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Control of Anaerobic digestion processes for optimisation of Hydrogen production


For global environmental considerations, bio-hydrogen production from organic waste sources represents an important area of energy production: bio-hydrogen is indeed an environmentally friendly fuel which produces water instead of greenhouse gasses when combusted.

Furthermore, it has an energy yield greater than hydrocarbon fuels and can be directly used to produce electricity in fuel cells with high efficiency. Hydrogen can be biological produced from organic wastes by several methods among which anaerobic fermentation is a very attractive one. However, the main obstacles in bio-hydrogen application as industrial process are the low yields and non-optimized process.

This project focuses on these points studying the following main objectives:
- Identify important parameters influencing metabolic pathways for optimal hydrogen production
- Compare the different modelling approaches available in the literature for anaerobic digestion processes and include the hydrogen pathways.
- Investigate process configurations for maximising energy output of combined biohydrogen (as first priority) and biogas (as second priority) in a combined treatment process.
- Develop appropriate control laws to optimise hydrogen and biogas production.

This project offers an opportunity to bring together two experts in a topic recognised as a research priority by the EU. The applicant is indeed recognised as a world leader in control of anaerobic digestion, and the host organisation in biohydrogen production and modelling of anaerobic digestion. Therefore, the project addresses a specific and clearly identified technological limitation.

Additionally, application of the system to combined anaerobic fermentation of bio-hydrogen and anaerobic biogas production offers a complete process for maximum yield of hydrogen, and indeed, energy from renewable biomass resources. It is also to be noticed that combined biohydrogen biogas production processes was never studied previously in details.

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