Main Product
Hydrogen
Segment
Refined Products
Main-Family
Refinery Gases
Sub-Family
Fuel gases & Lighter hydroc.
Physical State

Gas

Sub-Product
White Hydrogen
Abbreviation
H2
Alt. Names
Gold Hydrogen; Native Hydrogen; Geological Hydrogen
Description

Definition

WHITE HYDROGEN is Hydrogen:

  • produced as a Byproduct of Industrial Processes.
  • also refers to Hydrogen occuring in its (rare) Natural Form.

Different ways Hydrogen is occuring in the natural environment

Hydrogen can be found in nature in different ways:

  • Serpentinization

    The alteration of the mineral olivine in mid-ocean ridges or ophiolites (geological formations where sections of the Earth's mantle rise above sea level) produces fluids rich in hydrogen. This has been observed in the Semail ophiolite located in the Hajar Mountains of Oman[1].
     
  • Radiolysis of water

    Radioactive elements present in the Earth's crust, for example in crystalline rocks rich in uranium, thorium or potassium, disintegrate water molecules trapped in a pocket of hydrogen, the phenomenon has been observed in Western Australia[2].
     
  • Deep outgassing

    Natural hydrogen also rises from the depths of the Earth's crust. This has been observed in Nebraska, USA[3].
     
  • Reduction of iron and oxidation of sulfur

    Iron present in submarine hydrothermal vents formed from iron sulfide deposits is reduced to iron sulfides and hydrogen[4].
     
  • Thermal decomposition of organic matter

    Ammonium compounds present in deep sediments decompose at high temperatures to produce hydrogen and nitrogen, this phenomenon has been observed in hydrogen-nitrogen gas seeps in Oman[5].
     
  • Biological activity

    Hydrogen is produced by microbes living in the Earth's crust and is found in sedimentary rocks or aquifers. This has been observed in the coal seams of the Powder River Basin in Montana, USA[6].

Natural Hydrogen reserves estimate and production

Determining the actual amount of natural hydrogen in the world is very difficult.

Natural underground hydrogen reserves may have formed through various geological and biological processes. Mali is already using it to produce electricity for $0.5/kg of hydrogen, making it the cheapest energy in the world.

A French expert believes that it is not realistic to give figures on the available reserves today, as no studies or test drilling have yet been carried out. No one can give estimates without concrete verification. All estimates are purely speculative.

France, Spain and Australia are searching, sometimes successfully, for hydrogen in their subsoil.

For energy companies, it is important to intensify work on hydrogen production, as hydrogen is becoming the center of the energy development strategy of many countries.  The technologies for exploration and production of natural hydrogen are practically the same as those for the oil and gas industry. The production and use of natural hydrogen in Mali should serve as an example[7].

References

  1. Reza Rezaee, Assessment of natural hydrogen systems in Western Australia, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Volume 46, Issue 66, 2021, Pages 33068-33077, ISSN 0360-3199.
  2. Zgonnik, Viacheslav, Valérie Beaumont, Nikolay Larin, Daniel Pillot and Eric Deville. Diffused flow of molecular hydrogen through the Western Hajar mountains, Northern Oman. Arabian Journal of Geosciences 12 (2019): 1-10.
  3. Anna Demming, The hunt for natural hydrogene reserves, Chemistry World, 21 Aug 2023.
  4. Petersen, J., Zielinski, F., Pape, T. et al. Hydrogen is an energy source for hydrothermal vent symbiosesNature 476, 176–180 (2011).
  5. Nicolas Jacquemet, Alain Prinzhofer, The association of natural hydrogen and nitrogen: The ammonium clue?, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Volume 50, Part B, 2024, Pages 161-174, ISSN 0360-3199.
  6. Elliott P. Barnhart, Edwin P. Weeks, Elizabeth J.P. Jones, Daniel J. Ritter, Jennifer C. McIntosh, Arthur C. Clark, Leslie F. Ruppert, Alfred B. Cunningham, David S. Vinson, William Orem, Matthew W. Fields, Hydrogeochemistry and coal-associated bacterial populations from a methanogenic coal bed, International Journal of Coal Geology, Volume 162, 2016, Pages 14-26, ISSN 0166-5162.
  7. Where in Europe do they plan to extract natural hydrogen?, 7 Jan 2024, Rybar

 

Identifiers

logo CAS Number
1333-74-0
logo EC Number
215-605-7
logo ECHA InfoCard
100.014.187
logo IUPAC Name
Molecular Hydrogen
Chemical Data

Chemical Formula

H2

Molecular Weight (g/mol)
2.01588
Boiling Point (°C)
-252.879
Melting Point (°C)
-259.16
Specific Gravity
0.07
Properties

Default
Status
A
System Info

Update by
UserPic  Kokel, Nicolas
Updated
2/10/2024 3:22 PM
Added by
UserPic  Kokel, Nicolas
Added
1/27/2023 6:37 AM
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