Strathmore University takes the route of green hydrogen


In the face of climate change, green hydrogen is emerging as one of the alternatives to power the planet, decarbonise and create jobs.

Green hydrogen, when burnt, generates heat while producing water.

It is this simple chemistry that is undergoing commercial scale-up to produce “green” hydrogen fuel and fertilisers.

Against this backdrop, Strathmore University has partnered with Australian green energy firm Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) to accelerate the transition to green energy, with a key focus on green hydrogen.

Under the deal, they will jointly develop academic curriculums on green hydrogen, promote research in the area and build capacity.

“It’s really about incubating the young minds for the future workforce in the sector to make sure that Kenya and the region at large is ready for this transition,” said FFI Africa president, Bruh Ayele Terfie at the Africa Energy Forum in Nairobi.

While hydrogen supply is infinite, it is not commonly found in its pure form in nature. It can manually be produced using electricity.

Due to its high burning temperatures (plus 2000 degree Celsius), hydrogen is an energy transition frontrunner as an industrial heating fuel to replace coal, oil and natural gas in heavy industries such as steel and cement manufacturing.

“Now, we have real alternatives. You can electrify what you can but for hard-to-abate sectors such as heavy haulage, shipping and industry, you do need a green molecule that allows you to decarbonise,” Mr Terfie said.

Strathmore will leverage the experiences of Australia-based Curtin University which is a centre of excellence in green hydrogen globally.

“We hope to be a beacon of light for replication in other countries in Africa and already there is interest coming from Morocco and Senegal,” said Strathmore's deputy vice-chancellor for Research and Innovation, Izael Da Silva.

Last year, FFI and Kenya signed an agreement to fast-track Kenya’s development of an affordable green fertiliser supply chain and other green hydrogen-based industries and their derivatives.

FFI and Kenya are planning a potential 300MW capacity generation of green ammonia and fertiliser facility in Naivasha.

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