Waste and Biomass Valorization

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 677–689 | Cite as

Production of Bio-Based Hydrogen Enriched Methane from Waste Glycerol in a Two Stage Continuous System

  • Athanasios S. Dounavis
  • Ioanna Ntaikou
  • Maria Kamilari
  • Gerasimos Lyberatos
Original Paper


In the present work, a continuous process was developed aiming at the production of bio-based hydrogen-enriched methane, from waste glycerol (WG) in a two-stage reactor system. In the first step, biohydrogen production was studied, using an attached mixed acidogenic consortium in an up-flow column bioreactor. Cylindrical porous ceramic beads with a surface area of 600 m2L−1 were used as attachment matrix of bacterial cells. The hydrogen yield, the substrate consumption and the distribution of soluble metabolites were investigated for two different substrate concentrations in the feed, i.e. 20 and 25 g WG/L. SEM pictures of the biofilm formed on the ceramic beads revealed that bacilli dominated in the reactor. Subsequently, RISA methodology showed that Klebsiella sp. and Clostridium sp. were among the dominant microorganisms. In parallel, a methanogenic reactor was started up and operated in continuous mode using initially commercial glycerol, and subsequently WG as carbon sources. In the sequel, the effluent of the hydrogenic reactor was fed to the methanogenic reactor (constituting thus the second stage in a two-stage process), and the effect of organic loading on the methane yield was studied. It was shown that the reactor managed to generate up to 73 % of the theoretically expected methane based on COD removal, corresponding to 256.0 ± 2.6 L CH4/kg WG. Moreover, simulation of the experimental data of the methanogenic reactor via the Anaerobic Digestion Model ADM1 revealed that the model was able to successfully describe the performance of the digester, even under dynamic conditions.


Waste glycerol Biohydrogen Methane 16S rRNA RISA ADM1 



The study was partially financed by GSRT in the framework of the project BIOREF, 09SYN-81-715 as well as by the project “PEFYKA”, which is implemented in the context of the Action “Development proposals of Research Organizations- KRIPIS”, funded by the Operational Programme “Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship” (OPCE-II), Priority Axis (PA) 1, “Creation and Development of Innovation Supported by Research and Technological Development” and the “Regional Operational Programmes (ROP)” in the 3 Regions of transitional support of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 2007–2013. The Public Expenditure has been co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Union and Greek national Funds. The authors would like to thank Dr. Stefanos Dailianis for his contribution in the statistical data analysis as well as Dr.rer.nat. Constantin Flytzanis for providing the lab equipment for the RISA methodology.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Athanasios S. Dounavis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ioanna Ntaikou
    • 2
  • Maria Kamilari
    • 3
  • Gerasimos Lyberatos
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece
  2. 2.Institute of Chemical Engineering and SciencesFoundation for Research and Technology Hellas (ICEHT/FORTH)PatrasGreece
  3. 3.Department of Biology, Division of Genetics, Cell and Developmental BiologyUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece
  4. 4.School of Chemical EngineeringNational Technical University of AthensAthensGreece

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