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Expertise of the scientific community in the Languedoc-Roussillon region

environmental monitoring


Green energy


technologies evaluation methods water & waste

Number 16


INTERNATIONAL agriculture • food • biodiversity • environment Agropolis International brings together institutions of research and higher education in Montpellier and LanguedocRoussillon in partnership with local communities, companies and regional enterprises and in close cooperation with international institutions. This scientific community has one main objective– the economic and social development of Mediterranean and tropical regions. Agropolis International is an international space open to all interested socioeconomic development stakeholders in fields associated with agriculture, food production, biodiversity, environment and rural societies.

Agropolis is an international campus devoted to agricultural and environmental sciences. There is significant potential for scientific and technological expertise: more than 2,200 scientists in over 80 research units in Montpellier and Languedoc-Roussillon, including 300 scientists conducting research in 60 countries. Agropolis International is structured around a broad range of research themes corresponding to the overall scientific, technological and economic issues of development: • Agronomy, cultivated plants and cropping systems • Animal production and health • Biodiversity and Aquatic ecosystems • Biodiversity and Land ecosystems • Economics, societies and sustainable development • Environmental technologies • Food: nutritional and health concerns • Genetic resources and integrative plant biology • Grapevine and Wine, regional specific supply chain • Host-vector-parasite interactions and infectious diseases • Modelling, spatial information, biostatistics • Water: resources and management Agropolis International promotes the capitalization and enhancement of knowledge, personnel training and technology transfer. It is a hub for visitors and international exchanges, while promoting initiatives based on multilateral and collective expertise and contributing to the scientific and technological knowledge needed for preparing development

Green technologies



A growing awareness of the need to preserve the environment has increasingly led to the desire to develop intervention techniques and methods aimed at reducing pollution or, more generally, environmental impact, thus generating new areas of activity. The scientific community gathered by Agropolis International has taken up the research issues raised by the development of these new approaches and new investigation fields. The purpose of this Dossier is to outline the areas of expertise it has been able to develop, both in the field of agricultural techniques as such and in water and waste recycling and recovery (beyond the pollution mitigation aspects), product enhancement in the form of new bio-based materials, and new forms of bioenergy. This research is not solely confined to the development of new technologies but has a broader scope, taking in as well product and process evaluation and eco-design, industrial or territorial ecology, and environmental monitoring. This Dossier also presents the joint efforts of the research and business communities, in particular through competitiveness clusters, to promote the development and dissemination of innovations to spur economic development. The topics presented in this issue are of particular concern to the nine research units or teams that have made environmental technologies an essential part of their work, comprising some 150 senior scientists and 100 doctoral students.

Green technologies Foreword—Green technologies


for sustainable development Topics covered by the research teams


and innovation partners Green technologies for agriculture


Bio-based products and materials


Water and waste recycling and recovery




Assessment methods: Life cycle analysis,


eco-design, industrial and territorial ecology Environmental monitoring


Innovation stakeholders mobilize


around green technologies Training at Agropolis International


List of acronyms and abbreviations


Green technologies

Research skills of Montpellier and the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the field of green technologies

Cover & chapters: from Irish_design Š ShutterstockŽ

The information contained in this dossier is valid as of 01/12/2012.


Fo re w o rd

Green technologies for sustainable development


id you know? Ten years ago the term “green technologies” or “environmental technologies” was almost unknown. The concept was formalized in 2004 by the European Community in its Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP)*, which defines environmental technologies as:  that set of technologies that provide the same service as conventional technologies but have less impact on the environment (including renewable energy);  “end-of-pipe” technologies: pollution and waste treatment;  pollution measurement technologies.

Green technologies

Another important point is that the concept of “green technologies” does not merely pertain to technological objects, but includes all processes, products and services that make for greater environmental efficiency.


The formalization of that concept, and the European and national development plans that ensued, helped drive a minor revolution in the field of design/production and consumption, paving the way for hitherto neglected innovations and affording opportunities

for growth. The result has been increasing integration of ecodesign methods into product design and development processes, not only through the search of technological approaches or raw materials whose use is not so “heavy” from the environmental standpoint, but also through system management optimization; which has now become possible thanks to information technology (smart grids). Another result has been the reclassification of much waste, which is now looked at as a source of raw materials from which valuable compounds (e.g., phosphates from sewage) or energy may be obtained. At the level of development (especially for industrial zones) or process creation (e.g. for treatment), the crux of this new vision is an attempt to re-use byproducts and waste as near at hand as possible in a circular economy approach: industrial ecology, or a way of applying the concept of environmental technology in a given territory. On the consumer side, people are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of the goods and services they use, and an actual market is emerging.

Thus, to protect consumers from “greenwashing” (a marketing technique whereby products are given an artificial veneer of “greenness”) and ensure that they can actually shop in an ecoinnovative way, it is essential for scientifically valid environmental assessment methods to be devised. The development of green technologies is a challenge that the Agropolis scientific community has striven to take up in its specific fields, namely agrobiological processes and land use management, relying on the support of the EcoTech-LR regional platform and the strength and vitality of the region’s research efforts. Prof.Véronique Bellon-Maurel, Deputy Director of Strategy and Research at IRSTEA, Director of the EcoTech-LR regional platform * European Commission, 2004. Stimulating technologies for sustainable development: an environmental technologies action plan of the European Union. COM (2004) 38, 28 January 2004.

Green technologies


 Photobioreactors for controlled production of microalgae.


Topics covered by the research teams and innovation partners (November 2012) he various research units and teams and innovation partners appearing in the text of this dossier are shown in the table below.


1. Green technologies for agriculture 2. Bio-based products and materials 3. Water and waste recycling and recovery 4. Bioenergy 5. Assessment methods: Life cycle analysis, eco-design, industrial and territorial ecology 6. Environmental monitoring

Green technologies



The “Page” column shows where the introductory text on the unit or partner appears. The red dot (•) shows the topic in which the unit or partner primarily pursues its activities, while the black dots (•) indicate topics they are also involved in.





UMR ITAP - Information/Technologies/Environmental Analysis/Agricultural Processes (Montpellier SupAgro/IRSTEA) Director: Tewfik Sari,


UMR IATE - Agro-polymer Engineering and Emerging Technologies (CIRAD/INRA/Montpellier SupAgro/UM2) Director: Hugo de Vries,


IAM Team - Engineering and Macromolecular Architectures UMR ICGM - Institut Charles Gerhardt, Montpellier (ENSCM/CNRS/UM2/UM1) IAM Team Director: Jean-Jacques Robin, ICGM Director: François Fajula,


UPR CMGD – Materials Research Centre (EMA) Director: José-Marie Lopez Cuesta, / cmgd@


UMR IEM – European Membrane Institute (ENSCM/CNRS/UM2) Director: Philippe Miele,


UPR Recycling and Risk (CIRAD) Director: Jean-Marie Paillat,


UR LBE – Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology (INRA) Director: Jean-Philippe Steyer,


UR Biomass & Energy (CIRAD) Director: Rémy Marchal,



• •

• •



UPR LGEI – Laboratory for Industrial Environment Engineering and Natural and Industrial Risks (EMA) Director: Miguel Lopez-Ferber,


ELSA cluster – Environmental Lifecycle and Sustainability Assessment (IRSTEA/CIRAD/EMA/Montpellier SupAgro/INRA) Contact: Véronique Bellon-Maurel,


Innovation stakeholders





Institute of Excellence for Carbon-free Energy (IEED) Greenstars Contact: Jean-Philippe Steyer,


EcoTech LR Platform Contact: Véronique Bellon-Maurel,


DERBI Competitiveness cluster – Development of Renewable Energy/Building/Industry President: André Joffre Director: Gilles Charier,


WATER competitiveness cluster President: Michel Dutang Director General: Jean-Loïc Carré, /


Qualiméditerranée competitiveness cluster President: Guillaume Duboin Director: Isabelle Guichard,


Risks competitiveness cluster – Territorial risk and vulnerability management President: Joël Chenet Director: Richard Biagioni,


Trimatec competitiveness cluster President: Jérôme Blancher Contact: Laura Lecurieux-Belfond,


BIOÉNERGIESUD Network Officer in charge: Aurélie Beauchart, /


Transferts LR President: Christophe Carniel Director: Anne Lichtenberger,


• •




• •

• •

• • •

Green Gree n technologies te


 Standardized digestibility tests for various types of waste, to estimate the potential quantity of recoverable methane.


Green technologies for agriculture Develop green technologies for sustainable agricultural production In order to design green technologies for more sustainable agro- and bioprocesses and for environmentrelated services, the Joint Research Unit (UMR) “InformationTechnologies-Environmental Analysis-Agricultural Processes” (UMR ITAP, Montpellier SupAgro/ IRSTEA) develops scientific and technical baselines for:  Characterization of agroecosystems through the development of optical sensors (mainly hyperspectral artificial vision and near-infrared spectroscopy). Because of the special properties of the environments being studied (optically scattering media, objects with identical spectral characteristics, presence of water), the research topics include the understanding of radiation-matter interaction and data processing methods (chemometrics, analysis of hyperspectral images).  Modelling for agroenvironmental decision-making through the development of decision support systems to diagnose system condition or through the implementation of lower-impact precision farming approaches. Various methodologies are under review: fuzzy logic, discrete event systems, geostatistics. The chosen implementation field is winegrowing.

Green technologies

The main team


UMR ITAP Information/Technologies/Environmental Analysis/Agricultural Processes (Montpellier SupAgro/IRSTEA) 27 scientists

Other team involved in this topic UPR Recycling and Risk (CIRAD) 13 scientists

 Reduction in pesticide pollution through a study of spraying techniques, from the nozzle to the transport of pesticides over an entire watershed or territory, making use of unique experimental means. As a reference centre for the assessment of pesticide application technologies, keen to reduce their impact on the environment and human health, it hosts a team from the Institut Français de la Vigne et du Vin (IFV) [French Vine and Wine Institute], with whom it is working closely under the ECOPHYTO 2018 plan.  Eco-assessment and eco-design through the development of tools to evaluate the environmental and social impact of products, processes and industries based on life cycle assessment (LCA). The chosen areas of study are water and land use management. This UMR formed the kernel of the Environmental Lifecycle and Sustainability Assessment cluster (ELSA, cf. p. 32), France’s largest group of LCA researchers. It is also part of LabEx Agro and the regional platform “Environmental technologies for agro-bioprocesses” (EcoTech-LR, cf. p. 43). It works in partnership with French private sector stakeholders such as Pellenc SA, Pellenc ST, Ondalys, Envilys, etc.) and scientific researchers (National Institute of Agricultural Research [INRA], Centre for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research [CIRAD], École des Mines d’Alès [EMA], Montpellier Laboratory of Informatics, Robotics and Microelectronics [LIRMM], etc.). Abroad, it has collaborated, in particular, with the Instituto de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), the international private group GEOSYS, the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy), Talca (Chile), Sydney (Australia), the Instituto de

Investigaciones Agropecuarias (Chile), Finnish Environment Institute (Finland), etc. The UMR’s main scientific facilities include:  a 200-m² optical laboratory: optical sensors, spectrometers (ultraviolet (UV)/visible/near-infrared), hyperspectral and multispectral vision test benches;  a platform for the study of pesticide sprays and their impacts on the environment and health (1,600 m²):  a large-scale experimental wind tunnel;  an under-boom patternator;  a laser particle sizer and velocity sensor;  full metrological gear to evaluate sprayers.  an LCA software package;  an electronic and mechanical prototyping platform (300 m²). 

 The sanitation system LCA answers the question What environmental costs for what discharge intensity? [ongoing endeavour of ONEMA (French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments) and IRSTEA]. Air emissions NH3 NOX N2O CO2 ... Resource consumption Collection network

Waste, sludge, leachate… Second discharge to soil, air, water


Water discharges N, P, ETM, CTO, DBO5...

Performance level

 Filtration and fertigation station.  Subsoiler suitable for duct burial. © Patrick Rosique (IRSTEA) & Jean-Marie Lopez (CIRAD)

Subsurface drip irrigation a proven innovative solution for field crop irrigation After four years operating the equipment, SDI’s watering uniformity coefficient remains above 95%. When tested on maize crops, SDI had better agronomic performance than gun irrigation: depending on the gap between tubes (80, 120 or 160 cm), the productivity of irrigation water varies from 3.50 to 4.25 kg of grain produced per m3 of water delivered, as against only 2.70 to 3.20 in the gun irrigation model, or an average improvement of 18%; nitrogen productivity in 2011 (fertigation) was between 30 and 38 kg of grain produced per unit of nitrogen applied, as against only 19 to 23 kg in the case of spraying (+60%). On the economic front, even though some authors concede better performance is obtained, it is recommended, given its relatively high sunk costs (between €3,000 and €5,000/ha), that SDI be introduced only when crops are rotated, with particular attention to whether high-added-value crops (vegetables) are involved. Contact: Patrick Rosique, Green technologies

In the face of more and more frequent water shortages and growing environmental degradation, irrigated agriculture must now avoid overuse of water resources as well as water and soil pollution while maintaining excellent performance levels. At the level of the agricultural plot, the subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) technique is a recent innovation adopted for field crops by a growing number of farmers subject to water restrictions. Water and dissolved nitrogen are supplied close to the roots by polyethylene tubing buried 35 to 40 cm deep and equipped with emitters spaced 15 to 50 cm apart that deliver flow rates from 0.5 to 3.0 l/h under a pressure of 0.5 to 1.5 bars. IRSTEA has for some years now been doing agronomic tests to measure the hydraulic and agronomic performance of SDI compared to gun irrigation.


R. Cayrol © Région Réunion

Green technologies for agriculture

ISARD project greening of agricultural production systems through waste recycling Organic waste products (OWPs) generated through human activity are constantly increasing. Farming produces them in great quantities (livestock, agro-industries). Wastewater production too increases owing to urban growth and denser urban populations. Wastewater or sludge from wastewater treatment is often spread on agricultural land on the outskirts of cities. These OWPs are sources of organic matter that may increase soil fertility and, as a corollary, allow sustainable agricultural production to be carried on. In studying how best to use them, a number of things need to be taken into account, viz. the many types of waste and the wide variation in where they are found and what they can be used for. The ISARD project is developing a comprehensive approach to the integration of applied knowledge in this field. Where it breaks new ground is in considering the organic matter produced by agricultural and other activities. That consideration is at two organizational levels:  the first level deals with the OWPs, the soils on which they are used and the crops grown; the processes studied are essentially the biogeochemical cycles;  the second level looks at units producing, processing and using organic matter, as  Composted poultry litter. well as stakeholder groups; the processes studied are the transformations and flows of organic matter, regulations and costs. At both levels, many tools exist to ensure a timely response to the needs of integrated management. The project makes use of those tools, with the goal of improving them by taking into account the risk/benefit ambiguity and by defining helpful indicators. The project involves nine partners in four areas: the Versailles plain (France), Réunion Island, the Dakar metropolitan area (Senegal), and the Mahajanga region (Madagascar). Its attention to the situation in developing countries affords a more nuanced view of the composition of OWPs, treatment facilities, societal demands and existing regulatory frameworks. Contact: Hervé Saint Macary,

 Representation of recycling systems in ISARD.

Animal feed, fertilizer, minerals

Industrial waste/OM



Agricultural OM Agricultural OM

Urban waste Inflow Gas discharge

Green technologies



Material flows of value to agriculture Polluant flows

Advice, guidance, decision support

Understanding, diagnosis, indicators


Soil interaction

Absorption by plant Leaching

Photo from MorgueFile

A decision workflow to reduce fungicide treatments on grapevines

As a modelling specialist, UMR ITAP was also involved in experiments with its partners on how best to benefit from feedback and guide theoretical choices with respect to formal representation. It is also working with Arvalis to develop workflows for fungicide protection in wheat.


POD Automation (workflow) & variables

Tactical and thresholds described in phases

The Mildium workflow reduces pesticide treatments on grapevines.

The Mildium workflow provides plot-level decision support. Research is underway on how to manage an entire operation. The workflow process also involves knowledge consolidation. In providing a service that reduces the number of crop protection applications, the workflow acts as an environmental technology suited to a sustainable approach to agriculture. Contact: Olivier Naud, Green technologies

Over a number of years, in various regions, the experiments done under the Mildium workflow have shown that the system is effective in reducing pesticide treatments at plot level (by 30 to 50% depending on the diseases and situations encountered). That result was obtained by comparing the treatments done and the health status of a plot managed under Mildium and those of a similar plot, nearby, that was managed in a “conventional” manner by the same establishment.

Strategic principles broken down into tactical phases based on epidemiology and expertise Specification

A workflow is a model of a working process, generally taking the form of a software package or information system. The Mildium® workflow was developed by INRA, UMR “Vineyard Health and Agroecology” (INRA, Bordeaux Sciences Agro) and the French National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA, UMR ITAP). It sets out how to decide whether, and when, a fungicide against powdery mildew should be applied. The decision-making process was mapped using the Statecharts computer language. The decision is based on information collected for specific vegetative stages on the plot and on an expert assessment of local bioclimatic risk.


Bio-based products and materials Physical, physicochemical and biotechnological means of processing agromolecules, agro-polymers or complex matrices The goal of the “Agro-polymer Engineering and Emerging Technologies” UMR (UMR IATE, CIRAD/INRA/Montpellier SupAgro/ UM2) is to help increase knowledge of the functionalities of plant products and their constituents, to improve their performance in food and non-food uses. It conducts research on physical, physicochemical and biotechnological means of processing agro-molecules, agropolymers and complex matrices, in an effort to understand the impact of these changes, at different

The main team

Green technologies

IAM team Engineering and Macromolecular Architectures ICGM - Institut Charles Gerhardt, Montpellier UMR CNRS 5253 (ENSCM/CNRS/UM2/UM1) 60 scientists


UMR IATE Agro-polymer Engineering and Emerging Technologies (CIRAD/INRA/Montpellier SupAgro/UM2) 49 scientists UPR CMGD Materials Research Centre (EMA) 40 scientists ...continued on page 14

scales, on structures and target functionalities. Its research activities are organized into five complementary multidisciplinary and multi-scale areas:  Fractioning of agroresources  Structuring of agro-polymers under stress and powder reactivity  Matter transfers and reactions in food/packaging systems  Microbial biotechnology and lipid and agro-polymer  Knowledge representation and reasoning to improve food quality and safety These research foci are concerned with green technologies in terms of a way of acquiring knowledge to design, develop and manage eco-efficient procedures for biomass deconstruction to produce polymers, useful molecules and synthons from which to regenerate biomaterials. The research is based on two platforms and several technical support centres:  The plant fractioning platform* (low to intermediate moisture) focuses mainly on primary processing of cereals and lignocellulosic biomass and on forming materials from agropolymers. It operates in two stages: first, mechanical separation and sorting of raw plant materials (mills, grinders…), then forming of materials by reconstruction and assembly under pressure (kneading, rolling…).

 The LipPol-Green** platform (an international partnership) offers scientific support and very highlevel instruments for studies at the interface between plant science and environmental chemistry, in the fields of lipid biotechnology, physical chemistry of polymers and the exploration and use of plants’ molecular diversity, to produce molecules, materials and fuels from biomass. UMR IATE is a participant in the 3BCAR Carnot Institute (Bioenergy, Biomaterials and Biomolecules from Renewable Carbon) and LabEx Agro and is also involved in many partnerships, both academic and industrial (Alland & Robert, Panzani, BASF, Michelin…), in particular with partners from the countries of the South:  The European project “ECOefficient BIOdegradable Composite Advanced Packaging” (2011-2015) seeks to supply the food industries with flexible, biodegradable packaging (funded by the 7th Framework Programme for Technological Research and Development [FPTRD].  Since 2008, research activities on natural rubber in Southeast Asia have been carried on under the aegis of the platform “Hevea Research Programme in Partnership”.  The METAGLYC 2 project (German fund to finance renewable resources, 2012-2015) is developing new ways of obtaining glycerol derivatives by chemical catalysis and biocatalysis.

POMEWISO project solvent-free membrane preparation from biopolymers Porous polymeric membranes for use in water treatment are developed on an industrial scale from synthetic polymers dissolved in an organic solvent (acetone, DMF, NMP...). Porosity is generated by a phase inversion process, usually induced by immersion of the homogeneous polymer solution in a bath of non-solvent (water). Apart from the fact that the raw material is derived from a non-renewable land resource, large amounts of organic solvents are used, with the risk of generating environmental pollution and health problems.



Spinodal curve

Spinodal region

Binodal curve

Binodal region


The goal of the POMEWISO project (an IEM/IRSTEA collaboration) is to develop a new porous membrane production process that relies on clean, green chemistry, (i) using polymers from natural rather than synthetic resources and (ii) substituting water (the solvent for water-soluble polymers) for traditional organic solvents. Hence, the scientific problem is to fine-tune the process of developing membranes from different water-soluble polymers (polyvinyl alcohol [PVA], cellulose ethers, chitosan) with a low critical solution temperature (LCST), thereby controlling their morphological and functional properties. Once the phase inversion is induced by increasing the temperature (TIPS-LCST procedure), crosslinking of the polymer chains will be necessary to strengthen the film thus formed. This crosslinking will preferably be done by irradiation or heat treatment to avoid the use of chemical crosslinkers.


φ vol

 Influence of temperature rise during the TIPS-LCST process.

A multi-scale analysis will be conducted to better understand the phenomena of phase separation, structure growth, and the final morphology of the membranes as well as their filtration properties. The experimentation will be done using light scattering methods, optical microscopy, near-infrared and confocal Raman spectroscopy, and dead-end filtration. It should be possible, using a modelling approach and solving the modified Cahn-Hilliard equation, to predict the evolution of structures over time until the final morphology is obtained. Contact: Denis Bouyer,

* iate_plateforme_fractionnement_des_vegetaux_v3.pdf **

Monomers to polymers: integrated solutions for synthetic materials The “Engineering and Macromolecular Architectures” (IAM) team of the Institut Charles Gerhardt of Montpellier (ICGM), UMR CNRS 5253 (ENSCM/ CNRS/UM2/UM1) has since its inception been developing a chemistry based on the synthesis of controlled-architecture polymers, macromonomers, telechelic oligomers, graft or block copolymers, and telomers. In particular, the team has been studying particular applications of such telomers as reactive oligomers in photocrosslinkable compounds or as additives for coatings, surfactants or composite matrices, etc., all applications where low viscosities and controlled reactivities are sought. The IAM team, whose core endeavour is the application of organic chemistry to polymers, is recognized for its expertise in developing integrated technological solutions for materials synthesis, from monomers to polymers, in

order to offer solutions for highperformance applications. For many years, too, it has been developing a chemistry based on simple and clean processes (emulsion polymerization, supercritical fluids…) and on sustainable development (biodegradable polymers, polymer recycling, optimum use of agricultural resources…). The team is also recognized for its expertise in macromolecular chemistry involving the heteroatoms Si, P and F. The “bio-based polymers” theme was begun more recently, based on laboratory skills in polycondensation, thiol-ene chemistry and chain polymerization. One of the objectives of the current work is to replace dangerous molecules with biobased ones in the development of polyurethanes, phenol-formaldehyde resins, epoxy resins and unsaturated polyesters. The scientific issues involved relate to the use of renewable resources through the development of a reduction chemistry process that will enable the use of oxygenated raw materials and the development of depolymerization techniques (natural polymers such as chitosan, lignin, etc., often have very high •••

Green technologies

 The STOCKACTIF project of the French National Research Agency (ANR) (biomaterials & energy programme, 2011-2014) is looking at active storage of biomass to facilitate industrial processing.  The SPECTRE project (international France-Mexico Programme Blanc [non-thematic programme], 20112014) focuses on the evaluation and control of industrial biotechnology procedures.  The 3BCAR PEACE project (with the Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory [LBE], 2011-2013) is studying the effect of cell wall composition and thermomechanical pre-treatment techniques on the efficiency of the conversion of model biomass into energy products.  The project on “Epoxidation of Polyphenols by a Chemo-enzymatic Approach” is aimed at obtaining bio-based epoxy resins (with UMR “Science For Oenology”, [INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, UM1], 2010– 2012 .  Various projects supported by the LipPol-Green and Plant Product Processing platforms.


Bio-based products and materials

GreenResins project new bio-based epoxy resins free of bisphenol A

 Diagram of the production of bio-based epoxy resins from tannin-derived catechin.

Because of their versatility and ease of use, epoxy resins are very widely used. They include a great variety of materials with a wide range of physical properties. However, they are mostly derived from bisphenol A (BPA), a compound classified as CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic). The GreenResins project involves the use of natural, non-toxic aromatic and polyaromatic compounds derived from renewable resources as reagents for use in developing thermosetting epoxy resins as a BPA substitute.

The source of these natural phenolic compounds is tannins from forestry or viticulture by-products, so there is no competition with food crops. Among the phenolic compounds being studied by the IAM (ICGM) team, in collaboration with the UMR “Science for Oenology” (INRA, Montpellier SupAgro et UM1), is catechin, a molecule with four phenolic groups. Catechin is epoxidized with epichlorohydrin. The phenols in catechin’s two aromatic rings display different levels of reactivity, leading to two products: one molecule with four epoxy groups and a cyclized by-product with two epoxy groups. The average functionality is 2.7 epoxy groups per molecule. The mixture is used unpurified to prepare epoxy resins with amine hardeners since both products obtained are functionalized and contribute to network development. Resins derived from functionalized natural compounds possess thermal and mechanical properties comparable to those of conventional fossil-fuel-derived resins such as the diglycidyl ether of BPA. The possibility of obtaining bio-based aromatic resins that are more rigid and perform better than aliphatic resins is what distinguishes this work, which won the 2010 Pollutec Award for innovative environmental techniques. Contacts: Sylvain Caillol, Bernard Boutevin, & Hélène Fulcrand,

 Comparative thermal and mechanical properties of resins prepared from the diglycidyl ether of BPA and from tannins. Sample

Tg (°C)

Td5 (°C)

Swelling (%)

Soluble (%)

Storage Modulus (Gpa) Glassy region

Rubbery region









75 DGEBA 25 GEC tannins









50 DGEBA 50 GEC tannins









Other teams working in this area

Green technologies

Char 800 (%)


molar masses, making it impossible to use them directly), a return to polycondensation rather than free radical polymerization to make the best use of biomass reactive functions (acid, alcohol…) and the development of reliable access


Td30 (°C)

UMR IEM European Membrane Institute (ENSCM/CNRS/UM2) 50 scientists UR LBE Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology (INRA) 16 scientists

paths to compensate for changes in biomass composition. Thus, new ways of accessing bio-based epoxy resins based on tannins from forestry or viticulture by-products have been developed. In addition, the IAM team has developed new reactive functional synthons from vegetable oils and fatty acids bearing amine, alcohol or acid functions that give access to new bio-based polymers (polyurethanes, polyesters…). Many industrial collaborations are underway, with national and international companies. In 2010, the team was awarded the Pollutec award “Innovative Techniques for the Environment” (cf. project GreenResins).

Life cycle assessment of polymers and composites: integration of materials from recycling and renewable resource channels into the development of innovative materials The Materials Research Centre (Internal Research Unit [UPR], CMGD) is one of three internal laboratories of the École des Mines d’Alès (EMA), which is a national public administration (EPA) reporting to the Ministry of Industry. Because it places great emphasis on relations with the economic sector, CMGD is part of the M.IN.E.S. Carnot Institute (Innovative Methods for Business and Society), which brings together all French Écoles des Mines

and their research association, ARMINES. The Centre is involved in various competitiveness clusters and maintains academic and industrial collaborations at the national and international level through European projects, projects funded by the Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), ANR and FUI. CMGD is structured into two research departments, namely “Advanced Polymer Materials” (MPA) and “Civil Engineering Materials and Structures” (MSGC). Materials life cycle assessment is central to the concerns of both departments, for with the implementation of European directives to promote endof-life product recycling, advances are being made in the development of ever more efficient identification and sorting technologies, which may soon enable online identification of both plastics and their additives.

Thus, CMGD researchers are supporting the development of, on the one hand, prototype sorting equipment, and on the other hand high-performance plastic alloys that can be made from high-purity materials reclaimed from sorting. Moreover, the growing global demand for energy, the need to find an alternative to fossil energy resources that are being depleted, and society’s determination to reduce the environmental impacts of human activity and its carbon footprint are driving the partial or full integration of renewable resources (concept of bio-basing) into materials development. The compostability of materials is an added benefit now being worked on and which, provided collection channels are available, should allow for better end-of-life waste management. Thus, CMGD researchers are trying to remove many scientific and

technological obstacles in order to turn these products to account in various application areas, such as packaging, agriculture, transport and building. CMGD covers many disciplines, including chemistry, physical chemistry, mechanics and process engineering. In addition to a platform for the processing of polymers and concrete materials, it has a platform for materials characterization (mechanical, thermal and thermomechanical tests under standard conditions, fire resistance tests, aging tests, scanning electron microscope observations in environmental mode, X-ray diffraction, chemical and physicochemical analysis…). 

© M. Maugenet – Innobat

Materials and eco-construction

Thus, CMGD has since 2010 been working with the IAM (ICGM) team on a project funded by ADEME and supported by the Montpellier-area INNOBAT company, which won a JEC Innovation Award in 2011. This project is designed to develop a new material for joinery profiles, inasmuch as none of the traditional materials now used (wood, polyvinyl chloride [PVC], aluminium and polyester/glass composite) can meet the upcoming 2012 and 2020 thermal regulations while achieving the

required level of mechanical performance level and meeting the architectural criteria, all with a lower environmental impact. The new material is a pultruded composite with a thermosetting matrix derived in whole or in part from plant waste from the timber and wine industries and from continuous plant fibres. The project addresses many R&D issues:  synthesis and formulation of thermosetting resins (epoxy and/ or unsaturated polyester) derived in whole or in part from plant waste;  preparation of flax plant fibres together with batch analysis and homogenization and possibly surface treatment of fibres;  adaptation of formulas (resin reactivity, fibre tensile strength) to the pultrusion procedure;  benchmarking of mechanical and thermal performance, fire retardancy and in-service ageing (humidity, temperature, UV exposure). Prototypes are currently available and marketing is planned soon. Contacts: Anne Bergeret, & Michel Maugenet, For further information:

Green technologies

In the building sector, needs arise at two levels: first, to meet market expectations for “greener” products by paying attention to sustainable  Joinery strips development of polyester/flax objectives, and biocomposite. second, to comply with the Grenelle de l’Environnement by making use of more energy-efficient materials to reduce buildings’ energy consumption, using renewable resources, recycling waste and reducing non-recyclable waste.


Bio-based products and materials

Controlled lifetime biocomposites The first generations of bio-based plastics were mainly targeted for short-lived applications such as packaging. Today, the demand has changed. What industry needs now are bio-based plastics with functionality at least equivalent to those of the current petrochemical-based plastics as regards barrier effect and mechanical, chemical and thermal resistance over the material’s life cycle. There is a broad consensus to that effect in the scientific community. Thus, CMGD has been at the forefront of these developments. Beginning with foamed starch packaging for undemanding usage conditions, it went on to develop films and solid or foamed materials based on polylactic acid (PLA), a polymer obtained by fermentation of corn starch, less sensitive to moisture than starch and with better mechanical properties. The COLIBIO project (COntrolled LIfetime BIOcomposites), funded by ANR and accredited by the Trimatec competitiveness cluster, aims to develop a biocomposite with very good mechanical and thermal properties, whose useful life can be








Suitable biodegradable glass-fibre formulations were thus developed and the durability of the PLA/glass biocomposites under biomimetic conditions during use and at end of life was studied. It emerged that there is a strong interdependence between the alkalinity of the glasses and their mechanical behaviour under conditions simulating accelerated service use (immersion in water at 65°C) and the rate of their mineralization in soil, which may be accompanied by soil acidification. Contact: Anne Bergeret,

4.80 4.62 No soil acidificaton

non-biodegradable PLA/fibreglass biocomposite













80 60

mg CO2 / g C in the composite

Resilience (kJ/m²)

biodegradable PLA/fibreglass biocomposites (various glass formulations)

Elongation (%)

Stress (MPa)

250 200

4.24 PLA matrix


3.96 3.91 Heavy soil acidificaton

100 50

0.5 20






0 5










Time (days)

Conservation of properties from baseline state (%)

 Degree of conservation of mechanical performance ( stress,  elongation,  resilience) of biodegradable and nonbiodegradable PLA/fibreglass biocomposites after ageing under conditions simulating accelerated service use (24 hours’ immersion in water at 65°C).


© École des Mines d’Albi, centre RAPSODEE

Green technologies

Bioplastics-based nanostructured materials

 Scanning electron microscope view of a PHBV/clay bionanocomposite foam made by extrusion assisted by supercritical CO2.

 Mineralization rates in soil simulating end of life of biodegradable PLA/fibreglass biocomposites under different levels of soil acidification.

