders due 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 a potential atlas on green hydrogen in Africa, we will therefore quickly clarify where green hydrogen, especially from politically stable states such as the members of the G20 Compact with Africa, can play a major role. Based on this, we will launch demonstration projects in Africa and elsewhere together with industry and science.

With technological shop windows, we are making climate protection technologies "made in Germany" the new trademark of Germany.

In December, the German government presents its National Hydrogen Strategy. With concrete measures on generation, supply structures, use as well as research and development, it is broadly positioned. Tomorrow I will hold a large-scale conference with stakeholders from science, industry, civil society and specialist policy together with the Minister for Economic Affairs, Transport and Development Aid.

For the success of green hydrogen we need a feat of strength. That is why the perspectives, ideas and contributions of all partners are so important to us.

Only together will we be able to ensure that Germany assumes a leading global position in the field of green hydrogen. It is about climate protection, competitiveness and new market opportunities.

Francis Tawiah (Duisburg - Germany)

Francis Tawiah
Francis Tawiah, © 2019

The author has 659 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: FrancisTawiah

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