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Bioresour Technol. 2008 Jan;99(1):110-9. Epub 2007 Jan 25.

Biofuels generation from sweet sorghum: fermentative hydrogen production and anaerobic digestion of the remaining biomass.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, Karatheodori 1 st., Patras, Greece.


The present study focuses on the exploitation of sweet sorghum biomass as a source for hydrogen and methane. Fermentative hydrogen production from the sugars of sweet sorghum extract was investigated at different hydraulic retention times (HRT). The subsequent methane production from the effluent of the hydrogenogenic process and the methane potential of the remaining solids after the extraction process were assessed as well. The highest hydrogen production rate (2550 ml H(2)/d) was obtained at the HRT of 6h while the highest yield of hydrogen produced per kg of sorghum biomass was achieved at the HRT of 12h (10.4l H(2)/kg sweet sorghum). It has been proved that the effluent from the hydrogenogenic reactor is an ideal substrate for methane production with approximately 29l CH(4)/kg of sweet sorghum. Anaerobic digestion of the solid residues after the extraction process yielded 78l CH(4)/kg of sweet sorghum. This work demonstrated that biohydrogen production can be very efficiently coupled with a subsequent step of methane production and that sweet sorghum could be an ideal substrate for a combined gaseous biofuels production.

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