Improving fermentative hydrogen and methane production from an algal bloom through hydrothermal/steam acid pretreatment

Jun Cheng, Liangchen Yue, Lingkan Ding, Yu You Li, Qing Ye, Junhu Zhou, Kefa Cen, Richen Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Algal blooms can be harvested as renewable biomass waste for gaseous biofuel production. However, the rigid cell structure of raw algae may hinder efficient microbial conversion for production of biohydrogen and biomethane. To improve the energy conversion efficiency, biomass from an algal bloom in Dianchi Lake was subjected to a hydrothermal/steam acid pretreatment prior to sequential dark hydrogen fermentation and anaerobic digestion. Results from X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy suggest that hydrothermal acid pretreatment leads to stronger damage of the amorphous structure (including hemicellulose and amorphous cellulose) due to the acid pretreatment, as evidenced by the higher crystallinity index. Scanning electron microscopy analysis showed that smaller fragments (∼5 mm) and wider cell gaps (∼1 μm) on algal cell surfaces occurred after pretreatment. In comparison to steam acid pretreatment, hydrothermal acid pretreatment resulted in a maximum energy conversion efficiency of 44.1% as well as production of 24.96 mL H2/g total volatile solids (TVS) and 299.88 mL CH4/g TVS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5812-5820
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program-China ( 2016YFE0117900 ), and Zhejiang Provincial Key Research and Development Program-China ( 2017C04001 ). Dr. Richen Lin is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 797259 , and by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) through the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI) under Grant No. 12/RC/2302 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC


  • Dianchi lake algal bloom
  • Hydrogen
  • Hydrothermal pretreatment
  • Methane


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