Biotechnology is applied to the biological production of hydrogen.

Implementation period

December 2021 to August 2022 (Phase 1)

September 2022 to April 2023 (Phase 2)

Scope of work

Digital technology

Resilient infrastructure







This project has been funded by the national programme for clusters support “Ayudas a Agrupaciones Empresariales Innovadoras” (AEIs) of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism. Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan – Funded by the European Union – NextGenerationEU.

File number:

Phase 1:  AEI-010500-2021b-174

Phase 2: AEI-010500-2022b-165


BIO-H2 proposes a green biological H2 generation system using wastewater organic matter as a substrate. This system is planned as an economical and modular solution that allows the valorisation of wastewater produced in the industry, mainly if it contains a high concentration of sugars in its effluents, as is the case in the agri-food industry.

We propose three lines of work to improve bacterial cultures, optimise hydrogen production processes, and store and control hydrogen.

BIO-H2 will sensor all system’s critical parameters, providing real-time monitoring of the entire process. The second part of this project will focus on the energetic use of the hydrogen produced for self-consumption.


The aim of the project is to develop a technology for generating biological hydrogen from wastewater from the agri-food industry, so that this energy vector can be used for the industry’s self-sufficiency, reducing the company’s energy costs and its carbon footprint.

An important characteristic and objective of this technology is that a local source of energy is obtained for local consumption, which avoids its compression at high pressures for transport and transport itself, with the resulting drastic reduction of the carbon footprint and other emissions. Furthermore, the proposed process improves the biodegradability of the wastewater used for hydrogen production, thus simplifying the matrix of the effluent to be treated down to the simplest organic form, the acetates.

This results in lower treatment costs, as less intensive treatment is required, and opens the way to other possible uses for this highly biodegradable organic matter. The whole system is based on the idea that it must operate autonomously and with minimum maintenance, which is why the use of digital 4.0 technologies becomes an indispensable enabler for the correct execution of the project.

In this sense, the objectives addressed in phase 1 were:
– Improve bacterial strains for the biological production of green H2.
– To pilot the test bench that INGEOBRAS has at its Development Centre.
– Purify the gas mixture at the reactor outlet.
– To monitor the production and distribution of the gas.
– Improve the subsequent purification.
– Digitise the system and develop the control system.

Considering the results achieved in Phase 1 and the experience acquired during its execution, the specific objectives for Phase 2 are:
– To explore and analyse the enzymatic route in the production of hydrogen in a small-scale bioreactor.
– To design and manufacture a representative 200L pilot, which will allow in-depth evaluation of the process and acquire new knowledge on the technological basis of the generation of biological hydrogen by fermentative means, under larger scale conditions.
– To evaluate the behaviour of the technology against different synthetic water matrices, reaching synthetic waters with similar characteristics to the real ones.
– Optimise the working parameters to maximise hydrogen production in terms of quantity and richness.
– Design an energetically autonomous system through the application of renewable energies and digital enablers.
– Real-time monitoring system and remote control of the plant, capable of including a system for self-management of energy consumption based on the design of energy autonomy.
– Increased compression levels of the gas system.


The project has succeeded in creating an economical and modular system capable of generating biological green hydrogen from industrial wastewater.

Acquiring the technical knowledge of this technology, studied from its origin in the laboratory to larger scale tests, has allowed the system to be optimised to achieve a purity of the hydrogen obtained of over 70%. Similarly, bacterial specialisation and selection has been achieved, allowing higher hydrogen production yields.

From an economic point of view, the operating and investment costs of the process have been reduced. Hydraulic retention time (HRT) is significantly lower than traditional solutions, from 21-31 days to 3-4 days with the BIO-H2 system.

BIO-H2 technology integrates specific bacterial pools and fast anoxic processes, all of which allows the size of the biodigesters to be smaller and the associated costs to be significantly reduced.

The great advantage of this system, in addition to the valorisation of a waste (wastewater) to a valuable resource (green hydrogen), is the output water after treatment. It has been possible to optimise the water after treatment to obtain more easily biodegradable water, perfect for generating methane at a later stage.

In addition to perfecting the process technology, work has also been done on the digitalisation of the equipment manufactured. It has been possible to monitor and incorporate a remote control system through an online application to review the process of self-management of consumption.