Kinetics of hydrogen production with continuous anaerobic cultures utilizing sucrose as the limiting substrate
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In this study, local sewage sludge was acclimated to establish H2-producing enrichment cultures, which were used to convert sucrose to H2 with continuously stirred anaerobic bioreactors. The steady-state behaviors of cell growth, substrate utilization, and product formation were closely monitored. Kinetic models were developed to describe and predict the experimental results from the H2-producing cultures. Operation at dilution rates (D) of 0.075–0.167 h–1 was preferable for H2 production, resulting in a H2 concentration of nearly 0.02 mol/l. The optimal hydrogen production rate was 0.105 mol/h occurring at D=0.125 h–1. The major volatile fatty acid produced was butyric acid (HBu), while acetic acid and propionic acid were also produced in lesser quantities. The major solvent product was ethanol, whose concentration was only 15% of that of HBu, indicating that the metabolic flow favors H2 production. The proposed model was able to interpret the trends of the experimental data. The maximum specific growth rate (µmax), Monod constant (Ks), and yield coefficient for cell growth (Yx/s) were estimated as 0.172 h–1, 68 mg COD/l, and 0.1 g/g, respectively. The model study also suggests that product formation in the continuous hydrogen-producing cultures was essentially a linear function of biomass concentration.
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