In 2006, in order to be more responsive to calls for proposals and enhance its ability to perform contract research in partnership with industry, the M.IN.E.S. Carnot Institute established a “NanoMines” group, with some fifty researchers from the various French Écoles des Mines working on the “nanostructures” topic. The aim is to bring out synergies between research teams by combining multidisciplinary skills in such areas as the development of nanomaterials, their characterization, modelling and application testing. In this context, in 2011, CMGD and the RAPSODEE Centre of the École des Mines d’Albi undertook a project to develop bionanocomposites made up of nanoparticles in a bioplastic matrix, to control and improve the matrix’s properties. Production of these bionanocomposites by supercritical fluid extrusion (CO2) enables nanoparticles to disperse throughout the matrix, forming a foam without the use of chemical agents, while at the same time making the material lighter and more insulating.

© École des Mines d’Alès – CMGD


controlled, to meet the requirements of the automobile industry. The idea was to reinforce a PLA-based matrix with glass fibres that would break down under normal composting conditions (temperature, pH, humidity); the scientific and technological obstacles were the ability to keep the biocomposite functioning with a high level of mechanical performance throughout its service life and to ensure end-of-life degradation.

The BIORARE project Winner of the “Investments for the Future” national call for “Biotechnologies and Bioresources”

Development of a detailed specification for the application of microbial electrosynthesis to the biorefining of organic waste requires the key components to be determined, together with the relevant specifications for a projected industrial development strategy. The scientific and technical basis of microbial electrosynthesis will be firmed up, then the relationship between the operating conditions and the molecules actually synthesized will be validated experimentally. Multidisciplinary approaches will be combined to better


CO 2



Organic molecules




These microbial bioelectrosynthesis systems maintain a physical separation between a “dirty” compartment containing the organic material to be processed and a “clean” compartment where the desired molecules are synthesized, metabolic fluxes are channelled, and oxidation reactions at the cathode are selected by regulating the potential.



Bioelectrochemical systems technology would be used to channel the metabolic reactions of the bioprocess into the production of building-block molecules with high added value for use in green chemistry. The organic material is oxidized in a first compartment by complex biomass, which transfers electrons to an anode. The electrons then go to the cathode, where they are used in a biological reduction reaction. By regulating the potential at the cathode to a value derived from a theoretical calculation (Nernst Law), one can artificially create thermodynamic conditions that will allow only certain reactions to occur.


CO 2

DCO Waste Electroactive microbes

CO2 © T. Bouchez


 Principle of the microbial bioelectrosynthesis system used in the BIORARE project.

understand and identify the technological potential of these systems. Environmental assessment of strategies linking these systems to existing industrial installations will be carried out based on reference scenarios that will identify the environmentally sensitive components and provide guidance for technical and industrial choices. An analysis of economic, societal and regulatory factors will bring future industrial development strategies into better focus. A detailed specification for the implementation of microbial electrosynthesis systems for organic waste biorefining will be developed and related measures for the protection of intellectual property will be taken as necessary. Contact: Nicolas Bernet,

© École des Mines d’Alès – CMGD

The bioplastic matrix used in this project is a biodegradable polymer derived from microorganisms that belongs to the polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) family, specifically poly(3hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV). The matrix was reinforced with montmorillonite clay nanoparticles at a low uptake rate (less than 3% by mass). Incorporation of the clay significantly improved the matrix’s mechanical and thermal properties and its fire resistance and helped control its biodegradation. The foams obtained have a porosity of up to 50%; the cell size homogeneity has yet to be improved through a study of the operating parameters of the process. Contacts: Nicolas Le-Moigne, & Martial Sauceau, For further information:

 Transmission electron microscope view of clay dispersal in a PHBV/clay bionanocomposite foam.

Green technologies

The BIORARE project (bioelectrosynthesis to refine residual waste, IRSTEA/Chemical Engineering Laboratory–French National Centre for Scientific Research/LBE-INRA/SuezEnvironnement) focuses on how to use the concept of microbial electrosynthesis to biologically refine waste and effluents. This recent discovery could eventually enable the production of high-added-value molecules from the organic matter and energy in waste.


Bio-based products and materials

GreenCoat project new bio-based polyurethanes from vegetable oils Polyurethanes are among the best-selling polymers in the world, ranking 6th; world production is over 14 Mt. They are useful in many areas of everyday life, including thermal insulation and coatings. They are traditionally produced by reacting an isocyanate with a polyol oligomer. While the isocyanate is almost exclusively derived from petrochemical feedstocks, the polyol can be derived from renewable resources. However, most isocyanate compounds are highly toxic or even CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic) and are on the SIN list (Substitute It Now!—REACH, Annex XVII). The initial aim of the GreenCoat project is to develop new bio-based polyols, derived from vegetable oil, with new properties. A subsequent goal is to develop isocyanate-free bio-based polyurethanes from glycerol. Bio-based polyols are synthesized from vegetable oil or from fatty acids or esters through thiol-ene coupling on the double bonds of the fatty chains. The thiol used has one or more alcohol functions. The addition reaction is carried out with neither solvent nor initiator, under UV; the yield is quantitative. This technology produces bio-based polyols with widely varying structure and functionality. The development of isocyanate-free bio-based polyurethanes relies on the cyclocarbonate ring-opening reaction mediated by primary amines. Thus, the IAM (ICGM) team has produced oligomers bearing dicyclocarbonate functions from glycerol carbonate. Reacting these oligomers with diamines produces isocyanate-free bio-based polyurethanes.

 Glycerin Fatty acids and esters Vegetable oils Thiol-ene (TEC)

Glycerin carbonate

1. Transesterification or amidification 2. TEC


In both cases, the bio-based polyurethanes obtained have properties similar to those of fossil-fuel-derived polyurethanes and can be used in coatings, binders, paints, etc. This project has received funding from ANR Matepro and is being conducted in collaboration with the Organic Polymers Chemistry Laboratory (Bordeaux) and the Résipoly and SEG companies. Contacts: Sylvain Caillol, Rémi Auvergne, & Bernard Boutevin,

 Diagram of bio-based polyurethane production from vegetable oil and derivatives.

Green technologies

 Synthesis by thiol-ene coupling of new bio-based polyols from vegetable oils.


 Isocyanate-free bio-based polyurethane production.

 Glycerol

 Biodegradable packaging developed under the project.

EcoBioCAP project

The European EcoBioCAP project aims to supply European Union food industries with modular biodegradable packaging tailored to the requirements of perishable foodstuffs, with direct benefits for the environment and for European consumers in terms of food quality and safety. This new generation of packaging will be based on the multi-scale development of composite structures all of whose constituent parts will be from food industry by-products.

Production techniques and all the properties of the materials developed in the course of the project will be optimized through demonstration activities with industrial partners before industrial use is begun. The EcoBioCAP technology will be made available to all industry players through development of a decision support tool. Finally, outreach activities will be undertaken, not just to inform the scientific community of the project results, but also to make sure consumers and end-users know the benefits of such biodegradable packaging and how to use it. The EcoBioCAP project has a budget of €4.2 million, financed by Europe (to the tune of €3 million over four years under the seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development. It brings together 16 partners from eight different countries, including six private companies. Contact: Nathalie Gontard, For further information:

Green technologies

Over the past ten years, many types of biodegradable food packaging have been developed, the main goal being to imitate petrochemical plastics; however, no real evaluation has been done of their environmental benefits, economic viability or potential impact on the quality and safety of packaged foods. These packaging systems quickly bogged down, especially in the food industry, as a result of a number of major controversies (diversion of food resources, overly complicated recycling/ recovery routes, for example). A more holistic, systemic approach is needed in developing such biodegradable packaging in order to restore the trust and consumers and users and to pique their interest.


Eco-efficient Biodegradable Composite Advanced Packaging


Water and waste recycling and recovery Seeking durable materials and membrane processes The European Membrane Institute (UMR IEM, ENSCMCNRS-UM2), founded in 1998, is an internationally-recognized reference laboratory for membrane materials and processes. Its research objectives are in keeping with a multidisciplinary and multi-scale approach:  the development and characterization of novel membrane materials;  their implementation in membrane processes having applications in, for example, sewage treatment, gas separation, and biotechnology as it relates to food and health sciences.

The main teams UMR IEM European Membrane Institute (ENSCM/CNRS/UM2) 50 scientists

Green technologies

UPR Recycling and Risk (CIRAD) 13 scientists


UR LBE Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology (INRA) 16 scientifiques ...continued on page 22

IEM comprises three research departments:  design of membrane materials and multifunctional systems;  polymer interfaces and physical chemistry;  membrane process engineering. The Institute’s green-technologyrelated activities are based on process intensification and have three main foci, with the general objectives of increasing process efficiency and moving towards sustainability (less consumption of energy and solvents, waste minimization, optimum resource use):  development of multifunctional reactors combining different functions within the same technology;  development of new processes, new materials for use in traditional processes, or new operating conditions;  use of modelling to gain a better understanding of reaction and transfer mechanisms, which can then be used to improve the efficiency of existing processes. The work the Institute carries out under this approach, through the activities of its “Membrane Process Engineering” department, relates mainly to:

 the use of bio-based products and materials: the development of membranes from bio-polymers; the development of biodegradable membranes; fractionation for by-product recovery;  water and waste recycling and recovery: effluent concentration and production of pure and ultra-pure water; degradation of pollutants in wastewater using membranes combined with photocatalysed biological or physico-chemical reactions; sorption; a combination of membranes and enzymatic reactions. Regional collaborations have been put in hand, in particular with the ELSA cluster (cf. p. 32), to integrate LCA and eco-design aspects into research projects dealing with the development of new processes for the “solvent-free” production of membrane materials (ANR POMEWISO project, cf. p. 13) or the implementation of intensive processes combining membranes and sorption on functionalized polymers (ANR Copoterm “Copolymers for Water Treatment and Metal Recovery”).

DIVA project characterization of digestate and its agricultural upgrade processes Significant progress in anaerobic digestion of organic waste has propelled the emergence of new industrial processes such as the methanation of agricultural and household waste. Thus, new types of uncharacterized or poorly characterized digestate (the residues generated by anaerobic digestion of organic matter) have made their appearance, and they end up being disposed of in a more or less inappropriate manner, generally on the ground. More knowledge is needed, therefore, to see that such digestate is properly managed and that France can make up its serious technological deficit in this area relative to Scandinavia and Germany. As for the most part the ultimate beneficiary of the upgrade is agriculture, there is a significant demand for (a) characterization of all types of digestate products currently on offer in France and (b) development of processing methods so that the new product’s agricultural value can be better realized. In addition, such emerging environmental issues as energy efficiency, recycling of raw materials and control of gaseous emissions from land-farming raise a number of issues that must be considered today in preparation for tomorrow’s management processes. Thus, with the participation of the UMR IEM in the collaborative (IRSTEA, Armines, Géotexia, IEM, INRA, Suez, Solagro) DIVA project, it is expected that membrane-based or other post-processing techniques will be proposed in an effort to achieve and maintain the correct product status. This scientific approach— separate, upgrade, standardize—promises the best possible way of promoting the sustainable development of digestates. Contact: Marc Heran,

 Separation unit: membrane filtration.

