Hydrogen production by microorganisms in solar bioreactor

Uyar, Başar
The main objective of this study is exploring the parameters affecting photobiological hydrogen production and developing anaerobic photobioreactor for efficient photofermentative hydrogen production from organic acids in outdoor conditions. Rhodobacter capsulatus and Rhodobacter sphaeroides strains were used as microorganisms. EU project “Hyvolution” targets to combine thermophilic fermentation with photofermentation for the conversion of biomass to hydrogen. In this study, the effluent obtained by dark fermentation of Miscanthus hydrolysate by T. neapolitana was fed to photobioreactor for photofermentation by R. capsulatus. Hydrogen yield was 1.4 L/Lculture showing that the integration of dark and photofermentation is possible. Innovative elements were introduced to the photobioreactor design such as removal of argon flushing. An online gas monitoring system was developed which became a commercial product. It was found that the light intensity should be at least 270 W/m2 on the bioreactor surface for the highest hydrogen productivity and the hydrogen production decreased by 43 % if infrared light was not provided to the bioreactor. Scale-up of photofermentation process to 25L was achieved yielding 27L hydrogen in 11 days by R. capsulatus on acetate/lactate/glutamate (40/7.5/2 mM) medium. The outdoor application of the system was made. Shading and water spraying were adapted as cooling methods for controlling the temperature of the outdoor bioreactor. It was found that uptake hydrogenase deleted mutant of R. capsulatus show better hydrogen productivity (0.52 mg/L.h) compared to the wild type parent (0.27 mg/L.h) in outdoor conditions. It was also shown that the hydrogen production depended on the sunlight intensity received.


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Citation Formats
B. Uyar, “Hydrogen production by microorganisms in solar bioreactor,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2008.