Sample records for biophotolysis

  1. Process analysis and economics of biophotolysis of water. IEA technical report from the IEA Agreement on the Production and Utilization of Hydrogen

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Benemann, J.R.


    This report is a preliminary cost analysis of the biophotolysis of water and was prepared as part of the work of Annex 10 of the IEA Hydrogen agreement. Biophotolysis is the conversion of water and solar energy to hydrogen and oxygen using microalgae. In laboratory experiments at low light intensities, algal photosynthesis and some biophotolysis reactions exhibit highlight conversion efficiencies that could be extrapolated to about 10% solar efficiencies if photosynthesis were to saturate at full sunlight intensities. The most promising approach to achieving the critical goal of high conversion efficiencies at full sunlight intensities, one that appears within the capabilities of modern biotechnology, is to genetically control the pigment content of algal cells such that the photosynthetic apparatus does not capture more photons than it can utilize. A two-stage indirect biophotolysis system was conceptualized and general design parameters extrapolated. The process comprises open ponds for the CO{sub 2}fixation stage, an algal concentration step, a dark adaptation and fermentation stage, and a closed tubular photobioreactor in which hydrogen production would take place. A preliminary cost analysis for a 200 hectare (ha) system, including 140 ha of open algal ponds and 14 ha of photobioreactors was carried out. The cost analysis was based on prior studies for algal mass cultures for fuels production and a conceptual analysis of a hypothetical photochemical processes, as well as the assumption that the photobioreactors would cost about $100/m(sup 2). Assuming a very favorable location, with 21 megajoules (MJ)/m{sup 2} total insolation, and a solar conversion efficiency of 10% based on CO{sub 2} fixation in the large algal ponds, an overall cost of $10/gigajoule (GJ) is projected. Of this, almost half is due to the photobioreactors, one fourth to the open pond system, and the remainder to the H{sub 2} handling and general support systems. It must be cautioned that

  2. Hydrogen Production by Water Biophotolysis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ghirardi, Maria L.; King, Paul W.; Mulder, David W.; Eckert, Carrie; Dubini, Alexandra; Maness, Pin-Ching; Yu, Jianping


    The use of microalgae for production of hydrogen gas from water photolysis has been studied for many years, but its commercialization is still limited by multiple challenges. Most of the barriers to commercialization are attributed to the existence of biological regulatory mechanisms that, under anaerobic conditions, quench the absorbed light energy, down-regulate linear electron transfer, inactivate the H2-producing enzyme, and compete for electrons with the hydrogenase. Consequently, the conversion efficiency of absorbed photons into H2 is significantly lower than its estimated potential of 12–13 %. However, extensive research continues towards addressing these barriers by either trying to understand and circumvent intracellular regulatory mechanisms at the enzyme and metabolic level or by developing biological systems that achieve prolonged H2 production albeit under lower than 12–13 % solar conversion efficiency. This chapter describes the metabolic pathways involved in biological H2 photoproduction from water photolysis, the attributes of the two hydrogenases, [FeFe] and [NiFe], that catalyze biological H2 production, and highlights research related to addressing the barriers described above. These highlights include: (a) recent advances in improving our understanding of the O2 inactivation mechanism in different classes of hydrogenases; (b) progress made in preventing competitive pathways from diverting electrons from H2 photoproduction; and (c) new developments in bypassing the non-dissipated proton gradient from down-regulating photosynthetic electron transfer. As an example of a major success story, we mention the generation of truncated-antenna mutants in Chlamydomonas and Synechocystis that address the inherent low-light saturation of photosynthesis. In addition, we highlight the rationale and progress towards coupling biological hydrogenases to non-biological, photochemical charge-separation as a means to bypass the barriers of photobiological systems.

