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Development of helical tubular reactor for hydrogen producing photosynthetic bacteria

Sarı, Süleyman
Photobiological hydrogen production from organic materials occurs with the help of illumination and under aerobic conditions within photobioreactors. Novel designs are needed in order to increase the light conversion efficiency and to improve the biological hydrogen production. In this thesis, purple non sulfur bacteria Rhodobacter sphaeroides O.U. 001 was employed as the hydrogen producing microorganism. Two different types of photobioreactors, namely oscillatory helical photobioreactor and recycling helical bioreactor, were devised and successfully operated for bacterial growth and hydrogen production. Total liquid capacity of the pneumatically driven oscillatory flow helical tubular photobioreactor was 11.5 L, and 4.5 L of which was occupied by the bacterial culture. The bacteria grew very well both in malate-based and acetate-based media under nitrogen atmosphere. The bacteria sustained their vitality 24 days before the system was shut down. The recycling helical tubular photobioreactor, which was developed for hydrogen production, had a fully occupied total volume of 6.5L. The bacteria produced approximately 1.9L of hydrogen in four days on malate-based media. The hydrogen production rate was 0.009LH2/Lculture.h. The effects of molecular nitrogen gas and the sodium glutamate concentration on the growth of hydrogen producing photosynthetic bacteria Rhodobacter sphaeroides O.U.001 in the reactor were also examined in 500ml-bottles. The bacterial growth curves did not show any difference at the control medium containing 15mM of acetate and 10 mM of sodium glutamate. However, other bottles containing a lesser amount of N-source was found to grow earlier under the nitrogen atmosphere. Besides, even a 15/2 acetate/sodium glutamate ratio was observed to be sufficient to grow the bacteria for inoculation, and to spend extra sodium glutamate was not necessary. The novel designs developed in this study aim to improve the biological hydrogen production by photosynthetic bacteria, and to provide new ways in adaptation of photobiological systems to outdoor conditions for large-scale applications.