Viridiana Santana Ferreira

Viridiana Santana Ferreira

National Institute of Technology, Brazil

Title: Biological Hydrogen production from different waste materials


Viridiana Ferreira-Leitão is Senior Researcher at Biocatalysis Laboratory at the National Institute of Technology, research unit of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. She is also Professor at the Graduation Program in Biochemistry at the Chemistry Institute at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Her research interests involve: enzymatic conversion of renewable substrates into chemicals, lignocellulose processing for ethanol or chemicals production, the use of microorganisms and enzymes as catalysts in hydrolytic or oxidative reactions and biological hydrogen production. Additionally, she published many scientific papers in indexed journals and several books chapters.


Hydrogen (H2) is an attractive and valuable gas that might be employed in different industries, either as reactant or as combustible. The combustion of this fuel produces water as its only product and generates 142 kJ.g-1, which is almost three-fold higher than fossil fuels. There are several process to obtain hydrogen, amongst which biological production can be highlighted, since it could be performed at atmospheric pressures, room temperatures and applying waste materials as feedstock. Hemicellulose fraction derived from lignocellulosic biomass (C5 fraction), palm oil mill effluent (POME) and residual glycerin from biodiesel production are industrial wastes, produced in a large quantities, that have been considered promising substrates for H2 production via anaerobic fermentation. Therefore, these three different waste materials were tested as substrates for biological hydrogen (BioH2) production, using pretreated anaerobic sludge from a municipal sewage treatment plant as inoculum (35°C, pH 5.5). The yields of BioH2 obtained were: 4,45 molH2/molcarbohydrate , 2,39 molH2/gCOD and 2,2 molH2/molglycerin, for C5 fraction, POME and residual glycerin, respectively, after 24 h of anaerobic fermentation. These results show that the use of waste materials allows promising yiels of hydrogen, leading to descentralized renewable energy production, feedstock cost reduction and waste accumulation avoidance.