Researchers from France and Albania have discovered a large natural source of hydrogen gas outgassing from the deep underground Bulqizë chromite mine in Albania. A paper on their discovery is published in Science.
Deep crustal production of hydrogen (H2) is a potential source of primary energy if recoverable accumulations in geological formations are sufficiently large. We report direct measurements of an elevated outgassing rate of 84% (by volume) of H2 from the deep underground Bulqizë chromite mine …
A minimum of 200 tons of H2 is vented annually from the mine’s galleries, making it one of the largest recorded H2 flow rates to date. We cannot attribute the flux solely to the release of paleo-fluids trapped within the rocks or to present-day active and pervasive serpentinization of ultramafic rocks; rather, our results demonstrate the presence of a faulted reservoir deeply rooted in the Jurassic ophiolite massif. This discovery suggests that certain ophiolites may host economically useful accumulations of H2 gas.—Truche et al.
Satellite image (source: Google Earth®) of the Bulqizë massif highlighting the estimated water catchment area of the mine (in light white), the position at depth of both the Bulqizë-Batra deposit (in grey) and the H2-rich fault oriented N215, 80°W (in red). The fault zone has no visible expression at the surface. Its position on the map corresponds to a depth of about 800 m below the surface. Truche et al.
Pictures of a water draining pool located 950 m below the surface. Vigorous gas bubbling is observed in several locations within this 30 m2 pool. A) The main bubbling zones are highlighted by the haloes of the torches. Truche et al.
Laurent Truche et al. (2024) “A deep reservoir for hydrogen drives intense degassing in the Bulqizë ophiolite.” Science 383, 618-621 doi: 10.1126/science.adk9099