Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 15

Search results for: biohydrogen

15 Biohydrogen Production from Starch Residues

Authors: Francielo Vendruscolo


This review summarizes the potential of starch agroindustrial residues as substrate for biohydrogen production. Types of potential starch agroindustrial residues, recent developments and bio-processing conditions for biohydrogen production will be discussed. Biohydrogen is a clean energy source with great potential to be an alternative fuel, because it releases energy explosively in heat engines or generates electricity in fuel cells producing water as only by-product. Anaerobic hydrogen fermentation or dark fermentation seems to be more favorable, since hydrogen is yielded at high rates and various organic waste enriched with carbohydrates as substrate result in low cost for hydrogen production. Abundant biomass from various industries could be source for biohydrogen production where combination of waste treatment and energy production would be an advantage. Carbohydrate-rich nitrogen-deficient solid wastes such as starch residues can be used for hydrogen production by using suitable bioprocess technologies. Alternatively, converting biomass into gaseous fuels, such as biohydrogen is possibly the most efficient way to use these agroindustrial residues.

Keywords: biofuel, dark fermentation, starch residues, food waste

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14 Biohydrogen Production Derived from Banana Pseudo Stem of Agricultural Residues by Dark Fermentation

Authors: Kholik


Nowadays, the demand of renewable energy in general is increasing due to the crisis of fossil fuels. Biohydrogen is an alternative fuel with zero emission derived from renewable resources such as banana pseudo stem of agricultural residues. Banana plant can be easily found in tropical and subtropical areas, so the resource is abundant and readily available as a biohydrogen substrate. Banana pseudo stem has not been utilised as a resource or substrate of biohydrogen production and it mainly contains 45-65% cellulose (α-cellulose), 5-15% hemicellulose and 20-30% Lignin, which indicates that banana pseudo stem will be renewable, sustainable and promising resource as lignocellulosic biomass. In this research, biohydrogen is derived from banana pseudo stem by dark fermentation. Dark fermentation is the most suitable approach for practical biohydrogen production from organic solid wastes. The process has several advantages including a fast reaction rate, no need of light, and a smaller footprint. 321 million metric tonnes banana pseudo stem of 428 million metric tonnes banana plantation residues in worldwide for 2013 and 22.5 million metric tonnes banana pseudo stem of 30 million metric tonnes banana plantation residues in Indonesia for 2015 will be able to generate 810.60 million tonne mol H2 and 56.819 million tonne mol H2, respectively. In this paper, we will show that the banana pseudo stem is the renewable, sustainable and promising resource to be utilised and to produce biohydrogen as energy generation with high yield and high contain of cellulose in comparison with the other substrates.

Keywords: banana pseudo stem, biohydrogen, dark fermentation, lignocellulosic

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13 Acclimatation of Bacterial Communities for Biohydrogen Production by Co-Digestion Process in Batch and Continuous Systems

Authors: Gómez Romero Jacob, García Peña Elvia Inés


The co-digestion process of crude cheese whey (CCW) with fruit vegetable waste (FVW) for biohydrogen production was investigated in batch and continuous systems, in stirred 1.8 L bioreactors at 37°C. Five different C/N ratios (7, 17, 21, 31, and 46) were tested in batch systems. While, in continuous system eight conditions were evaluated, hydraulic retention time (from 60 to 10 h) and organic load rate (from 21.96 to 155.87 g COD/L d). Data in batch tests showed a maximum specific biohydrogen production rate of 10.68 mmol H2/Lh and a biohydrogen yield of 449.84 mL H2/g COD at a C/N ratio of 21. In continuous co-digestion system, the optimum hydraulic retention time and organic loading rate were 17.5 h and 80.02 g COD/L d, respectively. Under these conditions, the highest volumetric production hydrogen rate (VPHR) and hydrogen yield were 11.02 mmol H2/L h, 800 mL H2/COD, respectively. A pyrosequencing analysis showed that the main acclimated microbial communities for co-digestion studies consisted of Bifidobacterium, with 85.4% of predominance. Hydrogen producing bacteria such as Klebsiella (9.1%), Lactobacillus (0.97%), Citrobacter (0.21%), Enterobacter (0.27%), and Clostridium (0.18%) were less abundant at this culture period. The microbial population structure was correlated with the lactate, acetate, and butyrate profiles obtained. Results demonstrated that the co-digestion of CCW with FVW improves biohydrogen production due to a better nutrient balance and improvement of the system’s buffering capacity.

