Effects of Heavy Metals and pH on the Conversion of Biomass to Hydrogen via Syngas Fermentation
Journal article, 2018

The effects of three heavy metals on hydrogen production via syngas fermentation were investigated within a metal concentration range of 0 to 1.5 mg Cu/L, 0 to 9 mg Zn/L, 0 to 42 mg Mn/L, in media with initial pH of 5, 6, and 7, at 55 degrees C. The results showed that at lower metal concentration, pH 6 was optimum while at higher metal concentrations, pH 5 stimulated the process. More specifically, the highest hydrogen production activity recorded was 155% +/- 12% at a metal concentration of 0.04 mg Cu/L, 0.25 mg Zn/L, and 1.06 mg Mn/L and an initial medium pH of 6. At higher metal concentration (0.625 mg Cu/L, 3.75 mg Zn/L, and 17.5 mg Mn/L), only pH 5 was stimulating for the cells. The results showed that the addition of heavy metals, contained in gasification-derived ash, can improve the production rate and yield of fermentative hydrogen. This could lead to lower costs in gasification process and fermentative hydrogen production and less demand for syngas cleaning before syngas fermentation.

Heavy metals



Fermentative hydrogen



Konstantinos Chandolias

University of Borås

Steven Wainaina

University of Borås

Claes Niklasson

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology, Chemical Engineering Design

Mohammad J. Taherzadeh

University of Borås


1930-2126 (ISSN)

Vol. 13 2 4455-4469

Subject Categories

Chemical Process Engineering

Other Chemical Engineering




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