Shaping the energy supply of the future
Master's program on energy and green hydrogen launched
Excitedly, 60 young students followed the action on the stage of the elegant hotel hall in Niamey, Niger. October 12 marked the start of their further education and career. Out of 900 applicants, these 60 students were selected to participate in the new " International Master Program in Energy and Green Hydrogen" (IMP-EGH), which was officially inaugurated that day. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), a training program now awaits the young people to make them experts in the field of renewable energy and green hydrogen.
Studying across national borders
The new master's program offers 60 students from 15 ECOWAS states the chance to do a master's degree based on international standards and best practices. As part of the energy research program "Innovations for the Energy Transition," the BMBF is funding the program with eight million euros initially until 2025. Within the two-year program, the students will receive in-depth training at four leading West African universities: Université Felix Houphouet Boigny (Côte d'Ivoire), Université de Lomé (Togo), Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (Senegal) and Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey (Niger). The program is supported by the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use, or WASCAL, Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University. The two German partners will be involved and engaged in teaching and mentoring the students through online tools and on-site visits for classes. In addition, the young graduates will spend a semester in Germany, where they will gain practical experience and write their theses.
Motivated energy experts of the future
"It was a great pleasure for me to see the passion and motivation with which the young students started their master's studies," says Prof. Peter Letmathe, Chair of Management Accounting, RWTH Aachen University, summing up his impression gained during the inauguration ceremonies in Niamey, adding, "The young people are very aware of the need for an energy transition. The will to make an active contribution is correspondingly high." Together with his three colleagues Prof. Aaron Praktiknjo, Chair of Energy Systems Economics, Prof. Oliver Lorz, Head of the Teaching and Research Unit International Economics, Sandra Venghaus, Junior Professor of Decision Analysis and Socio-economic Assessment, and a junior professorship yet to be filled, Prof. Letmathe will give lectures and seminars at the African universities and work together with the students. During an introductory lecture at the inauguration of the master's program, Prof. Uwe Rau from the Institute for Energy and Climate Research, Photovoltaics, Forschungszentrum Jülich, was also able to get an impression of the 60 students.
Renewable Energy - A Chance for Africa
The great potential for generating renewable electricity in African countries offers an opportunity for the population and the economy. The H2 Atlas Africa project has already identified the conditions in West Africa for building infrastructure such as photovoltaic and wind power plants. In these countries, wind, sun and land are available in sufficient quantities to generate green electricity. And this electricity is urgently needed. To date, many households in West Africa are inadequately supplied with energy. In addition, there are strong fluctuations in the power grid, which lead to power outages. The development and expansion of renewable energy sources can eliminate this unreliability and significantly improve people's quality of life. But the H2 Atlas Africa project goes one step further. There is enough renewable electricity that can be produced in African countries that can meet local demands for increased access but also could be exported in the form of Green Hydrogen.
"Since the production of green hydrogen entails special requirements, the installation of electrolysers and the availability of important local resources are important aspects," explains Dr. Solomon Agbo, project coordinator of H2-Atlas Africa. "For example, water is an important ingredient in the green hydrogen production process. However, the supply of sufficient water is not available to the same extent in all countries in Africa. We have to take this fact into account in our investigations and analyses."— Dr. Solomon Agbo, Projektkoordinator von H2-Atlas Afrika
Supplying the local population is an important focus of the project. Initially, the residents shall be supplied, but the surplus electricity can be converted into green hydrogen, giving Africa the chance to establish itself as an exporter of green electricity. The students trained in the master's program will act as experts on site.
Government of Niger welcomes cooperation at eye level
During the visit of the German delegation to Niger, representatives of the BMBF, Forschungszentrum Jülich, RWTH Aachen University and WASCAL had the opportunity to talk with several ministers and even with the President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum. All sides are sure that cooperation at eye level is promising. Together, the partners involved can make a contribution to the energy transition and, above all, also advance Africa's development, towards becoming an important player in the energy sector.
Press release on the meeting with the President of Niger Mohamed Bazoum: http://www.lesahel.org/au-palais-de-la-presidence-de-la-republique-le-programme-wascal-presente-au-chef-de-letat-lors-dune-rencontre-avec-une-delegation-allemande/
Press release of RWTH Aachen: https://www.rwth-aachen.de/cms/root/Die-RWTH/Aktuell/Pressemitteilungen/Oktober/~rgznd/RWTH-unterstuetzt-internationales-Master/?lidx=1
Press release of Forschungszentrum Jülich: https://www.fz-juelich.de/SharedDocs/Meldungen/PORTAL/EN/2021/2021-10-21-afrika_en.html
Press release of WASCAL: https://wascal.org/60-west-african-students-receive-full-german-government-scholarship-in-international-masters-in-green-hydrogen/