State of the art and challenges of biohydrogen from microalgae

Kuan Yeow Show, Yuegen Yan, Chunxiang Zong, Na Guo, Jo Shu Chang, Duu Jong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Biohydrogen from microalgae has attracted extensive attention owing to its promising features of abundance, renewable and self sustainability. Unlike other well-established biofuels like biodiesel and bioethanol, biohydrogen from microalgae is still in the preliminary stage of development. Criticisms in microalgal biohydrogen centered on its practicality and sustainability. Various laboratory- and pilot-scale microalgal systems have been developed, and some research initiatives have exhibited potential for commercial application. This work provides a review of the state of the art of biohydrogen from microalgae. Discussions include metabolic pathways of light-driven transformation and dark fermentation, reactor schemes and system designs encompassing reactor configurations and light manipulation. Challenges, knowledge gaps and the future directions in metabolic limitations, economic and energy assessments, and molecular engineering are also delineated. Current scientific and engineering challenges of microalgal biohydrogen need to be addressed for technology leapfrog or breakthrough.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121747
JournalBioresource technology
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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