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    Two-stage process for sequential hydrogen and methane production


Biohydrogen production has some limitations such as low energy recovery and chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal. When organic wastes were used as substrate, most COD remains in the effluent. To solve these problems, a two-stage concept that sequentially methane producing process connects behind hydrogen producing process was suggested to improve an energy recovery. This two-stage strategy can maximize energy recovery through a separation of processes that have different optimal condition to minimize inhibition effects and most COD could remove in effluent from bio-hydrogen production process. Technology of methane recovery by anaerobic fermentation from wastes containing high organic contents was easy to apply to two-stage because it was commercialized in a practical field already.
So far, researches about two–stage process have been focused on improvement of wastewater treatment efficiency, not energy recovery and profits. And despite many advantages of two-stage process, 90% of full-scale biogas plants in Europe were operated one-stage process because of the lower cost compared with two-stage process because this system requires complexity and increasing initial investment. Little information is available in literature concerning the evaluation of two stage process using cost-effective substrate as economic and environmental aspects and makes to be difficult to apply into practical case broadly. Therefore two-stage system for hydrogen and methane production is necessity to be evaluated in terms of energy recovery and profits in this study. 
To achieve this objective, molasses, a byproduct of sugar refining process, was used as cost-effective substrate and packed bed reactor system, in which could maintain high cell density, was applied for maximizing hydrogen and methane production.


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