Utilization of Agro-Waste as Carbon Source for Biohydrogen Production: Prospect and Challenges in Malaysia

  • Muhd Nazrul Hisham Zainal AlamEmail author
  • Nadia Adrus
  • Mohd Firdaus Abdul Wahab
  • Mohd Johari Kamaruddin
  • Mohd Helmi Sani
Part of the Applied Environmental Science and Engineering for a Sustainable Future book series (AESE)


Hydrogen gas (H2) is a clean fuel and contained a relatively high energy density which is about 142 kJ g−1. Recently, increasing attention has been given to the production of H2 from biological route. The biological H2 (biohydrogen) process is an H2 production by microorganisms that utilize renewable energy resources as substrates. Possible biohydrogen production technologies include biophotolysis, photo-fermentation processes, and the dark fermentation route. Among these three production processes, the dark fermentation process is often regarded as the most potential route. It generates H2 by utilizing carbohydrates as the carbon sources whereby glucose was found to be the most commonly used substrate. A high yield of biohydrogen, i.e., about 4 mol of H2 per mole of glucose consumed can possibly be achieved through this route. Despite a reasonably high yield, industrial-grade glucose (35–50 USD per kg) is expensive and therefore, rendering the process less economical especially considering market value for H2 typically ranging only between 3 and 5 USD per kg. Obviously, cheaper substrates are needed if dark fermentation process is ever to strive as the potential route for biohydrogen production. In Malaysia, abundance of agricultural waste is disposed into landfills annually and thus, making it free un-tap resources. This chapter reports the prospect and challenges of utilizing agro-waste as the carbon source for biohydrogen production in Malaysia. The work will provide basis evaluation on the potential of biohydrogen production where agro-waste is capitalized as main substrates for the process.


Biohydrogen Agro-waste Dark fermentation Sustainability 



The work was financially supported by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Research University Trans-disciplinary Grants (TDR), vote no. Q.J130000.3551.06G46.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhd Nazrul Hisham Zainal Alam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nadia Adrus
    • 1
  • Mohd Firdaus Abdul Wahab
    • 2
  • Mohd Johari Kamaruddin
    • 3
  • Mohd Helmi Sani
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Chemical and Energy EngineeringFaculty of Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MalaysiaJohor BahruMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Bioscience, Faculty of ScienceUniversiti Teknologi MalaysiaJohor BahruMalaysia
  3. 3.Centre of Hydrogen Energy (CHE), Institute of Future Energy, Universiti Teknologi MalaysiaJohor BahruMalaysia

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