Saturday, August 13, 2022

Gotta Get Down to the Hydrogen Mine

 At WUWT: Could Natural Hydrogen Kill Green Hydrogen?

If you have never heard of natural hydrogen deposits before, you’re not alone. But discoveries of substantial underground gas fields which mostly contain almost pure hydrogen have the potential to completely upend efforts to develop a “green hydrogen” economy.
Natural hydrogen exploration ‘boom’ snaps up one third of South Australia

South Australia has found itself at the heart of a 21st-century gold rush, though this time for naturally occurring hydrogen. Since February 2021, 18 exploration licenses have been granted or applied for in the state by six different companies searching for natural hydrogen.


From pv magazine Australia

In a rapid escalation from zero activity in February last year, exploration companies are now scrambling to look for what they believe could be the cheapest, easiest way to get their hands on the much hyped “future fuel”: hydrogen.

In the last 12 months, six different companies have either been granted or applied for 18 Petroleum Exploration Licences across the state of South Australia, according to Australian energy consultancy EnergyQuest. Combined, the area under permit equates to around 570,000 square kilometres (km2) or 32% of the entire state, the consultancy has found, referring to the sudden influx as a “boom”.

Natural hydrogen

Until now, natural or native hydrogen has been largely overlooked – despite it being described as “widespread in nature” by natural hydrogen researcher Viacheslav Zgonnik in a 2020 paper. Natural hydrogen deposits form through chemical reactions underground, with Zgonnik saying the molecule has been detected at high concentrations, often as the major gas, in all types of geologic environments.

…Read more:
The abstract of the 2020 paper;
The occurrence and geoscience of natural hydrogen: A comprehensive review

Viacheslav Zgonnik


Using an interdisciplinary approach, this paper reviews current knowledge in the field of natural hydrogen. For the first time, it combines perspectives on hydrogen from the literature of the former Eastern bloc with that of the West, including rare hardcopies and recent studies. Data are summarized and classified in three main sections: hydrogen as a free gas in different environments, as inclusions in various rock types, and as dissolved gas in ground water. This review conclusively demonstrates that molecular hydrogen is much more widespread in nature than was previously thought. Hydrogen has been detected at high concentrations, often as the major gas, in all types of geologic environment. A critical evaluation of all the proposed mechanisms regarding the origin of natural hydrogen shows that a deep-seated origin is potentially the most likely explanation for its abundance in nature. By combining available data, an estimate of 23 Tg/year for the total annual flow of hydrogen from geologic sources is proposed. This value is an order of magnitude greater than previous estimate but most likely still not large enough to account for recently discovered worldwide diffusive seepages. Hydrogen could play a critical role in mechanisms taking place in both the shallow and deep geospheres and it can influence a very wide range of natural phenomena. Hydrogen is an essential energy source for many microorganisms. Sampling for hydrogen can be a useful tool in studying natural environments, geologic mapping, monitoring of earthquakes, plotting fault traces and resource exploration. Hydrogen of geologic origin has the potential to become the renewable energy source of the future, with exploratory projects ongoing at the present time. The topic of natural hydrogen is therefore relevant from many different perspectives.
Read more:

I hadn't heard of "wild" hydrogen before, but I can imagine it easily enough as a product of reforming from other fossil fuels. But commercially useful deposits? That's pretty neat

Below, a surprisingly good cover of Cumberland Blues by some garage band: 

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