US Senate Committe on Energy and Natural Resources Hearing on Geologic Hydrogen

Yesterday the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing “To Examine the Opportunities and Challenges Associated with Developing Geologic Hydrogen in the United States”

Geologic hydrogen refers to hydrogen that is available in naturally in the earth, and which can potentially be drilled for and accessed to be used as an energy source.

Hydrogen is seen as having great potential as a clean energy source, but it can be very energy intensive, and therefore expensive, to produce hydrogen using electrolysis which releases hydrogen from water.

There is a video archive of the hearing at the link above.

Senator Barrasso (R-WY) in his opening remarks summarizes the topic of the hearing. He states:

“Today we are going to look at the potential to tap underground deposits of pure hydrogen, also known as geologic hydrogen. Geologic hydrogen is formed when water reacts with iron rich rock at high temperatures underground. Scientists have long known that water and iron-rich rock produce hydrogen.

Until recently, they believed that hydrogen would not remain in a pure state for very long. They believed hydrogen would bond with other elements like oxygen to form water, or carbon to form hydrocarbons. They believed that hydrogen would be eaten by microbes or escape to the surface and into the atmosphere.

Scientists have recently found that in some areas that deposits of pure hydrogen can remained trapped. When this happens, the hydrogen accumulates, and if enough hydrogen accumulates, the hydrogen can be extracted like oil and gas. The scientific community and private sector are cautiously optimistic that the world contains large reserves of geologic hydrogen.

Dr Ellis, one of our witnesses has estimated that even if just a small fraction of these reserves is economically recoverable, it would meet the world’s projected demand for hydrogen for hundreds of years.”

Here is a transcript of one of the witnesses, Peter Johnson, CEO of Koloma