Gaborone — H2Atlas Africa project has been hailed as a historic and unique cooperation initiative between SADC and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
In an interview, following the project inception meeting recently, head of energy and green hydrogen technologies division at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Dr Christoph Roevekamp said the project would augment the bridge between SADC, ECOWAS and Germany, and further strengthen multi-lateral cooperation towards sustainable development.
He noted that sustainable production of hydrogen could not be attained by one country, hence the need for global partnerships. Dr Roevekamp noted that hydrogen was the most important and fundamental future economic recovery package as highlighted in the European Green Deal.
"As the oil of the future, Green Hydrogen is a big game-changer in the energy market," he added.
He explained that there was growing evidence of fossils being replaced by renewable energies, saying the main drivers of such migration were climate mitigation, decarbonisation and competitiveness of renewable energies.
He emphasised that the SADC region, which relied heavily on fossil fuels, was ideally positioned and would benefit from such a project as the global village began to embrace renewable energies, adding that the availability of Green Hydrogen could attract new investments in energy-intensive branches and create new jobs within the region.
Furthermore, he said SADC region could place itself as an exporter for Green Hydrogen production as the region had excellent conditions for hydrogen production.
"This could be achieved within the next two to three years and SADC had a historic opportunity of making the region a Green Hydrogen champion if they take the right actions now," he added.
Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management-SASSCAL executive director, Dr Jane Olwoch said Africa was positioning itself to be at the fore front of the new technology. "Green Hydrogen also has the potential to ensure peace and prosperity for Africa as opposed to fossil fuels" she added.
"Green Hydrogen project isn't a project like others, it is a lifetime programme as we seek emission free and sustained energy solution," she highlighted.
She explained that SASSCAL was best suited to coordinate the project in Southern Africa as the project was positioned to address the challenges of climate change at different temporal scales.
Dr Olwoch reiterated that SASSCAL had enjoyed strong partnerships with BMBF over the years in which BMBF had funded SASSCAL research, capacity development and production of climate services over the last eight years.
She stated that the production of Atlas of Green Hydrogen potential in SADC would improve the research capacity that was a prerequisite for setting up necessary adaptation and mitigation actions in response to climate change.
Dr Olwoch advised that several young scientists would have an opportunity for knowledge transfer as part of their studies would see them in Germany for practical experience in seeing how Green Hydrogen and other renewable energy sources were produced.
"This learning by doing ensures sustainability of the programme in the region even after its completion. Production of green hydrogen will also create green jobs with an ultimate objective of reducing unemployment," added Dr Olwoch.
Source : BOPA