Make Hydrogen Happen

Demand for carbon-free hydrogen is rising. Startup Koloma aims to extract the gas from underground geologic deposits — and it just raised a ton of venture funding.

 

Governments and industry players alike are furiously investing billions in cleaning up the production of hydrogen gas to create an alternative to fossil fuels. But startup Koloma is taking a different path: searching for underground reservoirs of naturally occurring hydrogen that have been largely ignored or lain undetected until now.

It’s called geologic (or white”) hydrogen, and Koloma just raised an eye-popping, gobsmacking $245 million round of venture funding to develop tools and technologies to locate and eventually extract the now-coveted gas from the earth.

Hydrogen is the gas of the moment because it could replace fossil fuels in certain applications, particularly in energy-intensive industrial processes such as ammonia production, petroleum refining and steelmaking. It’s also being considered, in limited cases, as fuel for power generation and transportation.

But hydrogen only works as a fossil fuel replacement if it’s made without producing carbon emissions — ideally with clean electricity, water and machines called electrolyzers. Today, almost all of the 95 million metric tons of hydrogen used globally each year is produced through steam methane reformation, a dirty process that uses fossil gas as a feedstock and produces significant CO2 emissions as a byproduct.

[Read more on the Canary Media website]