Intensification of Acidogenic Fermentation for the Production of Biohydrogen and Volatile Fatty Acids—A Perspective

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Utilising ‘wastes’ as ‘resources’ is key to a circular economy. While there are multiple routes to waste valorisation, anaerobic digestion (AD)—a biochemical means to breakdown organic wastes in the absence of oxygen—is favoured due to its capacity to handle a variety of feedstocks. Traditional AD focuses on the production of biogas and fertiliser as products; however, such low-value products combined with longer residence times and slow kinetics have paved the way to explore alternative product platforms. The intermediate steps in conventional AD—acidogenesis and acetogenesis—have the capability to produce biohydrogen and volatile fatty acids (VFA) which are gaining increased attention due to the higher energy density (than biogas) and higher market value, respectively. This review hence focusses specifically on the production of biohydrogen and VFAs from organic wastes. With the revived interest in these products, a critical analysis of recent literature is needed to establish the current status. Therefore, intensification strategies in this area involving three main streams: substrate pre-treatment, digestion parameters and product recovery are discussed in detail based on literature reported in the last decade. The techno-economic aspects and future pointers are clearly highlighted to drive research forward in relevant areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number325
Number of pages41
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2022


  • biohydrogen production
  • volatile fatty acids
  • intensification
  • pre-treatment
  • digester
  • product recovery
  • techno-economic aspects


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