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Upgrading of straw hydrolysate for production of hydrogen and phenols in a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC).

Authors
  • Thygesen, Anders
  • Marzorati, Massimo
  • Boon, Nico
  • Thomsen, Anne Belinda
  • Verstraete, Willy
Type
Published Article
Journal
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2011
Volume
89
Issue
3
Pages
855–865
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00253-010-3068-3
PMID: 21191786
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC), hydrolysate produced by hydrothermal treatment of wheat straw was used for hydrogen production during selective recovery of phenols. The average H₂ production rate was 0.61 m³ H₂/m³ MEC·day and equivalent to a rate of 0.40 kg COD/m³ MEC·day. The microbial community in the anode biofilm was adapted by establishment of xylose-degrading bacteria of the Bacteriodetes phylum (16%) and Geobacter sulfurreducens (49%). During the process, 61% of the chemical oxygen demand was removed as hydrogen at 64% yield. The total energy production yield was 78% considering the energy content in the consumed compounds and the cell voltage of 0.7 V. The highest hydrogen production was equivalent to 0.8 kg COD/m³ MEC·day and was obtained at pH 7-8 and 25°C. Accumulation of 53% w/v phenolic compounds in the liquor was obtained by stepwise addition of the hydrolysate during simultaneous production of hydrogen from consumption of 95% for the hemicellulose and 100% of the fatty acids. Final calculations showed that hydrolysate produced from 1 kg wheat straw was upgraded by means of the MEC to 22 g hydrogen (266 L), 8 g xylan, and 9 g polyphenolics for potential utilization in biobased materials.

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