  3. Biohydrogen Production from Lignocellulosic Biomass: Technology and Sustainability


    Anoop Singh; Surajbhan Sevda; Ibrahim M. Abu Reesh; Karolien Vanbroekhoven; Dheeraj Rathore; Deepak Pant


    Among the various renewable energy sources, biohydrogen is gaining a lot of traction as it has very high efficiency of conversion to usable power with less pollutant generation. The various technologies available for the production of biohydrogen from lignocellulosic biomass such as direct biophotolysis, indirect biophotolysis, photo, and dark fermentations have some drawbacks (e.g., low yield and slower production rate, etc.), which limits their practical application. Among these, metabolic ...

  4. Biohydrogen production and bioprocess enhancement: a review. (United States)

    Mudhoo, Ackmez; Forster-Carneiro, Tânia; Sánchez, Antoni


    This paper provides an overview of the recent advances and trends in research in the biological production of hydrogen (biohydrogen). Hydrogen from both fossil and renewable biomass resources is a sustainable source of energy that is not limited and of different applications. The most commonly used techniques of biohydrogen production, including direct biophotolysis, indirect biophotolysis, photo-fermentation and dark-fermentation, conventional or "modern" techniques are examined in this review. The main limitations inherent to biochemical reactions for hydrogen production and design are the constraints in reactor configuration which influence biohydrogen production, and these have been identified. Thereafter, physical pretreatments, modifications in the design of reactors, and biochemical and genetic manipulation techniques that are being developed to enhance the overall rates and yields of biohydrogen generation are revisited. PMID:21073399

  5. A comprehensive and quantitative review of dark fermentative biohydrogen production


    Rittmann Simon; Herwig Christoph


    Abstract Biohydrogen production (BHP) can be achieved by direct or indirect biophotolysis, photo-fermentation and dark fermentation, whereof only the latter does not require the input of light energy. Our motivation to compile this review was to quantify and comprehensively report strains and process performance of dark fermentative BHP. This review summarizes the work done on pure and defined co-culture dark fermentative BHP since the year 1901. Qualitative growth characteristics and quantit...

  6. State of the art of biological hydrogen production processes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Our report gives an overview of hydrogen production processes with bacteria or algae. 4 main processes are described: water biophotolysis, photo- fermentation biological CO conversion and dark fermentation. Chemical phenomena which lead to hydrogen generation are exp/aired. Performances, limits and outlook are given for each process. Main projects, programs and key players involved in this field of research have been listed. This paper resumes few results of this report. (authors)

  7. Renewable hydrogen production for fossil fuel processing

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Greenbaum, E.; Lee, J.W.; Tevault, C.V. [and others


    In the fundamental biological process of photosynthesis, atmospheric carbon dioxide is reduced to carbohydrate using water as the source of electrons with simultaneous evolution of molecular oxygen: H{sub 2}O + CO{sub 2} + light {yields} O{sub 2} + (CH{sub 2}O). It is well established that two light reactions, Photosystems I and II (PSI and PSII) working in series, are required to perform oxygenic photosynthesis. Experimental data supporting the two-light reaction model are based on the quantum requirement for complete photosynthesis, spectroscopy, and direct biochemical analysis. Some algae also have the capability to evolve molecular hydrogen in a reaction energized by the light reactions of photosynthesis. This process, now known as biophotolysis, can use water as the electron donor and lead to simultaneous evolution of molecular hydrogen and oxygen. In green algae, hydrogen evolution requires prior incubation under anaerobic conditions. Atmospheric oxygen inhibits hydrogen evolution and also represses the synthesis of hydrogenase enzyme. CO{sub 2} fixation competes with proton reduction for electrons relased from the photosystems. Interest in biophotolysis arises from both the questions that it raises concerning photosynthesis and its potential practical application as a process for converting solar energy to a non-carbon-based fuel. Prior data supported the requirement for both Photosystem I and Photosystem II in spanning the energy gap necessary for biophotolysis of water to oxygen and hydrogen. In this paper we report the at PSII alone is capable of driving sustained simultaneous photoevolution of molecular hydrogen and oxygen in an anaerobically adapted PSI-deficient strain of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, mutant B4, and that CO{sub 2} competes as an electron acceptor.

  8. Future production of hydrogen from solar energy and water - A summary and assessment of U.S. developments (United States)

    Hanson, J. A.; Escher, W. J. D.


    The paper examines technologies of hydrogen production. Its delivery, distribution, and end-use systems are reviewed, and a classification of solar energy and hydrogen production methods is suggested. The operation of photoelectric processes, biophotolysis, photocatalysis, photoelectrolysis, and of photovoltaic systems are reviewed, with comments on their possible hydrogen production potential. It is concluded that solar hydrogen derived from wind energy, photovoltaic technology, solar thermal electric technology, and hydropower could supply some of the hydrogen for air transport by the middle of the next century.

  9. Biohydrogen Production from Lignocellulosic Biomass: Technology and Sustainability

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anoop Singh


    Full Text Available Among the various renewable energy sources, biohydrogen is gaining a lot of traction as it has very high efficiency of conversion to usable power with less pollutant generation. The various technologies available for the production of biohydrogen from lignocellulosic biomass such as direct biophotolysis, indirect biophotolysis, photo, and dark fermentations have some drawbacks (e.g., low yield and slower production rate, etc., which limits their practical application. Among these, metabolic engineering is presently the most promising for the production of biohydrogen as it overcomes most of the limitations in other technologies. Microbial electrolysis is another recent technology that is progressing very rapidly. However, it is the dark fermentation approach, followed by photo fermentation, which seem closer to commercialization. Biohydrogen production from lignocellulosic biomass is particularly suitable for relatively small and decentralized systems and it can be considered as an important sustainable and renewable energy source. The comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA of biohydrogen production from lignocellulosic biomass and its comparison with other biofuels can be a tool for policy decisions. In this paper, we discuss the various possible approaches for producing biohydrogen from lignocellulosic biomass which is an globally available abundant resource. The main technological challenges are discussed in detail, followed by potential solutions.

  10. Investigating the link between fermentative metabolism and hydrogen production in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Burgess, S.J.; Nixon, P.J. [Imperial College London (United Kingdom)


    In the model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, the electrons required for hydrogen production can come from both the biophotolysis of water and from the fermentation of carbohydrate reserves. Anoxia leads to the activation of several fermentative pathways, which produce a number of end products including formic, malic and acetic acid along with ethanol, carbon dioxide and hydrogen. It has been proposed that by switching off competing fermentative pathways hydrogen production can be increased. Therefore the aim of this study was to devise an experimental strategy to down-regulate the expression of enzymes thought to control C. reinhardtii's fermentative metabolism. We demonstrate here that it is possible to use artificial microRNA (amiRNA) technology to generate knock-down mutants with reduced expression of pyruvate formate lyase (PFL1), a key fermentative enzyme in C. reinhardtii. This work opens up new possibilities to improve hydrogen yields through metabolic engineering. (orig.)

  11. Photosynthetic water splitting (United States)

    Greenbaum, E.

    It has been demonstrated that eukaryotic green algae (as represented by Chlamydomonas) are inherently rugged algae with respect to the biophotolysis of water. There also exists a potential for selecting subpropulations of wild-type algae with enhanced properties for hydrogen and oxygen production. Second, hydrogenase activity in macroscopic marine algae does not conform to the conventional dogma of the catalog of reactions that this enzyme is supposed to catalyze. A kinetic argument has been presented which suggests that, with respect to light activated reactions, hydrogenase in these organisms operates primarily in a hydrogen uptake mode. Third, the light saturation curves for the simultaneous photoproduction of hydrogen and oxygen do not have the same analytical shape. It is suggested that a Photosystem I-like hydrogen producing light reaction may be present in anaerobically adapted Scenedesmus which is uncoupled from the Z scheme.

