Trillium H2 Power selects Shell Blue Hydrogen Process
Sumitomo investing in Lousiana Green Fuels project; shift to SAF

Researchers find large natural source of hydrogen deep in chromite mine

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



That is downright weird considering we have been told so often that hydrogen can't exist save in combination, and is an energy vector, not a source!

That claim continued to be made many years after, very inconveniently, it was being used in Mali to provide power, including by the BBC.


Yes, it is an interesting development, and not one we would have expected.
IMO, the question is how much gas is there, and how quickly can it be extracted.
Also, not that this is very deep (~950 meters down) and so may not be economical to exploit.
(Maybe they could just drill down to the reservoir, i'm not a miner).



A bit more here:

So at the moment we have a resource which may or may not be commercially exploitable, and which may or may not be renewable.

Sometimes it is a good thing to say 'Dunno'

It ain't what you know that causes the problems, it is what you think you know which just ain't so! ;-)


@Dave, thanks for the link.

200 tons per year is not really very much.
at $5 / kg (expensive), it is only $1M, which is not enough to start a well, IMO.


Yeah Jim.

But that is just a leakage rate.

Bitumen was just used initially as mortar and so on, in residual seepages:

It turned out eventually to have a few more uses than was assumed for a few thousand years!


These deposits are located wherever they are if they're sufficiently large you're going to have to build a pipeline to take the hydrogen where you need to use it where they're making fuels or using it directly that requires a sophisticated pipeline that does not get brittle while transporting hydrogen long distances.



We have has hundreds of kilometers of hydrogen pipelines for decades, and there are also a variety of new tech which may help like this one:

What is more open to question is how plans to upgrade NG pipelines of which there are vast networks will work out, ie to what extent that can reduce costs.

Also of relevance here are plans to mix up to 20% hydrogen in NG pipelines, and extract it at point of use.
After all, the old coal gas grid had up to 50% hydrogen.

Another alternative if plans to use liquid hydrogen for heavy transport, rail etc work out is to liquify it on the spot, and use trucks to transport it.
In sLH2 form you are in the same ballpark as transporting diesel.


I'm not sure it's viable to piggyback on existing NG pipelines, given that they are notoriously leaky. I have read that they experience double-digit loss rates between wellheads and end-users.
Building new pipelines will probably be a non-starter, nobody wants them near their homes.
That leaves the option of producing at the point of consumption, or coming-up with all new tech for transporting H2. Not impossible, of course, but not a short-term win either.


Well, Bernard, that is pretty much unreferenced assertation, so it is perhaps enough to simply note that others clearly do not agree with you, or your blanket elimination of some pathways.

The Governments around the world currently developing and installing just such networks. for instance.


It's almost impossible to build new NG pipelines in North America ,and even fixing existing ones is a chore. It's been estimated that NG leakage is one of the major sources of greenhouse gases across the continent.
I'm pleasantly surprised to hear from you that this isn't an issue "around the world."


The only hydrogen pipes I know about are at refineries where they're using natural gas to make hydrogen to crack distillates to make high octane gasoline those don't run very far.



' Approximately 1,600 miles of hydrogen pipelines are currently operating in the United States.'

' Today, over 4,300 kilometers already exists for hydrogen transportation with over 90% located in Europe and North America. Rystad Energy estimates that there are about 91 planned pipeline projects in the world, totaling 30,300 kilometers and due to come online by around 2035.'


Aside from straight out extraction of natural hydrogen, once we get a proper handle on what the processes are producing it there is the possibility of tickling it to produce a commercial flow rate.

Fairly analogous to NG fracking, but perhaps not needing so many nasty chemical additives?

Here is a huge deposit of peridotite rocks in Oman, which they are assessing to see if injection can extract hydrogen:

Here is where peridotite is found, including for instance the Shetland islands:

And there was a previous article on the stimulated hydrogen extraction right here on GCC:


It would be good to also have a survey of the age, condition and projected durability of said thousands of miles of pipeline/infrastructure. What could go wrong?


Considering there are more than 3 million miles of natural gas pipelines in the United States hydrogen has a ways to go yet.


Hi BenF

I am not sure what your point is.

Nothing at all that is engineered does not need proper design and maintenance, and sometimes things go wrong.

It would also have been good, for instance, to have tested the Texan power grid to ensure that it was stress tested with sufficient margins before the recent severe outages.

It wasn't, with unfortunate consequences.

That was not that there was anything fundamentally flawed with the power generators, wind turbines and so on comprising the grid, but that margins and lots of other stuff was inadequately specced to save money, as it turned out, at the expence of lives.

Yep, hydrogen embrittlement can cause issues if not adequately specced or maintained, just like pretty well everything.

In this respect it is reassuring to note that the first 240km hydrogen pipeline built in 1938 is still in operation:

So yup, piping hydrogen about has to be done with care, just like everything else in moving and utilising any very powerful energy source.


@SJC said:

' Considering there are more than 3 million miles of natural gas pipelines in the United States hydrogen has a ways to go yet.'

To hit what target? Obviously we don't currently transport much of it about, as we have not had the tech for economic green hydrogen etc.

Just the same typical comments here seem to indicate a belief that piping hydrogen about is a near impossibility.

Several hundreds of kilometers of hydrogen pipelines operating aparently without catastrophic failure for some decades is a pretty reassuring experiential background to design and build more pipes as needed.


Just found out to my slight surprise that Texas is currently the world leader in hydrogen production and storage:

Most of this is of course linked to their production of fossil fuels, and is hardly green, but just the same has the potential to be developed as the technical base is there, hopefully in beneficial directions.

The comments to this entry are closed.