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Natural hydrogen: the emission-free energy that says goodbye to oil

Natural hydrogen reserves amount to 150 trillion tons; just 1 billion would meet US energy needs for a year

Unlimited geological hydrogen: published in Forbes, the new study highlights the potential of natural hydrogen that constantly forms underground.

A new, important carbon-free energy source whose supply and generation, unlike oil or gas, are unlimited.


Natural hydrogen: 150 trillion tons already available

The increasingly apparent scientific evidence indicates the existence of natural hydrogen as a source of clean energy still unexplored but with a great potential. In fact, the hydrogen naturally generated from the ground could provide a much greater amount of energy than we need.

Wicks, director of the U.S. Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, has compared those looking for hydrogen to traditional oil "wildcatters" who search for new deposits.

Worldwide, the reserves of geological hydrogen could be extraordinarily vast, considering that very often the geological conditions necessary for its formation occur.

In particular, most of the formation of natural hydrogen occurs near tectonic faults generating reserves that could amount up to 150 trillion tons. Given that just 1 billion would be enough to cover the entire energy needs of the United States for a whole year, this is an extremely significant potential.

The very same American energy companies are moving towards natural hydrogen, joining the consortium created by the U.S. Geological Survey and Colorado School of Mines.


Natural hydrogen: supporting corporate and university researchers to create ad hoc extraction programs

Why did it take so long to start exploring natural hydrogen? At the moment this remains an undefined point. The geological presence of hydrogen is disguised by microbes in the ground, which consume it as a source of sustenance.

Moreover, hydrogen is a gas with no color nor odor and it is consumed with great efficiency by microorganisms that dispense it in the soil. Although much of it may prove difficult to access, the potential amount of geological hydrogen at a global level remains undeniable. It is crucial to understand where significant amounts of geological hydrogen are concentrated in order to identify ad hoc strategies for the safe extraction of this gas. 

Wicks aims to build a government funding program, with the aim of supporting both business and university researchers in the process of developing methodologies that can stimulate the underground natural process of hydrogen generation.