AIMS Microbiology, 2016, 2(3): 262-277. doi: 10.3934/microbiol.2016.3.262.

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Experimental workflow for developing a feed forward strategy to control biomass growth and exploit maximum specific methane productivity of Methanothermobacter marburgensis in a biological methane production process (BMPP)

1 Institute of Chemical Engineering, Vienna University of Technology, Gumpendorferstraße 1a, 1060 Vienna, Austria
2 Krajete GmbH, Scharitzerstraße 30, 4020 Linz, Austria

Recently, interests for new biofuel generations allowing conversion of gaseous substrate(s) to gaseous product(s) arose for power to gas and waste to value applications. An example is biological methane production process (BMPP) with Methanothermobacter marburgensis. The latter, can convert carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2), having different origins and purities, to methane (CH4), water and biomass. However, these gas converting bioprocesses are tendentiously gas limited processes and the specific methane productivity per biomass amount (qCH4) tends to be low. Therefore, this contribution proposes a workflow for the development of a feed forward strategy to control biomass, growth (rx) and qCH4 in a continuous gas limited BMPP. The proposed workflow starts with a design of experiment (DoE) to optimize media composition and search for a liquid based limitation to control selectively growth. From the DoE it came out that controlling biomass growth was possible independently of the dilution and gassing rate applied while not affecting methane evolution rates (MERs). This was done by shifting the process from a natural gas limited state to a controlled liquid limited growth. The latter allowed exploiting the maximum biocatalytic activity for methane formation of Methanothermobacter marburgensis. An increase of qCH4 from 42 to 129 mmolCH4 g−1 h−1 was achieved by applying a liquid limitation compare with the reference state. Finally, a verification experiment was done to verify the feeding strategy transferability to a different process configuration. This evidenced the ratio of the fed KH2PO4 to rx (R(FKH2PO4/rx)) has an appropriate parameter for scaling feeds in a continuous gas limited BMPP. In the verification experiment CH4 was produced in a single bioreactor step at a methane evolution rate (MER) of   132 mmolCH4*L−1*h−1 at a CH4 purity of 93 [Vol.%].
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Keywords design of experiments; chemostat; bioprocess quantification; carbon balance; biological methanogenesis; gas limited bioprocess; continuous bioprocess; power to gas; liquid limited growth; waste to value

Citation: Sébastien Bernacchi, Alexander Krajete, Christoph Herwig. Experimental workflow for developing a feed forward strategy to control biomass growth and exploit maximum specific methane productivity of Methanothermobacter marburgensis in a biological methane production process (BMPP). AIMS Microbiology, 2016, 2(3): 262-277. doi: 10.3934/microbiol.2016.3.262


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