  12. Biohydrogen production: prospects and limitations to practical application

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hydrogen may be produced by a number of processes, including electrolysis of water, thermocatalytic reformation of hydrogen rich organic compounds, and biological processes. Currently, hydrogen is produced, almost exclusively, by electrolysis of water or by steam reformation of methane. Biological production of hydrogen (Biohydrogen) technologies provide a wide range of approaches to generate hydrogen, including Direct biophotolysis, Indirect Biophotolysis, Photo-fermentations, and Dark-fermentation. The practical application of these technologies to every day energy problems, however, is unclear. In order to assess which biohydrogen systems may be practical when combined with fuel cell technologies, we have calculated the size of biohydrogen bioreactors that would be required to power Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells of various sizes. Our analysis suggests that light-driven biohydrogen systems (Direct Photolysis, Indirect Photolysis, and Photo-fermentation) do not produce H2 at rates that are sufficient to power PEMFCs of sufficient size to be of practical use. Thermophilic and extreme thermophilic biohydrogen systems would require very large bioreactors (in the range of approximately 2900 L to 14,600 L) to provide sufficient H2 to power PEMFCs of 1.5 kW to 5.0 kW, respectively. Some Dark-fermentation systems, however, appear promising. Bioreactors of 500 L and 1000 L, designed so that H2 is rapidly removed from the culture medium, would be sufficient to power PEMFCs of 2.5 kW and 5.0 kW, respectively. Further research and development aimed at increasing rates of synthesis and final yields of H2 are essential if biohydrogen systems are to be of practical use. (author)

  13. Effect of light on respiration and development of photosynthetic cells. Progress report, September 1, 1977--August 31, 1978

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gibbs, M


    The biophotolysis of water by photosynthetic cells resulting in the formation of hydrogen gas is of prime concern. That algal cells require both photosystems to complete this process is established. That a reduced carbon source can be photoxidized to release hydrogen and carbon dioxide has been proven. On the other hand, whether water is split to hydrogen and oxygen by the intact cell adapted to a hydrogen metabolism is an open question. A reconstituted preparation of higher plants can split water into its two components. A reconstituted algal preparation will be evaluated with respect to a similar reaction. If hydrogen and oxygen are produced in vitro, what then regulates the cell into controlling this reaction during the onset of a hydrogen metabolism. The substrate for photorespiration is glycolic acid. The synthesis of this simple acid remain controversial. A new preparation of the spinach chloroplast has been developed which allows many compounds hitherto uncapable of crossing the organelle envelope to affect directly the carbon metabolism. We plan to use this preparation to evaluate the many proposed mechanisms of glycolate formation. Thus ribulose-1,5-diphosphate, hydroxypyruvate, hydroxypyruvate phosphate, oxaloacetate, and fructose-6-phosphate will be incubated under varying conditions and glycolate yields will be monitored. Conditions such as pH, substrate concentration, and oxygen partial pressure will be varied to determine accordance with in vivo conditions.

  14. Comparison of biohydrogen production processes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    For hydrogen to be a viable energy carrier, it is important to develop hydrogen generation routes that are renewable like biohydrogen. Hydrogen can be produced biologically by biophotolysis (direct and indirect), photo-fermentation and dark-fermentation or by combination of these processes (such as integration of dark- and photo-fermentation (two-stage process), or biocatalyzed electrolysis, etc.). However, production of hydrogen by these methods at commercial level is not reported in the literature and challenges regarding the process scale up remain. In this scenario net energy analysis (NEA) can provide a tool for establishing the viability of different methods before scaling up. The analysis can also be used to set targets for various process and design parameters for bio-hydrogen production. In this paper, four biohydrogen production processes (dark-fermentation, photo-fermentation, two-stage process and biocatalyzed electrolysis) utilizing sugarcane juice as the carbon source, are compared with base case method steam methane reforming (SMR) on the basis of net energy ratio, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It was found that when by-products are not considered, the efficiencies of biological hydrogen processes are lower than that of SMR. However, these processes reduce GHG emissions and non-renewable energy use by 57-73% and 65-79%, respectively, as compared to the SMR process. Efficiencies of biohydrogen processes increase significantly when by-products are considered hence by-products removal and utilization is an important issue in biological hydrogen production. (author)

  15. Recent trends on the development of photobiological processes and photobioreactors for the improvement of hydrogen production

