Giuseppe Etiope


Geologist, Senior Researcher at INGV (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia), Rome. He received his degree (1991) and Ph.D. (1995) in Earth Sciences from the University of Rome La Sapienza. He works on gas origin, occurrence and migration in the geosphere, with particular reference to gaseous hydrocarbons and hydrogen. His main research is focused on the origin and seepage of natural gas (gas-oil seeps, mud volcanoes, microseepage) with implications on energy resource exploration and atmospheric greenhouse gas budget. He worked in international projects on gas migration and seepage, radioactive waste management, abiotic origin of gas on Earth and Mars. His projects provided the first experimental data on methane flux from mud volcanoes, and the first global estimates of geo-methane emissions into the atmosphere, today endorsed in greenhouse-gas emission inventories of the Environmental European Agency, the US EPA and the IPCC. Research is based on collaborations with the Deep Carbon Observatory (Sloan Foundation), NASA, NOAA and universities and research centers in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Since 2024, he is coordinating the scientific roadmap on natural hydrogen, for the Task 49 (Natural Hydrogen) of the Technology Cooperation Programme of the International Energy Agency. He is Associate Editor of Applied Geochemistry (Elsevier). He was Chair of the Best Paper Committee of Organic Geochemistry Division of the Geochemical Society, Editor of the Wiley’s journal “Geofluids”, reviewer of European Commission and US National Science Foundation projects, and referee of the 4th Assessment Report of IPCC. He published 239 articles and a Springer’s book on “Natural Gas Seepage”. H index: 50 (Web of Science); 63 (Google Scholar).

One of the most important research questions regarding natural hydrogen (H2) as a prospective energy source is whether it can be considered a renewable resource on the human time scale, which would necessitate relatively rapid generation processes (dynamic short-term system logic), or whether its presence in reservoir rocks, observed in several cases, is the consequence of accumulations over long geological time scales, similar to hydrocarbon systems (natural gas system logic). Some peer-reviewed and unreviewed articles, reports, commentaries, and websites suggest or claim that naturally occurring H2 is ""renewable"" and ""fresh"" due to its rapid production. However, there is no scientific evidence demonstrating that natural H2 is really a renewable gas at human time scale.

In this respect, it is crucial to examine the H2 generation rates (in terms of kg of H2 produced per year per m3 of rock) provided by laboratory experiments and models. These rates should be compared to the measured H2 flow (for example, in kg per year) in several surface gas manifestations, which have been shown to be continuous and long-lasting. Here, this exercise is provided for two major H2 generating processes, radiolysis and serpentinization, based on the latest published experimental and theoretical H2 generation rates. The generation rates are being compared to several H2 fluxes observed in seeps and springs in ultramafic rock systems. The simultaneous presence of H2 with other non-renewable crustal gases is also discussed

Giuseppe Etiope

Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia

Senior Researcher

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