Chinese solar panel producer GCL Group announced on July 29 that it would build a plant to produce green ammonia from its granted natural gas fields in Djibouti, Ethiopia, with an annual production capacity of 4m metric tons, as reported by Reuters on the same day. GCL obtained authorization from the Ethiopian government in 2013 to develop two gas fields and explore eight blocks. Instead of direct hydrogen production by using produced ammonia near the fields, GCL will transport ammonia to other places for further processing due to the easier transport and storage of ammonia compared with hydrogen. During the first phase, the project would produce more than 700,000 metric tons of liquid hydrogen using the expected 3.5bn cubic meters of natural gas extracted annually. GCL Group’s subsidiary GCL New Energy [0451:HK] will take charge of the hydrogen project.
China is the major investor in the energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Citing statistics from the International Energy Association (IEA), from 2010 to 2020, 56% of Chinese investments in that region’s power sector flowed into wind power, hydropower, and solar energy, amounting to USD13bn and covering 37 countries. Over the decade, Chinese firms have carried out many renewable energy projects in Africa, such as the Adama Wind Power Phase I and II project finalized in 2012 and 2015 in Ethiopia, the grid-connected Garissa Solar PV project in Kenya in 2012, and more. In November 2017, China Longyuan Power Group’s [0916:HK] wind power project began operation in South Africa, which was the first wind power project integrating investment, construction, and operation of Chinese enterprises in Africa. With a total investment of about RMB2.5bn, the project could deliver 644m kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean electricity annually, meeting the needs of 85,000 local households. In addition, it could save 2,150 tons of coal and reduced 619,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year.