Green hydrogen production project in Namibia

In partnership with a French-German consortium, the Namibian government plans to develop a green hydrogen production facility. Although some of the funding may be secured as early as this year, several challenges remain.

In November 2021, the Namibian government selected the French-German consortium Hyphen Hydrogen Energy as the preferred bidder for its green hydrogen project. If the current feasibility study is successful, operations are expected to begin in 2026. The project aims to produce 300,000 tonnes of pure green hydrogen by 2030. [1]


Large-scale production of green hydrogen through water electrolysis requires ready access to large tracts of land, an abundance of cheap electricity, and low-cost clean water sources. Fortunately, Namibia is a vast country with a very low population density and an abundance of renewable energy resources. The coastal and near-coastal areas of southern Namibia are desert and semi-desert, with good wind resources and amongst the best solar resources in the world. However, the country’s attractiveness to become a future exporter of green hydrogen also depends on other aspects to create industrial production capacity. [2]


Environmental challenges


The proposed USD 9.4 billion project would be based in the southwestern Tsau Khaeb National Park. Yet, it is part of national conservation area. According to a report published in October 2021 by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, creating large-scale hydrogen production and processing facilities in this fragile environment will be associated with multiple negative impacts on the environment. For example, the seawater desalination process, which is a necessary step in the production of hydrogen by electrolysis, is likely to generate pollutants on a significant scale and therefore necessitate stringent and continuous environmental management efforts.


Infrastructure challenges


According to the report, Namibia currently imports half of its annual electricity needs from southern African countries. The country has no renewable energy power plants that could be used to produce hydrogen through electrolysis. Furthermore, local requirements for hydrogen for commercial and industrial use are non-existent.


Economic opportunity and job creation


Nevertheless, there is an argument to be made for fast-tracking the development of Namibia’s renewable energy potentials in order to create green hydrogen production capacities. Indeed, these could be used to revitalise Namibia’s economy. In his New Year’s address, President Hage Geingob announced that the country would receive USD 6.3 million in concession fees from its preferred hydrogen bidder in 2022. The consortium Hyphen Hydrogen Energy said the project would create nearly 15,000 direct jobs during construction and around 3,000 jobs during operation. Of these jobs, more than 90% would be held by Namibians. [3]



The author of the report recommends that the government develop a national hydrogen policy, which should focus on the creation of transparent institutional, governance and regulatory provisions to guide the further development of green hydrogen initiatives and their synchronisation with Namibia's other development needs. He also recommends a national infrastructure master plan, which should ensure that the country’s water, electricity, communications and information technology, road, rail as well as port infrastructure is consistently and systematically developed to meet national requirements while specifically enabling and benefitting from internationally funded climate-neutral developments.


The complete report is available here.




[1] La Namibie choisit Hyphen Hydrogen Energy pour son projet d'hydrogène vert de 9,4 milliards de dollars.

[2] von Oertzen, D. (2021). Issues, Challenges and Opportunities to Develop Green Hydrogen in Namibia.

[3] Namibia aims to cash in on hydrogen plans.

[4] Namibia advised to be smart with green hydrogen.