Harnessing Earth’s Hidden Hydrogen for Clean-Burning Fuel

Hydrogen gas is widely regarded as a promising alternative to fossil fuels, as it can produce energy without emitting carbon dioxide. However, most of the hydrogen gas currently used is derived from natural gas or coal, which still contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. A potential solution is to tap into the vast reserves of hydrogen gas that may be hidden in Earth’s crust, formed by water reacting with iron-rich minerals under high pressure and temperature. H2Files.com writes about these possibilities.

In 2012, Chapman Petroleum Engineering, a company that specializes in oil and gas exploration, identified what they believe to be a massive source of natural hydrogen gas when one of their drillers peered into a dry borehole 108 meters deep while smoking a cigarette. The wind coming from the borehole exploded, creating a fire with no black smoke pollution and shining like blue sparkling water during the day. This gas was determined to be 98% hydrogen.

This discovery has inspired Chapman Petroleum Engineering to explore the possibility of harnessing Earth’s hidden hydrogen as a renewable energy source. Their research has revealed that hydrogen gas is present in many places around the world, including the Middle East and North Africa, in concentrations up to 10% of the total gas in a reservoir. This means that the amount of recoverable hydrogen could be much higher than previously thought.

The company has also identified several techniques for recovering this natural hydrogen. These techniques include drilling, fracking, and chemical extraction. Drilling involves creating boreholes deep into the ground in order to access the natural hydrogen. Fracking involves injecting water or other fluids into rock formations in order to fracture them and release the trapped hydrogen gas. Chemical extraction involves using chemicals to extract the hydrogen from other elements in the gas.

Challenges Ahead

While natural hydrogen has many potential benefits, there are also challenges that must be overcome before it can become a viable alternative to traditional fossil fuels. One challenge is the cost of producing and distributing natural hydrogen. Another challenge is finding ways to store and transport large amounts of hydrogen safely.

There are still many unknowns about how much natural hydrogen exists in Earth’s crust and how much of it is feasible to recover. More research needs to be done before natural hydrogen can become a mainstream source of energy. To complicate matters further, some scientists are skeptical about the amount and quality of hydrogen gas that can be obtained from serpentine rocks, as it may be mixed with other gases or contaminated by microbes.

Renewable Hydrogen Initiatives

Governments and businesses around the world are investing heavily in renewable hydrogen initiatives. In 2021, the US government announced plans to invest almost $26 billion in renewable energy projects over the next five years, with renewable hydrogen projects at the top of their list.

In Europe, the European Commission has proposed a new law which would require all Member States to use at least 14% renewable energy sources by 2030. This includes renewable fuels such as green hydrogen derived from electrolysis using renewable electricity.

Supplementing green hydrogen, made by electrolysis using green electricity, with mined hydrogen could give the energy transition an extra boost.


Chapman Petroleum Engineering’s research has opened up exciting possibilities for harnessing Earth’s hidden reserves of renewable energy. While there are still challenges that need to be addressed before natural hydrogen can become a viable alternative to traditional fossil fuels, this research suggests that this clean-burning fuel could play an important role in our transition away from fossil fuels.

The current investment by governments and businesses in renewable energy projects shows that there is real commitment to finding clean alternatives to fossil fuels. With continued research and development, it may not be long before we see natural hydrogen become a mainstream source of energy.

This article Harnessing Earth’s Hidden Hydrogen for Clean-Burning Fuel was first published on Innovation Origins.

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