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dasgupta, Chitralekha Nag; Jose Gilbert, J.; Das, Debabrata [Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur 721302 (India); Lindblad, Peter; Heidorn, Thorsten [Department of Photochemistry and Molecular Science, Uppsala University (Sweden); Borgvang, Stig A.; Skjanes, Kari [Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research (Bioforsk), Oslo (Norway)


    Hydrogen production through biological routes is promising because they are environmentally friendly. Hydrogen production through biophotolysis or photofermentation is usually a two stage process. In the first stage CO{sub 2} is utilized for biomass production which is followed by hydrogen production in the second stage in anaerobic/sulfur-deprived conditions. In addition, one-stage photobiological hydrogen production process can be achieved using selected cyanobacterial strains. The major challenges confronting the large scale production of biomass/hydrogen are limited not only on the performance of the photobioreactors in which light penetration in dense cultures is a major bottleneck but also on the characteristics of the organisms. Other dependable factors include area/volume (A/V) ratio, mode of agitation, temperature and gas exchange. Photobioreactors of different geometries are reported for biohydrogen production: Tubular, Flat plate, Fermentor type etc. Every reactor has its own advantages and disadvantages. Airlift, helical tubular and flat plate reactors are found most suitable with respect to biomass production. These bioreactors may be employed for hydrogen production with necessary modifications to overcome the existing bottlenecks like gas hold up, oxygen toxicity and poor agitation. This review article attempts to focus on existing photobioreactors with respect to biomass generation and hydrogen production and the steps taken to improve its performance through engineering innovation that definitely help in the future design and construction of photobioreactors. (author)

  16. Maximum hydrogen production from genetically modified microalgae biomass (United States)

    Vargas, Jose; Kava, Vanessa; Ordonez, Juan

    A transient mathematical model for managing microalgae derived H2 production as a source of renewable energy is developed for a well stirred photobioreactor, PBR. The model allows for the determination of microalgae and H2 mass fractions produced by the PBR in time. A Michaelis-Menten expression is proposed for modeling the rate of H2 production, which introduces an expression to calculate the resulting effect on H2 production rate after genetically modifying the microalgae. The indirect biophotolysis process was used. Therefore, an opportunity was found to optimize the aerobic to anaerobic stages time ratio of the cycle for maximum H2 production rate, i.e., the process rhythm. A system thermodynamic optimization is conducted with the model equations to find accurately the optimal system operating rhythm for maximum H2 production rate, and how wild and genetically modified species compare to each other. The maxima found are sharp, showing up to a ~60% variation in hydrogen production rate within 2 days around the optimal rhythm, which highlights the importance of system operation in such condition. Therefore, the model is expected to be useful for design, control and optimization of H2 production. Brazilian National Council of Scientific and Technological Development, CNPq (project 482336/2012-9).

  17. Advances in the biotechnology of hydrogen production with the microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. (United States)

    Torzillo, Giuseppe; Scoma, Alberto; Faraloni, Cecilia; Giannelli, Luca


    Biological hydrogen production is being evaluated for use as a fuel, since it is a promising substitute for carbonaceous fuels owing to its high conversion efficiency and high specific energy content. The basic advantages of biological hydrogen production over other "green" energy sources are that it does not compete for agricultural land use, and it does not pollute, as water is the only by-product of the combustion. These characteristics make hydrogen a suitable fuel for the future. Among several biotechnological approaches, photobiological hydrogen production carried out by green microalgae has been intensively investigated in recent years. A select group of photosynthetic organisms has evolved the ability to harness light energy to drive hydrogen gas production from water. Of these, the microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is considered one of the most promising eukaryotic H2 producers. In this model microorganism, light energy, H2O and H2 are linked by two excellent catalysts, the photosystem 2 (PSII) and the [FeFe]-hydrogenase, in a pathway usually referred to as direct biophotolysis. This review summarizes the main advances made over the past decade as an outcome of the discovery of the sulfur-deprivation process. Both the scientific and technical barriers that need to be overcome before H2 photoproduction can be scaled up to an industrial level are examined. Actual and theoretical limits of the efficiency of the process are also discussed. Particular emphasis is placed on algal biohydrogen production outdoors, and guidelines for an optimal photobioreactor design are suggested. PMID:24754449