Keywords: acclimatation, biohydrogen, co-digestion, microbial community

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12 Starchy Wastewater as Raw Material for Biohydrogen Production by Dark Fermentation: A Review

Authors: Tami A. Ulhiza, Noor I. M. Puad, Azlin S. Azmi, Mohd. I. A. Malek


High amount of chemical oxygen demand (COD) in starchy waste can be harmful to the environment. In common practice, starch processing wastewater is discharged to the river without proper treatment. However, starchy waste still contains complex sugars and organic acids. By the right pretreatment method, the complex sugar can be hydrolyzed into more readily digestible sugars which can be utilized to be converted into more valuable products. At the same time, the global demand of energy is inevitable. The continuous usage of fossil fuel as the main source of energy can lead to energy scarcity. Hydrogen is a renewable form of energy which can be an alternative energy in the future. Moreover, hydrogen is clean and carries the highest energy compared to other fuels. Biohydrogen produced from waste has significant advantages over chemical methods. One of the major problems in biohydrogen production is the raw material cost. The carbohydrate-rich starchy wastes such as tapioca, maize, wheat, potato, and sago wastes is a promising candidate to be used as a substrate in producing biohydrogen. The utilization of those wastes for biohydrogen production can provide cheap energy generation with simultaneous waste treatment. Therefore this paper aims to review variety source of starchy wastes that has been widely used to synthesize biohydrogen. The scope includes the source of waste, the performance in yielding hydrogen, the pretreatment method and the type of culture that is suitable for starchy waste.

Keywords: biohydrogen, dark fermentation, renewable energy, starchy waste

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11 Effect of Non-Regulated pH on the Dynamics of Dark Fermentative Biohydrogen Production with Suspended and Immobilized Cell Culture

Authors: Joelle Penniston, E. B. Gueguim-Kana


Biohydrogen has been identified as a promising alternative to the use of non-renewable fossil reserves, owing to its sustainability and non-polluting nature. pH is considered as a key parameter in fermentative biohydrogen production processes, due to its effect on the hydrogenase activity, metabolic activity as well as substrate hydrolysis. The present study assesses the influence of regulating pH on dark fermentative biohydrogen production. Four experimental hydrogen production schemes were evaluated. Two were implemented using suspended cells under regulated pH growth conditions (Sus_R) and suspended and non-regulated pH (Sus_N). The two others regimes consisted of alginate immobilized cells under pH regulated growth conditions (Imm_R) and immobilized and non-pH regulated conditions (Imm_N). All experiments were carried out at 37.5°C with glucose as sole source of carbon. Sus_R showed a lag time of 5 hours and a peak hydrogen fraction of 36% and a glucose degradation of 37%, compared to Sus_N which showed a peak hydrogen fraction of 44% and complete glucose degradation. Both suspended culture systems showed a higher peak biohydrogen fraction compared to the immobilized cell system. Imm_R experiments showed a lag phase of 8 hours, a peak biohydrogen fraction of 35%, while Imm_N showed a lag phase of 5 hours, a peak biohydrogen fraction of 22%. 100% glucose degradation was observed in both pH regulated and non-regulated processes. This study showed that biohydrogen production in batch mode with suspended cells in a non-regulated pH environment results in a partial degradation of substrate, with lower yield. This scheme has been the culture mode of choice for most reported studies in biohydrogen research. The relatively lower slope in pH trend of the non-regulated pH experiment with immobilized cells (Imm_N) compared to Sus_N revealed that that immobilized systems have a better buffering capacity compared to suspended systems, which allows for the extended production of biohydrogen even under non-regulated pH conditions. However, alginate immobilized cultures in flask systems showed some drawbacks associated to high rate of gas production that leads to increased buoyancy of the immobilization beads. This ultimately impedes the release of gas out of the flask.

Keywords: biohydrogen, sustainability, suspended, immobilized

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10 Using the Ecological Analysis Method to Justify the Environmental Feasibility of Biohydrogen Production from Cassava Wastewater Biogas

