- Scientists — attempting to find low levels of methane and hydrogen gas in the subsoil of the Lorraine mining basin — have discovered 'white hydrogen,' a fuel that could potentially intensify the efforts to address the climate crisis.1
- A team of researchers from France's National Centre of Scientific Research and the University of Lorraine have found unexpectedly high levels of white hydrogen beneath Lorraine, which is a former coal-mining district in southeastern France.2
- The Lorraine deposit could contain between 6M and 250M metric tons of white hydrogen — which is a naturally occurring hydrogen gas — and may make up the world's biggest known reserve of clean energy.3
- Since white hydrogen only emits water when burned, the discovery could be an alternative source of fuel in energy-intensive sectors such as aviation and shipping, especially since other 'green' sources of renewables such as solar and wind have trouble meeting demand in these industries.4
- However, the exciting potential of white hydrogen poses significant challenges to economic feasibility, including regulatory barriers and production costs. The drilling process to extract the energy source could also add to expenses.5
- If the challenges are overcome, the deposit in Lorraine — along with the other possible reserves in the Pyrenees, New Caledonia, and the Alps — could potentially allow France to produce 3M tons of white hydrogen annually.6
- Narrative A, as provided by CNN. This discovery of white hydrogen is like the holy grail of renewable energy sources. Hydrogen production is a highly energy-intensive process that frequently uses fossil fuels. While its sibling 'green hydrogen' is made from renewable energy, its production remains small-scale and expensive. Finding large amounts of white hydrogen would open up previously unexplored renewable energy sources that could supercharge the effort to address the climate crisis.
- Narrative B, as provided by Clean Technica. White hydrogen isn't the miracle cure for a clean energy economy. There's a long way to go before the deposit in Lorraine can be extracted, as scientists must first confirm its size and extent by drilling more boreholes and drilling deeper. There are major challenges in terms of feasibility, logistics, and cost-effectiveness — any silver bullet for solving the complex climate crisis must be taken with skepticism.