Feasibility of biohydrogen production by co-digestion of vinasse (sugarcane stillage) and molasses in an AnSBBR

Abstract This work studied the feasibility of biohydrogen production by co-digestion of vinasse/molasses in an AnSBBR operated with mechanical stirring (30°C and 200 rpm). Hydrogen production by co-digestion of vinasse/sucrose was also studied to verify the performance of the process with a known co-substrate with easy degradation. The effects of influent composition (vinasse/sucrose and vinasse/molasses), influent concentration (3000 and 4000 mgCOD.L-1) and cycle time (3 and 4 h) on performance indicators were evaluated using stability, organic matter removal efficiency, molar hydrogen yield, productivity and biogas composition. The condition with vinasse/molasses in the influent that showed the best results was obtained with a 3-hour cycle time, influent concentration of 3000 mgCOD.L-1 and composition of 33% vinasse and 67% molasses. The molar productivity in this condition was 3.8 molH2.m-3.d-1 with a hydrogen molar fraction of 16% (and a methane molar fraction of 14%). A first order kinetic model was fitted efficiently to the best conditions.