  18. Process and reactor design for biophotolytic hydrogen production. (United States)

    Tamburic, Bojan; Dechatiwongse, Pongsathorn; Zemichael, Fessehaye W; Maitland, Geoffrey C; Hellgardt, Klaus


    The green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has the ability to produce molecular hydrogen (H2), a clean and renewable fuel, through the biophotolysis of water under sulphur-deprived anaerobic conditions. The aim of this study was to advance the development of a practical and scalable biophotolytic H2 production process. Experiments were carried out using a purpose-built flat-plate photobioreactor, designed to facilitate green algal H2 production at the laboratory scale and equipped with a membrane-inlet mass spectrometry system to accurately measure H2 production rates in real time. The nutrient control method of sulphur deprivation was used to achieve spontaneous H2 production following algal growth. Sulphur dilution and sulphur feed techniques were used to extend algal lifetime in order to increase the duration of H2 production. The sulphur dilution technique proved effective at encouraging cyclic H2 production, resulting in alternating Chlamydomonas reinhardtii recovery and H2 production stages. The sulphur feed technique enabled photobioreactor operation in chemostat mode, resulting in a small improvement in H2 production duration. A conceptual design for a large-scale photobioreactor was proposed based on these experimental results. This photobioreactor has the capacity to enable continuous and economical H2 and biomass production using green algae. The success of these complementary approaches demonstrate that engineering advances can lead to improvements in the scalability and affordability of biophotolytic H2 production, giving increased confidence that H2 can fulfil its potential as a sustainable fuel of the future. PMID:23689756

  19. A comprehensive and quantitative review of dark fermentative biohydrogen production

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rittmann Simon


    Full Text Available Abstract Biohydrogen production (BHP can be achieved by direct or indirect biophotolysis, photo-fermentation and dark fermentation, whereof only the latter does not require the input of light energy. Our motivation to compile this review was to quantify and comprehensively report strains and process performance of dark fermentative BHP. This review summarizes the work done on pure and defined co-culture dark fermentative BHP since the year 1901. Qualitative growth characteristics and quantitative normalized results of H2 production for more than 2000 conditions are presented in a normalized and therefore comparable format to the scientific community. Statistically based evidence shows that thermophilic strains comprise high substrate conversion efficiency, but mesophilic strains achieve high volumetric productivity. Moreover, microbes of Thermoanaerobacterales (Family III have to be preferred when aiming to achieve high substrate conversion efficiency in comparison to the families Clostridiaceae and Enterobacteriaceae. The limited number of results available on dark fermentative BHP from fed-batch cultivations indicates the yet underestimated potential of this bioprocessing application. A Design of Experiments strategy should be preferred for efficient bioprocess development and optimization of BHP aiming at improving medium, cultivation conditions and revealing inhibitory effects. This will enable comparing and optimizing strains and processes independent of initial conditions and scale.

  20. The hydrogen society - a national possibility study

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A national possibility study has been carried out for hydrogen as a future environmentally congenial energy carrier. The investigation has mapped from an international perspective, the existing competence at the research institutions and universities, the Norwegian industrial and business sectors as well as possible technological and marketing activity sectors. The information has been procured mainly through a workshop with about 100 Norwegian participants and 3 invited foreign lecturers. An internal workshop has also been arranged in order to discuss the format and content of the report. This study has shown that Norway has special conditions for business development with respect to hydrogen as energy carrier, particularly as a gas nation, but also based on the existing competence within the industry and at the universities and research institutes within hydrogen production and electrolysis. A future business development within the field would depend on the public research contribution, however, the potentials are large. The Norwegian research and development in the field should concentrate the efforts with the recommendation in the report in mind. The recommendations may be summarised as follows: Intensive research and development. Short term (10 years): The production of hydrogen from natural gas with CO2 separation, development of PEM fuel cell systems. Long term (30 years): Focus on the production through water electrolysis, storage of hydrogen carriers, hydrogen relevant materials research. Moderate research and development. Short term (10 years): Integrated systems, storage with fluid hydrogen carriers, combustion technology for H2 mixtures, system solutions. Long term (30 years): Production of biophotolysis, solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). Technological monitoring. Short term (10 years): Storage as condensed gas. Long term (30 years): Production through photoelectolysis, gasification of biomass

