Towards a next generation renewable energy source – a natural hydrogen solution for power supply in Africa


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Project coordinator: Julio Carneiro, CONVERGE, Lda, Portugal

Main topic addressed: New renewable energy resources for Africa

Project partners:

Aim of HyAfrica

HyAfrica proposes a necessary first step in the understanding of the extraction and utilisation possibilities in a set of African countries. Its objective is to assess the resources of natural hydrogen in promising regions of Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa and Togo and to evaluate its social-economic impact.  The project will create strategies for the exploitation of the hydrogen source, and allow institutions in the identified countries to develop roadmaps and action plans, and include hydrogen in their energy systems.

To achieve that, HyAfrica will focus on building capacity with the local teams, through the knowledge that has been gained and the development of the socio-economic and business models. The engagement of stakeholders will also take precedent in identifying licensing and development procedures.

The project promotes the exploitation of natural hydrogen in African geological environments, in order to provide alternative energy for local areas.

The objective of HyAfrica is to assess the resources of natural hydrogen in promising regions of our African countries (Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa and Togo) and evaluate its social-economic impact if deployed as an energy source for local communities.

Specific objectives are:

  1. Identify and map the existing resources;
  2. Assess the socio-economic impact and develop business models for standalone, off-grid and mini-grid systems based on H2
  3. Develop roadmaps for natural hydrogen exploration and exploitation in the target countries
  4. Build capacity on natural hydrogen application in standalone and mini-grid systems among the academic community and institutional stakeholders of the target countries.

Natural hydrogen (also called white hydrogen) is a primary and clean energy source, continuously replenished by geochemical reactions in deep geological formations. Yet, exploration methodologies for natural hydrogen are poorly defined, and there are little regulatory measures in place for exploration and exploitation in the countries where the project operates.

Even among the geosciences community, the technical capacity and awareness about natural hydrogen is very low. Studies on social and economic impacts as well as business model for natural hydrogen utilisation are therefore lacking, and there is a  high level of uncertainty on natural hydrogen resources required for local/regional energy systems.

Study Regions

The project focuses on promising regions where natural hydrogen has already been detected or where the geological conditions are particularly favourable, and where a resource assessment can bring a RES alternative to a substantial number of communities: Jerada and Tendrara provinces (Morocco); Bilene / Macia district (Moçambique); Nkangala district (South Africa); Lacs prefecture (Togo).

Natural hydrogen has the potential to increase the reliability of the power supply in those communities, and to decrease costs and energy poverty.

Map of the study regions and participating countries

Expected Results:

Specific expected results include:

  • Identification of natural hydrogen resources in 4 promising regions
  • Developing a methodology for systematic exploration of natural hydrogen
  • Roadmaps for natural hydrogen exploration and exploitation programs in target countries
  • Detailed techno-economic analysis of natural Hydrogen in energy systems (standalone, mini grid) of two most promising regions
  • Business models for natural hydrogen utilization at local and regional level for 4 regions
  • Complementarity of natural hydrogen and green hydrogen and other RES for 2 promising regions
  • Capacity building and raising awareness on natural hydrogen among stakeholders of target
Cooperating parties:


News from HyAfrica

The LEAP-RE consortium gathers 83 African and European partners covering a wide range of sectors: education/research, private sector, policy and funding. Together, they are building a long-term partnership of African and European stakeholders committed to fostering research and innovation for the development of renewable energy.

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