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17 Nov 2022

Just Transition in a Renewable Energy Rich Environment: The Potential Role of Green Hydrogen

Tags
Energy Access
Finance and Investment
Regulatory and Governance
Renewable Energy
Hydrogen

The study at hand aims at proposing a preliminary framework that encourages the deployment of green hydrogen in three preselected African countries. The three countries were selected in consultation with the African Development Bank (AfDB) after screening 29 African member countries under the Climate Investment Fund (CIF). Several criteria were considered covering the following aspects:

  • Geographical spread; Northern, Eastern, Western, Central and Southern Africa
  • Availability of different renewable energy resources
  • Technical aspects for green hydrogen e.g. water availability and salt cavern locations
  • Existence of renewable energy power systems and infrastructure

Several filtration processes have been conducted using a dedicated list of selection criteria. As a result, Egypt, Kenya and Ghana were finally selected. The analysis in each country establishes an adequate knowledge product to contribute to long-term strategies to achieve low carbon and climate resilient development. It considers specific characteristics of renewable energy resources and generation mix, barriers and opportunities of green hydrogen production, presence of a relatively well-developed fossil energy system (e.g. already existing natural gas grid) and possible influence on green hydrogen production and transport, possible technology pathways for production of green hydrogen and it’s derivate: Power-to-X (PtX) or Power to Liquids (PtL) products and finally hydrogen production costs and their future trends.

The successful combination of production, transport, storage and utilisation of green hydrogen is essential for a secure, sustainable and economical energy supply in the future. The three cases studies have been accordingly preceded by a generalized model of green hydrogen supply chain that will be commonly applied on the three countries. The technology costs in the hydrogen supply chain electrolyzer are elaborated in the annex. The cost estimates based on the extensive desk research and references as mentioned in the annex. It should be noted that especially the costing information carries some level of uncertainty as none of the proposed plants are realised nor under planning.

A part of the study is also to set out the key elements of the integration of the Just Transition process with the legal, policy, institutional, regulatory and business environment of the States, the Governments and the plant developers, owners and operators in which the proposed green hydrogen plants are located. The key dimensions are procedural, distributive and restorative justice for the workers, their families, communities, marginalised groups and other stakeholders who are impacted by the proposed green hydrogen plants, which means policies, actions and measures from the State, Governments and at a project-level supporting the affected groups in the transition process.

An optimization model has been utilized to determine the hydrogen production costs and the optimal configuration of a respective plant. The objective of the model is to minimize the location-specific hydrogen production cost using water electrolysis powered with available renewable resources in each country; photovoltaics, onshore wind power, geothermal energy or hydropower by determining the optimal system configuration. The assumptions used in the model regarding the techno-economic parameters of the components refer to the year 2030.

As a result, the Consultant developed case studies represent different pathways and options of green hydrogen production. Each case study illustrates: i) the renewable energy resources of that can be allocated to hydrogen production. ii)  the supply and production of green hydrogen and the renewable energy required. iii) technical evaluation hydrogen production and its derivates and other PtX products, iv) basic design of possible plants. v) processing steps, storage potential, energy flow and efficiencies and the overall supply costs.