In the global race for clean energy through developing green hydrogen, Namibia is making great strides. With partnerships such as the one between the University of Namibia (UNAM) and the Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing (BAM) in Germany, this realization is beginning to take shape.
A collaboration between the two institutions that promotes academic development has resulted in five PhD scholarships being awarded to UNAM candidates. The students will gain skills and experience in the fields of green hydrogen in Germany. The five scholarship candidates are Andreas Sheuyange Namwoonde, Josua Junias, Nikanor Shikomba, Sam Shaanika, and Leo Reinhold. The five scholarship candidates will study and work at BAM for three years as they attain their doctorate degrees in various fields that are critical to the development of the green hydrogen industry.
Addressing the awarded PhD candidates in a recent meeting held at the Main Campus, UNAM Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kenneth Matengu, remarked that advancements in clean, renewable, and sustainable energy are on the rise.
“It is for this reason that the University of Namibia, in response to the national call, has established the Namibia Green Hydrogen Research Institute (NGHRI) so that the government, private sector, and academia can together build an economy for a prosperous future for all Namibians and the globe at large”, stated Prof. Matengu.
“We are thankful to our government for embracing this well-intentioned idea and to the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany for being supportive from the beginning. We look forward to harvesting the fruits that come out of the Green Hydrogen tree.”
“But the tree needs to be watered and cared for with special talent which we hope these candidates will develop in careers to advance engineering that will enable the safe production delivery and usage of Hydrogen,” Prof. Matengu elaborated.
He also took the opportunity to announce that UNAM has appointed BAM’s Head of Department Component Safety, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Böllinghaus, to be a Special Technical Advisor on Green Hydrogen and Honorary Professor in the School of Sciences in Welding Engineering. Dr Zivayi Chiguvare, Acting Director: Namibia Green Hydrogen Research Institute (NGHRI), Mr Herbert Beck, Ambassador of Germany to Namibia, and Dr Marius Kudumo, Director: Corporate Engagement and International Relations of UNAM, were also present at the occasion.
Prof. Böllinghaus stated that looking at the dynamics of these opportunities, the candidates have a bright future ahead of them – and upon returning with their crucial qualifications, they are set to become rare commodities themselves.
“This is a great project that needs bright minds and I’m glad that we have chosen those great minds who are going to work and learn at BAM.
“Once you are finished you have to return as it is important to bring the knowledge and expertise back to Namibia and educate others,” said Prof. Böllinghaus.
One of the PhD scholarship recipients, Leo Reinhold, expressed his gratitude for this opportunity. He stated that the quest for Namibia’s industrialization requires capacity in terms of professionally skilled people who will drive the growth of this new energy sector.
“My focus is on innovation and coming up with the best way to handle and transport this commodity safely in our environment. I am honored to play a part in growing this new industry,” expressed Reinhold.
Green Hydrogen is a fairly new industry for Namibia, and a lot of groundwork still needs to be done, including creating a specialized workforce as well as building the required infrastructure to support this industry, which is what partnerships such as the UNAM-BAM collaboration is aiming to achieve.