Membrane bioreactors for syngas permeation and fermentation

Marina P. Elisiário, Heleen De Wever, Wouter Van Hecke, Henk Noorman, Adrie J.J. Straathof*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Syngas fermentation to biofuels and chemicals is an emerging technology in the biobased economy. Mass transfer is usually limiting the syngas fermentation rate, due to the low aqueous solubilities of the gaseous substrates. Membrane bioreactors, as efficient gas–liquid contactors, are a promising configuration for overcoming this gas-to-liquid mass transfer limitation, so that sufficient productivity can be achieved. We summarize the published performances of these reactors. Moreover, we highlight numerous parameters settings that need to be used for the enhancement of membrane bioreactor performance. To facilitate this enhancement, we relate mass transfer and other performance indicators to the type of membrane material, module, and flow configuration. Hollow fiber modules with dense or asymmetric membranes on which biofilm might form seem suitable. A model-based approach is advocated to optimize their performance.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalCritical Reviews in Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • biofilms
  • bioreactors
  • fermentation
  • hollow fiber membranes
  • mass transfer
  • membranes
  • Syngas


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