Using Acetylene as a Low-cost and Effective Methanogenesis Inhibitor in Single Chamber Microbial Electrolysis Cells Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/undergraduate_thesis_or_projects/1j92g9114

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  • Microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) for hydrogen production exhibit great advantages over many other biohydrogen production techniques in terms of versatility of substrate and hydrogen yield. However, hydrogen scavenging by methanogens put forward a great challenge to the application of the single chamber MECs when using mixed culture. Various strategies were developed against methanogens but with limited effect or challenges to practical application. This study demonstrated that the presence of 5-10% (v/v) acetylene in headspace can successfully inhibit methanogenesis in MECs using both acetate and glucose as substrates. While 0.1% of acetylene in the headspace was not effective for inhibiting methanogens, 1% acetylene somewhat suppressed methanogens when acetate was used as substrate. Acetylene at 5% and 10% demonstrated superior methanogen inhibition effects over the classic methanogen inhibitor, 2-bromoethanesulfonate (BES) at 5 mM. The acetylene inhibition was specific to methanogens. No evidence of inhibition against exoelectrogens was found, compared to BES and no treatment controls. MEC performance with diluted wastewater was also explored, but more must be done to avoid swings in pH during batch-operation. Our cost analysis suggests that utilizing acetylene is a cost-effective way of inhibiting methanogens in MECs, indicating its great potential for practical application.
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