Biological Hydrogen Gas Production from Food Waste as a Sustainable Fuel for Future Transportation

Due to fast economic expansion and population overgrowth, a large amount of petroleum fuels is consistently combusted to drive our societies. At first, fossil fuel depletion was a concern. However, greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by automobiles contribute nearly 14% of total GHG emissions. The consequences adversely impact the air quality and lead to climate change. As a result, several alternative and low carbon emission fuels have extensively advanced prior to transitioning the traditional carbon fueled vehicles to sustainable transportation modes. This study proposes a development of biological hydrogen gas formation in food waste anaerobic digesters (FW-ADer). The hydrogen energy produces near-zero carbon emissions and can propel future transportation machineries. The goal of this proposed activity is to develop a FW-ADer prototype yielding high biogas volume with large hydrogen gas content, which will suffice as a generator feed prior to powering automobiles. The goal aligns with SB1 Objective 5 of this Request for Proposal: Maximize opportunities for California’s cap-and-trade program to reduce the impact of transportation on climate change. This project includes Objective 1: Develop microbial seeds suitable for food waste substrates, which can produce high hydrogen gas content, Objective 2: Optimize operational schemes as well as determine the impacts of different food waste compositions on biological hydrogen gas production, and Objective 3: Finalize the design of FW-ADer prototype. Toward the end of the project, the amount of hydrogen gas formed will be contrasted with other forms of energy such as petroleum, and electrical energy using heat values as British Thermal Unit (BTU) along with cost and carbon emission/global warming impacts prior to conforming hydrogen production FW-ADers as a promising sustainable energy source for future transportation.

Principal Investigator: 
Pitiporn Asvapathanagul
PI Contact Information:

California State University, Long Beach

Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

This project warrants data dissemination via a poster, slide presentation, conference proceeding and peer-review publication. The examples of journals are Renewable Energy, Applied Energy or Environmental Science and Technology, etc. Students and faculty will be responsible for abstract submission, poster/slide preparation, conference proceeding write up, and data presentation. Besides, the findings will be used as preliminary data prior to external proposal submissions such as National Science Foundation (NSF)- Environmental Engineering or Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Water Research Foundation or Department of Energy grants. Importantly, students will have a chance to explore experimental learning set up through research conducting, which will strengthen CSULB significant valued educational practices and enhance CSULB students’ ability to carry out their current and higher academic achievement. Virtually, the project profoundly addresses our today and future global challenges of climate change and transportation sustainability. The outputs of this project can promote the applications of converting food waste into hydrogen gas for powering automobiles. Ultimately, this project outcomes will help reduce amount of food waste disposed into landfills and incinerators, which directly support the 2030 EPA and USDA food waste and loss reduction goal16-17. Moreover, since fugitive methane gas from landfills is reduced, this will substantially minimize the climate change impacts because 20% of total US methane emissions are originated from landfills, which supports Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32) and EPA Clean Air Act18-19, and also aligns with SB1 Objective 5 of this Request for Proposal: Maximize opportunities for California’s cap-and-trade program to reduce the impact of transportation on climate change.

Project Number: 



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