What Is Hydrogen?

When we take a look at the website of the International Energy Agency (or IEA), we read that hydrogen is a “versatile energy carrier, which can tackle various critical energy challenges”. But – interestingly enough – while it has been long known that hydrogen is produced underground by the chemical reaction of iron-rich rocks with water (or when water breaks up by exposure to radioactive minerals), it was always assumed that natural underground deposits of hydrogen were small and rare, hence few attempts were made to actually look for it, let alone to use it as an energy source.

Much later, geologists started finding larger amounts of natural hydrogen, all around the globe. For example, in October 2023 researchers at the French National Centre of Scientific Research discovered a very large reservoir of natural hydrogen in north-eastern France’s Lorraine coal basin. This reservoir might contain some 250 million tons of natural hydrogen (which would be enough to provide almost as much energy as the United Kingdom’s largest oil field; the Claire field).

True, more research is needed into how and where hydrogen forms, how it migrates, and how long it stays trapped before it leaks out or is consumed by microorganisms. But there do seem clear benefits if this low-cost, low-impact energy source becomes exploited on a large scale. Moreover, experts argue that the science and technology that is needed to exploit hydrogen is very similar to that is already used by existing oil and gas companies. And so, jobs, resources and knowledge could be redeployed, switching from dirty to clean energy. Leftover hydrocarbons can be converted from subsurface wells (and there are thousands of depleted oil wells around the world) into usable hydrogen while capturing and storing CO2.

Even in case natural hydrogen deposits turn out to be disappointing, then hydrogen can still play an important role in the future once there exists enough renewable electricity capacity to make green hydrogen viable.


Read the full article in our February 2024 report (an electronic report, PDF) that can be ordered by sending an email to info@indonesia-investments.com or a message to +62.882.9875.1125 (including WhatsApp).

Price of this report:

Rp 150,000
USD $10
EUR €10

Take a glance inside the report here!