Effects of Heavy Metals and pH on the Conversion of Biomass to Hydrogen via Syngas Fermentation

Konstantinos Chandolias, Steven Wainaina, Claes Niklasson, Mohammad J. Taherzadeh


The effects of three heavy metals on hydrogen production via syngas fermentation were investigated within a metal concentration range of 0 to 1.5 mg Cu/L, 0 to 9 mg Zn/L, 0 to 42 mg Mn/L, in media with initial pH of 5, 6, and 7, at 55 °C. The results showed that at lower metal concentration, pH 6 was optimum while at higher metal concentrations, pH 5 stimulated the process. More specifically, the highest hydrogen production activity recorded was 155% ± 12% at a metal concentration of 0.04 mg Cu/L, 0.25 mg Zn/L, and 1.06 mg Mn/L and an initial medium pH of 6. At higher metal concentration (0.625 mg Cu/L, 3.75 mg Zn/L, and 17.5 mg Mn/L), only pH 5 was stimulating for the cells. The results showed that the addition of heavy metals, contained in gasification-derived ash, can improve the production rate and yield of fermentative hydrogen. This could lead to lower costs in gasification process and fermentative hydrogen production and less demand for syngas cleaning before syngas fermentation.


Gasification; Syngas; Fermentative hydrogen; Heavy metals; pH

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