Renewable hydrogen production


There is an intensive world wide research ongoing to develope processes for biological hydrogen production. In the analysis of microbiological processes for biogas production it has been recognized, that it is possible to decouple the hydrogen-producing phase from the methan production spatially and temporally. Therefore this process can be used as a source for organic hydrogen. Through intensive research the MicroPro GmbH succeeded in isolating and adapting special bacterial cultures that are able to produce a hydrogen-rich gas from biomass. Laboratory results from earlier basic research and laboratory fermentations show that as a metabolic product of certain bacteria, a gas mixture of H2 and CO2 with 50 - 60 % hydrogen content is produced. This mixture can be purified easily by subsequent CO2-separation.

With the modular coupling of hydrogen production in a biogas plant (BGP), the following advantages are expected:

  • Use of conventional BGP-commodity flows,
  • Extension of the range of raw materials for the BGP by prefermentation and purification,
  • reducing the residence time in the BGP by prefermentation,
  • lower costs when using bio-waste (urban waste, food waste, etc.) due to the sanitizing effect in the hydrogen fermenter,
  • higher energy yield of biomass

The method is characterized by a stable hydrogen production with high yield. Furthermore various technical available raw materials were already tested hedging the supply of the plant. Present laboratory data demonstrate the economic feasibility of hydrogen production in technical dimensions.

The MicroPro GmbH is confident that the regenerative hydrogen production from biomass can play an important role especially for decentralized hydrogen supply. Since July 2019, extensive research has been conducted in this area as part of the joint research project "HyPerFerment - Microbiological Process Development for Hydrogen Production and Supply", funded by the state of Saxony-Anhalt and the European Union (ERDF). (project poster) In addition to extensive laboratory tests, plant-side developments, modeling for possible upscaling and initial considerations for integrating the process into an existing biogas plant are planned. For this purpose, another partner could be won as plant operator. In a follow-up project, the process is to be verified economically in its entirety with the aid of a pilot plant.