Sunday, December 10, 2023

Natural hydrogen discovery in Central Sulawesi offers potential clean energy

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Journalist IBP


Mahinda Arkyasa



The Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) has discovered natural hydrogen in Morowali Regency, Central Sulawesi. Research began in October 2023, and based on the initial findings, the Geological Agency has identified the potential for natural hydrogen.

“From our preliminary research, there is an indication of natural hydrogen in Central Sulawesi, specifically in Morowali Regency,” stated Indra Sanjaya, a Geologist with the Geological Agency of the Ministry of ESDM.

However, Indra mentioned that this ongoing research is still in its early stages. The agency has collected hydrogen gas samples for further study to determine their content. 

“What we have detected now is the presence of natural hydrogen gas, but further research is needed to measure the quantity,” He noted.

In addition to the Morowali Regency, the Geological Agency’s team has also discovered the potential for other hydrogen gas sources in Central Sulawesi, specifically in Tanjung Api, Ampana, Tojo Una-Una Regency. Research on hydrogen potential in this area began in August 2023.

Indra explained that the findings in Ampana, where hydrogen gas samples contained 20-30% hydrogen along with methane, demonstrate the indication of hydrogen-rich material in Indonesia, particularly in Central Sulawesi. However, he emphasized that further research is required to better identify the extent of this potential.

Hydrogen, as a fuel, has the potential to provide a clean energy source without producing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Natural hydrogen can be generated through a geological process known as “serpentinization.” 

This process results from the reaction of ultramafic rock with water at low temperatures and pressures, producing serpentine minerals and hydrogen gas.

Central Sulawesi is home to the broadest distribution of ultramafic rocks in Indonesia, making it a promising location to explore hydrogen sources. 

The adoption of green gas energy like hydrogen is expected to help address the impacts of climate change, such as global temperature rise, extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels, and ecosystem changes.

Indra highlighted that climate change poses significant challenges to humanity, and addressing these challenges requires efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources. The Indonesian government, through the Geological Agency, is actively searching for potential green energy sources, including natural hydrogen. 

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), several countries have committed to investments in hydrogen energy development. Globally, the largest investment commitment for hydrogen development came from Germany, amounting to US$ 10.3 billion in 2021. In the Asian region, Japan leads in investment commitments, totaling US$ 6.5 billion.

This discovery of natural hydrogen in Central Sulawesi provides an exciting opportunity for Indonesia to tap into a sustainable and clean energy source, potentially contributing to the global shift toward renewable energy solutions. Further research and investment in this field will be instrumental in harnessing the potential of natural hydrogen.

Journalist IBP


Mahinda Arkyasa




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