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Pre-treatment technologies for dark fermentative hydrogen production: Current advances and future directions

Rafieenia, Razieh, Lavagnolo, Maria Cristina, Pivato, Alberto
Waste management 2018 v.71 pp. 734-748
aeration, alkali treatment, bacteria, biodegradability, biological treatment, carbon, commercialization, energy content, fermentation, fuels, heat stress, hydrogen, hydrogen production, inoculum, irradiation, long chain fatty acids, long term effects, microwave radiation, organic wastes, pH, process control, waste management
Hydrogen is regarded as a clean and non-carbon fuel and it has a higher energy content compared to carbon fuels. Dark fermentative hydrogen production from organic wastes is the most promising technology for commercialization among chemical and biological methods. Using mixed microflora is favored in terms of easier process control and substrate conversion efficiencies instead of pure cultures. However, mixed cultures should be first pre-treated in order to select sporulating hydrogen producing bacteria and suppress non-spore forming hydrogen consumers. Various inoculum pre-treatments have been used to enhance hydrogen production by dark fermentation including heat shock, acid or alkaline treatment, chemical inhibition, aeration, irradiation and inhibition by long chain fatty acids. Regarding substrate pre-treatment, that is performed with the aim of enhanced substrate biodegradability, thermal pre-treatment, pH adjustment using acid or base, microwave irradiation, sonication and biological treatment are the most commonly studied technologies. This article reviews the most investigated pre-treatment technologies applied for either inoculum or substrate prior to dark fermentation, the long-term effects of varying pre-treatment methods and the subsequently feasibility of each method for commercialization.