UT Research Team Exploring Geologic Hydrogen Recovery

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February 8, 2024

The possibility that there are commercially recoverable amounts of hydrogen gas – a promising carbon-free fuel – sequestered in underground formations is generating attention and spurring new research initiatives.

photo of Prof. Wen Song
Assistant Professor Wen Song

ARPA-E, the new advanced projects division of the Department of Energy, has awarded a grant to Assistant Professor Wen Song and her research team in the UT Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. The grant will provide funding for “Foam-Assisted Enhanced Hydrogen Recovery” so that Dr. Song and her group can develop a foam injection approach to extract geologic hydrogen. 

According to the project description, conventional fluids like water or steam may present challenges for extracting hydrogen because of the insolubility of the hydrogen gas and bubbles being trapped. Instead, the injected foam sweeps, captures, and extracts clustered hydrogen bubbles from mineral surfaces to enable higher recovery efficiency and transport. The project team will design, synthesize, and characterize foam compositions for optimal stability and hydrogen uptake behavior in the reservoir.

The $1 million award from ARPA-E will support graduate students and other staff in Dr. Song’s group to carry out experiments and build models that can devise and optimize the foam injection technology.