Peter Eichhubl, Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin
Peter Eichhubl's research combines the fields of fault and fracture mechanics and low-temperature geochemistry addressing deformation mechanisms of the upper crust, structural control of mass and heat transfer in sedimentary basins, effects of chemical mass transfer on the mechanical and hydraulic behavior of fractures and faults, and the chemical interaction between fluids and minerals. Dr. Eichhubl's research is of applied interest to geothermal and fossil energy resources and underground storage of hydrogen and CO2. Fundamental aspects of the research have implications for the seismic and aseismic deformation of the Earth's upper crust and for the interaction of subsurface fluids with the atmosphere and biosphere.
Hydrogen provides a low-carbon alternative to currently used carbon-intensive fuels for electric power generation, transportation, and industrial applications. Although naturally occurring as limited gas accumulations, hydrogen is considered an energy carrier to be generated through primary energy sources including solar, wind, or hydro power, nuclear energy, or from natural gas with or without carbon capture and storage. Similar to natural gas, hydrogen can be transported via pipeline and trucks, and stored in tanks and in subsurface storage facilities. For seasonal and longer-term strategic energy storage, hydrogen may offer the sole low-carbon alternative to currently practiced natural gas and petroleum storage. In this presentation, I will provide an overview over the current state of subsurface hydrogen storage, existing technology and knowledge gaps, and research needs, with an emphasis on research conducted at UT Austin.