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Natural hydrogen, extracted as natural gas? Who wants to Be a Millionaire?

Today is Tuesday, November 28, 2023

In the past, in some countries where the surface owner also owns the subsoil (this does not occur in countries that adopt the "res nullius" doctrine, for example) the dream was to find oil in the backyard and become a millionaire. Ever wonder? As happened to several farmers in Texas, in the United States. And along with oil there is usually also gas production. And a multitude of carbon compounds.

In fact, the current energy transition comes down to 2 or 3 chemical elements and their combinations: Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. In fact, this is one of the reasons we quote Lavoisier on our main page. He is the founder of modern chemistry and one of the intellectuals of the 1st Industrial Revolution, that one of the steam engine, start of the intensive coal burning.

So the question arises: would there be natural occurrences of hydrogen that could be extracted in a similar way to natural gas?

The answer is positive. This is the so-called white hydrogen (remembering that the hydrogen people loves colors to differentiate its ways of obtaining). It can also be called gold hydrogen, geological hydrogen or simply natural hydrogen.

We already reported about it here, remember? With several links to interesting articles. "Have you heard about hydrogen found underground and being continuously produced in the Earth's crust".

Scientists did not believe in the possibility of large accumulations of hydrogen underground. Until - anedoct says - in 1987, in the village of Bourakébougou in Mali, Africa, "a driller was left with burns after a water well unexpectedly exploded when he leaned over the edge while smoking a cigarette". And it wasn't natural gas, it was hydrogen.

It is believed that the production of natural hydrogen occurs through a set of high-temperature reactions between water and iron-rich minerals, such as olivine, which is abundant on Earth. A common reaction is its conversion into another mineral called serpentinite. In the process, iron oxidizes, capturing oxygen atoms from water molecules and releasing hydrogen. In other words, more than a deposit, it seems to be a continuous and internal production cycle in the Earth's crust, from infiltrated water.

Furthermore, this hydrogen often reacts immediately with CO2 in the atmosphere, precipitating carbonates. A natural carbon capture process.

Fantastic this "science - nature pair", right?

So, after the discovery of this "hydrogen mine" in Mali - today owned by a Canadian company - interest grew, geological prospecting gained a new perspective, and new deposits of natural hydrogen were found in other locations, such as in the United States, Russia, Australia, Oman, France and Eastern Europe.

Click on the image below for a recent CNN article covering a new discovery in France in the Lorraine River basin.

So? Someone you know has a property with a "fairly tale" formation (photo Vale do São Francisco, Brazil. Article by Isabelle Moretti, M. E. Webber).

It's good to check, after all, this could be a new clean energy millionaire who - as the CNN article says - has found a "climate holy grail".


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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