Authors: Jonni Guiller Madeira, Angel Sanchez Delgado, Ronney Mancebo Boloy


The use bioenergy, in recent years, has become a good alternative to reduce the emission of polluting gases. Several Brazilian and foreign companies are doing studies related to waste management as an essential tool in the search for energy efficiency, taking into consideration, also, the ecological aspect. Brazil is one of the largest cassava producers in the world; the cassava sub-products are the food base of millions of Brazilians. The repertoire of results about the ecological impact of the production, by steam reforming, of biohydrogen from cassava wastewater biogas is very limited because, in general, this commodity is more common in underdeveloped countries. This hydrogen, produced from cassava wastewater, appears as an alternative fuel to fossil fuels since this is a low-cost carbon source. This paper evaluates the environmental impact of biohydrogen production, by steam reforming, from cassava wastewater biogas. The ecological efficiency methodology developed by Cardu and Baica was used as a benchmark in this study. The methodology mainly assesses the emissions of equivalent carbon dioxide (CO₂, SOₓ, CH₄ and particulate matter). As a result, some environmental parameters, such as equivalent carbon dioxide emissions, pollutant indicator, and ecological efficiency are evaluated due to the fact that they are important to energy production. The average values of the environmental parameters among different biogas compositions (different concentrations of methane) were calculated, the average pollution indicator was 10.11 kgCO₂e/kgH₂ with an average ecological efficiency of 93.37%. As a conclusion, bioenergy production using biohydrogen from cassava wastewater treatment plant is a good option from the environmental feasibility point of view. This fact can be justified by the determination of environmental parameters and comparison of the environmental parameters of hydrogen production via steam reforming from different types of fuels.

Keywords: biohydrogen, ecological efficiency, cassava, pollution indicator

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9 Potentiality of Biohythane Process for the Gaseous Energy Recovery from Organic Wastes

Authors: Debabrata Das, Preeti Mishra


A two-phase anaerobic process combining biohydrogen followed by biomethane (biohythane technology) serves as an environment-friendly and economically sustainable approach for the improved valorization of organic wastes. Suitability of the pure cultures like Klebsiela pneumonia, C. freundii, B. coagulan, etc. and mixed acidogenic cultures for the biohydrogen production was already studied. The characteristics of organic wastes play a critical role in biohydrogen production. The choice of an appropriate combination of complementary organic wastes can vastly improve the bioenergy generation besides achieving the significant cost reduction. Suitability and economic viability of using the groundnut deoiled cake (GDOC), mustard deoiled cake (MDOC), distillers’ dried grain with soluble (DDGS) and algal biomass (AB) as a co-substrate were studied for a biohythane production. Results show that maximum gaseous energy of 20.7, 9.3, 16.7 and 15.6 % was recovered using GDOC, MDOC, DDGS and AB in the two stage biohythane production, respectively. Both GDOC and DDGS were found to be better co-substrates as compared to MDOC and AB in terms of hythane production, respectively. The maximum cumulative hydrogen and methane production of 150 and 64 mmol/L were achieved using GDOC. Further, 98 % reduction in substrate input cost (SIC) was achieved using the co-supplementation procedure.

Keywords: Biohythane, algal biomass, distillers’ dried grain with soluble (DDGS), groundnut deoiled cake (GDOC), mustard deoiled cake (MDOC)

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8 The Optimization of Immobilization Conditions for Biohydrogen Production from Palm Industry Wastewater

Authors: A. W. Zularisam, Sveta Thakur, Lakhveer Singh, Mimi Sakinah Abdul Munaim


Clostridium sp. LS2 was immobilised by entrapment in polyethylene glycol (PEG) gel beads to improve the biohydrogen production rate from palm oil mill effluent (POME). We sought to explore and optimise the hydrogen production capability of the immobilised cells by studying the conditions for cell immobilisation, including PEG concentration, cell loading and curing times, as well as the effects of temperature and K2HPO4 (500–2000 mg/L), NiCl2 (0.1–5.0 mg/L), FeCl2 (100–400 mg/L) MgSO4 (50–200 mg/L) concentrations on hydrogen production rate. The results showed that by optimising the PEG concentration (10% w/v), initial biomass (2.2 g dry weight), curing time (80 min) and temperature (37 °C), as well as the concentrations of K2HPO4 (2000 mg/L), NiCl2 (1 mg/L), FeCl2 (300 mg/L) and MgSO4 (100 mg/L), a maximum hydrogen production rate of 7.3 L/L-POME/day and a yield of 0.31 L H2/g chemical oxygen demand were obtained during continuous operation. We believe that this process may be potentially expanded for sustained and large-scale hydrogen production.

