Producing clean and inexpensive hydrogen from oil-eating microbes, an ingenious and ecological solution!

News hardware Producing clean and inexpensive hydrogen from oil-eating microbes, an ingenious and ecological solution!

The production of hydrogen is either very polluting or requires a large amount of energy. In both cases, it is difficult to make a positive argument for the planet. A solution exists however, using microbes to make hydrogen.

Innovating in hydrogen production

Currently the production of hydrogen is carried out via two main methods. The first comes from oil extraction which is then transformed into dihydrogen. It is a very polluting process, but which has the advantage of being inexpensive. Nonsense, because oil is used to make hydrogen and then fuel vehicles.

On the other hand, there is the production of hydrogen via electrolysis of water. To do this, a large quantity of electricity must be injected into a water solution. This separates the hydrogen atoms from the water. The problem is that this electricity is used to produce a fuel. As in the previous case, energy is used which is already used to produce another energy. The “green” version using renewable energies represents only 5% of world production…

So we come to the great innovation: using bacteria to extract dihydrogen from oil. At first glance, bacteria might be seen as parasitesyet it is a way to biostimulate and create value in an otherwise neglected resource.

Bacteria to the rescue dry oil wells!

The whole concept, named Gold Hydrogen, is to inject bacteria into disused oil wells to produce hydrogen. This requires a very small amount of energy and above all it uses existing infrastructure.

In a diagram of the American company Cemvita Factory, we discover the exact process, as well as its product:

  • Recycled water is injected into a hydrocarbon well along with nutrients, microbes and an inhibitor
  • An organic stimulation then takes place, creating a chemical reaction
  • The hydrogen is then pushed to the surface where it will be treated
  • CO2 is also produced, it will be stored in the factory

The process is simple and very energy efficient. The only question remains what will be done with this extracted carbon dioxide. In Iceland, companies are injecting it into rock to bring carbon back to the source, i.e. the earth. This method could also be used.

The method also makes it possible to make profitable oil wells that would otherwise be abandoned and plugged. It gives value to a product that should cost money.

Cemvita Factory has managed in the laboratory to create dihydrogen for 1 dollar kg. The group director explains: “In a very short time, we moved our microbes from the lab to the field. The hydrogen production in this trial exceeded our expectations.” To compare the costs, “green” hydrogen, produced after electrolysis with renewable energies, costs 16.8 dollars per kg.

An innovative Low Tech solution to a major problem for the future. Especially with the forthcoming arrival of the hydrogen heat engine adaptable to one’s own car, this resource will become essential. Producing it in large quantities and affordably will be a major challenge. This is not the long-term solution, but a transition method to cleaner production.

We wish to give thanks to the writer of this short article for this incredible content

Producing clean and inexpensive hydrogen from oil-eating microbes, an ingenious and ecological solution!