Computer Simulations confirm the Economics of Extracting Pure Hydrogen directly from Petroleum Reservoirs
Proton Technologies Canada Inc., a Calgary-based firm, has been working with the Gates Research Group at University of Calgary to explore the potential for converting various types of hydrocarbon reservoirs into productive and cost competitive hydrogen reservoirs.
By looking at anomalies in the gas streams of past projects, Proton generated an economic model based on data calculated from real projects in Alberta and Saskatchewan. As a base case model, the Marguerite Lake project showed positive cashflow using today’s hydrogen pricing index. This is before even considering the upside for future projects that would purposefully make hydrogen in situ. Past projects didn’t value hydrogen as a commodity, and would generally flare the gas or vent at surface.
The research shows that Proton is both cheaper to produce than the traditional methods currently used for hydrogen generation (Steam Methane Reformation and electrolysis), and perhaps more importantly from an environmental perspective, far less carbon intensive, leading to a higher energy efficiency.
Dr. Ian Gates at the University of Calgary is supervising a research team that continues to simulate hydrogen production from oil reservoirs. His lead researcher, Dr. Yi Su, s will help to build a model that can be used to optimize the field tests that are scheduled for fall 2017. It may also be possible to refine the model and create a software tool for engineering the most productive approach to hydrogen production.