Production of renewable biohydrogen by Rhodobacter sphaeroides S10: A comparison of photobioreactors

Suriya Palamae, Wanna Choorit, Pongsathorn Dechatiwongse, Dongda Zhang, Ehecatl Antonio del Rio-Chanona, Yusuf Chisti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides S10 was grown photoheterotrophically to produce hydrogen in three types of culture vessels having very different surface-to-volume ratios (S). The aim was to investigate the effect of the culture system geometry (low-aspect ratio cylindrical geometry, a rectangular or flat bottle geometry, and a tubular loop) on growth and hydrogen production as the culture vessel geometry affects the average internal irradiance. A mixed carbon substrate produced by hydrolysis of oil palm empty fruit bunch fibers was used to grow the bacterium and produce hydrogen. Internal average irradiance was shown to affect growth and hydrogen production. A tubular photobioreactor with a high surface area to culture volume ratio (S = 181.7 m−1) proved to be the best culture system for producing hydrogen at a high rate. In contrast, the highest value of the maximum specific growth rate occurred in the relatively poorly lit culture of the cylindrical vessel with a comparatively low surface-to-volume ratio (S = 52.3 m−1). The result suggests that irradiance regimen is a key factor controlling the switch from biomass production to hydrogen production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-328
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date3 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018


  • Biohydrogen
  • Hydrogen
  • Oil palm empty fruit bunch
  • Photobioreactor
  • Rhodobacter sphaeroides


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