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Africa’s First Net-Zero Village

Setting off on our sustainability journey

As we face escalating global challenges, including food insecurity, climate change, and diminishing resources, we firmly believe the solution to greater sustainability lies in greenhouses, precision farming, renewable technology and constant innovation.

Today we’d like to highlight a project that showcases sustainability in action – the Daures Green Hydrogen Village in Namibia.

Welcome to Daures

The Daures Green Hydrogen Village, an ambitious 15,000-hectare endeavour, is set to become Africa's first Net Zero Village. Located in the Erongo region, near Brandberg Mountain, this project is a bold step towards sustainability and self-sufficiency for the entire continent. 

We at Vegtech Netafim are partnering with Daures to engineer their greenhouses and nurseries to facilitate the use of ammonia-based fertiliser to create food that will eventually feed the entire Village. 

Backed by German funding, this pioneering project plans to use renewable energy to propel the green hydrogen and green ammonia economy. Its vision is to morph a once barren area into a bustling, off-grid, completely self-sustaining community. This vision includes turning green hydrogen into ammonia-based fertiliser that will support all growth in the Village, and cover 30% of Namibia’s fertiliser demand. We’ll also eventually export the ammonia to Europe to supplement their energy demand.

To realise this vision, the team is planning a phased approach with thorough research conducted at each step. Daures’ research sites, working with the Universities of Namibia and Stuttgart, are actively recruiting engineering, horticultural and renewable energy researchers. 

The project’s pilot phase is already underway. This first phase will see twelve houses, an eco-lodge, a campsite, a lab, and research facilities all powered by solar and wind energy generators. It will also have a Vegtech Netafim-engineered commercial greenhouse and nursery both for growing and research purposes. 

The pilot phase recently completed its feasibility study and will see 109 tonnes of ammonia production per year. The Village’s ultimate goal is for hydrogen-powered fuel cells to power an off-grid community where people live, work, and grow their food in greenhouses with ammonia-rich fertiliser.

Shared sustainability values: The compass guiding our way

Vegtech Netafim is passionate about combining farming and agronomics with innovative engineering to build a healthier, greener future. We found that our values harmonised perfectly with the Daures project's emphasis on sustainability, innovation, and community empowerment. We were also excited to put our greenhouse engineering skills to the test to overcome the very real challenges of water scarcity and lack of arable land in Daures. 

Our greenhouses now form the heart of the Daures community's journey towards self-sufficiency. They enable food cultivation in an otherwise harsh environment, and we're proud to contribute to creating a truly sustainable, Net Zero community.

Building a desert oasis: Our greenhouse solutions

We embarked on the challenge to design greenhouses specifically suited to this unique landscape. The process involved several iterations, each focused on optimising water and electrical consumption while still delivering the greatest crop yield.

Closed irrigation cycle

With water conservation as one of our foremost goals, we developed a closed irrigation cycle for the greenhouses. This system recycles water, ensuring no drop goes to waste. Any unused water is captured, treated, and reintroduced into the cycle. 

This approach offers an environmentally-friendly, cost-effective solution to agriculture in arid environments. It’s like giving water a second, third, even fourth chance to do its job.

Natural ventilation system

You might think the desert heat would be a problem for our greenhouses, but we turned it into an advantage. We utilised the desert's airflow to facilitate a natural ventilation system for our greenhouses. Hot air exits through top vents, while cooler air is drawn in through lower ones, creating a continuous, self-sustaining airflow that maintains the appropriate temperature inside the greenhouse.

This keeps things cool without needing energy-hungry machinery. It's proving to be a great little trick that respects the desert climate and ticks off another box for a Net Zero community.

A future of sustainable possibilities

The Daures Green Hydrogen Village is a powerful step towards sustainable agriculture and renewable energy, worldwide. 

Its production of green hydrogen and green ammonia will ultimately help the world reduce its energy transmission and aid in decarbonising Europe. 

We feel privileged to be a part of this transformative project and excited about the endless possibilities it represents for sustainability, innovation, and community development.

We’re excited to see how this project develops and inspires others, as it’s inspired us.

Embark on your next green journey with us

We thrive on supporting sustainable growth in challenging climates and conditions. Get in touch with us on +27 21 987 6980 or and let’s begin the journey to solving your growing challenges.

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