Generating Hydrogen in the sub-surface, Ian Duncan, GeoH2 Industrial Affiliate Program, State of Texas Advanced Resource Recovery Group, Bureau of Economic Geology, the University of Texas at Austin
Ian is currently is currently a Program Director within the STARR program at BEG where he works with research teams to solve problems in CCUS (carbon capture, utilization and storage), CO 2 EOR (enhanced oil recovery using CO 2 ) and hydrogen generation in depleted subsurface hydrocarbon reservoirs. His current research focuses on the scientific, and technical aspects of ROZ (residual oil zones) and the mechanisms of CO 2 storage associated with CCUS. He is also using machine learning to model CCUS issues. He has a particular interest in the mechanisms for CO 2 storage in oil reservoirs and the potential impact of diagenesis and mineralogy on CCUS. He also is interested CO 2 transport, leaks, blowouts and risks. He has given testimony to the US Congress on CO 2 EOR on three separate occasions. He has sat on seven national boards and chaired two (including 3 review panels for the US Department of Energy. He was chosen by President Obama as the only earth scientist to speak at his Energy Review Panel. Similarly, last year he was selected as the only earth scientist to speak on subsurface hydrogen generation at President Biden’s Energy Shot nationwide Zoom meeting.
My research seeks to develop a subsurface technology to generate hydrogen from oil reservoirs and simultaneously sequester produced CO 2 . The proposed technology is based on in-situ combustion (ISC) methods to provide energy and mimic the gas-solid and gas-gas reactions that occur in gasification and steam reforming plants in oil refineries (which currently are used to produce most of the world’s hydrogen from methane). Such engineered reservoirs have the potential to produce high volumes of hydrogen from water at a low cost, relative to existing alternatives. This is high-risk, high-potential return collaborative research involves: (1) simulation of multi-phase fluid flow with coupled thermal and kinetic modeling (using high-performance computing); (2) generation of experimental data on the kinetics of solid-gas reactions under reservoir conditions; (3) investigation of nano-technology to deliver material to catalyze key subsurface reactions such as conversion of methane to hydrogen plus CO 2; and (4) evaluation of the use of highly durable ceramic membranes to separate hydrogen and CO 2.