Professor Jon Gluyas, Department of Earth Sciences & Ørsted/Ikon Chair in Geoenergy, Carbon Capture & Storage
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Exploring for Hydrogen, Helium and Lithium – is it as easy as 1, 2, 3?
The current process of energy transition has often been defined by the requirement for metals and the impact that seeking and exploiting such metals as platinum, cobalt, rare earths and more on both the environment and the social order of the areas in which they occur (Lebre et al 2020). However, it is not entirely a future that will be defined by mining for metals. Hydrogen, helium and lithium are all key elements for an energy transition that will, if successful, see humans move away from coal and petroleum (oil and gas) as the principle energy source for humanity. Hydrogen and helium are of course non-metals and gaseous. Lithium is a metal but much is obtained from subsurface brines rather than mining and processing rock.
Here we examine the role that hydrogen, helium and lithium are likely to play in the energy transition and how that might be achieved with lesser impact on the environment than has been the case for fossil fuels. In particular we examine the potential to explore for all three elements and their co-associations in the Earth’s shallow crust.
Jon is a geoscientist with 39 years in industry and academia. He specialises in geothermal energy, carbon capture use and storage (CCUS), helium exploration, human-induced seismicity and transitioning technology into commercial enterprises.