Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Hydrogen Wildcatters Still Need to Find Their First Gusher (OTOH helium drillers may have just done so)

And at the moment sources of helium are more important than sources of geologic hydrogen. You can always formulate hydrogen in its many colors grey, blue, green, pink etc. but helium in size is tough to find and being noble it can't be split off other chemical compounds because it just doesn't mix with common elements.

First up, Bloomberg Opinion, March 3:

Hydrogen Wildcatters Still Need to Find Their First Gusher
Prospectors must soon hit pay dirt in the rush for the promising fuel.

Think of an iconic image of the petroleum age, and you may well be picturing a fountain of crude spouting hundreds of feet into the air, scattering thousands of barrels around a smashed drilling derrick.

From Spindletop — the Texan oilfield whose 1901 blowout kickstarted the oil era and sparked nearby Houston’s transformation into one of America’s biggest cities — to the disaster 109 years later when a gusher on the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico destroyed the Deepwater Horizon rig, such geysers have been synonymous with both the wealth and the damage that hydrocarbons can bestow. Those who hope to remake the energy industry for a zero-emissions world are still looking for their equivalent. 

Right now, the absence of a gas gusher is the main factor holding back geological hydrogen, a promising fuel that few had given any thought to 12 months ago. For decades, chemists and engineers have argued the simplest molecule, with the formula H2, might supplant the role of oil and gas in providing the heat, energy, and chemical feedstocks on which modern society depends. Only recently have geologists realized the earth’s crust might hold vast quantities of the stuff.  

It was long assumed that hydrogen’s reactivity would make it vanishingly rare in nature. That view looks much less solid now. Natural processes are probably producing 23 million metric tons a year, according to one paradigm-breaking 2020 study. Unpublished research by the US Geological Survey suggests that’s a gross underestimate: There might be 5 trillion tons below the surface, capable of producing 500 million tons a year, the Financial Times reported last month. That could be sufficient to displace about 40% of current natural gas consumption. The discoveries might spark a “clean energy gold rush,” New Scientist magazine announced in a recent cover story....


Meanwhile, In Albania: Hydrogen
Want To Be A Hydrogen Tycoon? Maybe Prospect For Ophiolite And Chromite Ore

And from The Western Journal via MSN, March 3:

Massive Reserve of Helium Found by Minnesota Exploratory Drill, Likely the Biggest Find Ever in North America  

A new find of underground helium in Minnesota could turn out to be one of the largest in the world, Minneapolis's WCCO-TV reported Thursday.

The drill site, just outside Babbitt in the northeastern part of the state, took about a month from initially breaking ground to get to a depth of 2,200 feet.

What it found there, Pulsar Helium CEO Thomas Abraham-James called "a dream."

"There was a lot of screaming, a lot of hugging and high fives. It's nice to know the efforts all worked out and we pulled it off," Abraham-James told WCCO.

He said that the concentration of helium sampled was 12.4 percent -- about 30 times what the outlet referred to as "the industry standard," and higher even than the company had forecast.

"12.4% is just a dream," the CEO told the outlet. "It's perfect."

Further analysis remains to be done, of course, but the finding confirmed work completed in 2011 that indicated the presence of helium deep under the surface, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Companies generally pursue helium concentrations above 0.3 percent that they can locate, the outlet noted....