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Researchers just discovered a massive 'jacuzzi bubbling with almost pure hydrogen' — a lucrative source of clean energy

Bulqizë chromite mine
The Bulqizë chromite mine just 25 miles east of Albania's capital Tirana contains a massive reservoir of hydrogen.GENT SHKULLAKU/Getty Images
  • A team of researchers recently discovered a massive reservoir of hydrogen in a mine in Albania.

  • Its concentrations of hydrogen are so high that it has caused explosions and killed miners.

  • The reservoir could be a potential source of clean hydrogen energy.

Hydrogen is becoming a favorable alternative to fossil fuels because it doesn't release carbon into the environment when burned. The downside is that generating it has long been an energy-intensive business that emits greenhouse gasses that warm the planet.

But recently, a team of researchers uncovered a massive reservoir of hydrogen buried in a mine in Albania that could serve as a source of clean, hydrogen energy.

The reservoir — located in the Bulqizë chromite mine just 25 miles east of Albania's capital, Tirana — vents at least 200 tons of H2 gas per year, the researchers said in their report, published last month in the journal Science. They reported that that's one of the largest recorded flow rates of H2  to date.

"What we have observed deep in the mine is another dimension," Laurent Truche, the study's lead author, told Live Science. The reservoir "turns a draining pool inside a mine gallery into a breathtaking 30-square-meter [323 square feet] jacuzzi bubbling with almost pure hydrogen."

But hydrogen is also a highly flammable gas, and the high concentrations within the mine have reportedly caused three explosions that have killed four miners and injured several others since 2011, according to Live Science.

If the hydrogen in the mine can be safely harnessed, the researchers believe it could be a key energy source. And while large, natural reservoirs of hydrogen similar to this are rare, the researchers note that places with similar geology may be good targets for locating other sources.

The discovery comes just months after President Joe Biden announced an initiative to pour $7 billion into seven hydrogen hubs in the US in regions including the Gulf Coast, Pacific Northwest, and Appalachia. One of the initiative's goals is for the hubs to produce "more than three million metric tons of clean hydrogen per year," about one-third of the 2030 US clean hydrogen production goal.



Read the original article on Business Insider