An integrated biohydrogen refinery : synergy of photofermentation, extractive fermentation and hydrothermal hydrolysis of food wastes

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Colleges, School and Institutes


An Integrated Biohydrogen Refinery (IBHR) and experimental net energy analysis are reported. The IBHR converts biomass to electricity using hydrothermal hydrolysis, extractive biohydrogen fermentation and photobiological hydrogen fermentation for electricity generation in a fuel cell. An extractive fermentation, developed previously, is applied to waste-derived substrates following hydrothermal pre treatment, achieving 83 99% biowaste destruction. The selective separation of organic acids from waste-fed fermentations provided suitable substrate for photofermentative hydrogen production, which enhanced the gross energy generation up to 11-fold. Therefore, electrodialysis provides the key link in an IBHR for ’waste to energy’. The IBHR compares favourably to 'renewables’ (photovoltaics, on-shore wind, crop-derived biofuels) and also emerging biotechnological options (microbial electrolysis) and anaerobic digestion.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-392
JournalBioresource Technology
Early online date18 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012


  • Integrated biohydrogen refinery, Waste to energy, Electro-fermentation, Photofermentation, Hydrothermal hydrolysis