Open Access

Applied Sciences, Vol. 12, Pages 6383: Sensing Hydrogen Seeps in the Subsurface for Natural Hydrogen Exploration

Applied Sciences doi: 10.3390/app12136383

Mederic Mainson
Charles Heath
Bobby Pejcic
Emanuelle Frery

The recent detection of natural hydrogen seeps in sedimentary basin settings has triggered significant interest in the exploration of this promising resource. If large economical resources exist and can be extracted from the sub-surface, this would provide an opportunity for natural hydrogen to contribute to the non-carbon-based energy mix. The detection and exploration of hydrogen gas in the sub-surface is a significant challenge that requires costly drilling, sophisticated instrumentation, and reliable analytical/sampling methods. Here, we propose the application of a commercial-based sensor that can be used to detect and monitor low levels of hydrogen gas emissions from geological environments. The sensitivity, selectivity (K > 1000), and stability (<1 ppm/day) of the sensor was evaluated under various conditions to determine its suitability for geological field monitoring. Calibration tests showed that the hydrogen readings from the sensor were within ±20% of the expected values. We propose that chemical sensing is a simple and feasible method for understanding natural hydrogen seeps that emanate from geological systems and formations. However, we recommend using this sensor as part of a complete geological survey that incorporates an understanding of the geology along with complementary techniques that provide information on the rock properties.

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