Could US golden hydrogen be worth trillions?

Could US golden hydrogen be worth trillions?

June 6, 2024 2 By Julie Campbell

There are countries and companies around the world looking for this type of H2 opportunity

Worldwide, there are searches for golden hydrogen – among other clean energy opportunities – that include even the most remote locations such as the Sahara Desert, Antarctica, the Moon, and even passing asteroids.

Now, it looks like the US may have scored huge

Ongoing research projects have been increasingly discovering resources rich in golden hydrogen in areas across the United States, particularly in one region. It is now predicted that the value of this H2 could reach in the high billions, or even over a trillion dollars. 

While much of the world focuses on green H2 as the cleanest form of this fuel, the expense associated with producing it using solar and wind energy to power electrolyzers has been a barrier to its widespread use. This has meant that the most common method of producing H2 remains the gray method, that is, using natural gas with unabated carbon emissions.  While some projects are focusing on carbon capture and storage technology for a much lower carbon emitting blue H2, environmental experts typically say that while it’s an improvement over gray, it’s far from ideal.

The DoE has pointed to massive golden hydrogen deposits in the US

The Department of Energy is focused on the production and use of clean H2 throughout the country. That said, it has also underscored the opportunity of tapping and using golden hydrogen from reserves throughout the US. 

Golden Hydrogen - Image of US DOE Building

Department of Energy in Washington – WASHINGTON DC – COLUMBIA

New assessments are indicating that this could add to a substantial domestic supply and that it could be worth a considerable amount for the American economy.

As apart of this effort, scientists in the US have located massive H2 gas deposits trapped underground. These appear to be large enough that they would offer consumers enough energy to sustain them for centuries.  It was the Department of Energy that has claimed that these golden hydrogen resources in some parts of the country could be worth trillions of dollars.

The golden hydrogen was formed naturally

Most H2 fuel must be produced using various different methods. The reason is that while it may be the most abundant element in the universe, it is also the lightest, so when it enters the air, it rises up through the atmosphere and quickly escapes. While it’s been known for many years that some H2 deposits can exist underground, it wasn’t until very recently that it was determined that they exist at a substantial scale and that some of them are located in the US.

Natural H2 deposits are the result of geo-chemical processes which produced it and left it trapped within rocks and sediments underground.

What makes it better than green?

Golden hydrogen isn’t necessarily better than green.  Moreover, it does still require effort in order to obtain it, because it requires careful drilling and other processes similar to fracking to access it. However, once those are in place, an entire deposit can be accessed, as opposed to green H2, which must continue to be produced.

Therefore, golden hydrogen has a lower energy and resource demand, as it is already made. This doesn’t imply that there is no environmental cost. After all, there are issues associated with drilling and fracking techniques that cannot be ignored. However, this can be said about any method of fuel and energy production, and many believe that the environmental impact is very small when compared with other strategies currently being pursued.

Some states have more golden hydrogen than others

In the United States, known large deposits of golden hydrogen are mainly in Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, and Utah.  Combined, the Department of Energy believes that there are trillions of cubic feet of H2 gas in the underground rock structures, and that this could provide trillions of dollars in clean power for hundreds of years.

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