Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Awarded $1.6M for Hydrogen Research

Lacy Oliver

March 7, 2024

The grant comes as part of a $20 million investment from ARPA-E to accelerate the natural subsurface generation of hydrogen.

Two Texas Tech University professors in the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering have been awarded more than $1.6 million for pioneering research aimed at enhancing hydrogen production through innovative chemo-bio-physical stimulations. 

Danny Reible, the Donovan Maddox Distinguished Engineering Chair and a Horn Distinguished Professor, and Qingwang Yuan, an assistant professor in the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering, are principal investigators for Texas Tech's award, which is part of a $20 million investment from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) exploring geologic hydrogen. 

“This award will explore some of the potentially most impactful approaches to moving away from a carbon economy by stimulating carbon-free hydrogen production in the subsurface,” Reible said. “I believe that hydrogen can potentially be produced without expensive and energy-intensive hydrogen production facilities above ground.”

Funded through the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), Texas Tech's project will develop chemical, biological and physical methods to stimulate geological hydrogen across various types of iron-containing rocks. By optimizing the processes, the team aims to maximize the potential of geologic hydrogen stimulation. 

Texas Tech will partner with industry leaders Rio Tinto, a global mining company, and Lavoisier H2 Geoconsult, a frontrunner in natural hydrogen, along with two national laboratories, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in executing the research. 

“Texas Tech University will be one of the major players in carbon-free, low-cost geo-hydrogen production in the near future,” Yuan, the technology lead, said. “Future students will have the chance to contribute to addressing the most crucial issues – climate change and clean energy.”

Yuan's research group, The Hope Group, is primarily focused on carbon-zero, carbon-free, and carbon-negative HydrOgen Production from the Earth's subsurface (HOPE).

The research holds significant promise for advancing the understanding and application of hydrogen production techniques with potential implications for renewable energy development and environmental sustainability. 

More information about this project and others funded through ARPA-E can be found here.