The foundation stone was laid today for the first green iron works in Africa. During his visit to Namibia in December 2022, Minister Habeck had presented the funding decision for the project in Windhoek. The consortium consisting of the three German companies CO2Grab GmbH, TS Elino GmbH and LSF GmbH & Co. KG is benefiting from a federal grant of around €13 million. The Federal Government was represented at the ceremony by the Special Commissioner for German-Namibian Climate and Energy Cooperation, Rainer Baake.

Federal Minister Habeck said: “Namibia offers ideal conditions to make green hydrogen using wind and solar energy. Since the country has large iron ore deposits, it is possible to use green hydrogen right next to the extraction sites to produce green iron at low cost – and green iron is an important intermediate product for the decarbonisation of steel production, not least in Germany.”

The HyIron/Oshivela project will generate green hydrogen and use it to reduce iron on a climate-neutral basis. The iron sponge that is produced, i.e. the iron, can then be shipped to steel works, e.g. in Germany.

The project will be the first industrial climate-neutral production site for iron on the continent of Africa. Traditionally, iron has been reduced in blast furnaces by adding coke made from coal. This releases large amounts of carbon dioxide. At present, steel-making is responsible for around one-eighth of global carbon emissions, and thus is a substantial cause of climate change. A direct reduction facility, in contrast, does not need coke, instead using natural gas or hydrogen as the reducing agent. Direct reduction using green hydrogen requires a sufficiently great potential for the generation of renewable energy. This potential is available in Namibia.

“The project offers the chance to build up a green hydrogen economy in Namibia, and also to decarbonise downstream value chains. The iron sponge produced here can be used, for example, as an input for steel manufacturing in Germany, e.g. in order to make green steel for the production of wind turbines or vehicles,” said Rainer Baake, Special Commissioner for German-Namibian Climate and Energy Cooperation. “In a country like Namibia where water is a scarce resource, it is particularly important that water is used on a circular basis,” he added.

Production is scheduled to start at the end of 2024. In the first phase, the facility will produce 15,000 tonnes of direct reduced iron per year.