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Natural Hydrogen – Is it a new game changing energy resource?

The drive towards net-zero emissions as per the Paris 2015 agreement has resulted in significant efforts to develop sustainable energy resources. In order to change the current energy system, alternative resources need to replace wood, coal, oil and gas. One of the recent new findings in the Geo-Energy sector is natural hydrogen which can be found in many places around the globe as seeps.

Reasons for the lack of interest in hydrogen exploration so far are multi-fold, like nobody considered natural hydrogen as a viable option, hydrogen cannot be detected easily, other energy resources were available in large quantities and at low cost and more. However, many indications point towards a major clean energy resource of the future considering that in the last few years some 300 seeps have been reported. One of the most famous ones is the eternal fires of Chimaera in Turkey, know to burn since more than 2500 years. In the meantime, the first hydrogen exploration companies have formed and even a first long-term production test is ongoing.

Natural (white) hydrogen was until now not considered in the energy transition. If further developments turn out to be successful, this may result in another unexpected game changer in the energy sector similar to coal replacing peat in 1880. However, the question remains, what such a potential new energy opportunity could look like as part of the future energy mix. This talk will highlight the current status and potential ways forward on this new energy resource.


Jürgen Grötsch1
1Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen, Germany, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023