Microorganisms mediated hydrogen from biomass: Scale-up issues for farm-based economical production

PETR 100

Daniel Van der Lelie, vdlelied@bnl.gov1, Mouzhgun Anjom, manjom@gmail.com2, Safiyh Taghavi, taghavis@bnl.gov1, and Devinder Mahajan, dmahajan@bnl.gov3. (1) Biology Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Building 463, Upton, NY 11973, (2) Materials Science & Engineering Department, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794, (3) Energy Science and Technology Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973
We recently reported that Thermatoga neapolitana DSM5068 could efficiently process glucose feedstock to yield copious amounts of H2 at temperatures between 70-85oC and ambient pressure (Van Ooteghem et al., 2004, Biotechnol. Lett. 26: 1223-1232). One unusual feature of this thermophylic bacterium is its ability to produce H2 under microaerobic conditions. For example, in the presence of O2 (up to 8% in air), the H2 yield somewhat maximizes. The origin of this unusual O2 is under investigation and is likely to involve: 1) an altered structure of the active center for H2 production, i..e., [FeFe]-hydrogenases compared to that known for mesophylic microorganisms or 2) the subtle changes in the geometry of the protein that envelopes the active [FeFe] center. Further work in our laboratories also shows these microorganisms could operate even at high pressures of up to 2 MPa.

While we investigate the mechanistic aspects of this H2 producing system, we have begun to address scale-up issues. We envision continuous H2 production could be achieved in a 14L vessel for demonstration on a farm. The schematics of this set up and the related chemistry will be presented.