Hydrogen and methane production from desugared molasses by a two‐stage thermophilic anaerobic process was investigated in a series of two up‐flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors. The first reactor that was dominated with hydrogen‐producing bacteria of Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum and Thermoanaerobacterium aciditolerans could generate a high hydrogen production rate of 5600 mL H2/day/L, corresponding to a yield of 132 mL H2/g volatile solid (VS). The effluent from the hydrogen reactor was further converted to methane in the second reactor with the optimal production rate of 3380 mL CH4/day/L, corresponding to a yield of 239 mL CH4/g VS. Aceticlastic Methanosarcina mazei was the dominant methanogen in the methanogenesis stage. This work demonstrates that biohydrogen production can be very efficiently coupled with a subsequent step of methane production using desugared molasses. Furthermore, the mixed gas with a volumetric content of 16.5% H2, 38.7% CO2, and 44.8% CH4, containing approximately 15% energy by hydrogen is viable to be bio‐hythane.
Engineering in Life Sciences (online), 2013, Vol 13, Issue 2, p. 118-125