Biohydrogen Production from Cellulosic Biomass
Hydrogen can be produced by thermochemical, physicochemical, and biological processes. In contrast to thermo- and physicochemical processes, biological processes offer great potential for sustainable, renewable hydrogen production. Lignocellulosic biomass is renewable, inexpensive, constitutes a large fraction of waste biomass from municipal, agricultural, and forestry sectors, and thus offers excellent potential as a feedstock for renewable biofuels. Cellulose is, however, difficult to hydrolyze due to its crystalline structure. Biological hydrogen can be produced from cellulosic substrates by either hydrolyzing cellulose to sugars, followed by fermentation or by direct use of cellulose as the sole carbon source during fermentation. This chapter outlines the microbial basis of biological hydrogen production by cellulolytic bacteria, discusses the factors that influence hydrogen yields, and describes both single-phase and two-phase hydrogen production systems.