Section: Application Domains


Finding sources of renewable energy is a key challenge for our society. We contribute to this topic through two main domains for which a strong and acknowledged expertise has been acquired over the years. First, we consider anaerobic digesters, the field of expertise of the LBE members of the team, for the production of methane and/or biohydrogen from organic wastes. The main difficulty is to make these processes more reliable and exploit more efficiently the produced biogas by regulating both its quality and quantity despite high variability in the influent wastes. One of the specific applications that needs to be tackled is the production of biogas in a plant when the incoming organic waste results from the mixing of a finite number of substrates. The development of control laws that optimize the input mix of the substrates as a function of the actual state of the system is a key challenge for the viability of this industry.

The second topic consists in growing microalgae, the field of expertise of the LOV members of the team, to produce biofuel. These microorganisms can synthesize lipids with a much higher productivity than terrestrial oleaginous species. The difficulty is to better understand the involved processes, which are mainly transient, to stimulate and optimize them on the basis of modeling and control strategies. Predicting and optimizing the productivity reached by these promising systems in conditions where light received by each cell is strongly related to hydrodynamics, is a crucial challenge.

Finally, for the energy balance of the process, it is important to couple microalgae and anaerobic digestion to optimize the solar energy that can be recovered from microalgae, as was explored within the ANR Symbiose project (2009-2012) [72] .