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Hydrogen production from switchgrass via an integrated pyrolysis–microbial electrolysis process
- Lewis, A.J., Ren, S., Ye, X., Kim, P., Labbe, N., Borole, A.P.
- Bioresource technology 2015 v.195 pp. 231-241
- Panicum virgatum, biomass, electrodes, electrolysis, energy efficiency, furfural, hydrogen, hydrogen production, pyrolysis
- A new approach to hydrogen production using an integrated pyrolysis–microbial electrolysis process is described. The aqueous stream generated during pyrolysis of switchgrass was used as a substrate for hydrogen production in a microbial electrolysis cell, achieving a maximum hydrogen production rate of 4.3LH2/L anode-day at a loading of 10g COD/L-anode-day. Hydrogen yields ranged from 50±3.2% to 76±0.5% while anode Coulombic efficiency ranged from 54±6.5% to 96±0.21%, respectively. Significant conversion of furfural, organic acids and phenolic molecules was observed under both batch and continuous conditions. The electrical and overall energy efficiency ranged from 149–175% and 48–63%, respectively. The results demonstrate the potential of the pyrolysis–microbial electrolysis process as a sustainable and efficient route for production of renewable hydrogen with significant implications for hydrocarbon production from biomass.