While startups in the United States, Australia, and Spain have already embarked on drilling projects to uncover naturally occurring hydrogen reserves, Switzerland is the latest entrant in the race, and early surveys indicate promising results on its home turf.
Natural hydrogen, believed to exist beneath the Earth’s surface, has caught the imagination of energy innovators across the globe. Promising areas for its discovery include Russia, Canada, Japan, China, and Oman, with preliminary findings challenging the notion that this gas is a rare commodity. Switzerland, nestled in the heart of the Alpine region, is now on the hunt for its natural hydrogen deposits.
Geological maps and chemical measurements of subterranean gases have pointed to the presence of natural hydrogen in Switzerland. Geochemist Eric Gaucher, co-founder of the startup Lavoisier H2 Geoconsult, shares the discovery, “We have found rocks that produced hydrogen in the past. Now we need to find out if there are rocks deep down that can still produce hydrogen today.”
So, why the growing interest in natural hydrogen? It comes with a compelling set of advantages. Unlike fossil fuels, which are finite and finite, natural hydrogen is virtually an inexhaustible resource. The processes that give birth to this energy source are remarkably faster than those that transform organic matter into oil. Moreover, it holds the promise of being cost-effective, estimated to be less than $1 per kilogram, positioning it as a cheaper alternative compared to hydrogen generated from fossil sources ($0.5 – 1.7/kg) or renewable power ($3-8/kg).
According to Geoffry Ellis of the US Geological Survey, white hydrogen has the potential to emerge as a significant new source of energy for the world. Its abundance, quick production processes, and cost-efficiency make it a compelling candidate in the transition to cleaner energy.
The hunt for natural hydrogen is an exciting endeavor that may reshape our energy landscape, offering a greener, more sustainable future. As Switzerland delves deeper into its own reserves, the possibilities are endless.