The Green Gold Rush: Rising Investments in Geologic HydrogenJuly 29, 2023
Recently, we reported on a discovery in France that unearthed a massive geologic natural hydrogen deposit in the Lorraine region, a find that could have substantial implications for the European Union’s decarbonization strategy. Amidst this backdrop, Denver-based startup Koloma is also making waves within the natural hydrogen energy sector, with all eyes on its innovative technology to identify, access, and produce geologic hydrogen.
Geologic Hydrogen: An Age-Old Resource Capturing New Attention
In general, geologic hydrogen production stands out as a unique and sustainable approach to generating hydrogen. Unlike traditional methods, this process requires no external water inputs, eliminating the need for water to support electrolysis. This feature makes it a highly efficient primary energy source.
A key characteristic of geologic hydrogen production is that it requires no external energy, it’s naturally made. It leverages natural processes occurring within iron-rich source rocks to generate hydrogen, thereby reducing dependence on external power sources.Furthermore, the geologic hydrogen production process is characterized by minimal surface disruption. Even a high-volume hydrogen production site is almost unnoticeable, making it a more environmentally-friendly option compared to other methods.
Another crucial advantage of geologic hydrogen production is its low carbon intensity. The process results in a low carbon footprint, putting it on par with electrolysis methods. This makes it an attractive option in the quest for carbon-free hydrogen production.
The process of serpentinization, a natural occurrence where certain types of rocks react with water to create hydrogen – This is the heart of geologic hydrogen production.
This process has been occurring beneath the Earth’s surface for billions of years, creating vast reserves of clean, renewable energy. In essence, serpentinization is a key geological process that contributes to the natural occurrence of geologic hydrogen, making it a significant factor in the study and potential exploitation of this clean energy resource.
Koloma’s Innovative Approach
Koloma is pioneering a unique approach to harness this potential. The company employs AI lasers to determine the volume and purity of geologic hydrogen reserves. This innovative method could drastically reduce the time and cost associated with traditional drilling methods and increase the efficiency of hydrogen extraction.
Bill Gates’ Investment and Large Companies in the Hydrogen Sector
Bill Gates, a well-known proponent of renewable energy sources, has made significant investments into the hydrogen sector. His most recent venture being Koloma, some have refer to as a stealth-mode startup, which just emerged in an interview with Forbes magazine. With a hefty $91 million investment from Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and other climate investors like Energy Impact Partners, Evōk Innovations, Prelude Ventures, and Piva Capital, Koloma has become the most-funded company in its field.
Also, Gates has backed Spanish startup H2Site, which aims to revolutionize the storage and transportation of hydrogen. The company secured €12.5M in investments from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Engie SA, and Equinor ASA. H2Site’s technology seeks to utilize existing natural-gas pipelines for hydrogen transport by filtering natural gas and hydrogen mixtures. These investments reflect Gates’ commitment to the development of hydrogen as a key player in the global energy landscape.
The potential of geologic hydrogen extends far beyond just energy production. According to some estimates, it could become a trillion-dollar industry by 2050. The implications are profound, both economically and environmentally. By harnessing geologic hydrogen, we could significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, curbing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
In conclusion, the pioneering work of Koloma in geologic hydrogen production marks a significant shift towards a more sustainable energy future. Their innovative technology harnesses the power of natural processes to produce clean, cost-effective energy with minimal environmental impact. Backed by significant investments from industry giants like Bill Gates, and supported by favorable government initiatives, Koloma is set to revolutionize the energy sector. However, the journey is not without its challenges.
The development of infrastructure for transportation and storage of hydrogen, along with efficient extraction methods, remains crucial. Nevertheless, the potential of geologic hydrogen as a key player in the global energy landscape is undeniable, promising profound economic and environmental implications. As we look forward to a future less reliant on fossil fuels, the role of companies like Koloma in harnessing the untapped potential of geologic hydrogen becomes increasingly significant.
Q1: What is geologic hydrogen?
A: Geologic hydrogen refers to naturally occurring hydrogen found in the earth. This type of hydrogen can be found in various geological formations and can be produced through various processes, one of which is serpentinization. It is considered a clean fuel because its combustion only produces heat and pure water.
Q2: How is geologic hydrogen produced?
A: One of the primary ways geologic hydrogen is produced is through a process called serpentinization. This process involves the reaction of water with olivine, a common mineral in the earth’s mantle. When olivine comes into contact with water, it undergoes a chemical reaction that results in the formation of serpentine (a type of mineral), heat, and hydrogen.
Q3: What makes geologic hydrogen a potential energy source?
A: Geologic hydrogen is considered a potential energy source due to its abundance and the fact that it’s a clean fuel. When burned, hydrogen does not emit any harmful greenhouse gases, making it an attractive option for a sustainable, low-carbon future.
Q4: What is the role of serpentinization in geologic hydrogen production?
A: Serpentinization plays a crucial role in the production of geologic hydrogen. The process involves the reaction of water with olivine, a mineral found in the earth’s mantle. This reaction produces serpentine, heat, and hydrogen. The hydrogen produced through this process can potentially be harvested for use as a clean energy source.
Q5: Can geologic hydrogen be stored underground?
A: Yes, geologic hydrogen can be stored underground. In fact, underground hydrogen storage is being explored as a viable method for large-scale hydrogen storage. However, there are still many factors to consider, such as potential microbial activity in underground reservoirs and how hydrogen moves within the pore spaces of rocks