The conversion of glycerol into high value products, such as hydrogen gas and 1,3-propanediol (PD), was examined using anaerobic fermentation with heat-treated mixed cultures. Glycerol fermentation produced 0.28 mol-H 2/mol-glycerol (72 mL-H2/g-COD) and 0.69 mol-PD/mol-glycerol. Glucose fermentation using the same mixed cultures produced more hydrogen gas (1.06 mol-H2/mol-glucose) but no PD. Changing the source of inoculum affected gas production likely due to prior acclimation of bacteria to this type of substrate. Fermentation of the glycerol produced from biodiesel fuel production (70% glycerol content) produced 0.31 mol-H 2/mol-glycerol (43 mL H2/g-COD) and 0.59 mol-PD/mol-glycerol. These are the highest yields yet reported for both hydrogen and 1,3-propanediol production from pure glycerol and the glycerol byproduct from biodiesel fuel production by fermentation using mixed cultures. These results demonstrate that production of biodiesel can be combined with production of hydrogen and 1,3-propanediol for maximum utilization of resources and minimization of waste.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology