Potential for Utilizing POME to Produce Biohydrogen Gas Using Microbial Electrolysis Cell


  • Ferdy Christian Hartanto IPB Univeristy
  • Nadia Nurul Atikah IPB University
  • Mohammad Sahid Indrawan IPB University
  • Armansyah Halomoan Tambunan IPB University




carbon fiber cloth, DC voltage, MEC, palm oil mill effluent


Palm oil mill effluent contains organic matter and microorganisms that can potentially be reused despite of its impact to the environment. Microbial electrolysis cell is a method that utilizes electrogenic bacteria to produce hydrogen gas. This study aims to explore the potential for utilizing palm oil mill effluent to produce hydrogen gas using microbial electrolysis cells. Experiments were conducted in a specially built MEC reactor with a 3.5 L capacity with 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 V with carbon fiber cloth as electrodes. A gas analyzer was used to measure hydrogen gas over the course of 24 h at a 2 h interval. Palm oil mill effluent was utilized as a substrate, while distilled water was used as a control. Experiments demonstrate that the amount of hydrogen gas produced increases as the voltage increases, with values of 37 mg m-3 at 0.5 V, 136 mg m-3 at 1.0 V, and 358 mg m-3 at 1.5 V. When comparing the yield of hydrogen gas produced with distilled water substrate at 1.5 V, the yield of palm oil mill effluent substrate is always higher. This could be due to microbial activity increasing the rate of electrolysis of the substrate into hydrogen gas.


Download data is not yet available.


Bala JD, Lalung J, Al-Gheethi AAS, Hossain K, Ismail N. 2018. Microbiota of palm oil mill wastewater in Malaysia. Trop Life Sci Res. 29(2):131–163.

Bala JD, Lalung J, Ismail N. 2014. Biodegradation of palm oil mill effluent (POME) by bacterial. Int J Sci Res Publ. 4(1):2250–3153.

Borja R, Banks CJ. 1995. Comparison of an anaerobic filter and an anaerobic fluidized bed reactor treating palm oil mill effluent. Process Biochem. 30(6):511–521.

Call D, Logan BE. 2008. Hydrogen production in a single chamber microbial electrolysis cell lacking a membrane. Environ Sci Technol. 42(9):3401–3406.

Dai HY, Yang HM, Liu X, Song XL, Liang ZH. 2019. Hydrogen production using “direct-starting” biocathode microbial electrolysis cell and the analysis of microbial communities. Acta Metallurgica Sinica (English Letters) 32(3):297-304.

Dawood F, Anda M, Shafiullah GM. 2019. Hydrogen production for energy: an overview. Int J Hydrogen Energy. 45(7): 3847-3869.

Ghimire A, Frunzo L, Pirozzi F, Trably E, Escudie R, Lens PNL, Esposito G. 2015. A review on dark fermentative biohydrogen production from organic biomass: process parameters and use of by-products. Appl Energy. 144:73–95.

Kadier A, Kalil MS, Abdeshahian P, Chandrasekhar K, Mohamed A, Azman NF, Logroño W, Simayi Y, Hamid AA. 2016. Recent advances and emerging challenges in microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) for microbial production of hydrogen and value-added chemicals. Renew Sustain Energy Rev. 61:501–525.

Khongkliang P, Jehlee A, Kongjan P, Reungsang A, O-Thong S. 2019. High efficient biohydrogen production from palm oil mill effluent by two-stage dark fermentation and microbial electrolysis under thermophilic condition. Int J Hydrogen Energy. 44(60):31841–31852.

Lim SS, Fontmorin JM, Izadi P, Wan Daud WR, Scott K, Yu EH. 2020. Impact of applied cell voltage on the performance of a microbial electrolysis cell fully catalysed by microorganisms. Int J Hydrogen Energy. 45(4):2557–2568.

Liu H, Hu H, Chignell J, Fan Y. 2010. Microbial electrolysis: Novel technology for hydrogen production from biomass. Biofuels. 1(1):129–142.

Liu H, Logan B. 2004. Electricity generation using an air-cathode single chamber microbial fuel cell (MFC) in the absence of a proton exchange membrane. ACS Natl Meet B Abstr. 228(1):4040–4046.

Mamimin C, Thongdumyu P, Hniman A, Prasertsan P, Imai T, O-Thong S. 2012. Simultaneous thermophilic hydrogen production and phenol removal from palm oil mill effluent by thermoanaerobacterium-rich sludge. Int J Hydrogen Energy. 37(20):15598–15606.

Mandal HK. 2014. Effect of temperature on electrical conductivity in industrial effluents. Recent Res Sci Technol. 6(1): 171-175.

Mun WK, Rahman NA, Abd-Aziz S, Sabaratnam V, Hassan MA. 2008. Enzymatic hydrolysis of palm oil mill effluent solid using mixed cellulases from locally isolated fungi. Res J Microbiol. 3(6):474–481.

Nitipan S, Mamimin C, Intrasungkha N, Birkeland NK, O-Thong S. 2014.

Microbial community analysis of thermophilic mixed culture sludge for biohydrogen production from palm oil mill effluent. Int J Hydrogen Energy. 39(33):19285–19293.

Norfadilah N, Raheem A, Harun R, Ahmadun F. 2016. Bio-hydrogen production from palm oil mill effluent (POME): a preliminary study. Int J Hydrogen Energy. 41(28):11960–11964.

Ohimain E, Daokoru-Olukole C, Izah S, Eke RA, Okonkwo AC. 2012. Microbiology of palm oil mill effluents. J Microbiol Biotech Res. 2(6): 852–857.

Poh PE, Yong WJ, Chong MF. 2010. Palm oil mill effluent (POME) characteristic in high crop season and the applicability of high-rate anaerobic bioreactors for the treatment of pome. Ind Eng Chem Res. 49(22):11732–11740.

Tabatabaei M, Zakaria MR, Rahim R, Wright A-D, Shirai Y, Abdullah N, Sakai K, Ikeno S, Mori M, Kazunori N, et al. 2009. PCR-based DGGE and FISH analysis of methanogens in an anaerobic closed digester tank for treating palm oil mill effluent. Electron J Biotechnol. 12(3): 12–13.

Varanasi JL, Veerubhotla R, Pandit S, Das D. 2019. Biohydrogen production using microbial electrolysis cell: recent advances and future prospects. In: Biomass, Biofuels, Biochemicals: Microbial Electrochemical Technology: Sustainable Platform for Fuels, Chemicals and Remediation. Web: Elsevier. 843-869.




How to Cite

Hartanto, F. C., Atikah, N. N., Indrawan, M. S., & Tambunan, A. H. (2022). Potential for Utilizing POME to Produce Biohydrogen Gas Using Microbial Electrolysis Cell. International Journal of Oil Palm, 5(2), 58–65. https://doi.org/10.35876/ijop.v5i2.78