White hydrogen. What is it?

Let’s talk about white hydrogen. In nature, we find it mostly in gaseous form (H2) and it is colorless. That is why, when you hear about “white hydrogen”, we refer to the naturally occurring one that might be (rarely) found in underground deposits.

Natural hydrogen is still a little-known source of energy but some projects are already set-up and produce natural hydrogen in industrial quantities. It is the cheapest solution to produce carbon-neutral hydrogen and is competitive with fossil fuels.

green hydrogen

White hydrogen is the natural form of H2 that is found in underground deposits released via fracking, and in the air.  It is the lightest chemical element and the first on the periodical table of elements.

This type of hydrogen is not created by humans, but is found in its natural form, as a free gas, either in layers of the continental crust, deep in the oceanic crust, in volcanic gases, in geysers or in hydrothermal systems. Hydrogen seems to be present in a wide range of rock formations and geological regions.

Even though white hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it is rare in its pure form, which is why it isn’t being considered for collection to be used as an emission-free fuel. 

Instead, H2 is usually combined with other atoms to create other molecules.  For example, an easily recognizable combination is H2O, better known as water.

White hydrogen found on the earth is produced by a range of different sources

green hydrogen

Among the sources of natural H2 are:

  • Serpentinization, a reaction between ultrabasic rocks and water
  • Degassing H2 found deep within the Earth’s crust and mantle
  • Weathering, in which water interacts with freshly exposed rock surfaces
  • A contact between water and reducing agents located in the Earth’s mantle
  • Organic matter decomposition
  • Hydroxyl ion decomposition in the structure of minerals
  • Natural water radiolysis
  • Biological activity

So, let’s summarize:

In nature, we find it mostly in gaseous form (H2) and it is colorless. That is why, when you hear about “white hydrogen”, we refer to the naturally occurring one that might be (rarely) found in underground deposits. We don’t have any viable strategy to use these deposits now, so we apply different processes to generate it artificially. That is what the colors are for: each one refers to the energy source and/or process that was used to produce hydrogen.

white hydrogen

Our work with hydrogen

Universal Kraft works with hydrogen as a green option to fossil fuels, providing the same functionality on a large scale. Complementary to direct electrification, hydrogen gives the green industry a chance to contribute beyond the grid, via the generation of green hydrogen as energy storage, greening of gas through methanation of hydrogen and feedstock for high-temperature local industrial processes that are difficult to electrify.

These green power alternatives are fundamental for a sustainable and complete clean energy transition. Universal Kraft has been working on alternative and innovative energy storage solutions for a number of years. To optimize the decarbonization potential of renewables for the generation of green hydrogen and ammonia we created the companies UH2 and BH2.

Discover all our solutions here.

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