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Title: Biotransformation of furanic and phenolic compounds with hydrogen gas production in a microbial electrolysis cell

In this study, furanic and phenolic compounds are problematic byproducts resulting from the decomposition of lignocellulosic biomass during biofuel production. This study assessed the capacity of a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) to produce hydrogen gas (H 2) using a mixture of two furanic (furfural, FF; 5-hydroxymethyl furfural, HMF) and three phenolic (syringic acid, SA; vanillic acid, VA; and 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, HBA) compounds as the sole carbon and energy source in the bioanode. The rate and extent of biotransformation of the five compounds, efficiency of H 2 production, as well as the anode microbial community structure were investigated. The five compounds were completely transformed within 7-day batch runs and their biotransformation rate increased with increasing initial concentration. At an initial concentration of 1,200 mg/L (8.7 mM) of the mixture of the five compounds, their biotransformation rate ranged from 0.85 to 2.34 mM/d. The anode coulombic efficiency was 44-69%, which is comparable to wastewater-fed MECs. The H 2 yield varied from 0.26 to 0.42 g H 2-COD/g COD removed in the anode, and the bioanode volume-normalized H 2 production rate was 0.07-0.1 L/L-d. The major identified fermentation products that did not transform further were catechol and phenol. Acetate was the direct substratemore » for exoelectrogenesis. Current and H 2 production were inhibited at an initial substrate concentration of 1,200 mg/L, resulting in acetate accumulation at a much higher level than that measured in other batch runs conducted with a lower initial concentration of the five compounds. The anode microbial community consisted of exoelectrogens, putative degraders of the five compounds, and syntrophic partners of exoelectrogens. The H 2 production route demonstrated in this study has proven to be an alternative to the currently used process of reforming natural gas to supply H 2 needed to upgrade bio-oils to stable hydrocarbon fuels.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); The Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Science and Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Environmental Science and Technology; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-936X
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 08 HYDROGEN; microbial electrolysis; bioelectrochemical systems; hydrogen
OSTI Identifier: