Barrasso’s Statement at Geologic Hydrogen Hearing

February 28, 2024

“Republicans have advocated for reducing carbon emissions through innovation – not regulation.”

Click here to watch Senator Barrasso’s opening remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered remarks at a full committee hearing to examine the opportunities and challenges associated with developing geologic hydrogen in the United States.

The hearing featured testimony from the Honorable Evelyn N. Wang, Director, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, U.S. Department of Energy; Dr. Geoffrey S. Ellis, Research Geologist, Energy Resources Program, U.S Geological Survey; and, Mr. Pete Johnson, CEO and Co-Founder, Koloma.

For more information on witness testimony click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“Thank you so much Mr. Chairman.

“And thank you for holding today’s hearing.

“The Energy Information Administration projects that the world demand for energy is going to increase by 34 percent by 2050.

“To meet this demand, our nation is going to need more of every type of energy.

“And that includes hydrogen.

“Hydrogen offers many advantages.

“It is light, abundant, it is especially energy dense.

“Hydrogen is also very clean.

“When combusted with oxygen, hydrogen emits only water vapor and warm air.

“It is widely believed that we will need hydrogen in order to reduce emissions in sectors of the economy that use large amounts of energy.

“That includes steel, concrete production, transportation, electricity generation.

“For years, our attention on hydrogen production has been focused on using natural gas or cracking water through a process called electrolysis.

“Today, we will look at the potential to tap underground deposits of pure hydrogen – also known as geologic hydrogen.

“Geologic hydrogen is formed when water reacts with iron-rich rock at high temperatures underground.

“Scientists have long known that water and iron-rich rock produce hydrogen.

“Until recently, they believed that hydrogen would not remain in a pure state for very long.

“They believed hydrogen would bond with other elements, like oxygen to form water, or carbon to form hydrocarbons.

“They believed that hydrogen would be eaten by microbes, or escape into the surface and into the atmosphere

“Scientists have recently found that in some areas deposits of pure hydrogen can remain trapped.

“When this happens, the hydrogen accumulates.

“And, if enough hydrogen accumulates, the hydrogen can be extracted like oil and gas.

“The scientific community and the private sector are cautiously optimistic that the world contains large reserves of geologic hydrogen.

“Dr. Ellis – one of our witnesses –has estimated that even if just a small fraction of these reserves is economically recoverable, it would meet the world’s projected demand for hydrogen for hundreds of years.

“In December, the Economist ran an article about geologic hydrogen, Mr. Chairman, right here:

‘The Rush for Colorless Gold’

“It is a very, very, thorough, good article.

“It quotes the leader of one geologic hydrogen company stating that he holds the-

‘unpopular view that science and innovation are likely to come to our rescue on climate…as they did over COVID.’

“Republicans have advocated for reducing carbon emissions through innovation – quoting you, innovation, not regulation.

“And without elimination

“Geologic hydrogen is clearly (he says purely but meant clearly) an area that we should pursue.

“Companies exploring for geologic hydrogen use many of the same technologies that are used in the oil and gas industry.

“In fact, many of the people exploring for hydrogen today spent their careers exploring for oil and gas.

“These are many of the same people and technologies that have made the United States the world leader in oil and gas production.

“In my view, geologic hydrogen – unlike wind, solar, and electric batteries – plays to America’s strength – not those of China.

“Scientists and companies, exploring for geologic hydrogen are looking to make hydrogen production as affordable, reliable, and clean as possible.

“Glad to say the University of Wyoming is participating in these efforts.

“While there is still much to learn, today’s hearing will shed light on the opportunities and challenges ahead.

“I want to thank our witnesses for joining us here today.

“I look forward to hearing the testimony.

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.”