Cleanergy Solutions Namibia kicks off construction works for Africa's first public refuelling station with onsite green hydrogen production.
Publish Date:
September 28, 2023

28 September 2023 – Today, Cleanergy Solutions Namibia, a joint venture between the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group and CMB.TECH, announces a premiere: the bricklaying of Africa’s first public green hydrogen refuelling station. The hydrogen production plant established in Walvis Bay, Namibia, uses solar energy for hydrogen production onsite. This innovative facility will supply hydrogen to trucks, port equipment, and railway applications. As an integral part of this project, a Hydrogen Academy will be established to educate and train local individuals on hydrogen technology and its wide-ranging applications. The hydrogen refuelling station is expected to be fully operational by mid 2024.

Solar powered public hydrogen refuelling station
The Cleanergy Solutions Namibia project includes a 10-hectare solar park with a hydrogen production facility equipped with a 5 Megawatt Proton Exchange Membrane electrolyser and a 5-Megawatt hour battery. This plant directly uses solar energy to produce hydrogen, which is then made available at the public hydrogen refuelling station for trucks and heavy-duty applications.

Green hydrogen production
The electrolyser will produce green hydrogen utilizing the electricity input from the solar park and the energy stored in the BESS (Battery Energy Storage System). A hybrid control system will efficiently manage the electricity flow to ensure stable green hydrogen production and a reliable and stable mini grid. This set-up is unique worldwide and will equip Cleanergy Solutions Namibia with the necessary knowledge for its future developments.

The site is developed as a highly adaptable project that can seamlessly incorporate additional activities and technologies. This inclusive approach aligns and supports Cleanergy Solutions Namibia’s goal to empower the Namibians through upskilling initiatives.

Since 2021, Ohlthaver & List (O&L) and CMB.TECH have been working together to leverage their unique expertise. Both companies have a history of more than 100 years of being entrepreneurial and innovative. Today, the highlight of the joint efforts is the realization of Cleanergy’s first project, the hydrogen production and refuelling station. O&L, a solar pioneer, brings its extensive knowledge and regional presence, while CMB.TECH contributes with its advanced hydrogen expertise and hydrogen powered applications. This collaboration between two solid family-owned companies stems from a shared vision to deliver a remarkable and impactful project in Namibia.

Sven Thieme, the Executive Chairman of the Ohlthaver & List Group: “Cleanergy Solutions Namibia embodies our collective vision of pioneering change. This partnership with the CMB Group is more than a business alliance – it is a convergence of shared values and purpose, and together, O&L and CMB.TECH are crafting a narrative of meaningful impact, one where sustainability, innovation, and collaboration intersect harmoniously.  
What truly excites us is the profound impact of this project. It is a catalyst for economic growth, empowers Namibians with expertise, and creates numerous local job opportunities. It is as authentic, caring, and passionate as we are about a brighter, more sustainable world. Through this green hydrogen plant, refuelling station and training centre, we will not only demonstrate the feasibility of hydrogen production in the country, but also develop the skills and knowledge needed to sustain this new industry.
This plant will be a valuable contribution to the emerging hydrogen industry in Namibia and will provide us with the learnings that we can apply to the future expansion of the project”.

CEO of CMB.TECH, Alexander Saverys: “Cleanergy is a very important investment for the CMB Group. It is the first major hydrogen production project in Africa and will prove that green hydrogen can be produced efficiently and cheaply with renewable African sun.
Our cleantech division CMB.TECH develops maritime and heavy industrial applications that will run on hydrogen: ferries, tugboats, container vessels, but also trucks, locomotives and mining equipment.
We are very proud and grateful that we can develop this project in Namibia with a strong Namibian partner O&L to create a true win-win for both our companies and the people of Namibia.”

Why Namibia?

Namibia, a stable country, presents a promising emerging market opportunity for green hydrogen, fully supported by the government. Benefiting from some of the world's finest solar resources, Namibia's abundant sunshine makes it an optimal choice for green hydrogen production. Moreover, the production and utilization of green hydrogen emit no CO₂, reinforcing its status as a clean and sustainable energy carrier for the future.

With its low population density and advantageous geography, Namibia offers abundant land for the development of large-scale renewable energy projects. The port of Walvis Bay further enhances this potential, serving as a critical infrastructure hub in both Namibia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Its strategic location provides direct access to major shipping routes, facilitating the utilization and transportation of clean fuels.  The location of the plant itself is also strategically located on the proposed Trans-Kalahari highway/railway line, making the refuelling station ideally situated as the fueling hub of the future.

Hydrogen Academy
Cleanergy Solutions Namibia is committed to advancing hydrogen technology through the Hydrogen Academy. This crucial initiative fosters local expertise and trains future professionals in all aspects of hydrogen production and its applications. By equipping these individuals with knowledge and skills, Cleanergy is paving the way for a sustainable future.

Furthermore, our onsite workshop is responsible for converting the initial fleet of trucks to dual fuel technology by our team of newly trained technical staff. Together, we are driving innovation and making a positive impact on the environment.

Next step: green ammonia
Besides the development of the hydrogen production plant, Cleanergy is exploring a partnership with Fortescue. By joining forces, both partners will operate in synergy to accelerate the new green economy in Namibia. We aim to make Walvis Bay a clean fuel hotspot in Sub-Saharan Africa. The partnership has the focus to build a green ammonia plant next to the hydrogen production plant. This joint development between Fortescue and Cleanergy will mark the beginning of a future oriented cooperation.

From left to right: Green Hydrogen Commissioner, James Mnyupe; Chief Executive Officer of CMB.TECH, Alexander Saverys; Minister of Finance and Public Enterprise, Hon. Iipumbu Shiimi; Executive Chairman of the O&L Group, Sven Thieme.