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

Anders Thygesen, Massimo Marzorati, Nico Boon, Anne Belinda Thomsen, W. Verstraete

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
    Volume89
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)855-865
    ISSN0175-7598
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Keywords

    • Bio refinery
    • Bio systems

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