Thermophilic hydrogen fermentation of cellulose was evaluated by a long term continuous experiment and batch experiments. The continuous experiment was conducted under 55°C using a continuously stirred tank reactor (CSTR) at a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 10 day. A stable hydrogen yield of 15.4±0.23molkg-1 of cellulose consumed was maintained for 190 days with acetate and butyrate as the main soluble byproducts. An analysis of the 16S rRNA sequences showed that the hydrogen-producing thermophilic cellulolytic microorganisms (HPTCM) were close to Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum, Clostridium sp. and Enterobacter cloacae. Batch experiment demonstrated that the highest H2 producing activity was obtained at 55°C and the ultimate hydrogen yield and the metabolic by-products were influenced greatly by temperatures. The effect of temperature variation showed that the activation energy for cellulose and glucose were estimated at 103 and 98.8kJmol-1, respectively.
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