How Green is Green Hydrogen? Part 1

Clean Technology Hub
3 min readApr 2, 2024


Written by: Desmond Dogara Bardeson

In Nigeria’s quest for a sustainable future, the spotlight turns to green hydrogen — an energy source that stands at the forefront of the renewable revolution. As the world grapples with the pressing need to transition away from fossil fuels, green hydrogen emerges as a symbol of environmental stewardship, offering a pathway to a cleaner, more resilient economy.

Consider the Sahara Wind Project, harnessing the vast and untapped wind resources of the Sahara to generate electricity for green hydrogen production. This initiative could serve as a beacon for Nigeria, illustrating the potential of leveraging indigenous renewable resources for hydrogen generation.

Yet, the question persists: How truly green is green hydrogen within the Nigerian context?

At its essence, green hydrogen is birthed from the process of electrolysis, where electricity derived from renewable sources like wind or solar power is employed to cleave water into hydrogen and oxygen. This method, at first glance, epitomizes sustainability, yielding no carbon emissions and harnessing the power of nature’s elements. But a deeper dive into this process unveils varying hues of green.

The Nigerian Renewable Energy Master Plan aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the total energy mix, setting the stage for a robust green hydrogen economy. By aligning electrolysis with peak renewable generation times, Nigeria can maximize the ‘greenness’ of hydrogen.

Imagine a future where Lagos becomes a hub for green hydrogen, powered entirely by offshore wind farms and solar arrays, setting a standard for urban energy sustainability.

While green hydrogen holds the promise of decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors, African countries must be diligent in ensuring ‘greenness’ of the technology. Fundamentally, the ecological imprint of hydrogen production is intrinsically linked to the origin of the electricity used in for production or the nature of the inputs (e.g. natural gas for grey hydrogen). Should this electricity be sourced from renewable avenues and inputs are water and electrolysis technology, the hydrogen thus generated can rightfully claim the title of ‘green’. Conversely, should the electricity be drawn from fossil fuels or other non-renewable resources, the green credibility of the resultant hydrogen is significantly tarnished.

Moreover, the true measure of green hydrogen’s sustainability extends beyond production, encompassing the entire lifecycle, including distribution and end-use. Considerations such as the efficiency of energy conversion, the volume of water required, and the impact of resource extraction are pivotal in evaluating green hydrogen’s environmental integrity.

The African Hydrogen Partnership is an example of a collaborative effort to develop a green hydrogen economy that is mindful of the entire lifecycle, promoting best practices in production and utilization.

Sceptics highlight the hurdles in scaling green hydrogen production to fulfil the voracious global energy appetite. The nascent infrastructure for electrolysis and hydrogen transport necessitates substantial investment and technological breakthroughs to render green hydrogen a viable rival to traditional energy sources.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) could spearhead a transition to green hydrogen by repurposing existing gas infrastructure for hydrogen transport, demonstrating a commitment to innovation and sustainability.

Questions also loom over the sufficiency of renewable resources to generate green hydrogen on a grand scale. The race for land and water, coupled with concerns over ecological preservation and societal fairness, presents formidable obstacles to the mainstream embracement of green hydrogen.

Strategic environmental assessments, like those conducted for the Grand Inga Dam project, can inform the sustainable scaling of green hydrogen projects, ensuring that they contribute positively to Nigeria’s environmental and social fabric.

Nonetheless, the advocates for green hydrogen maintain an unwavering belief in its transformative potential to reshape the energy domain and catalyze a low-carbon epoch. With persistent innovation, financial commitment, and a dedication to sustainability, green hydrogen stands poised to make a decisive impact in the battle against climate change, ushering in an era of enduring prosperity for Nigeria and beyond.



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