How can we use organic waste to produce green hydrogen?

By Hochschule Bremerhaven

Hot off the press!

Our latest review article in Energies MDPI is a great starting point for anyone interested in understanding how to use biogenic sources to produce biohydrogen. In searching for sustainable technologies to produce greenhydrogen, a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) offers a solution to utilize residual streams, such as the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW), agricultural residues, and wastewater, thus paving the path for green energytransition while staying true to the principles of circulareconomy. This review summarizes different MEC design configurations and the technical accomplishments and challenges encountered by small-scale and large-scale MECs.

Biohydrogen Production in Microbial Electrolysis Cells Utilizing Organic Residue Feedstock: A Review

AAU Energy, Aalborg University, Niels Bohrs Vej 8, 6700 Esbjerg, Denmark
*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Energies 2022, 15(22), 8396;

Abstract: The need for renewable and sustainable fuel and energy storage sources is pressing. Biohydrogen has the potential to be a storable energy carrier, a direct fuel and a diverse building block for various downstream products. Utilizing microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) to produce biohydrogen from residue streams, such as the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW), agricultural residues and wastewater facilitate utilization and energy recovery from these streams, paving the path for a circular economy. The advantages of using hydrogen include high gravimetric energy density and, given the MEC pathway, the ability to capture heavy metals, ammonia and phosphates from waste streams, thereby allowing for multiple revenue streams emanating from MECs. A review of the MEC technology and its application was carried out to investigate the use of MEC in sustainable biohydrogen production. This review summarizes different MEC designs of varying scales, including anode materials, cathode materials, and configuration possibilities. This review highlights the accomplishments and challenges of small-scale to large-scale MECs. Suggestions for improving the successful upscaling of MECs are listed, thus emphasizing the areas for continued research.

Keywords: MEC; green hydrogen; OFMSW; wastewater

Differences in hydrogen production methods and their carbon emission impact.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 101007130.