Thursday, April 18, 2024

ARPA-E unveils two initiatives focused on low-cost hydrogen production

For many years, we have been using non-renewable fossil fuel-based energy sources like coal, natural gas, and oil, which emit carbon as their byproduct into the environment. From recent research, hydrogen is considered an alternative to non-renewable energy sources. Also, many companies are making hydrogen storage systems, while others are making hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has announced up to $20 million in funding to develop technological solutions for hydrogen extraction from Earth at the lowest cost and environmental impact.

Hydrogen can be produced by splitting water with electricity, also called electrolysis, and the resultant hydrogen is known as green hydrogen

The steam-methane reforming method is also majorly used in industrial manufacturing procedures to produce hydrogen worldwide. The steam-methane process emits carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming.

Furthermore, there is another option to get hydrogen, which has not gained much attention, which is natural hydrogen. Also known as native hydrogen, it is generated by geological processes.

Geological hydrogen can produce enough hydrogen to decarbonize our most challenging industries. Reduced iron minerals in the Earth’s crust have the theoretical potential to produce more hydrogen from subsurface reactions.

Using stimulated mineral processing can produce hydrogen over what is naturally produced. In the future, this engineered subsurface hydrogen production could become an essential source of clean energy.

“ARPA-E supports transformational, impactful energy technologies. So, when it comes to geologic hydrogen, we’re asking, ‘are there disruptive ways to access this hydrogen source and explore the potential?'” said ARPA-E Director Evelyn N. Wang. “There is a significant opportunity to accelerate the development of hydrogen production, and I look forward to the teams pursuing this exploration.”

The funding announced is a part of ARPA-E’s two exploratory subjects, Exploratory Topic G and Exploratory Topic H.

Exploratory Topic G will focus on the production of geologic hydrogen through stimulated mineral processes. It will explore technologies that stimulate hydrogen production from mineral deposits found in the subsurface, including understanding hydrogen-producing geochemical reactions and how to increase or control the hydrogen production rate.

Meanwhile, Exploratory Topic H will aim for subsurface engineering for hydrogen reservoir management that focuses on technologies related to the extraction of underground hydrogen. It includes improvements in subsurface transport methods and engineered containment during production and extraction, reservoir monitoring and modeling as well as assessing the risk of hydrogen reservoir development.