Southern Africa Launches Groundbreaking Green Hydrogen Atlas To Drive Sustainable Energy Transition

Representational image. Credit: Canva

Dr. Jane Olwoch, Executive Director of the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL), and Dr. Solomon Agbo, Coordinator of H2Atlas Africa at Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany, joined forces with the Regional Technical Committee and National Teams to unveil the groundbreaking Green Hydrogen Atlas Southern Africa. This comprehensive atlas, accessible through the H2Atlas interactive map, offers evidence-based information on various resources crucial for green hydrogen production, including water resources, land availability, renewable energy sources, and cost indicators. The atlas aims to assist policymakers, investors, researchers, and potential funders in assessing the potential for green hydrogen development in the Southern African region. National launches are planned in the second half of the year.


The official launch of the Green Hydrogen Atlas Southern Africa was preceded by an announcement of its completion by Hon. Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Minister of the Federal Government of Germany, during the Launch and Award Ceremony of the Pilot Projects and the Youth for Green Hydrogen (Y4H2) Scholarship program in Namibia on March 29, 2023.

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The release of the atlas marks a significant milestone in the advancement of green hydrogen initiatives in Southern Africa, aligning with the global movement to transform the energy sector into one that prioritizes climate-friendly solutions.


Presented as an interactive map, the project results highlight “locations of interest” across 12 Southern African countries. The Green Hydrogen Atlas serves as a science-based decision support tool for the conceptualization and design of green hydrogen pilot plants. The atlas’s development involved the collaboration of over 60 scientists, 16 modelers, and a 12-member Regional Technical Committee, representing more than 13 countries. By accessing the provided link, users can explore various products available through the interactive atlas.

One significant aspect of the atlas is the representation of the maximum technical hydrogen potential (absolute) for each region within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) administrative boundaries. This measure depends on factors such as region size, average potential per area, land eligibility constraints, and available power derived from wind and solar radiation.

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The Green Hydrogen Atlas holds the potential to contribute to the formulation of national and regional roadmaps and strategies that enable a green hydrogen-based economy in sub-Saharan Africa. Its relevance extends to Germany, Africa, and the global community. The project’s outcomes provide valuable information that German and African businesses/industries can leverage through partnerships to deploy appropriate technologies for sustainable development.

The H2Atlas project received sponsorship from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), with SASSCAL acting as the coordinating partner in Southern Africa. Collaboration with the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) as a technical implementing partner further strengthened the project’s impact.

The H2Atlas-Africa project holds the promise of supporting climate adaptation and mitigation efforts by supplying empirical evidence-based data for sustainable energy production, contributing to the advancement of a green economy within the SADC region. Local and international uptake of green hydrogen will enable the region to participate fully in the global transition to a sustainable economy, encompassing the entire value chain of hydrogen production while ensuring inclusivity.

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The primary focus of the H2Atlas project was to conduct detailed assessments of technological, environmental, economic, and social feasibility, taking into account present and future energy demands, environmental concerns, climate impact projections, water and energy requirements, land eligibility, and demand. With the release of the Green Hydrogen Atlas Southern Africa, a significant stride has been made toward achieving a greener and more sustainable energy future for the region.

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