BIOH2 proposes a biological green H2 generation system, using organic matter from wastewater as a substrate.

BIOH2 proposes a biological green hydrogen generation system using organic matter from wastewater as a substrate. This system is conceived as an economical and modular solution for valorizing industrial wastewater, especially when it contains a high concentration of sugars in its effluents, as is often the case in the food industry.

To achieve this, three lines of work are proposed:

  • The selection of enhanced bacterial cultures
  • Optimization of the hydrogen production process
  • Hydrogen storage and control.

BIOH2 is divided into two phases, with the first focused on the development and optimization of a green hydrogen production process, and the second on optimizing the evaluation of the enzymatic pathway of the process and the scalability of a biological hydrogen production process using enzymes in a larger-scale bioreactor.


The project aims at the initial development of a technology to generate hydrogen from wastewater in the agri-food industry. The goal of this technology is to make this energy vector used for the self-sufficiency of the industry, thereby reducing its costs and carbon footprint.
This process, in addition to improving biodegradability, avoids the need to compress and transport hydrogen at high pressures, which in turn significantly reduces the carbon footprint and other emissions.
The idea is for this system to operate autonomously with minimal maintenance, making Industry 4.0 digital technology essential for its proper execution.
In this regard, the objectives addressed in Phase 1 were:

  •  Improve bacterial strains for the biological production of green H2.
  •  Pilot testing at the INGEOBRAS test bench.
  • Purify the gas mixture at the reactor outlet.
  •  Monitor gas production and distribution.
  •  Improve subsequent purification.
  •  Digitize the system and develop the control system.

Considering the results achieved in Phase 1 and the experience gained during its execution, the specific objectives set for Phase 2 are:

  • Explore and analyze the enzymatic pathway in hydrogen production in a small-scale bioreactor.
  • Design and manufacture a representative 200L pilot plant to thoroughly evaluate the process and acquire new knowledge about the technological basis of biological hydrogen generation via fermentative pathways on a larger scale.
  •  Evaluate the technology’s performance against different synthetic water matrices, including synthetic water with characteristics similar to real ones.
  • Optimize working parameters to maximize hydrogen production in quantity and richness.
  •  Design an energetically autonomous system using renewable energies and digital enablement.
  • Real-time monitoring and remote control system for the plant, capable of including a system for self-managing energy consumption based on energy autonomy design.
  • Increase gas system compression levels.

The project has successfully created a preliminary, economical, and modular system capable of generating biological green hydrogen from industrial wastewater.

Acquiring technical knowledge of this technology, studied from its inception in the laboratory to larger-scale tests, has allowed the system to be optimized to achieve a hydrogen purity of over 70%. Similarly, bacterial specialization and selection have been achieved, leading to higher hydrogen production yields.

From an economic perspective, both operating and investment costs of the process have been reduced. The hydraulic retention time (HRT) is significantly lower than traditional solutions, decreasing from 21-31 days to 3-4 days with the BIOH2 system.

The BIOH2 technology integrates specific bacterial pools and rapid anoxic processes, which allows for smaller bioreactor sizes and a notable reduction in associated costs.

The major advantage of this system, in addition to valorizing waste (wastewater) into a valuable resource (green hydrogen), is the treated water’s quality. The treated water has been optimized to make it more easily biodegradable, making it ideal for methane generation in a subsequent stage.

In addition to refining the technology process, efforts have also been made to digitalize the manufactured equipment. Monitoring has been achieved, and a remote control system has been incorporated through an online application to oversee the self-management of consumption.

Implementation period

Phase I: December 2021 – August 2022 (AEI-010500-2021b-174) 

Phase II: September 2022 – April 2023 (AEI-010500-2022b-165) 


This project is possible thanks to the collaboration between DAB biotechnology, Rivi Technical Group, Ingeobras ( and the Aragonese water cluster, Zinane. 

Further information

This disruptive innovation project aims to drive the search for a new source of energy production from wastewater. 

Grants and subsidies

This project has received aid in the form of a grant regulated by the support programme for Innovative Business Groups (AEIs) of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan – Funded by the European Union – NextGenerationEU.

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