Keywords: hydrogen, polyethylene glycol, immobilised cell, fermentation, palm oil mill effluent

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7 Effect of Inoculum Ratio on Dark Fermentative Hydrogen Production

Authors: Zeynep Yilmazer Hitit, Patrick C. Hallenbeck


Fuel reserve requirements due to depletion of fossil fuels have increased interest in biohydrogen since the 1990’s. In fermentative hydrogen production, pure, mixed, and co-cultures can be used to produce hydrogen. Several previous studies have evaluated hydrogen production by pure cultures of Clostridium butyricum or Enterobacter aerogenes. Evaluating hydrogen production by co-culture of these microorganisms is an interestıng approach since E. aerogenes is a facultative microorganism with resistance to oxygen in contrast to the strict anaerobe C. butyricum, and therefore has the ability to maintain anaerobic conditions. It was found that using co-cultures of facultative E. aerogenes (as a reducing agent and H2 producer) and the obligate anaerobe C. butyricum for producing hydrogen increases the yield of hydrogen by about 50% compared to C. butyricum by itself. Also, using different types of microorganisms for hydrogen production eliminates the need to use expensive reducing agents. C. butyricum strain pre-cultured anaerobically at 37 0C for 15h by inoculating 100 mL of GP medium (pH 6.8) consisting of 1% glucose, 2% polypeptone, 0.2% KH2PO4, 0.05% yeast extract, 0.05% MgSO4. 7H2O and E. aerogenes strain was pre-cultured aerobically at 30 0C, 150 rpm for 9 h by inoculating 100 mL of TGY medium (pH 6.8), consisting of 0.1% glucose, 0.5% tryptone, 0.1% K2HPO4, 0.5% yeast extract. All duplicate batch experiments were conducted in 100 mL bottles with different inoculum ratios of Clostridium butyricum and Enterobater aerogenes (C:E) using 5x diluted rich media (GP) consisting of 2 g/L glucose, 4g/L polypeptone, 0.4 g/L KH2PO4, 0.1 g/L yeast extract, 0.1 MgSO4.7H2O. The range of inoculum ratio of C. butyricum to E. aerogenes were 2:1,4:1,8:1, 1:2,1:4, 1:8, 1:0, 0:1. Using glucose as a carbon source aided in the observation of microbial behavior as well as making the effect of inoculum ratio more evident. Nearly all the glucose in the medium was used to produce hydrogen, except at a 1:0 ratio of inoculum (i.e. containing only C. butyricum). Low glucose consumption leads to a higher hydrogen yield due to cumulative hydrogen production and consumption of glucose, but not as much as C:E, 8:1. The lowest hydrogen yield was achieved in 1:8 inoculum ratio of C:E, 71.9 mL, 1.007±0.01 mol H2/mol glucose and the highest cumulative hydrogen, hydrogen yield and dry cell weight were achieved in 8:1 inoculum ratio of C:E, 117.4 mL, 2.035±0.082 mol H2/mol glucose, 0.4 g/L respectively. In this study effect of inoculum ratio on dark fermentative biohydrogen production using C. butyricum and E. aerogenes was investigated. The maximum hydrogen yield of 2.035mol H2/mol glucose was obtained using 2g/L glucose, an initial pH of 6 and an inoculum ratio of C. butyricum to E. aerogenes of 8:1. Results showed that inoculum ratio is an important parameter on hydrogen production due to competition between the two microorganisms in using substrate for growth and production of by-products. The results presented here could be of great significance for further waste management studies using co-culture hydrogen production.

Keywords: biohydrogen, Clostridium butyricum, dark fermentation, Enterobacter aerogenes, inoculum ratio in biohydrogen production

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6 Anaerobic Fermentation Process for Production of Biohydrogen from Pretreated Fruit Wastes

