The Namibia Green Hydrogen Research Institute and Cleanergy Solutions Namibia have joined forces to boost local human resources.

UNAM Vice Chancellor Professor Kenneth Matengu says the focus is on developing skills at the PhD, Masters, and TVET levels in the green hydrogen sector.

UNAM Vice Chancellor Kenneth Matengu was one of the speakers during a visit by the presidents of Namibia and Botswana last week.

While at the coast, Presidents Nangolo Mbumba and Mokgweetsi Masisi visited Cleanergy Solutions Namibia, near the Walvis Bay International Airport.

The joint venture between local companies Ohlthaver and List Group and Belgian CMB Tech is set to be the first green hydrogen production plant and fuel station in Namibia.

Professor Matengu highlighted the need to strengthen the local human resource capacity through the green hydrogen research institute. 

"This institute is meant to serve as a competency and quality infrastructure establishment for the country. It has six centres, which range from green hydrogen production to transportation to technologies to the environment to legal and trade, and within these centres we have seven laboratories. With the academy, we are working with Cleanergy to ensure that the short courses that would be provided are taught based on scientific methods and research, but we also support them to ensure that the short courses are accredited and certified." 

A hydrogen academy has been set up at the Cleanergy site to equip Namibians with skills.

"It's very important to invest in upskilling and skills development because we are embarking on a very big journey in a new industry where the skills are not yet present in the country, and as we grow, we want to invest in those skills. By the time we reach the large projects, we will have Namibians in the industry familiar with these types of technologies," explains Elke Krafft, O&L Group Director for Innovations. 

Krafft says it is Cleanergy's intention to develop a local economy around green hydrogen instead of exporting everything that will be produced.

"We are supporting projects like TransNamib, where we want to support a hydrogen-powered locomotive, and we are supporting other projects at the port and maybe later in the mining sector. So it's really important to have a local economy around these fuels."

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Renate Rengura