Shaoan Cheng, Douglas Call, and Bruce E. Logan
Research Associate, Hydrogen Energy Center
The Pennsylvania State University
Hydrogen is considered as an environmentally acceptable, alternative energy carrier and can be used in vehicles. Presently most of hydrogen is produced by reformation of natural gas, coal and heavy oil which is not sustainable. Other technologies like electrolysis of water and biological fermentation are environmentally friendly and sustainable for producing hydrogen. However, those complement technologies either have high cost or low hydrogen yield. We report here a new technology called a bioelectrochemically assisted microbial reactor (BEAMR) that can produce 3.9 mol H2/mol acetate with an energy recovery of 86%. The hydrogen production rate was 1300 L H2/d-m3-reactor volume based on overall acetate removals of 90-97%.