The UPR “Recycling and Risk” (CIRAD) conducts activities on the cusp of the analytic and systemic approaches in the field of organic waste recycling. The central hypothesis is that some of these products are sources of energy and/or organic matter that could support sustained and sustainable agricultural production. The objective is to find solutions and agricultural practices involving controlled agro-environmental risks, with optimal use of processing technologies and the purifying power of soil and plants. The unit addresses this problem by delving into the biophysical processes of organic waste transformation, the transfer of elements in the water/soil/plant/ atmosphere system, and taking into account the management of stocks and material flows within a territory. It produces knowledge and tools for the assessment and design of integrated recycling solutions

that combine respect for natural resources and the environment with economic efficiency. The unit’s research is along two scientific lines:  Under “territorial organic waste transformation and management of organic waste products”, it develops models to simulate composting- and methanation-based organic waste processing technology, as well as ways of evaluating the environmental impact of recycling. Two levels of organization are considered: the smallholding (individual management) and organized farm groups (collective management).  Under “dynamic of the interactions of organic waste products with water, soils and crops”, it investigates the dynamic of how organic matter, nitrogen and metallic trace elements interact with the cropping system and soil type. Environmental risk indicators are developed for the region, the plot and the laboratory (at molecule and rhizosphere level). Both lines of research work are based on analytical and experimental platforms, as well as partnerships with other research

units, development agencies and businesses. The unit has two main sites, in Montpellier and on Réunion. Under a strategic partnership with the European Centre for Research and Education in Environmental Geosciences (CEREGE) at Aix-enProvence, the unit is located on the Centre’s premises. Innovative partnerships are maintained with private companies, especially the Frayssinet Group, the leading manufacturer of organic fertilizer in France. On Réunion the unit works closely with local authorities, and primarily with the Réunion region. In Senegal, one of the unit’s researchers is assigned to the Laboratory of Microbial Ecology of Tropical Soils and Agrosystems (LEMSAT). The unit’s financial resources come mainly from the public sector (ANR, ministries other than Higher Education and Research, Environment and Energy Management Agency). The resources devoted to activities on Réunion come from the European Community and local authorities. The private sector and expert assessments also contribute to the unit’s financial stability. •••

Green technologies

Controlling the environmental risk of recycling organic waste


Ecosystems “for” and “in” processes as part of an environmental biorefinery concept The Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology (Research Unit [UR] LBE, INRA) located in Narbonne, is part of the INRA departments of “Environment and Agronomy” and “Microbiology and the Food Chain”. For more than 25 years, LBE research has focused on processing and/ or upgrading the waste products of human activity, be they liquid effluents (especially from the agrifood sector), solid waste (agricultural

Other teams working in this area IAM team Engineering and Macromolecular Architectures ICGM - Institut Charles Gerhardt, Montpellier UMR CNRS 5253 (ENSCM/CNRS/UM2/UM1) 60 scientists UMR ITAP Information/Technologies/Environmental Analysis/Agricultural Processes (Montpellier SupAgro/IRSTEA) 27 scientists

Green technologies

UPR CMGD Materials Research Centre (EMA) 40 scientists


UPR LGEI Engineering Laboratory for Industrial Environmental Engineering and Industrial and Natural Risks (EMA) 29 scientists UR Biomass & Energy (CIRAD) 12 scientists


 A bird’s-eye view of INRA’s Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory in Narbonne, with a lagoon for microalgae production in the foreground.

residues, household waste and sewage sludge), or such specific biomass types as micro- or macroalgae. Its pollutant transformation processes depend on microbial communities that are complex by virtue of their composition, diversity and functional dynamics. These communities’ characteristics, together with the fact that they can be established only in an “open” environment, have led the laboratory to seek a type of processing/ upgrade wherein the microbial responses are influenced by changes in the operating conditions of the bioprocess. In performing the upgrade, great care is taken to observe health safety constraints (e.g. those related to the presence of pharmaceutical residues, detergents and/or pathogens). Hence, the pollutant transformation processes are studied:  at the whole process level, by characterizing kinetics, key physiological systems and dynamics of microbial populations;  at the level of individual procedures, by developing innovative procedures, optimizing the hydrodynamics or functioning of the bioreactors, and implementing physicochemical co-processing techniques. Research activities have always been done with due regard for both levels as they relate to sustainable industries, in an effort to develop means of pollution control or effluent and waste recovery that comply with economic and regulatory constraints and to achieve simple, efficient, reliable and scalable bioprocesses.

There are six research areas, covering a broad spectrum of disciplinary skills: microbiology, microbial ecology, bio-engineering, process engineering, modelling, automation, LCA, project engineering, industrial transfer:  research into the generic characterization of organic matter and associated by-products;  knowledge and role of biotic/ abiotic parameters with respect to the services rendered;  means of action and control of processes and ecosystems, to take an active stance, no longer a passive one;  assessment and management of the fate of the products of the treatment processes and their environmental and health impacts;  descriptive/explanatory/predictive engineering and ecological models;  process engineering and ecodesign. LBE is among the world’s leading laboratories in the field of anaerobic digestion (ranking first among publishing laboratories as referenced in the Web of Science with the entry term “anaerobic digestion”). Its facilities cover 4,757 m², including an experimental centre of 1,882 m², and it boasts high-performance experimental and scientific equipment including more than 50 digesters (capacity from 1 litre to several cubic metres), in operation 24/3/365. LBE relies on research excellence, a variety of study topics and a multidisciplinary approach, but also possesses know-how in technology transfer and innovation (6 patents, 11 licence agreements, and Pollutec innovation awards in 2007, 2009 and 2010). 

PETZECO project combined ozone/zeolite treatment of petrochemical effluent Pollution of water and sediments by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is indisputably happening, and poses real risks to the environment and health; this has led the European Commission to classify PAHs as priority substances. The conventional countermeasures, chemical oxidation or adsorption on activated carbon, have limitations in terms of cost and implementation. Advanced oxidation processes can degrade bioresistant or toxic compounds through the use of hydroxyl radicals. The work proposed in the PETZECO collaborative project (with ICGM, Chemical Engineering Laboratory, National Institute of Applied Sciences in Toulouse, Total) aims to develop an advanced technique for the treatment of resistant industrial wastewater. The main idea is to use ozone combined with innovative zeolitic materials, the ozone serving to break down the waste into hydroxyl radicals which are then adsorbed onto the solid zeolites. This combination should increase degradation rates

synergetically. The use of a solid, porous mineral should ensure good resistance to oxidative attack and maintain long-term catalytic and adsorptive properties. The development phase of this new solid, mesoporous zeolitic adsorbent/catalyst is one of the project’s challenges, as very few studies exist in this area. Another of its challenges is to implement this ozone/catalyst combination in an efficient and inexpensive way. Its reactive and mechanical properties will be the subject of careful study so that in synthesizing the zeolites the most valuable functionalities can be targeted. An in-depth study is underway of the sizing parameters of the oxidation process in various configurations (from fluidized beds to membrane separation of the catalyst). The project’s ultimate goal is to use monolithic materials containing the new catalyst on real petrochemical effluents. Contact: Stephan Brosillon,

Seeking a new green channel within a circular economy: from phytoextraction to bio-based chemical catalysis and back again

The programme draws on public and semi-public research laboratories and three private private companies, all of which pool their phytoextraction skills for the environmentally sustainable remediation of mine sites in the department of Gard and in New Caledonia while respecting local biodiversity. Plant waste and bound metals are directly recovered and transformed into green catalysts, then spread and stabilized on comminuted mining waste. These unique polymetallic systems are used as heterogeneous catalysts in synthetic transformations that give access to high-added-value molecules (aromatic buildingblock molecules, heterocyclic compounds and biologically useful oligomers…). The process design allows for recycling simply through filtration; it is also suited to the new economic constraints and represents a concrete solution to the critical non-renewability of mineral materials. This scientific programme is carried out with local stakeholders from the communities and State bodies. It engages in sustained recovery actions involving industry groups working in complementary application areas (restoration ecology, mining and chemical industries). It now rests on a solid foundation of

scientific results, so that specific objectives are sure to be met; as a result, funding has been approved for an ANR project, a CNRSIRSTEA project, a project of the European Regional Development Fund, two industrial contracts, ten confidentiality agreements, two thesis funding agreements and a collaboration with a private company specializing in technology transfer. This interdisciplinary research work—applied, industrial research—is intended as an engine of environmental and socio-environmental reconstruction of sites scarred by industrial and mining activities. Contact: Claude Grison, For further information: environnement-et-ressources-biologiques/ecotechnologies-ecoservices/fiche-projet-ecotech/?tx_ lwmsuivibilan_pi2%5BCODE%5D=ANR-11-ECOT-011

Green technologies

The Opportunité (E)4 programme (Environmental, Ecological, Ethical and Economic) outlines an innovative process of chemical enhancement of phytoextraction technologies and of waste contaminated with metallic trace elements. The project takes advantage of certain plants’ remarkable adaptive ability to hyperaccumulate Zn2+, Ni2+, Mn2+, Cu2+ and/or Al3+ cations in their aerial parts; its design is based on the direct use of metal species of plant origin as “Lewis acid” catalysts for organic chemical reactions on mining waste (tailings and slag) or combustion by-products.


 A 40-m3 TRANSPAILLE digester in Senegal.

© Yvan Hurvois

Equivalence 1 m3 of methane  9.7 kWh of electricity  1.3 kg of coal  1.15 l of petrol  1 l of fuel-oil  2.1 kg of wood  0.94 m3 of natural gas  1.7 l of fuel alcohol

In hot regions, where average temperatures are high, biological upgrading processes for organic waste are particularly effective. Unlike thermochemical processes, they save part of the organic material, which can then be recycled to preserve soil fertility.

© Jean-Luc Farinet

Upgrading of organic waste by anaerobic digestion and composting in hot regions

 Composting test on Wallis.

Methanation, or anaerobic digestion, is fermentation in the complete absence of oxygen. Degradation of organic matter leads to the formation of a gas—biogas—which is rich in methane (CH4). Biogas can be used directly as fuel. The final residue of anaerobic digestion, called methanogenic digestate, can be used directly as fertilizer or composted to improve its properties. Since the late 1970s, with its African partners, CIRAD has been developing various biogas technologies suited to local conditions. Thus, the TRANSPAILLE process will methanate solid waste such as manure, dung materials, cassava peelings or coffee pulp. The AGRIFILTRE® process will filter liquid effluents rich in organic matter so they can soak into straw before anaerobic digestion. Composting is a biodegradation of organic matter in the presence of oxygen, producing carbon dioxide and water vapour. The reaction is exothermic (raising the temperature of the medium). Because composting is often done in the open air in piles or windrows, it is difficult to control. In creating a model of the composting process, we must formalize the relationship between the physicochemical characteristics of organic waste and the gaseous, liquid and solid outputs. This modelling is used to set the parameters of flow models (operation, area) for an environmental assessment. Contacts: Jean-Luc Farinet, & Jean-Marie Paillat, Green technologies

For further information:



Seeking better-quality end-of-life sorting and recycling/upgrading of electrical and electronic waste The recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is at the centre of numerous research projects, as its annual volume (about 24 kg per capita) is constantly increasing (3-5%). When WEEE is discarded, the plastics it contains remain as a source of pollution. That is very wasteful, as the industrial plastics in WEEE still have good potential uses after their first life cycle. Although many scientific studies conducted in developed countries involve recycling, use of such recycled plastics is not widespread, in part because of the poor quality, to date, of the material available (which is dependent on sorting quality and the main additives). With improved sorting, identification and separation, high-quality recycled plastics will become available for applications in various industrial sectors.  Trial of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to sort/ separate WEEE plastics.

