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Mon Aug 19, 2019, 08:38 PM

Cheap hydrogen?

I know I know ... yet another hopeful article on cheap energy. But this seems pretty cool to me.

Scientists extract hydrogen gas from oil and bitumen, giving potential pollution-free energy
News article on phys.org

Scientists have developed a large-scale economical method to extract hydrogen (H2) from oil sands (natural bitumen) and oil fields. ... The process can extract hydrogen from existing oil sands reservoirs, with huge existing supplies found in Canada and Venezuela. Interestingly, this process can be applied to mainstream oil fields, causing them to produce hydrogen instead of oil.
...
The researchers have found that injecting oxygen into the fields raises the temperature and liberates H2, which can then be separated from other gases via specialist filters. Hydrogen is not pre-existing in the reservoirs, but pumping oxygen means that the reaction to form hydrogen can take place.


Of course the headline is awful (the production isn't pollution-free, you'll need a lot of oxygen), but it sounds like this might have potential. I just hope the oxygen they pump into the ground doesn't explode.

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Cheap hydrogen? (Original post)
CloudWatcher Aug 19 OP
marble falls Aug 19 #1
CloudWatcher Aug 19 #5
Wounded Bear Aug 19 #2
PhilLesh69 Aug 20 #6
cstanleytech Aug 20 #9
CentralMass Aug 19 #3
CloudWatcher Aug 19 #4
CentralMass Aug 20 #7
Javaman Aug 20 #8
CloudWatcher Aug 20 #10
NNadir Aug 21 #11

Response to CloudWatcher (Original post)

Mon Aug 19, 2019, 10:06 PM

1. Oxygen and hydrogen in gaseous form what could possibly go wrong?

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Response to marble falls (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 19, 2019, 11:27 PM

5. Maybe they could partner with Musk's Boring Company

Last edited Tue Aug 20, 2019, 12:21 AM - Edit history (1)

Maybe if the explosions are confined to underground ...

Though seriously, it's not like oil and its associated gasses aren't dangerous too.

Disclaimer: of course, I don't know how dangerous oil processing is vs. what these guys have in mind. I just thought it might be an idea worth keeping an eye on over the next few years.

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Response to CloudWatcher (Original post)

Mon Aug 19, 2019, 10:38 PM

2. You know where to get hydrogen?



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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #2)

Tue Aug 20, 2019, 12:16 AM

6. Exactly.

With a solar panel anyone can make hydrogen from water with zero pollution using electrolysis. But I guess this new process is a resource extraction method and that fits in the model of our current consumption system.

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Response to PhilLesh69 (Reply #6)

Tue Aug 20, 2019, 10:52 AM

9. Umm that won't happen unless they can find a pollution free way to make the solar panels as well.

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Response to CloudWatcher (Original post)

Mon Aug 19, 2019, 10:52 PM

3. How much carbon does the process produce.

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Response to CentralMass (Reply #3)

Mon Aug 19, 2019, 11:12 PM

4. They say the carbon stays underground ...

"This technique can draw up huge quantities of hydrogen while leaving the carbon in the ground."

"The only product of this process is hydrogen, meaning that it the technology is effectively pollution and emission free. All the other gases remain in the ground because they cannot go through the hydrogen filter and up to the surface"

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Response to CloudWatcher (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 20, 2019, 02:35 AM

7. That sounds promising.

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Response to CloudWatcher (Original post)

Tue Aug 20, 2019, 09:29 AM

8. not just pollutes but also destroys the environment...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2015/aug/03/canadas-tar-sands-landscape-from-the-air-in-pictures


Canada's tar sands landscape from the air – in pictures


A new book of aerial photographs, Beautiful Destruction, captures the awesome scale and devastating impact of Alberta’s oil sands with stunning colours, contrasts and patterns. The book also includes 15 essays by prominent individuals from environment and industry, sharing their insights, ideas and opinions. Photographs by Louis Helbig

click the link to see the photos.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #8)

Tue Aug 20, 2019, 12:37 PM

10. ouch

Thanks for posting. I didn't realize that harvesting tar sands was so horrific.

Btw, they did assert that ... "this process can be applied to mainstream oil fields, causing them to produce hydrogen instead of oil."

So perhaps it could help in the long run.

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Response to CloudWatcher (Original post)

Wed Aug 21, 2019, 08:37 PM

11. Sigh...

...Why does this poor thinking persist?

How anyone, particularly a science blog could think this is non polluting is beyond weird, so much so that it's depressing.

Where will the oxygen for this pixilated proposal come from?

Producing hydrogen wastes energy, and producing it from oil sands is worse than refining oil sands to make oil.

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