Scientific Projects

Biological Treatment of Waste

Hydrogen Production by Biological Treatment of Waste”

Project prepared for FCH-JU-2011-1, topic SP1-JTI-FCH.2011.2.6: Low-temperature H2 production processes.

The main purpose of the project is to develop and test a novel biotechnology for hydrogen production using bio-residue from small enterprises of the food processing industry that mainly produce wine, wine brandies, sugar and fruit juices, etc. The energy obtained will be utilized for the needs of the same enterprises. The conversion of bio-residue to hydrogen in small enterprises will allow them to use clean energy, which will promote de-centralization of energy use and will reduce the application of other traditional fuels polluting the atmosphere.

The proposed technology consists of two branches: the first represents the conversion of the bio-residue from wine and sugar industries into hydrogen by means of bacteria in one-step bioreactor of special design under solar radiation and in the conditions of “dark” fermentation. The second branch is devoted to the treatment of bio-residue from the juice producing enterprises of cultivated and wild fruits. It consists of an isolation of the natural pigments of the bioresidue, which are antioxidants (as anthocyans, flavonoids etc.) prior to the fermentation step. These natural pigments are used as functional food additives. The bioresidue is subsequently subjected to preliminary enzymatic decomposition of the plant tissue. The resulting hydrolysates will be further subjected to  fermentation for hydrogen production by photo- and dark bacteria-assisted processes.

Summarising, the proposed biotechnology for hydrogen production comprises of several innovative elements such as: use of a single bioreactor of a special design,  two kinds of bacteria working simultaneously or separately and utilization of both solar radiation-assisted  and “dark” fermentation; a novel approach to the immobilization of bacteria in order to improve their stability and reuse; reversible adsorption of carbon dioxide as a byproduct; new technologies for the isolation of natural pigments from bio-residues, using a novel absorbent.

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