Bio-E - Bioénergies

Microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) for bio-hydrogen production – DéfiH12

Submission summary

Using hydrogen as an energy vector would have numerous advantages, provided that sustainable production processes were developed. The DefiH12 project proposes to convert the organic acids produced during fermentation into hydrogen by means of Microbial Electrolysis Cell (MEC) technology. A MEC is an electrolyser that oxidises acetic/butyric acids at the anode, while the cathode carries out the abiotic reduction of water in the usual way. The oxidation at the anode is made possible by the presence of a microbial biofilm on the electrode, which acts as an electro-catalyst. The combination of fermentation with MEC would provide a total of 8 to 9 moles of hydrogen per mole of glucose, a considerable step towards the theoretical limit of 12 moles of hydrogen with a reduced energy cost of 1 kWh/m3 H2. DefiH12 proposes to design specific microbial biofilms for the development of MEC anodes by identifying new sources of inoculum, adapting the microbial population and determining the structural characteristics of biofilm that will optimise its electro-active properties. The fundamental knowledge created will be exploited to design a pilot in order to provide serious information for evaluating the real potential of bio-hydrogen production by electrolysis of organic matter.

Project coordination

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

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Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 0 Months

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