Construction works for Africa’s first public refuelling station featuring on-site green hydrogen production commences
Cleanergy Solutions Namibia, a partnership between the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group and Cmb.TECH has commenced the construction of Africa’s first public green hydrogen refuelling station, which would supply hydrogen to trucks, port equipment, and railway applications.
The hydrogen production plant established in Walvis Bay, Namibia, produces hydrogen on-site using solar energy. A Hydrogen Academy will also be constructed as part of this project to educate and train local individuals on hydrogen technology and its wide-ranging applications.
The hydrogen refuelling station is expected to be fully operational by mid-2024, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
The project includes a 10-hectare solar park with a hydrogen production facility equipped with a 5-megawatt PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolyzer and a 5-megawatt hour battery. “This plant directly uses solar energy to produce hydrogen, which is then made available at the public hydrogen refuelling station for trucks and heavy-duty applications,” it noted.
“Cleanergy Solutions Namibia embodies our collective vision of pioneering change. This partnership with the CMB Group is more than a business alliance – it is a convergence of shared values and purpose, and together, O&L and Cmb.TECH is crafting a narrative of meaningful impact, one where sustainability, innovation, and collaboration intersect harmoniously,” said Sven Thieme, the Executive Chairman of the O&L Group.
Thieme continued: “What truly excites us is the profound impact of this project. It stimulates economic growth, empowers Namibians with expertise, and creates numerous local job opportunities. It is as authentic, caring, and passionate as we are about a brighter, more sustainable world. Through this green hydrogen plant, refuelling station, and training centre, we will not only demonstrate the feasibility of hydrogen production in the country but also develop the skills and knowledge needed to sustain this new industry. This plant will be a valuable contribution to the emerging hydrogen industry in Namibia and will provide us with the insights that we can apply to the future expansion of the project.”
O&L and Cmb.TECH has been collaborating since 2021 to harness their unique expertise. Both companies have a more than 100-year history of being entrepreneurial and inventive. To date, the highlight of the collaborative efforts is completing Cleanergy’s first project, a hydrogen production and refuelling station.
“O&L, a solar pioneer, brings its extensive knowledge and regional presence, while Cmb.TECH contributes with its advanced hydrogen expertise and hydrogen-powered applications. This collaboration between two solid family-owned companies stems from a shared vision to deliver a remarkable and impactful project in Namibia.”
“Cleanergy is a vital investment for the CMB Group,” said Alexander Saverys, Chief Executive of Cmb.TECH.
“It is Africa’s first major hydrogen production project, demonstrating that green hydrogen can be produced effectively and cheaply using renewable African sun. Cmb.TECH, our cleantech division, develops hydrogen-powered maritime and heavy industrial applications such as ferries, tugboats, container vessels, but also trucks, locomotives, and mining equipment. We are extremely delighted and grateful to be able to develop this project in Namibia with a strong Namibian partner, O&L, to create a true win-win situation for both our companies and the Namibian people,” Saverys added.
The company also noted that Namibia offers a promising market opportunity for green hydrogen production due to its abundant sunshine and low population density. The country’s low population density and favorable geography make it an ideal location for large-scale renewable energy projects.
The port of Walvis Bay, a critical infrastructure hub in Namibia and Sub-Saharan Africa, provides direct access to major shipping routes and is strategically located on the proposed Trans-Kalahari highway/railway line, making it an ideal fueling hub for the future.
Cleanergy Solutions Namibia will focus on advancing hydrogen technology through the Hydrogen Academy, which trains future professionals in hydrogen production and applications. The academy fosters local expertise and intends to create a sustainable future. Cleanergy’s onsite workshop converts the initial fleet of trucks to dual fuel technology, driving innovation and positive environmental impact. They are also exploring a partnership with Fortescue to accelerate the green economy in Namibia, intending to make Walvis Bay a clean fuel hotspot in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Fortescue is a global metals and green energy company recognized for its culture, innovation, and industry-leading development of infrastructure, mining assets, and green energy initiatives, while Cmb.TECH is a shipping and cleantech company that develops, builds, owns, and operates large marine and industrial applications that can run on hydrogen or ammonia.
(From left to right): James Mnyupe, Green Hydrogen Commissioner; Alexander Saverys, Chief Executive of CMB.TECH; Hon Iipumbu Shiimi, Minister of Finance and Public Enterprise; and Sven Thieme, Executive Chairman of the O&L Group.