While fossil fuels have powered society for more than 150 years, they are criticized for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and concomitant global warming concerns. Clean and economic energy is needed to meet the energy demands while mitigating environmental issues. Hydrogen (H2), as the fuel of the future, is the cleanest energy, as only water is generated when it is consumed. However, the current processes of hydrogen production are either too expensive or not clean. The next generation of technologies for H2 production needs to be developed to accelerate and secure energy transition.
In this talk, we will first discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the existing technologies for hydrogen production at surface facilities, including coal gasification (grey H2), steam-methane reforming (SMR) (grey or blue H2), and water electrolysis (green H2). He will then introduce two new sources of clean hydrogen. They are previously neglected but have the potential to revolutionize both the petroleum and hydrogen industry by providing cleaner and more economic hydrogen. The first one is in-situ hydrogen generation directly from petroleum reservoirs. We will discuss why this hydrogen source is cleaner and potentially more economical than existing technologies. Two approaches we are working on for direct generation of hydrogen from petroleum reservoirs—in-situ combustion gasification and microwave-assisted catalytic heating—will be reviewed. The second new source is natural hydrogen generated in a deep subsurface, also called gold hydrogen. Such hydrogen is carbon-free and widely observed in orebodies, oil and gas reservoirs, and salt deposits, with H2 concentrations ranging from less than 5% to nearly 100%. Finally, we will discuss the origins of natural hydrogen, the distributions of identified surface hydrogen seeps, and its potential to revolutionize the current hydrogen and petroleum industry.
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