A membrane bioreactor (MBR) fabricated by connecting a hollow-fiber microfiltration membrane module with a continuous flow stirred tank reactor (CSTR) was used to enhance H2 production through high-dilution rate operations. Three different carbon substrates (glucose, sucrose, and fructose) were examined for their effectiveness in H2 production with a mixed microflora. The results show that in CSTR operation, cell washout occurred at a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 2-4 h. Using MBR could avoid cell washout, leading to a substantial increase in both H2 production rate (HPR) and biomass concentration. The MBR system was very effective in retaining biomass within the reactor as the system can be stably operated at an extremely low HRT of 1 h with an optimal steady-state HPR of 1.48, 2.07, and 2.75 l/h/l, respectively, for using glucose, sucrose, and fructose as the sole carbon source. Meanwhile, despite operation at a high dilution rate (i.e., HRT = 1 h), the H2 yield (HY) could be maintained at a high level of 1.27, 1.39, and 1.36 mol H2 / mol hexose, for glucose, sucrose, and fructose, respectively. Irrespective of the bioreactor mode (CSTR or MBR), the HPR tended to decrease in the order of fructose > sucrose > glucose. Thus, fructose seems to be the most efficient carbon substrate for H2 production with the H2-producing mixed culture used in this work. Butyrate (HBu) and acetate (HAc) (especially, HBu) were the major soluble metabolites in all cases, contributing to 70-85% of total soluble microbial product (SMP). The HPR and HY could be estimated based on stoichiometric correlation between formation of soluble metabolites (i.e., HBu, HAc, and propionate) and H2 production. The estimated values are in good agreement with the experimental results.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology