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Efficient Hydrogen Production by Direct Electrolysis of Waste Biomass at Intermediate Temperatures

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journal contribution
posted on 24.05.2018, 00:00 authored by Takashi Hibino, Kazuyo Kobayashi, Masaya Ito, Qiang Ma, Masahiro Nagao, Mai Fukui, Shinya Teranishi
Biomass has been considered as an alternative feedstock for energy and material supply. However, the lack of high-efficiency and low-cost processes for biomass utilization and conversion hinders its large-scale application. This report describes electrochemical hydrogen production from waste biomass that does not require large amounts of energy or high production costs. Hydrogen was produced by the electrolysis of bread residue, cypress sawdust, and rice chaff at an onset cell voltage of ca. 0.3 V, with high current efficiencies of approximately 100% for hydrogen production at the cathode and approximately 90% for carbon dioxide production at the anode. The hydrogen yields per 1 mg of the raw material were 0.1–0.2 mg for all tested fuels. Electrolysis proceeded continuously at plateau voltages that were proportional to the current. These characteristics were attributable to the high catalytic activity of the carbonyl-group functionalized mesoporous carbon for the anode reaction, and that the major components of biomass such as cellulose, starch, lignin, protein, and lipid were effectively utilized as fuels for hydrogen production.

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