Cemvita Factory announced multiple developments with its Gold Hydrogen business. Cemvita defines Gold Hydrogen as the biological production of hydrogen in the subsurface through the consumption of trapped or abandoned resources. Gold Hydrogen is a novel source of carbon neutral hydrogen produced from depleted oil reservoirs that are ready for plug and abandonment, extending the life of wells that would otherwise be a significant burden.
After achieving a key milestone in microbe performance required to produce hydrogen at $1/kg in the lab, Cemvita successfully completed a field pilot program with positive results. Following successful field trial results, Cemvita has created a wholly owned subsidiary for the Gold Hydrogen business, Gold H2 LLC (GH2), and subsequently raised and closed funding into the entity, led by founding investors Chart Industries and 8090 Industries.
Cemvita scientists increased microbe performance by six and a half times the rate needed to produce hydrogen at $1/kg, a key milestone necessary to advance the program toward commercialization. The subsequent field trial was completed in the Permian basin with a partnering company, where the team successfully measured hydrogen concentrations three orders of magnitude above baseline.
In a very short time frame, we moved our microbes from the lab to the field. The hydrogen production in this trial exceeded our expectations. As we continue to use hydrogen producing microbes downhole, we anticipate we can achieve rates that will translate to hydrogen production at $1/kg or less.—Zach Broussard, Director of Gold H2 at Cemvita
Traditional methods of producing hydrogen without greenhouse gas emissions (green hydrogen) include electrolysis powered by renewable sources such as wind, solar, or hydro. According to recent studies, the global green hydrogen market size was valued at US$0.3 billion in 2020. It is growing at a CAGR of 54.7% from 2021 to 2028 and is projected to reach US$9.8 billion by 2028.
Green hydrogen production, however, is energy intensive and expensive. According to a report from S&P Global Commodity Insights, the cost of electrolytic hydrogen from renewable energy spiked as high as $16.80/kg in late July 2022. Because Cemvita plans to utilize existing infrastructure for thousands of depleted oil and gas wells to produce cheap, clean, carbon free hydrogen, the technology has the potential to be transformational in the energy transition, the company says.
Following successful milestones in the lab and in preparation for commercialization, Cemvita elected to create Gold H2 as a way to commercialize the business through a mixture of licensing, JV structures, and outright ownership of hydrogen producing assets.
By deploying the business through the flexible subsidiary route, we can effectively maximize the commercial value of the program back to the parent company, Cemvita, through both licensing and enterprise value growth.—Charles Nelson, Chief Business Officer of Cemvita
Cemvita Factory’s mission is to reimagine heavy industries such as oil & gas and mining for the net-zero economy. This is done through the sustainable extraction of natural resources, carbon negative production of chemicals, and closed-loop renewal of waste as feedstock.