SmartBioH2-BW – Biohydrogen from industrial wastewater and residual streams as a platform for versatile biosynthetic routes

The photosynthetic purple bacterium Rhodospirillum rubrum. Left: Electron micrograph of R. rubrum cells. Middle: R. rubrum culture grown anaerobically/photosynthetically. R. rubrum is able to produce hydrogen in larger quantities.
© University of Stuttgart, IBBS
The photosynthetic purple bacterium Rhodospirillum rubrum. Left: Electron micrograph of R. rubrum cells. Middle: R. rubrum culture grown anaerobically/photosynthetically. R. rubrum is able to produce hydrogen in larger quantities.
Microalgae are cultivated at Fraunhofer IGB in a special photobioreactor, a flat panel airlift reactor.
© Fraunhofer IGB / Rafael Kroetz
The carbon dioxide produced in the process by the purple bacteria is fed to the coupled microalgae plant.

In the SmartBioH2-BW project, a biorefinery is to be integrated into the existing industrial environment of Evonik Operations GmbH in Rheinfelden - using industrial wastewater and residual material streams generated there.

Our approach

The biorefinery is based on two processes for biotechnological hydrogen production, which are linked together:

Hydrogen (H2) and other products such as carotenoids are produced in a closed bioreactor using purple bacteria. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced as a by-product.

The carbon dioxide is fed to the connected microalgae plant. There it is bound in the algae biomass - releasing further hydrogen or other products such as proteins or lutein. In addition to binding the carbon dioxide, the process serves to increase the hydrogen yield and expand the biorefinery's product range.

The biorefinery is to be analyzed and optimized according to ecological, economic and social criteria throughout the entire planning and development process. The project partners are developing a holistic evaluation system that can be transferred to other "biofactories" and that can be used to record the relevant environmental impacts and economic relationships.

In the SmartBioH2-BW project, two interlinked biotechnological processes (purple bacteria and algae) will be used to produce biohydrogen and other products such as carotenoids from industrial wastewater and residual material streams.
In the SmartBioH2-BW project, two interlinked biotechnological processes (purple bacteria and algae) will be used to produce biohydrogen and other products such as carotenoids from industrial wastewater and residual material streams.

Project information

Project title

SmartBioH2-BW – Biohydrogen from industrial wastewater and residual streams as a platform for versatile biosynthetic routes

 

Project duration

October 2021 – March 2024

 

Project partners

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Stuttgart (Coordination)
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, Stuttgart
  • University of Stuttgart, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomolecular Systems IBBS
  • University of Stuttgart, Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production EEP
  • Evonik (associated partner)