Namibia started building Africa’s first decarbonised iron factory on Monday, which will be powered entirely by green hydrogen, according to the country’s investment promotion authority.
Steel production is one of the most polluting businesses on the planet, and the industry is working to transition away from coal-fired factories and toward the usage of decarbonised iron.
The German federal government has invested €13 million in the Oshivela project in western Namibia, which will utilize renewable energy to produce 15,000 tons of iron per year with no carbon emissions, according to a statement from the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board.
Namibia last year became the first African country to sign an agreement with the EU to supply the bloc with green hydrogen and minerals needed for clean energy technology.
Production at the plant is set to begin in the final quarter of 2024, with plans eventually to ramp up production to 1-million tonnes of green iron a year.
The iron produced at the plant can also be used as a preliminary product in steel production in Germany to manufacture green steel for the production of wind turbines or vehicles, said Rainer Baake, special envoy for German-Namibian climate and energy co-operation.
The project’s developers, a consortium of German and Namibian companies, said the plant will use HyIron technology, which processes iron ore in a rotary kiln with the help of green hydrogen.