The proposed project aims to develop links and cooperation between the Norwegian Energy-Sustainability Nexus lab (ESNL) and the French Laboratoire de Biotechnologie de l'Environnement (LBE, INRAE). The interest of such a collaboration is to further develop the hydrogen production activities by dark fermentation of both laboratories by pooling their respective competences. The visits in both institutes of PhD students involved in the field will allow them to develop the skills mastered in the host laboratory, to integrate the European biorefinery network and thus to disseminate the acquired skills more widely. The use of industrial hydrogen in France is responsible for 3% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, 95% of the hydrogen currently used comes from the reforming of fossil fuels, emitting 10 kgCO2/kgH2. Hydrogen is an energy carrier of growing interest in the context of the development of intermittent renewable energies and to ensure clean mobility. It is therefore necessary to develop new modes of hydrogen production having the lowest environmental impact.
In this context, dark fermentation allows the production of hydrogen by biological degradation of organic waste under anaerobic conditions. The waste treatment and hydrogen production services provided by this process make it part of the bioeconomy and are currently attracting a lot of interest. Moreover, compared to hydrogen production by water electrolysis (as main technology for massive H2 production), dark fermentation emits 8 times less CO2 per kg of H2 produced and is therefore one of the least polluting hydrogen production processes. However, the development of this process is restricted by low hydrogen productivities that impair the process competitiveness in regards to water electrolysis. These low yields result from the presence of non-hydrogen producing microorganisms or the accumulation of inhibitors