Deposits of WEEE plastics are highly complex: many plastics are incompatible with one another, and a large percentage are dark in colour, making some sorting and identification techniques ineffective, or incorporate brominated flame retardants, requiring separate sorting. CMGD has been working on WEEE recycling and upgrading for ten years, and, since 2008, conducting two projects:  The REDEMPTIR project (ADEME funding) seeks to maximize the recovery rate and the purity of sorted plastics by online near-infrared spectroscopy using actual light-coloured WEEE deposits, to monitor their polymer and flame retardant content.  The TRIPLE-VALEEE project (Single Interministerial Fund (FUI) is split into two development foci:  The TRIPLE project aims to provide a standardized methodology for sampling and analysis of plastics deposits derived from WEEE processing and to implement efficient sorting patterns.  The goal of the VALEEE project is to identify the different ways WEEE may be incorporated into industrial products, taking the place of all or some of the virgin materials that would otherwise be used, according to specifications setting out the desired polymer types or performance. Contacts: Didier Perrin, & Rodolphe Sonnier,

Adding value by chemical waste recycling: the example of PET The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste used in industry comes primarily from the recovery and sorting of bottles. At present, PET recycling is mainly (75%) in the form of fibre (quilt batting, sweaters…). Other applications arising from research may be targeted. Here is one example:



Contact: Rémi Auvergne,


Green technologies

 PET flakes from the recycling industry.  PET depolymerized in an extruder.  Product after laboratory reaction.  Material obtained after photopolymerization (thickness 0.5–0.7 mm).  Application in the coatings sector.

PET bottles are first ground to the desired size, then washed to remove contaminants as far as possible (paper, glue, PVC, etc.). The PET chips thus obtained (photo ) are then dried and undergo an initial transformation, called glycolysis. This results in a lower molecular weight product in the form of a green paste (photo ). After chemical treatment, an unsaturated polyester is obtained; much more fluid, transparent and slightly yellow in colour (photo ). This product then undergoes a photopolymerization reaction with reactive diluents, resulting in a transparent, flexible material. The flexibility of the material can be controlled through the choice of reactive diluent (photo ). One possible application for this type of product is wood coatings (photo ), as initial testing has shown that it is easily applied and adheres well to wood.


Water and waste recycling and recovery


 Autosampler connected to a gas chromatograph for analysis of volatile fatty acids produced during anaerobic digestion.

Evaluating the methane potential of organic waste through near-infrared spectrometry

Green technologies

To optimize industrial-scale methane production processes, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is an innovative way of rapidly determining the waste’s BMP: it can analyse the overall organic matter after a quick sample preparation and calculate the methane potential within a few minutes. Hence, there is less risk of methanating waste with little biodegradability, and the co-digestion process will be better controlled.


The EcoTech-LR platform allowed UMR ITAP, LBE and LGEI to jointly develop a methodology whereby freeze-dried, triturated waste is analysed by reflection using NIRS. The predicted BMP results are very accurate, particularly in the light of the complexity of the medium studied: a prediction error of 10% (28 ml CH4.g-1 of volatile matter [MV]) out of 70 representative samples of household waste (values between 89 and 357 ml CH4.g-1 MV), a good repeatability error (about 7 ml CH4.g-1 MV) and no bias between the prediction for the calibration batch and the test batch. Interpretation of the spectra and the prediction model also provides characterization data on the waste, such as the presence of hydrocarbons, lipids and proteins, which improve BMP, and of other compounds that will impair it because they are not degraded during anaerobic digestion (e.g., fibre or plastics).


Predicted BMPs (ml CH4.g-1 MV)

To optimize methane production through anaerobic digestion of organic waste, it is essential to know in advance the potential methane value, for which purpose the Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) test is performed, consisting of at least one month’s fermentation. That is too long a period in an industrial context, as it generates inventory management constraints and risks a loss of bacterial population in the reactors should the waste prove not very biodegradable.





Repeatability SE

250 200 150 100 50 0 0


100 150 250 300 200 Measured BMPs (ml CH4.g-1 MV)



 Comparison of measured and predicted values. The diagonal represents a 1:1 ratio. Prediction error: 28 ml CH4.g-1 MV ; Repeatability error: 7 ml CH4.g-1 MV . R²=0.8.

The next step is to move to industrialization of the method, which promises strong growth and substantial economic benefits, given the significant need for agricultural and household waste treatment. For that purpose, as the spectral response is very sensitive to the type of medium studied, calibration will be required for each type of waste. Contacts: Jean-Michel Roger, Éric Latrille, & Catherine Gonzalez, This research, as embodied in the thesis of Mr. Lesteur, a PhD student at the ECOTECH-LR Regional Technology Platform, received the ADEME award for innovative technology at the 2009 Pollutec salon. It then led to a technology transfer to Ondalys under the MethaNIR project.

Green technologies


 Slurry impeller for open-air microalgae cultivation.


Bioenergy Develop and optimize processes for energy production from biomass The great majority of rural people in the countries of the South lack access to energy. Biomass, though often abundant there, is used only to supply basic household energy. Today, economic development demands access to productiongrade energy, which is essential to raw material processing and food preservation and, more generally, to the development of economic activities that will generate jobs and income.

The main teams Trimatec Competitiveness cluster on green technologies DERBI Competitiveness cluster Development of Renewable Energy/ Building/Industry BIOÉNERGIESUD Network UR Biomass & Energy (CIRAD) 12 scientists

Green technologies

Other teams working in this area


UMR IATE Agro-polymer Engineering and Emerging Technologies (CIRAD/INRA/Montpellier SupAgro/UM2) 49 scientists UR LBE Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology (INRA) 16 scientists

The objective of the research being done by the UR «Biomass & Energy» (CIRAD) is to develop and optimize processes for energy production from biomass and to analyse how such processes may be developed in the countries of the South. Target applications include the production of heat, electricity and motive power. The unit focuses in particular on thermochemical biomass conversion processes involving pyrolysis, gasification and combustion. The knowledge thus acquired also contributes to longer-term development of second generation biofuels produced by thermochemical means. The focus of the research work is twofold:  How biomass fuels react under pyrolysis, gasification and combustion, and how to design innovative conversion processes: the research focuses on the influence of biomass type on the reactions, the factors that control conversion, the quality of the products obtained and their optimum use, and, in general, the optimization of recovery processes. The unit relies on experimental devices ranging from laboratory scale to semi-industrial pilots. Models for the behaviour of biomass during the various transformation phases are also being developed.

 How energy biomass processes are to be implemented: the research concentrates on an evaluation of the environmental impacts of the processes, development scenarios at the local, national and regional levels, the definition of an ex ante and ex post methodology to assess the viability of systems for energy production from biomass, with an integrated approach to technical, economic and environmental factors. The unit works in partnership with the International Institute of Water Engineering and Environment (Burkina Faso), with which a common platform for research into biomass energy has been developed, the Forest Products Laboratory (Brazil) with which research on energy recovery from forest and tree-farm waste is being conducted, and the Centro Agronómico de Investigación y Enseanza (Costa Rica), with which work is being done on energy biomass development scenarios and their impacts. The unit’s main scientific facilities include a 200 m² platform of semiindustrial pilots, a motor and burner test bench for biomass-derived fuels, and laboratories to analyse products and by-products of the conversion reaction. 

© Laurent Van de steene

 Pilot reactor for continuous fixed-bed biomass pyrolysis and gasification, CIRAD.

Biomass of the Champagne vineyards, a renewable energy source for bottle production The project’s ultimate goal is to achieve about a 7% replacement of fossil fuels with biomass. In addition, the knowledge and experience gained thereby will enable partners to consider more significant development of the sector and a transition to a 50% replacement rate. The UR “Biomass & Energy” is particularly involved in two project tasks, which it coordinates. The first is the characterization and mobilization of the waste vine-wood resource. The second concerns the project’s research aimed at understanding and optimizing the staged gasification process, to achieve an increase in the heating value of the syngas. Gasification research is “Biomass and energy” research unit’s core activity, to provide an effective biomass recovery solution to facilitate access to energy in the South. Contact: Laurent Van De Steene,

Green technologies

The BioViVe project (wine-growing biomass for glass melting) seeks to feed a glass furnace directly with syngas derived from the woody by-products of the pruning and grubbing-up of vines, to replace fossil fuels. This gas will be specifically tailored to the needs of glass melting and will be tested in Verallia’s furnace in Oiry (Marne), so the project partners—Saint-Gobain Emballage, GDF SUEZ, XYLOWATT, CIRAD and the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne—will be doing laboratory research, semi-industrial combustion cell tests and long-term tests on the Oiry industrial furnace under normal production conditions. This project will also lead to the creation of an ongoing biomass collection industry in the Champagne vineyards.



Improving biofuel combustion for the rural South

In Africa, the development of multifunctional platforms (United Nations Development Programme/MFP) has encouraged their commercialization. These 5- to 15-hp engines are found under various names in the various countries and regions (Peter Lister, Rhino, Fieldmarshal, Imex, Elephant, Jumbo, Goldstar…). They are manufactured in India from a model that has long been obsolete in England. They are hardy, undemanding engines and, especially, cost much less than newer diesels of equivalent power. They are widespread among millers and for water pumping, and attempts to adapt them to use local biofuels were made in the early 80s. But problems of combustion chamber fouling arose right from initial testing, discouraging any decision to use local pure vegetable oils in rural areas. CIRAD’s objective is to

© G. Vaitilingom

One glass (20 cl)! That’s how much diesel or biofuel, on average, a rural family in the South (Africa, Pacific, Amazon…) needs to have electricity for 4 to 8 hours a day. But the primary need is to have a little power, occasionally or intermittently, for energy services. In Africa, this takes the form of grain milling, water pumping and handicrafts using powered hand tools. Throughout the rural developing world, the requisite power is obtained from small gasoline—or most often diesel—engines. Lister type diesel engines have been widespread on all continents for decades.

provide an appropriate technology solution to allow the use of alternative fuels from local oilseeds. The study and recent development of a very inexpensive part—€50—that is easy to fabricate and install locally will enable hundreds of thousands of these engines to use biofuel in place of diesel. As of today palm, cottonseed or jatropha oil are the favoured types. Contact: Gilles Vaitilingom,  An example of an 8-hp Lister Rhino diesel engine installed on a multifunctional platform, here coupled to a power generator and a husker. 2IE, Burkina Faso, 2011.

The DANAC project activated anaerobic digestion—biomimicry for anaerobic digestion

Green technologies

Today, industrial technologies are being used to produce the various biochemical processes of anaerobic digestion within a single reactor. Over this past decade, pre-processing or co-processing anaerobic digestion methods have appeared whose purpose was to make the matter to be digested more readily available. To date, however, none of these technologies has been able to exceed the threshold of 60% degradation of the organic matter, and so biogas production has been limited. It should be noted that anaerobic digestion is a very common process, especially in living beings’ gastrointestinal tract. In these ecosystems, its may digest 61 to 76% of the organic matter.


