German boost for Namibia’s Hyphen hydrogen project

Tom Alweendo

The N$190-billion Hyphen Hydrogen Energy project near Lüderitz recently got a boost when the German government confirmed its suitability to be designated a strategic foreign project.

This was confirmed through a letter of intent presented to Enertrag, one of the joint venture partners in Hyphen.

Namibian minister of mines and energy Tom Alweendo and green hydrogen commissioner James Mnyupe, who is also the president’s economic adviser, have witnessed the signing of the letter of intent by German federal minister for economic affairs and climate protection Robert Habeck and Enertrag chief executive Gunar Hering.

Alweendo describes the project as “the first building block in realising Namibia’s ambitions to incubate a thriving synthetic fuels industry”.

“This letter of intent from the German government is a strong signal, which further emboldens our collective efforts to deepen and diversify our trade relations,” he says.

The project is expected to produce 350 000 tonnes of green hydrogen and two million tonnes of green ammonia per year before the end of the decade.

In November 2021, Hyphen was awarded preferred bidder status for the project, which is earmarked for the development of 4 000 km2 within the Tsau //Khaeb National Park near Lüderitz.

According to, the strategic foreign project designation renders such projects eligible to receive targeted support – a status reserved for high-priority global projects of strategic interest to Germany.

The project is seen as the first step towards a large-scale green hydrogen industry in various regions in Namibia to support both economic growth in the country itself and to assist the world in achieving its decarbonisation goals.

Hyphen and the Namibian government are set to begin construction in January 2025, with the commissioning of the first phase expected by the end of 2026.

The Namibian government in June said it would take up a 24% equity stake in the project, which is targeting yearly production of one million tonnes of green ammonia by 2027, and two million tonnes by 2029, mostly for export.

James Mnyupe

This production, which will arise from 7GW of renewable generation capacity and 3GW of electrolyser capacity, would help to mitigate the effects of climate change by eliminating five to six million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission a year.

Germany is supporting the development of a green hydrogen economy in Namibia that is sustainable for the population through hydrogen and Power-to-X cooperation.

The Hyphen project is committed to this in a similar way, the company says.

“We are therefore prepared to categorise it as a foreign project, under certain conditions, in the strategic interest of the Federal Republic of Germany, and thus provide more support than usual through our foreign trade promotion instruments,” Habeck says in a media release.

Enertrag international projects and technology board member Tobias Bischof-Niemz says the project not only contributes to the energy transition, but is also an important testimony to international cooperation in building new energy-trade partnerships on the basis of a shared understanding of democracy.

“We are very pleased with the trust the German government has placed in us with this letter of support,” Bischof-Niemz says.

“The letter reflects the crucial role projects like ours would play in decarbonising heavy industry in Europe and beyond, and the leading role Germany is playing in driving forward global decarbonisation,” Hyphen chief executive Marco Raffinetti says.
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