Governor pins hope on Daures green hydrogen

SWAKOPMUND – Erongo governor Neville Andre is pinning his hope on the multi-million-dollar Daures green hydrogen project to address poverty, unemployment, housing and social challenges the region faces.

He said the project, which was launched earlier this year, has the potential to transform not only the economy of the region but also grant rural communities in the Daures constituency the opportunity to become shareholders.

The governor was appealing for support for the project during the state of the nation address on Monday in Swakopmund, which was attended by local and rural constituency councillors and residents of the region.

“There is hope for employment, housing and infrastructure. Therefore, I want to urge you to support the project so that we make it a success. The region’s growth trajectory indicates that there are new opportunities in mining, oil and gas, manufacturing, green hydrogen and ammonia, and nuclear energy in the agricultural sector, as well as the prospect of value addition in our dimension stone. Hence, we, as leaders, should continue our current trend, as it is pleasant to see that we put our region first, regardless of our political affiliation,” Andre said.

The Daures Green Hydrogen Consortium last year secured a N$220 million grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to implement a Daures Green Hydrogen Village hydrogen project in the Daures constituency.

At least N$200 million will be spent during the first phase when the dry mountainous area will see the rise of accommodation facilities, an eco-lodge, an onsite laboratory as well as a training facility for research and training of locals and students.

The first project is expected to be carried out in four phases and will provide at least 100 jobs during the construction of the first phase and over 1 000 jobs once completed.

He also urged all SMEs from the region, the Daures constituency in particular, to take the opportunity and become part of the Daures Green Hydrogen database to participate in the additional opportunities created by the company during the construction phase.

CEO of the consortium Jerome Namaseb said during the first phase, they also envisaged setting up a wind farm, a solar plant, warehouses for storage of agricultural products as well as climate-controlled green and seedling houses.

“We anticipate generating hydrogen in the fourth quarter of 2023 and commission those assets in early 2024. The importance of this funding is significant because it will enable the Daures Green Hydrogen Village to work keenly and sternly towards the goal of achieving green ammonia and green hydrogen production by December 2023,” Namaseb said during the groundbreaking ceremony in March this year.

Namaseb said the Daures project is a perfect example of what can be achieved when the private sector, community and government work together.

“We are grateful that the community was receptive and will become not only employees but shareholders of the project,” an ecstatic Namaseb said.

Meanwhile, major green energy company Fortescue Future Industries last week also proposed a joint venture with the Namibian government to produce electrolysers for green hydrogen. 

CEO of Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) Mark Hutchinson paid President Hage Geingob a courtesy visit at the State House on Friday.

 Hutchinson informed the president about the FFI’s proposal for a 50/50 green hydrogen and green ammonia deal, as the world is shifting away from fossil fuels.

In recognising the potential of green hydrogen in terms of addressing youth unemployment, Geingob stressed the importance of investing and creating job opportunities.

“We have the resources, but you bring in the money and the jobs. It’s a win-win situation. Let us go ahead and create jobs,” said the president.

Electrolysis is the talk of town and a promising option for carbon-free hydrogen production from renewable and nuclear resources. 

Electrolysis is the process of using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. This reaction takes place in a unit called an electrolyser. 

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