ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 22th july, 2016) : Hydrogen may not be as rare as once thought as a new study said that rocks beneath the ocean floor by fast-spreading tectonic plates may be a large and previously overlooked source of the gas, which might be the fuel source responsible for triggering life on Earth. And, if it were found in large enough quantities, some experts speculate that it could be used as a clean-burning substitute for today's fossil fuels because it gives off high amounts of energy when burned but emits only water, not carbon.
"Our model, however, predicts that large quantities of H2 may also be forming within faster-spreading tectonic plates -- regions that collectively underlie roughly half of the Mid-Ocean Ridge," said Stacey Worman, who led the study while she was a doctoral student at Duke's Nicholas school of the Environment, Duke University, Durham. The new model calculates the amount of free hydrogen gas produced and stored beneath the seafloor based on a range of parameters - including the ratio of a site's tectonic spreading rate to the thickness of serpentinised rocks that might be found there, Science Daily reported.
"Right now, the only way to get H2 to use in fuel cells, is through secondary processes," Worman, who is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, explained. "You start with water, add energy to split the oxygen and hydrogen molecules apart, and get H2. You can then burn the H2, but you had to use energy to get energy, so it's not very efficient," Worman noted.