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This table lists the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) technical targets for hydrogen production from microbial biomass conversion.

More information about targets can be found in the Hydrogen Production section of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office's Multi-Year Research, Development, and Demonstration Plan.

Technical Targets: Dark Fermentative Hydrogen Production and Microbial Electrolysis Cells (MECs) a

CharacteristicsUnits2011 Status2015 Target2020 Target
Feedstock cost ccents/lb. sugar13.5108
Yield of H2 production from glucose by fermentation dmol H2/mol glucose3.2 e46
Yield of H2 production from glucose by integrated MEC—fermentation fmol H2/mol glucose6 e9 e
Duration of continuous production (fermentation)time17 days g3 months6 months
MEC cost of electrodes$/m22,400 h30050

a The targets in this table are for research tracking. The final targets for this technology are costs that are market competitive. This table will be updated in a future version of this plan to incorporate hydrogen cost targets and feedstock assumptions.
b Technology readiness targets (beyond 2020) are 10 molar yield of H2 production from glucose, 6 cents/lb. sugar feedstock cost, and 12 months duration of continuous production.
c Targets are from the DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office Multi Year Program Plan 2007–2012, August 2005, for sugar from lignocellulosic biomass. The targets have been shifted 2–5 years in the table for purposes of FCT planning pending further analysis of this pathway.
d The theoretical maximum from known fermentative pathways is 4, although the H2 content of 1 mole of glucose and the H2O required for fermentation is 12. Clearly, in order to achieve molar yields greater than 4, the feasibility of developing new pathways or discovering new microbes needs to be assessed.
e In 2010, NREL reported a H2 molar yield of 3.2 by supplying limited amounts of cellulose substrate during fermentation (2010 Annual Progress Report DOE Hydrogen Program).
f The yield assumes a system where the effluent from the glucose-fed fermentation system is used as feedstock for an MEC (e.g., in 2015 the target for fermentation is 4 mol H2/mol glucose while that for MEC is 2 mol H2/mol glucose, for a total combined target of 6 mol H2/mol glucose). The goal is for continuous flow operation conditions.
g Van Ginkel, S., Sung, S. 2001. Environ. Sci. Technol. 35: 4726-4730.
h Estimated for replacing Pt with MoS2, based on Tokash, J.C. and B.E. Logan. 2011. "Electrochemical evaluation of a molybdenum disulfide catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction under solution conditions applicable to microbial electrolysis cells." Int. J. Hydrogen Energy. 36(16): 9439-9445.