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IPFS News Link • Energy

First of Its Kind Discovery in Mali: Vast Reservoirs of Clean Hydrogen Gas

•, By Andy Corbley

The town called Bourakébougou was prospected by Malian energy entrepreneur Aliou Diallo, who believed the mysterious gas which in the daytime shone with a blue color like sparkling ocean water, and at night like golden dust, could represent a fortune.

In 2012, he recruited Chapman Petroleum to determine what the gas was. It was 98% hydrogen. Months later, Diallo's firm Petroma had installed a pilot unit to turn the gas into electricity that produced water as an exhaust product, and transformed the village into one with reliable, plentiful electricity.

In the decade since, belief that a potential inexhaustible natural energy source that's zero emissions saw scientists and energy companies fly into action, scouring academia and the world for more information on underground hydrogen reservoirs

In 2018, a science team published a paper on the Bourakébougou hydrogen well, which concluded from evidence obtained from a dozen exploratory wells in the vicinity that it was "possible to confirm the presence of an extensive hydrogen field featuring at least five stacked reservoir intervals containing significant hydrogen that cover an estimated area well superior to 8 km in diameter."

Furthermore, the study found that the current estimate of its exploitation price is much cheaper than manufactured hydrogen, either from fossil fuels or from electrolysis.

Cratons and cash

It was long believed, a feature in Science Magazine details, that hydrogen gas reservoirs were extremely rare. It's rare to find them in places where energy companies drill for oil and natural gas, true, but if one knows where to look, they're more common.