These results suggest that the living world has developed systems that overcome the obstacle of organic matter availability and so optimize the transformation of matter into energetic compounds. The objective of the DANAC project is to thoroughly analyse living beings’ digestion processes and, by mimicry, to develop new processes for producing biogas from waste, with a better than 70% rate of organic matter degradation. LBE is coordinating this project in partnership with the UR “Hydrosystems and Bioprocesses” (IRSTEA), the Paris Sud-Ouest proteomic analysis platform (INRA),

the UMR “Biogeochemistry and Ecology of Continental Environments” (AgroParisTech, CNRS, ENS, IRD, Universités Paris 6 and Paris 12) and Suez Environnement. Contact: Jean-Jacques Godon,





? 200 100 0 100 years of research

500 million years of evolution

 The DANAC project’s objectives: through biomimicry, to seek novel technological solutions for the optimization of solid waste treatment.

SYMBIOSE project study and optimization of anaerobic bacteria/microalgae coupling for bioenergy production

© LBE-Inra

technologies using these microorganisms: coupling microalgae cultures that capture industrial CO2 through an anaerobic digestion process in order to recycle crop nutrients and produce methane. The project builds on recent advances in the control of microalgae cultures and anaerobic digestion processes by including lagoon ecosystem ecology and an eco-design approach, and aims to explore new avenues of research:  identification and characterization of photosynthetic ecosystems capable of withstanding extreme growing conditions;  use of anaerobic co-digestion in a two-step process in order to control the flow of nutrients;  modelling and control of two biological systems;  integration into a single process through an eco-design approach.

Many research and development programmes are looking into the use of microalgae for energy production or the capture of CO2 of industrial origin. The SYMBIOSE project, coordinated by Naskeo (in collaboration with LBE [INRA] / UMR “Ecology of Coastal Marine Systems” [UM2-IRD-CNRSUM1-French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER)] / “Biological Control of Artificial Ecosystems” team [National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control] / Laboratory of Physiology and Biotechnology of Algae [IFREMER]) seeks to explore a parallel and often complementary approach to the conventional energy production

This project aims to exploit mechanisms that occur in natural aquatic environments while controlling them to optimize light and CO2 capture efficiency and crop sustainability. Most projects concerned with mass microalgae production will benefit from these advances. Expected benefits from these results:  less use of external nitrogen and phosphorus on photosynthetic biomass crops;  simultaneous purification of gaseous effluents and organic waste;  lower costs and increased energy efficiency;  improved system resilience;  prospect of a new model for sustainable energy production. Contact: Jean-Philippe Steyer,

 The Algotron, a fully instrumented pilot project of the SYMBIOSE project, combining cultivation of microalgae and anaerobic digestion, on the LBE (INRA) site.

PEACE project production of Energy from Agro-resources by Energy-efficient Conversion

As a first step, the biomass is subjected to moderate heat treatment, which degrades its mechanical properties. To optimize this treatment, it is combined with chemical impregnation to allow embrittlement and structural modification of the cell wall architecture to destructure the

core material and increase its reactivity. The heated material is then finely triturated in high-speed mills designed to produce powders with a particle size of less than 50 µm. The powders obtained undergo enzymatic post-processing to open up those parts of the cell wall that resisted the first pre-processing steps, and are then used as substrates for ethanol fermentation and methanation tests. The samples are analysed at all stages to provide clues to the relationship between their composition, properties and behaviour under the processing employed. Processes are observed in detail to establish energy balances. The overall result will be compared with existing methods. Contacts: Xavier Rouau, & Claire Dumas, * Bioenergy, Biomolecules and Biomaterials from Renewable Carbon:

Green technologies

Lignocellulosic biomass must be pre-processed to achieve efficient enzymatic hydrolysis of cell wall polysaccharides, a key step in the production of ethanol and methane. Four research units (UMR IATE, UR LBE, UR Biomass & Energy, UMR Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin) came together to form the 3BCAR Carnot Institute* in order to study and develop an original method for straw pre-processing that would be energy-efficient and have a positive mass/energy balance after ethanol fermentation and methanogenesis.


Assessment methods:

Life cycle analysis, eco-design, industrial and territorial ecology ELSA cluster: life cycle analysis of process sustainability The main team ELSA cluster Environmental Lifecycle and Sustainability Assessment (IRSTEA/CIRAD/EMA/ Montpellier SupAgro/INRA) 30 scientists

Other teams working in this area UMR ITAP Information/Technologies/Environmental Analysis/Agricultural Processes (Montpellier SupAgro/IRSTEA) 27 scientists UPR LGEI Engineering Laboratory for Industrial Environmental Engineering and Industrial and Natural Risks (EMA) 29 scientists UPR CMGD Materials Research Centre (EMA) 40 scientists

Green technologies

UPR Recycling and Risk (CIRAD) 13 scientists


UR LBE Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology (INRA) 16 scientists UR Biomass & Energy (CIRAD) 12 scientists

The Environmental Lifecycle and Sustainability Assessment cluster (ELSA) is a multidisciplinary research group dedicated to the environmental and social life cycle analysis of processes and to industrial ecology. ELSA brings together researchers, teachers and students from several institutes of research and higher education in the Languedoc-Roussillon (LR) region. Its members thus benefit from the pooling of other members’ expertise and knowledge. ELSA was founded in 2008, with the Region’s support, as part of the EcoTech-LR platform, which brings together five organizations: INRA, CIRAD, EMA, Montpellier SupAgro, and IRSTEA. ELSA’s role within that platform is the cross-cutting task of environmental and social assessment of the processes under study, whether in agriculture, water and waste management, biomass energy production, or land use planning. ELSA members work together to:  advance the methodology of environmental and social assessments;

 disseminate those methodologies by developing collaborations with industrial partners, consultants and local communities, and the State;  provide training to students and professionals;  brief the scientific community through seminars, conferences, etc. With a current staff of 30 researchers, half of them permanent, the ELSA cluster has had very strong growth over the past four years. In 2012, ELSA was involved in 21 research projects (9 ANR projects, 4 FUI, 3 ADEME, and 4 international projects). In the area of science facilitation, the ELSA cluster organizes two to three events a year; since its inception it has held two research symposia (one international and one national), two international seminars and four awareness days. Since 2011, the ELSA cluster has extended its international reach through the Interreg EcoTech-Sudoe project (an international life cycle analysis and eco-design network for innovative environmental technologies), which has enabled networking and exchanges between eight French, Spanish and Portuguese laboratories. The ELSA cluster is open to any new collaborator or institution wishing to take advantage of the arrangement, upon acceptance by the administrators. 

© Cirad

 Turning over green waste compost on Réunion.

GIROVAR Project participatory modelling for the co-construction and evaluation of scenarios for integrated organic waste management

As regards the environmental aspect, territorial ecology research has produced ways of assessing the effect in terms of island-wide eco-efficiency (through a study of the island’s “metabolism”). However, these methods cannot determine what services could emerge or what environmental impacts these scenarios may ultimately have. By coupling the territorial ecology approach with a systemic evaluation framework (“Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response”), the environmental

 The logic behind the GIROVAR project and its stages.

assessment seeks to produce a spatio-temporal analysis of the changes in environmental impacts that would be generated by the management scenarios being considered, to estimate how great the change of state might be in the various environmental areas (land, air, water…), and to gauge the risk of harm or the likely benefit of these impacts. Contact: Tom Wassenaar, For further information:

Green technologies

On Réunion island, the management of a number of growing organic waste dumps (sewage sludge, manure, green waste, food waste) poses serious problems, mainly because of siloing of the various industries, even while these organic materials could be of great service in agriculture. The project Integrated Organic Waste Management through Agricultural Enrichment on Réunion (GIROVAR), being conducted by a consortium of seven partner organizations (co-ordinated by the UPR “Recycling & Risk” in collaboration with the UR “Renewable Resource Management and Environment”) in the conurbation of towns in the west of Réunion, is looking into the service potential of organic waste recycling. A participatory research method is used to identify integrated land management scenarios whereby the potential benefit could be realized, the aim being to make possible all current and planned developments in the various sectors concerned without endangering the regional system’s sustainability. It is essential for the scenarios identified to be rigorously and objectively evaluated from an environmental, logistical, regulatory, economic and social standpoint.


Assessment methods...

DEPART project from waste management to the circular economy—the emergence of new partnership practices in port areas In industrial ports, massive amounts of matter and energy are exchanged and transformed. Hence, ports are gradually assimilating the principles and tools of industrial and territorial ecology in order to optimize their matter and energy flows and to foster collaborative practices of recycling and recovery of liquid, solid or gaseous industrial wastes. Such actions are now seen as essential in maintaining competitiveness in industrial and port activities and in reducing the pressure exerted on the environment. However, the adoption of such practices does not depend only on the intrinsic characteristics of the matter and energy flows (quantity, quality, variability, etc.); The cultures of cooperation of the various territorial actors and their understanding of the major issues and problems in the study area are all fundamental in mobilizing stakeholders to engage in territorial resource management. Before deploying and generalizing this type of approach, the first requirement is to establish a diagnosis, to characterize and evaluate the above criteria.

Green technologies

Environmental assessment methodology for activities distributed over a broad area


The DEPART project (2010-2012) was co-funded by ADEME and involved six partners (Auxilia, Mydiane, Vianova System, Systèmes Durables, EMA, Université Toulouse II). Its goal has been to innovate in its methodological approach to industrial and territorial ecology by proposing and validating the adoption of a methodology based more on stakeholders’ perceptions, the skills available and the needs felt than merely a flow analysis. Its specific context is port areas. A range of tools (territorial analytical grid, geographic information system, territorial intelligence tree, etc.) were developed and used to optimize the collection and use of territorial data drawn from existing documents and databases but also from targeted interviews with key players in the territory and/or the areas of activity under study. These tools were iteratively tested and developed at the ports of Fos-sur-Mer and Le Havre. Contact: Guillaume Junqua,

European Directive 2001/42/EC proposes the establishment of a procedural tool, a “Strategic Environmental Assessment” (SEA), which must be applied right from the first stages of the development of plans and programmes likely to have a “significant” influence on the environment. This includes programmes related to local areas and their management (e.g., in France, territorial coherence plans, local urban planning…). However, there is no formal process for making such assessments. Methodological developments are needed so that a comprehensive assessment may be done of environmental impacts within a territory and development choices endorsed. A current thesis at UMR ITAP, within the ELSA cluster (co-direction by ITAP/EMA/UMR TETIS [AgroParisTech/ CIRAD/IRSTEA] with the collaboration of the Syndicat Mixte du Bassin de Thau) aims to develop an environmental analysis methodology as a tool for optimizing development choices in a particular area.

 The main methodological barriers to LCA implementation within a territory.

 Sawmills’ activities generate a large quantity of waste that can be converted into energy. Brazil.

Timber harvesting in Amazonia generates a significant amount of waste: in the Brazilian state of Pará, for 2.5 million m3 of sawn timber produced in 2010, 4 million m3 of waste was generated. That biomass, now little regarded, could be a valuable input for an energy generation industry; but, given wood’s low energy density and how scattered the resource is (in Pará, forestry operations take place in more than a thousand sawmills), the distances over which transport is feasible are limited, for economic and environmental reasons. This makes the undertaking a difficult one. Fast pyrolysis, a process of biomass preconditioning resulting in a liquid fuel known as pyrolysis oil or bio-oil, can significantly enhance the energy/mass ratio of the wood waste, so reducing the cost of transport. As bio-oils are liquid fuels, homogeneous and pure, they afford more recovery possibilities than raw biomass: co-refining with petroleum feedstocks; combustion in boilers, diesel engines, and extraction of molecules for simultaneous chemical upgrading.

