The southern African nation Namibia is building its capacity to produce green hydrogen, potentially adding another form of energy to the global market in the future, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).
What it is: Green hydrogen is made by using renewable energy like wind or solar “to separate and distill the hydrogen atoms in water, as opposed to making hydrogen from fossil fuels, which is known as gray hydrogen, or blue hydrogen if the emissions from the fossil fuels are captured.”
Why it’s interesting: Hydrogen can be used in a variety of settings and products; it can be burned to fuel automobiles and airplanes or used in power plants. A greener form of hydrogen could help create a new energy industry alongside existing fuel products. Namibia’s efforts could also help with long-term renewable energy storage; using green power to make hydrogen and then burning that hydrogen in a power plant would allow energy companies to “store” the electricity for later.
Why it’s challenging: Producing green hydrogen requires a lot of expensive infrastructure that will involve significant upfront investments. The technology also needs to become used widely to bring down costs and needs to be exportable once created—hurdles that will necessitate additional funding.
Why Namibia: With bright sunshine expected 300 days every year and a long, windy coastline, Namibia has the ideal geography to take on pilot projects for renewable energy.
The road ahead: Namibia—and other nations—have a long way to go before green hydrogen is feasible and affordable, and other forms of hydrogen are critical to keeping critical processes running today. But over the long term, green hydrogen could offer an additional tool to power engines—and an opportunity for nations like Namibia to grow their economies.