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Massive hydrogen reservoir discovered beneath an Albanian mine could be an untapped source of clean energy | Live Science

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  kavika  •  3 weeks ago  •  12 comments

By:   Sascha Pare (livescience. com)

Massive hydrogen reservoir discovered beneath an Albanian mine could be an untapped source of clean energy | Live Science
A portion of ancient oceanic crust that sits atop Albania and hosts one of the largest chromium mines on Earth also contains a huge hydrogen reservoir, offering a potential source of clean energy.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


A massive hydrogen reservoir may be lurking deep beneath a chromium mine in Albania, a new study has found.

The reservoir sits within a portion of Earth's crust and mantle that once lay at the bottom of the ocean and was scraped off when the tectonic plate it rode on slid beneath another plate. The crumpled slab of crust and mantle was thrust onto land between 45 million and 15 million years ago and formed a 1,900-mile-long (3,000 kilometers) rocky belt, known as an ophiolite, that extends from present-day Turkey to Slovenia.

Ophiolites exist worldwide, and researchhaspreviouslydocumented hydrogen gas leaking from boreholes and mines drilled into these formations. In the new study, scientists discovered the reservoir thanks to huge clouds of hydrogen gas wafting from pools of water inside the Bulqize mine, which is located 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Tirana, Albania. Such hydrogen reservoirs could be tapped to provide carbon-free fuel, but the deep infrastructure needed to do so is lacking and the gas is inherently difficult to extract.

"We have seen plenty of hyper alkaline springs hosted in ophiolites worldwide where hydrogen is bubbling [out]," lead study author Laurent Truche, a professor of geochemistry at Grenoble Alpes University in France, told Live Science in an email. But "what we have observed deep in the mine is another dimension," Truche said, and "turns a draining pool inside a mine gallery into a breathtaking 30-square-meter [323 square feet] jacuzzi bubbling with almost pure hydrogen."

Truche and his colleagues explored the deepest levels of the Bulqize chromium mine and recorded extreme quantities of hydrogen gas leaking from the rocks and bubbling through pools of water. Their measurements suggest that at least 220 tons (200 metric tons) of high-quality hydrogen escape from the mine every year, which is one of the largest natural hydrogen flow rates documented to date.

A miner finishes his shift at the Bulqize chromium mine in Albania on Sept. 23, 2020. (Image credit: GENT SHKULLAKU/Contributor via Getty Images)

Hydrogen is a highly flammable gas. The high concentrations measured inside the Bulqize mine are thought to have sparked three explosions since 2011, killing four miners and injuring many more. "Our study will help to understand the phenomenon and to improve safety," Truche said.

The discovery also sheds light on the geological conditions that seal large reserves of natural hydrogen underground. Hydrogen venting from the Bulqize mine likely accumulated in tectonic fractures between two blocks of rock deep within the ophiolite, according to the new study, which was published Thursday (Feb. 8) in the journal Science. This fault zone is estimated to be 33 feet (10 meters) wide, up to 3,300 feet (1,000 m) long and up to 16,400 feet (5,000 m) deep, and it "can easily be observed in the deepest mine galleries," between 1,640 feet (500 m) and 3,300 feet deep, Truche said.

"We still don't know how this fault is sealed, but it has no visible footprint at the surface," he added.

As much as 55,000 tons (50,000 metric tons) of hydrogen could lurk in the reservoir beneath the mine — enough to sustain the high flow rate for 238 years, according to the study.

Deposits of natural hydrogen are a promising source of carbon-free energy if they are extractable and sufficiently large.

"What sets our discovery apart is the large flux of almost pure [hydrogen] gas we have observed," the authors wrote in the study. "In the context of energy transition, our findings could substantially affect the ongoing search for new energy resources."


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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Kavika     3 weeks ago

A great discovery, now for the hard part can it be mined without killing half the country?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @1    3 weeks ago

a highly flammable gas in a hole 33 feet wide, 2/3 of a mile long, and over 3 miles deep. what could go wrong?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.1  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @1.1    3 weeks ago

ff 5 years, albania officially changes nation name to craterstan...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  devangelical @1.1.1    3 weeks ago

Wouldn't it be great if they could find a way to get to it safely, what a change it would make.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.3  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @1.1.2    3 weeks ago

not enough money in the world to operate that drilling rig...

 
 
 
Split Personality
Professor Guide
1.1.4  Split Personality  replied to  devangelical @1.1    3 weeks ago

literally a rocket engine that could alter our orbit around the sun?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.5  devangelical  replied to  Split Personality @1.1.4    3 weeks ago

biggest grenade in the galaxy...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.6  seeder  Kavika   replied to  devangelical @1.1.5    3 weeks ago

Woosh, and there we go.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2  Mark in Wyoming     3 weeks ago

You can say this is off topic if you want , but I have been reading a lot about new deposites of things lately.

Latest was a 2.3 billion metric tons of rare earth elements in eastern Wyoming.

It is energy related though.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Mark in Wyoming @2    3 weeks ago
It is energy related though.

It is and it isn't off-topic. In fact, I believe that I posted an article sometime back on the discovery in Wyoming. There was another huge discovery of rare earth metals off the coast of Norway a few months back as well.

The good thing about those discoveries is they are US allies (of course Wyoming is a state so don't go there). The discovery in Albania is the same as Norway a friend of the US and a member of NATO.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.1.1  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Kavika @2.1    3 weeks ago

jrSmiley_20_smiley_image.gif yeah, my state, I can't not go there.

Remember where the bulk of the national naval petroleum reserve is located,that's separate from the national petroleum reserve that gets plundered.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Mark in Wyoming @2.1.1    3 weeks ago
Remember where the bulk of the national naval petroleum reserve is located

Calif, Wyo Alaska and one other state, Alaska being the largest.

 
 

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