Bioreactor Design Studies for a Hydrogen-Producing Bacterium

Edward J. Wolfrum, Andrew S. Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus Citations


Carbon monoxide (CO) can be metabolized by a number of microorganisms along with water to produce hydrogen (H2) and carbon dioxide. National Renewable Energy Laboratory researchers have isolated a number of bacteria that perform this so-called water-gas shift reaction at ambient temperatures. We performed experiments to measure the rate of CO conversion and H2 production in a trickle-bed reactor (TBR). The liquid recirculation rate and the reactor support material both affected the mass transfer coefficient, which controls the overall performance of the reactor. A simple reactor model taken from the literature was used to quantitatively compare the performance of the TBR geometry at two different size scales. Good agreement between the two reactor scales was obtained.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)611-625
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology - Part A Enzyme Engineering and Biotechnology
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Posted with permission.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-510-32435


  • Carbon monoxide
  • Hydrogen
  • Mass transfer
  • Rubrivivax gelatinosus
  • Synthesis gas
  • Water-gas shift


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