  1. Interaction and Synergism of Microbial Fuel Cell Bacteria within Methanogenesis (United States)

    Klaus, David


    Biological hydrogen production from waste biomass has both terrestrial and Martian advanced life support applications. On earth, biological hydrogen production is being explored as a greenhouse neutral form of clean and efficient energy. In a permanently enclosed space habitat, carbon loop closure is required to reduce mission costs. Plants are grown to revitalize oxygen supply and are consumed by habitat inhabitants. Unharvested portions must then be recycled for reuse in the habitat. Several biological degradation techniques exist, but one process, biophotolysis, can be used to produce hydrogen from inedible plant biomass. This process is two-stage, with one stage using dark fermentation to convert plant wastes into organic acids. The second stage, photofermentation, uses photoheterotrophic purple non-sulfur bacteria with the addition of light to turn the organic acids into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Such a system can prove useful as a co-generation scheme, providing some of the energy needed to power a larger primary carbon recovery system, such as composting. Since butyrate is expected as one of the major inputs into photofermentation, a characterization study was conducted with the bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides SCJ, a novel photoheterotrophic non-sulfur purple bacteria, to examine hydrogen production performance at 10 mM-100 mM butyrate concentrations. As butyrate levels increased, hydrogen production increased up to 25 mM, and then decreased and ceased by 100 mM. Additionally, lag phase increased with butyrate concentration, possibly indicating some product inhibition. Maximal substrate conversion efficiency was 8.0%; maximal light efficiency was 0.89%; and maximal hydrogen production rate was 7.7 Umol/mg/cdw/hr (173 ul/mg cdw/hr). These values were either consistent or lower than expected from literature.

  2. Development of a combined bio-hydrogen- and methane-production unit using dark fermentation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brunstermann, R.; Widmann, R. [Duisburg-Essen Univ. (Germany). Dept. of Urban Water and Waste Management


    Hydrogen is regarded as a source of energy of the future. Currently, hydrogen is produced, predominantly, by electrolysis of water by using electricity or by stream reforming of natural gas. So both methods are based on fossil fuels. If the used electricity is recovered from renewable recourses, hydrogen produced by water electrolysis may be a clean solution. At present, the production of hydrogen by biological processes finds more and more attention world far. The biology provides a wide range of approaches to produce hydrogen, including bio-photolysis as well as photo-fermentation and dark-fermentation. Currently these biological technologies are not suitable for solving every day energy problems [1]. But the dark-fermentation is a promising approach to produce hydrogen in a sustainable way and was already examined in some projects. At mesophilic conditions this process provides a high yield of hydrogen by less energy demand, [2]. Short hydraulic retention times (HRT) and high metabolic rates are advantages of the process. The incomplete transformation of the organic components into various organic acids is a disadvantage. Thus a second process step is required. Therefore the well known biogas-technique is used to degrade the organic acids predominantly acetic and butyric acid from the hydrogen-production unit into CH{sub 4} and CO{sub 2}. This paper deals with the development of a combined hydrogen and methane production unit using dark fermentation at mesophilic conditions. The continuous operation of the combined hydrogen and methane production out of DOC loaded sewages and carbohydrate rich biowaste is necessary for the examination of the technical and economical implementation. The hydrogen step shows as first results hydrogen concentration in the biogas between 40 % and 60 %.The operating efficiency of the combined production of hydrogen and methane shall be checked as a complete system. (orig.)