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Title: Understanding the impact of flow rate and recycle on the conversion of a complex biorefinery stream using a flow-through microbial electrolysis cell

We investigated the effect of flow rate and recycle on the conversion of a biomass-derived pyrolysis aqueous phase in amicrobial electrolysis cell (MEC) to demonstrate production of renewable hydrogen in biorefinery. A continuous MEC operation was investigated under one-pass and recycle conditions usingthe complex, biomass-derived, fermentable, mixed substrate feed at a constant concentration of 0.026 g/L,while testing flow rates ranging from 0.19 to 3.6 mL/min. This corresponds to an organic loading rate (OLR) of 0.54₋10 g/L-day. Mass transfer issues observed at low flow rates were alleviated using high flow rates.Increasing the flow rate to 3.6 mL/min (3.7 min HRT) during one-pass operation increased the hydrogen productivity 3-fold, but anode conversion efficiency (ACE) decreased from 57.9% to 9.9%. Recycle of the anode liquid helped to alleviate kinetic limitations and the ACE increased by 1.8-fold and the hydrogen productivity by 1.2-fold compared to the one-pass condition at the flow rate of 3.6 mL/min (10 g/L-d OLR). High COD removal was also achieved under recycle conditions, reaching 74.2 1.1%, with hydrogen production rate of 2.92 ± 0.51 L/L-day. This study demonstrates the advantages of combining faster flow rates with a recycle process to improve rate of hydrogen production from a switchgrass-derived stream inmore » the biorefinery.« less
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; DEAC05-00OR22725
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biochemical Engineering Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Biochemical Engineering Journal; Journal ID: ISSN 1369-703X
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; switchgrass; bio-oil aqueous phase; pyrolysis; Integrated hydrogen production; organic loading rate; hydraulic retention time
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1410820