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Port of Antwerp Plans €250 Million Namibia Hydrogen Harbor

Port of Antwerp.

Posted on May 6, 2024

Port of Antwerp Bruges plans to develop a €250 million ($267 million) hydrogen and ammonia storage and export facility at the Namibian Port of Walvis Bay, together with the African nation’s state logistics firm.

The facility, which Chief Executive Officer Jacques Vandermeiren said may receive European Union funding, is part of Namibia’s plan to develop a green hydrogen industry to harness its abundant solar and wind energy to produce what’s being touted as a carbon-friendly fuel of the future.

The facility, which will be equally owned by Port of Antwerp and the Namibian Ports Authority, will be built within three to five years at a greenfield site near the existing port site, which includes a container terminal. A unit of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA is in talks to operate the facility.

It will store and ship hydrogen and a derivative, ammonia, produced by companies including Belgium’s Cie Maritime Belge SA.

The aim is to refuel passing ships and transport ammonia for use in heavy industry clusters in Belgium, Germany and elsewhere in Europe that are struggling to reduce their carbon emissions and aren’t suitable for conversion to the use of renewable electricity.

Namibia can serve “as a production hub of green molecules and Antwerp-Bruges as a gateway to serve the European market,” Namport and Port of Antwerp said in a statement.

Green hydrogen is made by splitting water using renewable energy. It can then be used as fuel or converted into ammonia, which is easier to transport.

A graphic on display at the proposed site, a stretch of sand extending into the Atlantic, shows an array of hydrogen tanks and pipes while ranks of wind turbines extends into the desert behind the proposed port.

European industry needs “alternatives to electrons, you can’t electrify” all processes, Vandermeiren said in an interview at a CMB event near Walvis Bay on Thursday.

The companies also announced that the first hydrogen-powered ship in Africa, in the form of a tugboat, has been launched together with CMB at Walvis Bay.

“For us it’s a first step to enabling Namport to march toward greening the ports,” Namibian Ports Authority CEO, Andrew Kanime, said of the planned development in an interview at the site.


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