Authors: A. K. R. Gobinath, He Jianzhong, Kun-Lin Yang


Fruit waste was used as a feedstock to produce biohydrogen in this study. Fruit waste used in this study was collected from several fruit juice stalls in Singapore. Based on our observation, the fruit waste contained 35-40% orange, 10-20% watermelon, 10-15% apple, 10-15% pineapple, 1-5% mango. They were mixed with water (1:1 ratio based on wet biomass) and blended to attain homogenous mixtures. Later, fruit waste was subjected to one of the following pretreatments: autoclave (121 °C for 20min), microwave (20min) or both. After pretreatment, the total sugar concentration in the hydrolysate was high (>12g/l) when both autoclave and microwave were applied. In contrast, samples without pretreatment measured only less than 2g/l of sugar. While using these hydrolysates as carbon sources, Clostridium strain BOH3 produces 2526-3126 ml/l of hydrogen after 72h of anaerobic fermentation. The hydrogen yield was 295-300 ml/g of sugar which is close to the hydrogen yields from glucose (338 ml/gm) and xylose (330 ml/gm). Our HPLC analysis showed that fruit waste hydrolysate contained oligosugars (25-27%), sucrose (18-23%), fructose (25-30%), glucose (10-15%) and mannose (2-5%). Additionally, pretreatment led to the release of free amino acids (160-512 mg/l), calcium (7.8-12.9 ppm), magnesium (4.32-6.55 ppm), potassium (5.4-65.1 ppm) and sodium (0.4-0.5 ppm) into the hydrolysate. These nutrients were able to support strain-BOH3 to grow and produce high level of hydrogen. Notably, unlike other pretreatment methods (with strong acids and bases), these pretreatment techniques did not generate any inhibitors (e.g. furfural and phenolic acids) to suppress the hydrogen production. Interestingly, strain BOH3 can also ferment pretreated fruit waste slurry and produce hydrogen with a high yield (156-343 ml/gm fruit waste). While fermenting pretreated fruit waste slurry, strain-BOH3 excreted several saccharolytic enzymes majorly xylanase (1.84U/ml), amylase (1.10U/ml), pectinase (0.36U/ml) and cellulase (0.43U/ml). Due to expressions of these enzymes, strain BOH3 was able to directly utilize pretreated fruit waste hydrolysate and produces high-level of hydrogen.

Keywords: autoclave pretreatment, biohydrogen production, clostridial fermentation, fruit waste, and microwave pretreatment

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5 High Efficient Biohydrogen Production from Cassava Starch Processing Wastewater by Two Stage Thermophilic Fermentation and Electrohydrogenesis

Authors: Peerawat Khongkliang, Prawit Kongjan, Tsuyoshi Imai, Poonsuk Prasertsan, Sompong O-Thong


A two-stage thermophilic fermentation and electrohydrogenesis process was used to convert cassava starch processing wastewater into hydrogen gas. Maximum hydrogen yield from fermentation stage by Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum PSU-2 was 248 mL H2/g-COD at optimal pH of 6.5. Optimum hydrogen production rate of 820 mL/L/d and yield of 200 mL/g COD was obtained at HRT of 2 days in fermentation stage. Cassava starch processing wastewater fermentation effluent consisted of acetic acid, butyric acid and propionic acid. The effluent from fermentation stage was used as feedstock to generate hydrogen production by microbial electrolysis cell (MECs) at an applied voltage of 0.6 V in second stage with additional 657 mL H2/g-COD was produced. Energy efficiencies based on electricity needed for the MEC were 330 % with COD removals of 95 %. The overall hydrogen yield was 800-900 mL H2/g-COD. Microbial community analysis of electrohydrogenesis by DGGE shows that exoelectrogens belong to Acidiphilium sp., Geobacter sulfurreducens and Thermincola sp. were dominated at anode. These results show two-stage thermophilic fermentation, and electrohydrogenesis process improved hydrogen production performance with high hydrogen yields, high gas production rates and high COD removal efficiency.

Keywords: cassava starch processing wastewater, biohydrogen, thermophilic fermentation, microbial electrolysis cell

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4 Optimization of Sequential Thermophilic Bio-Hydrogen/Methane Production from Mono-Ethylene Glycol via Anaerobic Digestion: Impact of Inoculum to Substrate Ratio and N/P Ratio

Authors: Ahmed Elreedy, Ahmed Tawfik


This investigation aims to assess the effect of inoculum to substrate ratio (ISR) and nitrogen to phosphorous balance on simultaneous biohydrogen and methane production from anaerobic decomposition of mono-ethylene glycol (MEG). Different ISRs were applied in the range between 2.65 and 13.23 gVSS/gCOD, whereas the tested N/P ratios were changed from 4.6 to 8.5; both under thermophilic conditions (55°C). The maximum obtained methane and hydrogen yields (MY and HY) of 151.86±10.8 and 22.27±1.1 mL/gCODinitial were recorded at ISRs of 5.29 and 3.78 gVSS/gCOD, respectively. Unlikely, the ammonification process, in terms of net ammonia produced, was found to be ISR and COD/N ratio dependent, reaching its peak value of 515.5±31.05 mgNH4-N/L at ISR and COD/N ratio of 13.23 gVSS/gCOD and 11.56. The optimum HY was enhanced by more than 1.45-fold with declining N/P ratio from 8.5 to 4.6; whereas, the MY was improved (1.6-fold), while increasing N/P ratio from 4.6 to 5.5 with no significant impact at N/P ratio of 8.5. The results obtained revealed that the methane production was strongly influenced by initial ammonia, compared to initial phosphate. Likewise, the generation of ammonia was markedly deteriorated from 535.25±41.5 to 238.33±17.6 mgNH4-N/L with increasing N/P ratio from 4.6 to 8.5. The kinetic study using Modified Gompertz equation was successfully fitted to the experimental outputs (R2 > 0.9761).

