Bioelectrochemical Systems for Indirect Biohydrogen Production

John M. Regan, Hengjing Yan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Bioelectrochemical systems involve the use of exoelectrogenic (i.e., anode-reducing) microbes to produce current in conjunction with the oxidation of reduced compounds. This current can be used directly for power in a microbial fuel cell, but there are alternate uses of this current. One such alternative is the production of hydrogen in a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC), which accomplishes cathodic proton reduction with a slight applied potential by exploiting the low redox potential produced by exoelectrogens at the anode. As an indirect approach to biohydrogen production, these systems are not subject to the hydrogen yield constraints of fermentative processes and have been proven to work with virtually any biodegradable organic substrate. With continued advancements in reactor design to reduce the system internal resistance, increase the specific surface area for anode biofilm development, and decrease the material costs, MECs may emerge as a viable alternative technology for biohydrogen production. Moreover, these systems can also incorporate other value-added functionalities for applications in waste treatment, desalination, and bioremediation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Photosynthesis and Respiration
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9789401785532
StatePublished - Jan 22 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-I1-003-13
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by Award KUS-I1-003-13 from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and Grant Number W911NF-11-1-0531 from the U.S. Department of the Army – Army Research Office.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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