Gold Hydrogen (ASX: GHY) (OTCPK: GHYLF) shares are up 38% today. GHY shares have risen on no specific and detailed corporate news but there is a swell of interest in the general sector Gold is working in. The idea of “white” hydrogen is the latest of the cure alls for climate change. This is something which really would be a cure too, if it actually works. But we’re still rather at the theory stage when trying to work out whether it will, in fact, actually work. This means that changes in sentiment will have significant implications for the share prices of those involved in the enterprise.

The base idea at Gold Hydrogen is: “Gold Hydrogen Limited (GHY) is an Australian company, incorporated for the purposes of identifying prospective tenements for Natural Hydrogen exploration and development.” This will all be rather confusing for people thinking about the standard geology of last week. Where everyone knew that yes, hydrogen would be a lovely beating climate change fuel. But it’s necessary to either make it from natural gas (blue hydrogen, which doesn’t solve the carbon problem) or electrolyse water (green hydrogen but expensive) or use the byproduct of other industrial princesses (grey hydrogen, but not much of it about). So, while H2 as a base fuel would be lovely there’s no real perfect source of large amounts of it. 

Except now folk are saying that white hydrogen exists in quantity: “ Today’s exuberant rush for “white” hydrogen has the same feel. We are suddenly waking up to the very real possibility that vast reserves of natural hydrogen lie under our feet and can plausibly be extracted at costs that blow away the competition, ultimately undercutting methane on pure price. Scientists have long argued that pockets of exploitable geological hydrogen are more abundant than hitherto supposed.”

Gold Hydrogen share price from ASX

Now, whether that’s true or not is still open. The specific thought is that the H2 is constantly generated – water under heat and pressure and catalysed by moving through iron heavy rock acting as a catalyst might be being – constantly – cracked into hydrogen deep underground. The important hope here being that we are not talking of fossil deposits but constant production at those depths.

The idea isn’t new – Gold Hydrogen could not have been chasing it these years if it were – but the idea is rising up the list of things people are thinking about. White hydrogen is becoming a fashionable idea that is. 

With switches in fashion like this the big difficulty is in knowing how far it’s going to go. Sure, if the base idea is true then there will be fortunes made by the first to truly demonstrate it. If it just becomes fashionable for a time then people on the right side of the price moves will do well. But at the moment the trade is, we think, about what other people think about it all rather than some objective proof of the base contention about abiotic hydrogen.

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