Applied Energy, Vol.219, 34-41, 2018
Effects of low-strength ultrasonication on dark fermentative hydrogen production: Start-up performance and microbial community analysis
Our previous studies have demonstrated the positive impacts of low-strength (LS)-ultrasonication on biological methane production via anaerobic digestion. In this study, the effects of LS-ultrasonication and effluent recirculation on dark fermentative hydrogen production using upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor were investigated. Significant increase in hydrogen (H-2) yield (up to 0.89 mol H-2 /mol hexose) was observed under LS-ultrasonication conditions. This enhanced H-2 yield seems to be associated with the decrease in dissolved H-2 concentration via a degassing effect, as evident from increased H-2 content (up to 20%). Effluent recirculation alone led to positive effects. However, applying both LS-ultrasonication and effluent recirculation decreased H-2 yield compared to the trial with only LS-ultrasonication (0.89-0.72 mol H-2 /mol hexose), possibly due to the cumulative shear stress and sludge bed expansion above the ultrasonication zone. Microbial community analysis revealed that the presence/absence of LS-ultrasonication and/or effluent recirculation significantly affected the microbial communities. Ethanoligenes cloacae, Aeromonas hydrophila and Clostridium pasteurianum were identified as principal H-2 producers under the LS-ultrasonic conditions, while C. butyricum, the most commonly reported H-2 producer, was more abundant in the controls. The energy balance of the LS-ultrasonication system was evaluated and future research directions were suggested.