What Is White Hydrogen and Why Is It Called the Infinite Oil of the Future

By October 5, 2023 4   min read  (663 words)

October 5, 2023 |

1366 2000

In some explorations for natural gas in Lorraine, northern France, they have discovered a potential natural deposit of white hydrogen. Located beneath the deposits of an old coal mine in the French region of Lorraine.

It is believed to potentially be the largest reserve of white hydrogen in the world. It is estimated to amount to 46 billion metric tons, which is equivalent to half of the world’s annual hydrogen production.

But what is white hydrogen? How does it differ from hydrogen obtained through renewable energy or derived from hydrocarbons?


What is white hydrogen?

White hydrogen is natural or native hydrogen. Unlike green or gray hydrogen that we produce, it is not the result of a transformation from gas or electrolysis.

“White hydrogen is naturally found underground and there is a lot of it available. It can be used as it is, and it could be the oil of the future,” explained the CEO of Plastic Omnium a few months ago after the discovery of this deposit.


White hydrogen could be the oil of the future

The iron minerals underground have the ability to separate oxygen from hydrogen in water molecules by absorbing it. In very deep geological layers, there is no oxygen left. Thus, the deeper you explore, the more chances you have of finding hydrogen.

White hydrogen, sometimes called native hydrogen, has three major advantages over other types of hydrogen. The first is that it is a CO₂ emissions-free hydrogen.


Advantages of white hydrogen

CO₂ emissions are the main issue with gray hydrogen, as it is produced from natural gas or other light hydrocarbons like methane or liquefied petroleum gases through reforming processes.

It also doesn’t require massive amounts of energy from renewable sources to produce it through water electrolysis, as in the case of green hydrogen. This is by far the most expensive and also less efficient method.

And its third advantage is that it comes from spontaneous geological and chemical phenomena. In theory, it would be a naturally renewable source of energy and therefore could be exploited endlessly at low cost. This hydrogen in the form of gas contains up to three times more energy than oil.

France is not the only country where white hydrogen has been discovered. There are also known reserves in the United States, Mali, and Australia. In fact, Mali is currently the only country in the world where a natural hydrogen deposit is being exploited. Located near the village of Burakebugu, about 60 km northwest of the capital Bamako, this well was discovered by chance in 1987 while drilling for water.

The sources of white hydrogen present in the Earth’s subsurface could be sufficient to meet the planet’s energy needs. At a depth of about 110 meters, it has been producing a gas composed of 98% hydrogen for eleven years, which is used to supply the village with carbon-free electricity. This gas continues to be naturally produced in the subsurface through chemical reaction despite being continuously extracted, making it a renewable energy source.

Although the exploitation of white hydrogen is still in its infancy, scientists and professionals in the energy sector believe that in the long term, the sources of white hydrogen in the Earth’s subsurface will be sufficient to meet the planet’s energy needs.

Native hydrogen is in the spotlight for both the industry and governments, as they strive to develop sustainable exploitation techniques. Many believe it could potentially become the future equivalent of oil, an endless source akin to infinite oil.

Currently, the first well is being drilled in Nebraska (United States), and in Australia, about thirty exploration licenses have been granted in recent months. Deposits are also being studied in China, Finland, and Spain.

In Spain’s case, a well was discovered in the years between Barbastro and Monzón (Huesca). However, it is only now that a company has decided to exploit it.


SOURCE: motorpasion


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