Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
1.04-1 Hydrogen: energy carrier in nature and for society – from natural hydrogen occurrences to large-scale hydrogen storage
Tuesday, 05/Sept/2023:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Maximilian Hasch, Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe
Session Chair: Peter Klitzke, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR, Germany)
Session Chair: Philipp Weniger, Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR)
Location: Hall C (HFB)


2:00pm - 2:30pm
Invited Session Keynote
Topics: 1.04 Hydrogen: energy carrier in nature and for society – from natural hydrogen occurrences to large-scale hydrogen storage

Natural Hydrogen – Is it a new game changing energy resource?

Jürgen Grötsch

Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen, Germany, Germany

The drive towards net-zero emissions as per the Paris 2015 agreement has resulted in significant efforts to develop sustainable energy resources. In order to change the current energy system, alternative resources need to replace wood, coal, oil and gas. One of the recent new findings in the Geo-Energy sector is natural hydrogen which can be found in many places around the globe as seeps.

Reasons for the lack of interest in hydrogen exploration so far are multi-fold, like nobody considered natural hydrogen as a viable option, hydrogen cannot be detected easily, other energy resources were available in large quantities and at low cost and more. However, many indications point towards a major clean energy resource of the future considering that in the last few years some 300 seeps have been reported. One of the most famous ones is the eternal fires of Chimaera in Turkey, know to burn since more than 2500 years. In the meantime, the first hydrogen exploration companies have formed and even a first long-term production test is ongoing.

Natural (white) hydrogen was until now not considered in the energy transition. If further developments turn out to be successful, this may result in another unexpected game changer in the energy sector similar to coal replacing peat in 1880. However, the question remains, what such a potential new energy opportunity could look like as part of the future energy mix. This talk will highlight the current status and potential ways forward on this new energy resource.

2:30pm - 2:45pm
Topics: 1.04 Hydrogen: energy carrier in nature and for society – from natural hydrogen occurrences to large-scale hydrogen storage


Nikolay Yakimchuk1, Ignat Korchagin2, Arzu Javadova3

1Institute of Applied Problems of Ecology, Geophysics and Geochemistry, Laboratorny Lane, Kyiv, Ukraine; 2Institute of Geophysics, NAS of Ukraine, 32, Palladin Ave., Kyiv, 03680, Ukraine; 3Micropro GmbH , Germany

The results of the application of the mobile direct-prospecting technology of frequency-resonance processing and interpretation of satellite images and photographs in large areas and local areas of hydrogen degassing in German various regions are presented. Experimental reconnaissance studies were carried out to study the features of the deep structure of hydrogen-degassing areas.

Instrumental measurements confirmed the presence of large zones of hydrogen degassing in the areas of basalt volcanoes in Bavaria. Signals at the frequencies of hydrogen, basalts and healing water were recorded at the sites performed for the hydrogen migration. Measurements recorded the facts of hydrogen migration into the atmosphere. When scanning the cross-section, responses from hydrogen are recorded from the upper edges of basaltic volcanoes to their roots. Signals at hydrogen frequencies were also recorded from limestones, dolomites, and marls overlying the basalts from above (including at shallow depths). Experimental studies have also shown that siliceous rocks can be a good seal for hydrogen. There is no hydrogen migration into the atmosphere within basalts, overlapped by siliceous rocks. The obtained results of experimental work are also additional evidence in favour of the "volcanic" model of the formation of various structural elements and the external appearance of the Earth, as well as deposits of combustible and ore minerals (including hydrogen and water).

The use of mobile and low-cost technology will significantly speed up the exploration process for hydrogen, as well as reduce the financial costs for its implementation.

Keywords. Hydrogen,basalts, limestones,healing water, abiogenic genesis,volcano,direct searching,remote sensing data

2:45pm - 3:00pm
Topics: 1.04 Hydrogen: energy carrier in nature and for society – from natural hydrogen occurrences to large-scale hydrogen storage

A Proof-of-concept study of microbial activity in water-filled pore space: an experimental investigation of methanogenic conversion of hydrogen to methane in reservoir rocks

Saeed Khajooie1, Garri Gaus1, Anja Bettina Dohrmann2, Martin Krüger2, Ralf Littke1

1Institute of Geology and Geochemistry of Petroleum and Coal, Energy and Mineral Resources Group (EMR),RWTH Aachen University, Germany; 2Bundesanstalt fuer Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR), Germany

The activation of methanogenic Archaea in the context of subsurface hydrogen storage may lead to permanent hydrogen conversion to methane. The objective of this proof-of-concept study is to experimentally investigate these activities, and it is focused on reservoir analogues from the Cretaceous and Triassic periods. These analogues have been selected based on their varying porosities, which range from 8% to 24%. Methanothermococcus thermolithotrophicus was used as the model organism due to its relatively high activity and growth rate. The microbial activities in various water-saturated reservoir rocks with either similar bulk or pore volumes, as well as inoculated media containing sand particles and rock fragments, were experimentally studied and compared to values obtained in bulk solutions. Measured activities in the water-saturated rock specimens with identical bulk volumes varied between 0.17 and 1.22 mM H2 /h largely correlating with the pore volume. Furthermore, the results indicated that activities in the water-filled pore space of the respective rocks were higher by a factor of 8-10 compared to activities in bulk solutions. This observation, in conjunction with the measured activities in inoculated media containing sand particles and rock fragments, as well as in rocks with similar pore volume, supported the notion that the surface area available for microbial colonization is another factor in controlling activity when the amount of substance is held constant. Additionally, the study suggests that methanogenic activities used to quantify hydrogen conversion in reservoirs must potentially be revisited because they are typically measured on bulk solution rather than within intact rocks.

3:00pm - 3:15pm
Topics: 1.04 Hydrogen: energy carrier in nature and for society – from natural hydrogen occurrences to large-scale hydrogen storage

Rapid microbial consumption of gaseous hydrogen injected into a shallow aquifer

Nina-Sophie Keller1, Michaela Löffler2, Götz Hornbruch3, Klas Lüders3, Markus Ebert3, Susann Birnstengel1, Carsten Vogt1, Andreas Dahmke3, Hans-Hermann Richnow1

1Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Germany; 2DECHEMA e.V.; 3University of Kiel, Institute of Geosciences

Hydrogen (H2) was injected into a shallow aquifer at the TestUM field site (close to Wittstock, Brandenburg, Germany) in order to simulate a H2 gas leakage scenario. The resulting biogeochemical processes were monitored in space and time by analyses of stables hydrogen isotopes, groundwater microbial community composition and geochemical parameters in two monitoring wells (D04, D06) close to the injection wells, and a reference well (D11) not directly affected by the injected H2. During the injection, initial shifts in the isotope signature of H2 were observed, probably caused by dissolution of H2 in the water phase and the migration of the gas phase through pores and channels in the aquifer. After the injection, H2 concentrations in D04 and D06 decreased within less than 80 days from maximal 850 µmol/L below the detection limit, accompanied by an equilibrium isotope exchange with water leading to a strong isotopic depletion of H2, a reaction typically catalyzed by the H2-cleaving enzyme hydrogenase. Microbial H2 oxidation and subsequent growth of hydrogenotrophic prokaryotes was further indicated by temporally increasing abundances of putative H2-oxidizing sulfate reducers, acetogens, nitrate reducers and aerobes, accompanied by nitrate disappearance and transiently increasing acetate concentrations. In summary, the results confirm our expectation that H2, being an excellent energy source for many microorganisms, is quickly microbiologically consumed in an aquifer after a leakage.