Scientists have developed a technique for large-scale, low-cost extraction of hydrogen from oil sands and oil fields, says a Canadian company developing this process in Barcelona.
"Scientists have developed an economical and large-scale method for extracting hydrogen (H2) from tar sands (natural bitumens) and oil fields," according to a Proton Technologies statement. This hydrogen "can be used for vehicles running on hydrogen," says this text published on the occasion of the Goldschmidt conference that brings together 4,000 scientists in Barcelona.
Hydrogen can play a key role in the energy transition, provided it increases the use and reduce its production costs, indicated in June the International Energy Agency (IEA).
"Oil fields, even those no longer used, still contain significant amounts of oil," argues Grant Strem, CEO of Proton Technologies. "The researchers found that injecting oxygen into these fields increases the temperature and releases hydrogen, which can be separated from other gases through specific filters." Hydrogen does not pre-exist in tanks, but inject Oxygen allows the chemical reaction that results in the formation of hydrogen to take place, "he says.
If this technology can be implemented on an industrial scale, it estimates the cost of production between 10 and 15 cents per kilo, against two dollars per kilo currently. It would "extract significant amounts of hydrogen leaving the carbon underground," says Proton Technologies.
Currently, hydrogen is almost entirely produced from gas and coal, resulting in the emission of 830 million tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of the cumulative emissions of the United Kingdom and Indonesia.
"This technique has been around for some time, it's the principle of underground gasification: we send oxygen on oil or coal, it produces a gas mixture, often of the syngas type based on monoxide. carbon, CO2 and hydrogen, and after we filter the hydrogen to reuse elsewhere, "commented Olivier Joubert, director of a CNRS research group on hydrogen, interviewed by AFP.
It would be possible to reach the announced price levels but with technical means that are not so obvious for now "and the level of purity of the hydrogen produced is not specified, says the researcher.
© 2019 AFP