Development and calibration of a model for biohydrogen production from organic waste

Waste Manag. 2013 May;33(5):1128-35. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2013.01.019. Epub 2013 Mar 7.


Existing models for H2 production are capable of predicting digester failure caused by a specific disturbance. However, they are based on studies using simple sugars, while it is known that H2 production and fermentation kinetics vary with the composition and characteristics of the substrate used. Because the behaviour of biological processes may differ significantly when the digesting material is a complex matrix, such as organic waste, the aim of this study was to develop and calibrate a mathematical model for the prediction of hydrogen production on the basis of the results obtained from a laboratory scale experimental study using source-selected organic waste. The calibration was carried out for the most important kinetic parameters in mesophilic anaerobic digestion processes and also served as a sensitivity analysis for the influence of both the specific growth rate (μmax and the half velocity constant (k(s)), both of which are strongly dependant on the substrate used. High values of μmax led to a shorter lag-time and to an overestimate of the cumulative final H2 production relative to the experimentally measured production. Additionally, high values of ks associated with amino acid and sugar fermentation corresponded to a lower rate of substrate consumption and to a greater lag-time for growth of hydrogen-producing microorganisms. In this case, a lower final H2 production was predicted than that which was experimentally observed. Because the model development and calibration provided useful information concerning the role of the kinetic constants in the analysis of a fermentative H2 production process from organic wastes, they may also represent a good foundation for the analysis of fermentative H2 production from organic waste for pilot and full-scale applications.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Biofuels
  • Calibration
  • Fermentation
  • Hydrogen / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Soil
  • Waste Management / instrumentation
  • Waste Management / methods*


  • Amino Acids
  • Biofuels
  • Soil
  • Hydrogen