Generating Sustainable Hydrogen
Whilst Green Hydrogen is seen to be the future of truly green energy, one has to be pragmatic and seek alternative solutions when developing a sustainable energy transition on a global scale. Without a multi GW renewable energy source, Green Hydrogen is a bespoke solution that will drive change on a more local scale.
Decarbonising the more traditional energy sectors has significant merit though is not without significant challenges itself. Blue Hydrogen requires a cost effective CCS solution which is both constrained by geology as well as current infrastructure. As an example, Natural Gas pipelines a generally not suitable for use with CO2 and the well packages require repurposing, a process that can prove uneconomic. However, under certain circumstances, Blue H2 will be able to provide industrial volumes of both H2 and its preferred transport medium, Ammonia.
With the development of a robust Methane Pyrolysis system, Turquoise Hydrogen is gaining more commercial traction. This method, whilst utilising Natural Gas as its feedstock, outputs 1/10th of the CO2 as traditional Steam Methane Reformation with the byproduct being Carbon Black, a highly sought after material, thereby potentially generating a secondary revenue stream, creating a more positive commercial model, whilst still generating export volumes of H2 in the process. Whilst this process is on the pilot study phase of technical development, Green Hydrogen Asia has been working closely with a number of the technology companies, monitoring advances and believe that a fully commercial industrial scale site will be viable in the next few years.
The universal panacea for sustainable energy is ultimately WHITE HYDROGEN or hydrogen produced by nature itself. Naturally occurring or geological hydrogen has largely been overlooked because it was assumed rare or too difficult to extract. Whilst the processes that create natural hydrogen are not fully understood, it has been identified in a large range of geological settings such as in oceanic and continental crust, volcanic gases and hydrothermal systems and along most tectonic plate boundaries.
Whilst there is much work still to do to to fully understand the geologic processes that create White H2 (Serpentanisation, other abiotic reactions, biogenesis etc) projects are underway around the world, assessing and utilising this natural energy source. The village of Bourakébougo in Mali is an active case, where natural hydrogen was first discovered in 1987 during the drilling of ~100-metre-deep water wells. However, it was only in 2012 that Hydroma Inc. began drilling and testing for hydrogen in a controlled environment and discovered that the gas emitted by the reservoir was 98% hydrogen. Over the ten-day production test, reservoir pressure was largely maintained, implying that the source is renewable. The reservoir pressure has now been maintained for nine years and this supply of natural hydrogen led to the first production of electricity in the village.
While it remains to be seen whether Hydroma Inc.’s discovery at Bourakébougou can be reproduced elsewhere, the Mali case represents a significant milestone in the natural hydrogen business.
If natural hydrogen can be exploited economically, it would remove the need for clean water, which is used during green hydrogen electrolysis, and eliminate the need for expensive Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) associated with blue hydrogen.
Green Hydrogen Asia is focusing on potential overarching applications across a range of industries.
Decarbonisation of Existing Power Generators
Hydrogen when blended with an existing fuel utilsed by current power generation plants provides a practical method of decreasing CO2 emissions in line with COP26 targets laid out by many countries. Finding a pragmatic approach to the energy transition needs on a global scale requires first steps and manageable targets whilst more robust strategies are developed. Immediately stopping coal fired power in countries with limited options for country wide electricity generation is not economically viable and may lead to a reliance on imported power, potentially seeing that nation held to ransom with ever increasing fuel pricing. Blending H2 with coal can decrease emissions by over 30%, buying time for an orderly change to take place with limited economic impact to the nation.
Industrial Feed Stock: Hydrogen is a critical resource for numerous established industries. With the pressure mounting to better manager and quantify corporate ESG strategies (Environmental, Social, and Governance) by financial institutions, investors and governments, utilising a low carbon feedstock rather than a Grey H2 solution makes achieving these goals more attainable.