Hydrogen (H2) stands out as promising candidate for the energy of the future by its high calorific power and, more importantly, for only producing water when reacting with oxygen in fuel cells. H2 can be generated from the biological anaerobiosis of organic wastes in a process where these rejects become raw materials for the production of high-value-added biofuels. Brazil stands out for the large production of cheese whey and glycerin which have strong pollutant potential if they are not disposed of properly, and can be used for hydrogen production. Thus, the challenge of this research project is to establish the bases to apply the concept of biorefinery to a plant of biological treatment of whey or glycerin wastewaters with the generation of biofuels. This concept is based on the use of anaerobic reactors operated in a discontinuous and/or discontinuously fed mode with immobilized biomass in inert support reactor (AnSBBR) as main units of the plant. In this context, this project aims to evaluate the application of a AnSBBR in the process of producing hydrogen from whey or glycerin wastewaters. Process stability, efficiency of substrate conversion, the yield between produced hydrogen and consumed substrate, and the molar specific productivity will be analyzed according to various organic loading rates by modifying influent concentration and cycle length, including the effect of fill/feed time and temperature. Furthermore, the microbial consortia present in the reactors will be phylogenetic characterized aiming to understand the relationship between the effect of different operational parameters on the structure of the microbial community and the process performance.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: