Scientists develop economical method to extract hydrogen gas from oilAugust 21, 2019
Hydrogen that is extracted from oil reserves can be used to power hydrogen cars.
A team of Canadian engineers from the University of Calgary have found a large-scale and economical way to extract hydrogen gas from oil reserves, including oil fields and oil sands (natural bitumen). The hydrogen that is extracted could then be used to power fuel cell vehicles, including cars, buses, trains and so on.
The discovery could be a major breakthrough for the hydrogen fuel industry.
The extraction method the researchers have developed is potentially a major breakthrough. Not only could it lead to the industrial, economical extraction of hydrogen from oil reserves, but the cost-effective process could also be brought to mainstream oil fields to switch their production to hydrogen gas. It could even be employed at abandoned oil fields.
The researchers presented their work at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference, where they identified vast oil reservoirs in several countries that would be well suited to their extraction, such as the huge existing supplies found in Canada and Venezuela.
The researchers can draw up huge quantities of hydrogen gas from oil while leaving the carbon in the ground.
In essence, the breakthrough method involves injecting oxygen into the oil fields. This raises temperature and breaks the hydrogen free, which can then be separated from other gases through specialist filters. As hydrogen does not pre-exist in the reservoirs, it is the pumping of the oxygen that creates the reaction to allow hydrogen to form.
In their tests, the researchers said that their technique can pull up massive quantities of hydrogen, but leaves the carbon in the ground.
“The only product of this process is hydrogen, meaning that the technology is effectively pollution and emission free,” said Grant Strem, CEO of Proton Technologies, which worked with the University of Calgary, reports Silicon Republic.
“All the other gases remain in the ground because they cannot go through the hydrogen filter and up to the surface.”
Additionally, it’s estimated that when using existing infrastructure the method can produce hydrogen at between 10c and 50c per kilo. To put this into greater perspective, by comparison, present hydrogen production costs put it closer to $2 per kilo, with 5% of the gas utilized to power the oxygen production plant, notes Silicon Republic.
“Our initial aim is to scale up the production from Canadian oil sands, but in fact we anticipate that most of the interest in this process will come from outside Canada, as the economics and the environmental implications make people look very hard at whether they want to continue conventional oil production,” Strem said.
Speaking of Canada, Strem says that using Alberta as an example, the team’s hydrogen gas from oil extraction method could supply the country’s electricity needs for 330 years.
A modern ACR type Wankel engine, operating at a single rpm, and single load, with 50% of stoichiometric H2 / air mixture and acting as a fully optimised zero-emissions Range Extender , for powering urban electric buses in particular, would be much cheaper than fuel cells.
And have much longer TBO.
And taking into account a significant weight saving, and ready availability of high grade heat for the vehicle heating in winter, will be very near to matching the energy efficiency of FCs.
As reply above
So that sounds like a CO shift reaction. How is the heat balance managed ? Also CO gas is much less viscous than bitumen, so (unless the tar is in an old natural gas well) how can we be sure it won’t leak out through minor fissures in the rocks ? If it did leak, we should be concerned as it is poisonous, flammable (at the right concentrations) and contributes to global warming.
Where is the oxygen that is pumped into the ground obtained? Can it be removed from the ground once pumped down there?
The utter absurdity of reducing hydrocarbon fuel to carbon dioxide & oxygen to placate oil industry lobbyists is astounding. Electrolysis of water using off-peak PV & wind, then storing that H2 in oil wells & salt domes is where we need to go. Too bad there isn’t a multi-trillion dollar lobby in favor of the general public welfare. I watched the California private utilities lobby for “central-generator” model solar farms instead of “point-of-use residential & commercial PV, then turn around & extract billions from the ratepayer to upgrade the transmission infrastructure to these tertiary remote sites that were never intended to handle bulk power. Get private business out of power generation before we all go broke supporting the 1% of the population controlling 80% of the money. I’m pretty sure a “board of directors stockholder” member worth $400+M will never miss a meal.
Nice one Mitch!
Thanks Craig. Upton Sinclair said it best – “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” -M-
We are patenting a system for storing up to 10% weight-by-weight hydrogen on a liquid carrier. The carrier exists at standard temperature and pressures and can be recycled an estimated 100 times. Hydrogen is removed by the action of heat and a catalyst; it does not come off spontaneously . This means that there are no explosive mixtures in the head spaces of storage tanks. Steel carriers of all types can be used. We potentially offer the lowest cost method for hydrogen storage and transportation by a factor of 2X to 5X.