The African Hydrogen Partnership Conference
In the context of carbon emissions and the need for green energy, the first African Hydrogen Partnership (AHP) Conference was held from 19-20 February at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa. The AHP is the initiative of Siggi Huegemann and Vincent Oldenbroek and is aimed at the establishment of an AHP Trade Association, which will draw on the skills and energies of both trade and academic organisations to establish and develop the generation and use of hydrogen as an energy source throughout Africa.
The proceedings were opened by Huegemann and Oldenbroek who gave brief explanations of the intent and objectives of AHP. These include the establishment of a trade association that will have the stated organisation and character of a multinational, multicontinental organisation of public and private entities without regional or national restrictions.
The scope, quality and range of the subsequent presentations was impressive and ranged, from descriptions of ‘Japan’s path towards the hydrogen economy’ to a discussion why French company Engie supports the creation of an African Hydrogen Association. Of particular interest to South Africa was a presentation by Fahmida Smith from Anglo American. who discussed ‘Reimagining mining through hydrogen’. There is already a pilot project under way to power ore haulers at an Anglo mine in South Africa with hydrogen.
The first milestone will be the AHP annual general meeting (AGM) scheduled for May 2020 where the goal will be to formally establish the AHP in Africa. [Due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the AGM will now be held as a virtual meeting.] The second milestone will be the commencement of operations of the newly established AHP Association scheduled for September 2020.
The AHP will enable member companies to exchange views and ideas on economic, technical and other relevant social topics, including the treatment of political, general legal and tax issues on a pan-African basis. It will enable these companies to communicate with the public, governments and administrative bodies with one voice. The association will be open to African and non-African member companies, and will be based in Mauritius, which offers a well-established legal system and is subject to the laws of the United Kingdom.