Natural hydrogen

April 28th, 2022

R&D Focus Areas:
Natural hydrogen, Hydrogen market development

Lead Organisation:
Geoscience Australia

Geological Survey of New South Wales, CSIRO, Mineral Resource Tasmania,


Start date:
January 2021

Completion date:
June 2024

Key contacts:
Dr Chris Boreham (Geoscience Australia):

The project is funded under the Exploring for the Future program.

Project total cost:
Not applicable

Project summary description:
Hydrogen from geological sources (geologic hydrogen) is gaining an increasing share of exploration investment and activity globally. If found in commercially exploitable quantities, geological hydrogen could potentially support the transition to a low carbon economy.

Australia is considered one of the most prospective locations for geologic hydrogen due to its ancient geology and presence of potentially suitable hydrogen traps (e.g. salt, clays and dolerites). A recent review of geologic hydrogen occurrences found high concentrations of hydrogen in natural gas samples in many parts of Australia.

Geoscience Australia seeks to build on that early work and look for further occurrences of geologic hydrogen under different geological conditions, ultimately developing a guide for hydrogen exploration.

This project will aim to attract investment into geologic hydrogen exploration and correct the misconception that hydrogen does not exist in the subsurface.

Related publications and key links:
Boreham, C.J., Sohn, J.H., Cox, N., Williams, J., Hong, Z. and Kendrick, M.A. 2021. Hydrogen and hydrocarbons associated with the Neoarchean Frog’s Leg Gold Camp, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, Chemical Geology. 575, 120098.

Boreham, C.J., Edwards, D.S., Czado, K., B., Rollet, N., Wang, L., van der Wielen, S., Champion, D., Blewett, R., Feitz, A. and Henson, P.A. 2021. Hydrogen in Australian natural gas: occurrences, sources and resources. The APPEA Journal. 61, 163-191.

Boreham, C.J., Wang, L., Sohn, J., Jinadasa, N., Hong, Z, Chen, J., Grosjean, E. and Jarrett, A. 2022. Exploring for the Future – NDI Carrara 1 gas geochemistry: molecular composition, carbon and hydrogen isotopes of hydrocarbon gases and the sources of molecular hydrogen and helium. Record 2022-014. Geoscience Australia, Canberra.

Boreham, C.J., Murray, A, Mahlstedt, N. and Horsfield, B, 2022. Geologic H2 from overmature organic sources: numerical modelling application in the Cooper Basin, Australia. Goldschmidt Conference 10-15 July 2022 Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, USA.

Mahlstedt, N., Horsfield, B., Weniger, P., Misch, D., Shi, X., Noah, M and Boreham, C. 2022. Molecular hydrogen from organic sources in geological systems. Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering 105, 104704.

Boreham, C.J., Edwards, D.S., Feitz, A.J., Murray, A.P., Mahlstedt, N. and Horsfield, B. 2023. Modelling of hydrogen gas generation from overmature organic matter in the Cooper Basin, Australia. The APPEA Journal 63, S351-S356.

Miller, C.J., Black, E., Feitz, A. and Waite, T.D. 2023. Kinetic modelling of hydrogen generation via subsurface iron mineral transformations. Geoscience Australia, Canberra.

Black, E., Boreham, C., Czado, K., Taylor, G. and Feitz, A. 2023. Natural hydrogen occurrences and generation potential throughout the Eastern Trans-Australian corridor, NSW. Australian Hydrogen Research Conference, Canberra, 8-10 February 2023.

Black, E., Boreham, C., Czado, K., Taylor, G., von Spulak, R. and Feitz, A. 2023. Natural hydrogen and helium occurrences of the Eastern Trans-Australian Corridor (Darling-Curnamonda-Delamerian) in New South Wales, Australia. Natural Hydrogen: A New Frontier for Energy Geoscience Conference, London, 4-5 July 2023.

Higher degree studies supported:
Not applicable


Reviewed: August 2023