skip to main content

DOE PAGESDOE PAGES

Title: Unravelling biocomplexity of electroactive biofilms for producing hydrogen from biomass

Nature recruits various types of microbes to transform its waste products into reusable building blocks. In order to develop engineered systems to enable humans to generate useful products from complex sources such as biomass, a better understanding of the synergy between microbial species is necessary. Here we investigate a bioelectrochemical system for conversion of a complex biomass-derived pyrolysis stream into hydrogen via microbial electrolysis. Interaction between the exoelectrogens and fermentative organisms is key in this process. Comparing bioelectroconversion of a switchgrass-derived bio-oil aqueous phase (BOAP) with a model exoelectrogenic substrate, acetic acid, we demonstrate that fermentative breakdown of BOAP to acetate is the limiting step in the syntophic conversion process. The anode microbial community displayed simultaneous conversion of sugar derivatives, phenolic compounds, carboxylic acids, etc. present in BOAP, but at differing rates through division of labor and syntrophic exchange. Maximum removal for BOAP reached 43 mg COD/h vs. 59 mg COD/h for pure acetic acid. Furthermore, maximum hydrogen production for BOAP reached 11 L/L-d vs. 35 L/L-day for pure acetic acid. Coulombic efficiency for both substrates was >80%. Unpoising of the anode haulted exoelectrogenesis and allowed fermentative processes to proceed resulting in acetic acid accumulation at the rate of 8.4more » mg/h. Coupled to the simultaneous conversion of compounds present within BOAP, these results support the division of labor and syntrophic interactions suggested here. The hydrogen productivity is the highest achieved to date for a biomass-derived stream. The exoelectrogenic rates achieved signify that commercial feasibility can be achieved if fermentative rates can be improved.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Biosciences Division; Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Education
  2. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Biosciences Division; Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Education; Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Inst. for Secure and Sustainable Environments
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Microbial Biotechnology (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Microbial Biotechnology (Online); Journal Volume: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 1751-7915
Publisher:
Wiley
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS
OSTI Identifier:
1369105
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1369106; OSTI ID: 1408603