Keywords: mono-ethylene glycol, biohydrogen and methane, inoculum to substrate ratio, nitrogen to phosphorous balance, ammonification

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3 Biohydrogen and Potential Vinegar Production from Agricultural Wastes Using Thermotoga neopolitana

Authors: Nidhi Nalin


This study is theoretical modelling of the fermentation process of glucose in agricultural wastes like discarded peaches to produce hydrogen, acetic acid, and carbon dioxide using Thermotoga neopolitana bacteria. The hydrogen gas produced in this process can be used in hydrogen fuel cells to generate power, and the fermented broth with acetic acid and salts could be utilized as salty vinegar if enough acetic acid is produced. The theoretical modelling was done using SuperPro software, and the results indicated how much sugar (discarded peaches) is required to produce both hydrogen and vinegar for the process to be profitable.

Keywords: fermentation, thermotoga, hydrogen, vinegar, biofuel

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2 Control System Design for a Simulated Microbial Electrolysis Cell

Authors: Pujari Muruga, T. K. Radhakrishnan, N. Samsudeen


Hydrogen is considered as the most important energy carrier and fuel of the future because of its high energy density and zero emission properties. Microbial Electrolysis Cell (MEC) is a new and promising approach for hydrogen production from organic matter, including wastewater and other renewable resources. By utilizing anode microorganism activity, MEC can produce hydrogen gas with smaller voltages (as low as 0.2 V) than those required for electrolytic hydrogen production ( ≥ 1.23 V). The hydrogen production processes of the MEC reactor are very nonlinear and highly complex because of the presence of microbial interactions and highly complex phenomena in the system. Increasing the hydrogen production rate and lowering the energy input are two important challenges of MEC technology. The mathematical model of the MEC is based on material balance with the integration of bioelectrochemical reactions. The main objective of the research is to produce biohydrogen by selecting the optimum current and controlling applied voltage to the MEC. Precise control is required for the MEC reactor, so that the amount of current required to produce hydrogen gas can be controlled according to the composition of the substrate in the reactor. Various simulation tests involving multiple set-point changes disturbance and noise rejection were performed to evaluate the performance using PID controller tuned with Ziegler Nichols settings. Simulation results shows that other good controller can provide better control effect on the MEC system, so that higher hydrogen production can be obtained.

Keywords: microbial electrolysis cell, hydrogen production, applied voltage, PID controller

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1 Producing Sustained Renewable Energy and Removing Organic Pollutants from Distillery Wastewater using Consortium of Sludge Microbes

Authors: Anubha Kaushik, Raman Preet


Distillery wastewater in the form of spent wash is a complex and strong industrial effluent, with high load of organic pollutants that may deplete dissolved oxygen on being discharged into aquatic systems and contaminate groundwater by leaching of pollutants, while untreated spent wash disposed on land acidifies the soil. Stringent legislative measures have therefore been framed in different countries for discharge standards of distillery effluent. Utilising the organic pollutants present in various types of wastes as food by mixed microbial populations is emerging as an eco-friendly approach in the recent years, in which complex organic matter is converted into simpler forms, and simultaneously useful gases are produced as renewable and clean energy sources. In the present study, wastewater from a rice bran based distillery has been used as the substrate in a dark fermenter, and native microbial consortium from the digester sludge has been used as the inoculum to treat the wastewater and produce hydrogen. After optimising the operational conditions in batch reactors, sequential batch mode and continuous flow stirred tank reactors were used to study the best operational conditions for enhanced and sustained hydrogen production and removal of pollutants. Since the rate of hydrogen production by the microbial consortium during dark fermentation is influenced by concentration of organic matter, pH and temperature, these operational conditions were optimised in batch mode studies. Maximum hydrogen production rate (347.87ml/L/d) was attained in 32h dark fermentation while a good proportion of COD also got removed from the wastewater. Slightly acidic initial pH seemed to favor biohydrogen production. In continuous stirred tank reactor, high H2 production from distillery wastewater was obtained from a relatively shorter substrate retention time (SRT) of 48h and a moderate organic loading rate (OLR) of 172 g/l/d COD.

Keywords: distillery wastewater, hydrogen, microbial consortium, organic pollution, sludge

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