Africa could attract investments worth €1 trillion by harnessing its solar energy potential to produce 50 million tonnes (Mt) of green hydrogen a year by 2035, according to ‘Africa’s Extraordinary Green Hydrogen Potential’ report.

The analysis was commissioned by European Investment Bank, International Solar Alliance and the African Union with the support of the Government of Mauritania, HyDeal and UCLG Africa.

Harnessing solar energy to produce green hydrogen can help secure global energy supply, create jobs, decarbonise heavy industry, enhance global competitiveness and transform access to clean water and sustainable energy, the report said.

Green hydrogen investment will decarbonise Africa’s heavy industry (steel, fertiliser, mining, and transport), avoiding an estimated 500 Mt in GHG emissions (or 40 percent of Africa’s CO2 emissions) either by direct usage of H2 or the supply of green commodities.

It will also create an estimated 1,230 Gigawatt-peak (GWp) in new solar energy generation capacity and 3.8 billion cubic metres per year at-scale freshwater system.

The analysis, carried out by international consultancy CVA, said that solar-powered green hydrogen can be produced at less than €2 per kilogramme by 2030, compared to €90 per barrel of oil.

Large-scale green hydrogen generation will also enable Africa to supply 25 million tonnes of green hydrogen to global energy markets, equivalent to 15 percent of current gas used in the European Union.

The report has identified three hubs - Mauritania-Morocco, southern Africa and Egypt with qualified green hydrogen production volumes of 50Mt by 2035.

The roadmap for green hydrogen commercialisation, suggested by the report, includes national planning, regulation, and incentive schemes to mobilise private sector investment; pilot projects to show successful green hydrogen generation, storage, distribution and use at both demonstration and commercial scale, and lastly, market-based partnerships to enable mass-scale domestic and international off-take and demand for green hydrogen and increase cooperation to design, finance, build and operate green hydrogen production, storage and distribution infrastructure.

(Writing by P Deol; Editing by Anoop Menon)