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Waste-to-energy nexus for circular economy and environmental protection: Recent trends in hydrogen energy
Science of the Total Environment ( IF 5.589 ) Pub Date : 2020-01-14 , DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136633
Surbhi Sharma; Soumen Basu; Nagaraj P. Shetti; Tejraj M. Aminabhavi

The energy demand has increased exponentially worldwide owing to the continuously growing population and urbanization. The conventional fossil fuels are unable to satiate this requirement for price inflation and significant environmental damage due to unrestrained emission of greenhouse gases. The focus now has shifted towards alternative, economical, renewable and green sources of energy such as hydrogen to deal with this bottle-neck. Hydrogen is a clean energy-source having high energy content (122 kJ/g). Recently, biological methods for the hydrogen production have attracted much attention because traditional methods are expensive, energy-exhaustive and not eco-friendly. The employment of biological methods promises utilization of waste or low-value materials for producing energy and building waste-to-energy nexus. Around 94% of the waste is discarded precariously in India and waste generation is growing at an alarming rate of 1.3% per year. The “waste-to-energy” techniques follow ‘Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Recovery and Reclamation’ system solving three subjects at once; waste-management, energy-demand and environmental concern. Moreover, these methods have easy operability, cost-effectiveness and they help to shift from linear to circular model of economy for sustainable development. Biological processing of waste materials like agricultural discard (lignocellulosic biomass), food-waste and industrial discharge can be used for biohydrogen production. Dark and photo fermentation are the chief biological processes for the transformation of organic substrates to hydrogen. Dark fermentation is the acidogenic fermentation of carbohydrate-rich materials without light and oxygen. Clostridia, Enterobacter and Bacillus spp. are appropriate heterotrophic bacteria for dark fermentation. Various pretreatment methods like heat treatment, acid or base treatment, ultrasonication, aeration, electroporation, etc., can be applied on inoculums to increase H2 producing bacteria eventually improving the hydrogen yield. However, only around 33% of COD in organic materials is transformed to H2 by this method. Photofermentation by the photosynthetic non-sulfur bacteria (PNS) converts organic substrate to H2 and CO2 in the presence of nitrogenase enzyme in ammonium-limited and anoxygenic conditions. Rhodobacter or Rhodopseudomonas strains have been widely examined in this regard. But these methods are only able to produce H2 with a poor yield. Combining dark and photofermentation is a noteworthy alternative for procuring enhanced hydrogen yields. Two-stage sequential method utilizes volatile fatty acids accumulated as byproducts after dark fermentation (in the first stage) for photofermentation by suitable bacteria (in the second stage). A proper investigation of the dark fermenter effluents is required before using them as a substrate for photo-fermentation. In a single-stage dark and photofermentation, co-culture of anaerobic and PNS bacteria in a single reactor is carried out for obtaining improved yield. The single stage system is comparatively inexpensive and less laborious; moreover, a limited requirement for an intermediate dilution stage is necessary. Economic analysis of hydrogen production showed that H2 production by the present methods, save pyrolysis, is reasonably higher than the conventional approaches of fuel production. Probable routes to make H2 production more cost-effective are reducing the cost of photobioreactor, installing proper storage system, etc. A constructive effort in the area of research and development of biological approaches of H2 production technologies is vital. The commercial viability of biohydrogen production is imperative for accomplishment of circular economy system and sustainable development.
更新日期:2020-01-14

 

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