• PhD proposal on pulverized biomass combustion with VEOLIA/CORIA and CIRAD

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Veolia is the world leader in environmental services. Present on five continents with more than 200,000 employees, Veolia designs and deploys solutions for water, waste and energy management, contributing to sustainable development and competitiveness for its customers.
Veolia supports manufacturers, cities and their habitants, in the optimized use of resources, in order to increase their economic, environmental and social efficiency. With these three complementary and synergistic business core, Veolia contributes to increasing the available resources access and their renewal
Veolia Environnement Research and Innovation (VERI) has 3 main research centers: Limay, Maisons-Laffitte and Saint Maurice. Research & Innovation is mobilized around four main objectives: conserve resources, reduce impacts on the natural environment, reduce emissions of greenhouse gas emissions and sustainably manage urban development.

Company: VERI-SNC
Department: Energy & Processes
Interviewer: Thermal Process & Integration energy
Franck GELIX (Phone: +33 (0)1 30 63 10 35 Mobile: +33 (0)6 18 49 13 40)
Benoit TAUPIN (Phone: +33 (0)1 30 63 10 18 Mobile: +33 (0)6 23 51 54 81)


Pulverized combustion of fine particles is a widely used thermochemical process in coal-fired power plants. The pulverized solid combustion mode is actually considered as the most efficient, the excess air can be kept very low. To reduce the CO2 footprint of these plants, the incorporation of a fraction of biomass with the coal can be an effective solution. However, this significantly changes the behavior of the boiler and, as result, a better understanding of the combustion of pulverized biomass is important.
In the dual objectives of energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact VEOLIA wants to develop solutions of Energy recovery from each available biomass resources.
To initiate this work, Veolia Environment Research and Innovation (VERI) will conduct a collaborative PhD study on pulverized biomass combustion.

Subject description:
The pulverized combustion of solid has been widely studied but mainly in the case of coal and only a few for biomass combustion. Therefore scientific knowledge is more limited on the characterization of reaction mechanisms involved in the biomass pulverized combustion regime and more rarely is the nature of the flow involved in those studies.
The prediction of the behavior of new fuels – such as biomass – in pulverized combustion industrial systems requires an improvement of understanding of the involved phenomena. For this purpose, it is important to study the impact of biomass characteristics and its pre-treatment on the kinetics of thermal conversion and burning at the fine particles scale. But we also must understand the heat and mass transfer’s phenomena, identify heterogeneous and homogeneous chemical reactions, and take into account the turbulent nature of the diphasic flow and every coupled phenomena encountered throughout the complex environment that is the flame.

We propose to investigate two areas of study in this thesis:
– Investigation at the particle scale
• Physicochemical nature of the biomass,
• Chemical reaction mechanisms and kinetics associated
• Intra-particle heat and mass transfer,
• Morphological evolution of the particle during the combustion,
• Catalytic effects of minerals present in the biomass.

– Investigation at the turbulent flame of a cloud of particles scale
• Physical, chemical and thermal interactions between the particles,
• Heat, mass and species transfer,
• Characteristics of diphasic turbulent flow,
• Geometry of the combustion system.

Moreover, the PhD candidate will contribute to the implementation of the necessary means to analyze the combustion and flow (laser velocimetry, chemiluminescence measurement, chemical species measurement …) on a lab scale facility.
To conduct these studies, VERI has built a partnership with two laboratories:
• CIRAD (Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development) and in particular the research unit BioWooEB (Biomass Wood Energy Bioproducts). Latter conducts research on the valuation of lignocellulosic biomass Mediterranean and tropical form of materials, energy or bioproducts for more information; http://ur-biowooeb.cirad.fr/
• The CORIA (Research Complex Inter Aerothermochemistry) CORIA laboratory is a joint research unit of CNRS, University of Rouen and INSA Rouen (UMR CNRS 6614 a part of the Institute of engineering and Systems (INSIS) of CNRS). The areas of research cover CORIA basic and applied on reactive or non-reactive flows studies: two-phase flow, turbulent mixing, combustion, plasma physics, etc. And physical processes leading to emissions reduction mechanisms in reactive systems are research priorities. For more information; http://www.coria.fr

The future student will be registered at INSA Rouen (engineering school) and attached ED SPMII 351 (Physics, Mathematics and Information Engineering) at Normandy University.

Required Education: Master2 from University or Engineering School. Specialization in fluid mechanics, heat and combustion.
Skills (know-how): fluids mechanic with high thermal and physical competence in flames and a taste for experimentation. Knowledge of combustion of powdered solid will be highly appreciated. Fluent English required.
Personal qualities: Autonomy, adaptability, innovation, proactivity, flexibility. Good interpersonal skills and good communication. Ability to work in team.