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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 (H2) 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 H2 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 H2 yield varied from 0.26 to 0.42 g H2-COD/g COD removed in the anode, and the bioanode volume-normalized H2 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 substrate for exoelectrogenesis. Current and H2more » 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 H2 production route demonstrated in this study has proven to be an alternative to the currently used process of reforming natural gas to supply H2 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: