Hydrogen energyProject Biological Hydrogen Production
This mid-term report describes how the project has exceeded initial targets for scaling-up their process of producing a strain of bacteria that generates hydrogen from renewable carbohydrate feedstocks such as glucose and sucrose.
To date, we have scaled the fermentation of our hydrogen-producing bacteria from a 100-mL bench scale to a 2-L laboratory scale bioreactor. Optimisation of the 2-L laboratory scale fermentation process to achieve pilot scale generation of larger volumes of hydrogen gas is underway. The engineered bacterial cells can produce more than 6 L of hydrogen gas per hour per litre of bacterial culture. This is a 1000-fold improvement on hydrogen rate since the commencement of the project and nearly 10-fold greater than our anticipated target rate for this project. The yield of hydrogen production from the engineered hydrogen-producing bacteria from glucose feedstocks is, at present, at 14%. This value is near our expected target of 20% to be achieved by the conclusion of the project. We have developed bespoke equipment and methods for measuring hydrogen gas from our current optimised bacterial strains. We have built a laboratory scale generator, coupled with fuel-cell technology, which can directly utilise the hydrogen produced from our engineered strains to generate electricity without requiring hydrogen storage.