The objectives of the project Défi H12 are organized in three major axes :
A. Discover, adapt, identify, create and manage the microbial consortia implied at the anode of electrolyzers (tasks 1 and 2).
B. Increase the knowledge on the mechanisms of electro-microbial catalysis and conceive optimal electrochemically active biofilms (tasks 2 and 3).
C. Develop the engineering of MEC based on the fundamental knowledge acquired and evaluate the potential of the technology (tasks 4 and 5).
The project is then organized in five scientific tasks :
Task 1. Discover and identify novel microbial consortia, compare and select them.
- Select a “type inoculum” for further tasks.
- Identify novel sources of electrochemically-active bacteria, compare their performances and choose a maximum of two consortia for studying in task 2.
- Evaluate the capacity of adaptation of the microbial consortia, to the operational conditions of MEC.
Task 2. Engineering of microbial consortia.
- Optimization of the abiotic parameters for the consortia selected in task 1.
- Follow the dynamics of microbial communities in electrochemically-active biofilms for long periods, under controlled conditions and under the effect of perturbations.
- Improve the microbial consortia by different isolation methods, ecological engineering or adaptation.
Task 3. Electrode engineering
- Optimization of the cathode for hydrogen production in neutral pH media.
- Progress into knowledge of microbial anode mechanisms and establish the kinetic laws for MEC calculation, for the “type consortium and conditions”.
- Optimize microbial anodes for their specific utilization in MEC.
Task 4. Electrolyzer engineering
- Develop a MEC that integrates knowledge acquired in previous tasks.
- Identify the best operational conditions and prepare the integration of MEC in the biomass transformation chain.
Task 5. Coupling MEC and anaerobic digestion.
- Integrate MEC technology in a sequence of bio-hydrogen production by anaerobic digestion, following two configurations :
- Coupling in series, with MEC using the products of fermentation in a different reaction system
- Integration of digestion process inside the MEC.
- Propose a first eco-evaluation of both configurations.