U.S. Department of Energy Announces $20 Million to Explore Potential of Geologic Hydrogen

ARPA-E Unveils Two Initiatives Focused on Low-Cost, Low-Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hydrogen Production

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Given recent interest in the discovery of naturally accumulating deposits of subsurface hydrogen known as geologic hydrogen, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $20 million in funding to develop technologies that can stimulate the generation of hydrogen within the subsurface at the lowest cost and environmental impact.

This new effort could potentially enable the production of enough hydrogen to decarbonize our most challenging industries, which supports the Biden Administration’s net-zero goals.

“ARPA-E supports transformational, impactful energy technologies. So, when it comes to geologic hydrogen, we’re asking ‘are there disruptive ways to access this hydrogen source and explore the potential?’” said ARPA-E Director Evelyn N. Wang. “There is significant opportunity to accelerate the development of hydrogen production, and I look forward to the teams pursuing this exploration.”
While the supply of naturally accumulating hydrogen, in and of itself, can enhance the U.S. energy economy, reduced iron minerals within the Earth’s crust have the theoretical potential to produce even more hydrogen from reactions within the subsurface. Using stimulated mineralogical processes could yield larger quantities of hydrogen than what are produced naturally. Thus, engineering the production of subsurface hydrogen could be a substantial source of clean energy.

The funding announced today is part of two Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Exploratory Topics. The first—Exploratory Topic G: Production of Geologic Hydrogen Through Stimulated Mineralogical Processes—seeks technologies that stimulate hydrogen production from mineral deposits found in the subsurface, including developing our understanding of hydrogen-producing geochemical reactions and how to enhance or control the rate of hydrogen production.

The second—Exploratory Topic H: Subsurface Engineering for Hydrogen Reservoir Management—focuses on technologies relevant to the extraction of geologic hydrogen, including improvements in subsurface transport methods and engineered containment, reservoir monitoring and/or modeling during production and extraction, as well as assessing the risk of hydrogen reservoir development.

Visit the ARPA-E eXCHANGE website for more information about these ARPA-E Exploratory Topics, including key guidelines and dates for applicants.