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Extreme thermophilic biohydrogen production from wheat straw hydrolysate using mixed culture fermentation: Effect of reactor configuration

Kongjan, Prawit, Angelidaki, Irini
Bioresource technology 2010 v.101 no.20 pp. 7789-7796
fermentation, filters, hydrogen production, hydrolysates, mixed culture, sludge, tanks, thermophilic bacteria, upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor, wheat straw
Hydrogen production from hemicellulose-rich wheat straw hydrolysate was investigated in continuously-stirred tank reactor (CSTR), up-flow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactor, and anaerobic filter (AF) reactor. The CSTR was operated at an hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 3days, and the UASB and AF reactors were operated at 1day HRT, using mixed extreme thermophiles at 70°C. The highest hydrogen production yield of 212.0±6.6mL-H₂/g-sugars, corresponding to a hydrogen production rate of 821.4±25.5mL-H₂/dL was achieved with the UASB reactor. Lowering the HRT to 2.5days caused cell mass washout in the CSTR, while the UASB and AF reactors gave fluctuating and reducing hydrogen production at a 0.5-day HRT. The original rate and yield were recovered when the HRT was increased back to 1day. These results demonstrate that reactor configuration is an important factor for enhancing and stabilizing H₂ production.