The work of the UR “Biomass & Energy” (CIRAD), in collaboration with the University of Brasília (UnB) and the Brazilian Forest Service, aims to quantify, by means of an LCA, the environmental benefits of the incorporation of fast pyrolysis into biomass supply chains. The ultimate goal is to determine the contexts where fast pyrolysis is most relevant and most favours the emergence of a biomass-based energy production process, and to optimize the environmental benefits of the use of sawmill waste. This work is being undertaken as part of a doctoral programme co-supervised by CIRAD and UnB and the research project Multi-resource Adaptation to Gasification (AMAZON), co-funded by ANR, France / Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Brazil. Contacts: Anthony Benoist, François Broust, Armando Caldeira Pires, Thiago Oliveira Rodrigues, & Patrick Rousset,

At present a number of different tools may be used for these assessments (LCA, material flow analysis, inputoutput analysis, exergy, emergy, ecological footprint, environmental risk analysis). Of these, LCA has been identified as a potentially promising tool for local decision support. However, LCA is originally a product/service oriented approach. It has been proposed that the scale of the systems under review be expanded by incorporating an analysis of territorial systems. To date, no studies have been done for one entire territory. This may be explained by the presence of certain methodological obstacles: (i) definition of functional unit(s) and reference flow, (ii) selection of system boundaries, (iii) system modelling, and (iv) development of appropriate local decision support indicators. Accordingly, recommendations will be made on how to adapt the LCA methodological framework to the environmental assessment of whole territories. The work proposed by the thesis will be applied to the study of land use scenarios within the territory of Thau Lagoon (France). Contact: Eléonore Loiseau,

Water use inventory

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Green technologies

© Thiago Oliveira Rodrigues

Study of the environmental impacts of the insertion of preconditioning by fast pyrolysis in biomass energy supply chains


Environmental monitoring Resource management, impact reduction and risk management The Laboratory for Industrial Environment Engineering and Industrial and Natural Risks (UPR LGEI) is one of three internal laboratories of the École des Mines d’Alès [EMA, having the status of a national public administration (EPA) reporting to the Ministry of Industry]. LGEI focuses its research on resource management, impact reduction, and risk management to meet industrial and societal demand. These research foci are congruent with the field of environmental technologies as technologies, processes, products and services aimed at reducing the impact of human activity on the environment.

The main team UPR LGEI Engineering Laboratory for Industrial Environmental Engineering and Industrial and Natural Risks (EMA) 29 scientists

Green technologies

Other teams working in this area


UMR ITAP Information/Technologies/Environmental Analysis/Agricultural Processes (Montpellier SupAgro/IRSTEA) 27 scientists UPR Recycling and Risk (CIRAD) 13 scientifiques

To meet these objectives, LGEI is developing multidisciplinary research covering a wide scope of applications based on complementary disciplines such as: process engineering, analytical chemistry and metrology, microbiology, molecular biology, hydrology, hydrogeology, geomatics, geostatistical methods, information technology and computer modelling, simulation and decision support tools.

purpose, one area for improvement is the functionalization of materials whose origin is biological (biopolymers), mineral or synthetic, with different molecular structures (composites, nanostructures) or different packaging (encapsulation), and the use of biological processes in purification;  study of processes for resource re-use and recycling, considered in terms of quality and use.

Those applications relate to proposed diagnostic and monitoring tools to assess resource quality (detection and measurement of physicochemical and biological parameters), integrated environmental management of resources in a region or on an industrial site (pollutant flow, matter, products), risk management and control (hazard, impact and vulnerability analyses).

In support of these issues, LGEI has access to laboratory equipment (HPLC/MS/MS, GC/MS/MS, ICP, extractors…) as well as a test centre for experiments on a semi-industrial pilot scale. These facilities are open to academic and industrial teams of the regional technology platforms.

As regards environmental technologies, its development foci are:  development of measurement methods for the quantification of organic and metallic pollutants in different matrices (water, sediment, liquid and gaseous effluents), biosensing and bioassay system development (assessing pollutant effects);  development and improvement of processes for the treatment of liquid or gaseous effluents. For that

In addition, LGEI has been a stakeholder in the Ecotech LR platform (cf. p. 43) since its inception and is actively involved in the ELSA cluster, cf. p. 32). LGEI’s particular responsibility, within that cluster, is the “industrial ecology” focus. Finally, LGEI is part of the M.IN.E.S. Carnot Institute, whose accreditation has been renewed, showing LGEI’s key role in relations with the economic sector. The Laboratory is active in a number of clusters: Water, Trimatec, Territorial Risk and Vulnerability (cf. p. 43), and Eurobiomed. 

N. Rabetokotany © Cirad

 Use of a near-infrared field spectrometer for agricultural and energy characterization of poultry litter.

On Réunion, the increasing production of organic waste (water treatment plant sludge, fermentable fraction of household waste, green waste, manure and agri-food waste), referred to as exogenous organic matter (MOEx), goes hand in hand with the increase in both population and animal husbandry. The island’s insularity and isolation make it impossible to export the MOEx; it must be locally managed. There are two possible ways of recovery:  to maintain and enhance soil fertility,  to produce renewable energy. The choice of the most appropriate recovery mode can be eased if a typology of MOEx is drawn up, to assess value vs. risk (e.g., with respect to greenhouse gas emissions). The development of MOEx characterization tools represents a scientific challenge: to decide how it should be managed in a context of sustainable development.

Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), a qualitative and quantitative technique, is the tool used. Calibration is required to convert an observed spectrum into a valuable parameter (e.g. concentration of a particular component) using statistical tools. The model developed is then used to predict the parameter in question from NIRS spectra of samples of a nature similar to those in the calibration range. NIRS is used to compile baseline data sets in the field or in the laboratory: transformative potential of nitrogen and carbon (“humus” potential), combustion potential, methane potential. This technique, when applied to MOEx in the raw state or during processing (e.g. composting and anaerobic digestion), should allow data to be generated reliably, quickly and at low cost so as to evaluate different scenarios for using these resources. Contact: Laurent Thuriès,

Green technologies

Choice of waste recovery mode based on waste characterization by near-infrared spectroscopy


 Aerial view of the port of Port Camargue. © Michel Cavailles

ECODREDGE project method and technique for global and local management of harbour dredging products In France, 50 million cubic metres of sediment is dredged annually, including 17,500,000 m³/year in French Atlantic coast ports, while the volume dredged is lower on the Mediterranean coast. Small ports and marinas produce nearly a quarter of all sludge from marine sediment dredging in France. In this context, the Grenelle de la Mer made a number of commitments for the reduction of marine pollution from dredging, including a ban on the dumping of polluted sludge at sea and implementation of sludge treatment processes.

Its scientific objectives are:  to develop ways of better evaluating the recovery potential of the dredged sediment while respecting environmental constraints;  to define constraints on materials formulation for recycling purposes;  to monitor the effects of dredging on the mobilization and ecotoxicity of metals and organic compounds;  to develop tools for tracing pollution sources.

ECODREDGE-MED, a collaborative project initiated by the independent management board at Port-Camargue, offers an innovative approach to sustainable management of harbour sediment. with two goals in mind: first, to institute dredging and materials processing technology that does not rely on temporary storage on land and, second, to find local recovery processes to meet the demand for materials. This project has been accredited by the Water cluster under thrust 2 (“concerted management of resources and resource use”), to which it belongs.

ECODREDGE-MED has the support of qualified firms (BEC, BRL-I SOLS Med) and the research laboratories Armines-LGEI (EMA), UMR HydroSciences Montpellier (CNRS, IRD, UM1, UM2), UMR Coastal Marine Systems Ecology (CNRS, IFREMER, IRD, UM1, UM2). EMCC, a company specializing in dredging and owned by the Vinci Group, rounds out the consortium. This project is financially supported by the Single Interministerial Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, OSEO and the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Contacts: Michel Cavailles, Catherine Gonzalez, & Éric Garcia-Diaz,

What technologies for what kind of

Green technologies

© Ingrid




Technological developments currently underway at LGEI aim to develop new detection systems focused on one target pollutant or one type of induced effect and to improve instrumentation in terms of accuracy, reliability, speed of measurement, automation, miniaturization and cost, emphasizing in situ validation of new sensors (including passive sensors and biosensors) to demonstrate their potential for resource monitoring, diagnosis and management. These sensors would enable screening to be done for persistent organic pollutants (pesticides, PCBs, PAHs) and resource monitoring to be carried out (water, sediment, for example), to judge how contaminated the resources are and whether or not to re-use or recycle them. These research foci are directly related to the concerns of the Water cluster, including: sensor miniaturization, sensor network improvement, data transmission...

 Field

ing kit.


Soil, being the 2nd largest carbon (C) sink after the oceans and rocks, and much more important than biomass, is a major storage channel for C. In the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol, farmers could be paid for this storage service under two types of contract: remuneration of good practices or generation of carbon credits. The second approach is the most effective but requires a means of measuring sequestered carbon accurately and inexpensively.

Several methodological and technological obstacles remain: How can the concentration of carbon by volume be predicted? How can soil/infrared radiation interactions be modelled, to optimize the optical interface and improve measurement reliability? How much do outdoor influence quantities (temperature, humidity…) influence measurements…)? How can measurements be made reliable? How can a database of spectra measured from dried, triturated samples (taken from Assess carbon sequestration An international consortium the soil sample collection of the (UMR ITAP, UMR Eco & Soils national soil quality network) be in soils by near-infrared [INRA/Montpellier SupAgro/ used and applied to samples in spectrometry the field? How can the accuracy CIRAD/IRD], INRA Orléans, and reliability of calibration be University of Sydney; financial support from ADEME and the improved, in particular by reducing systematic error in doing the calibration through alternative Ministry of the Environment)—the INCA project—was set up chemometric approaches? through an exchange of researchers funded by the LanguedocRoussillon Region via the EcoTech-LR platform, to develop These issues are being addressed through experimental equipment and a method for measuring the concentration modelling approaches in the laboratory. Spectral bases will be of C in soil by volume. That method, based on NIRS, must built by combining existing data and newly acquired spectra and be implemented in the field to avoid the costs of sample data. This project will have to validate a planned portable sensor preparation & extraction and to allow repeated measurements. for field use.

Contacts: Catherine Gonzalez, & Ingrid Bazin,

Spinelli © Sylvie

There are currently two main development goals:  Development of passive sensors for polar herbicides (study of kinetic retention models, optimization of receiving phases, laboratory and in situ calibration). As part of a thesis prepared in co-direction with BRGM Orléans, these sensors are used to monitor water resources (surface and groundwater). These screening tools are also being used to evaluate potential contamination sources in the aquatic environment during dredging (ECODREDGE-MED project, cf. p. 38).  Development of biosensors based on a molecular (antibody) recognition system kept immobile on a newly devised (biopolymer) medium, connected to a signal processing system, to quantify the level of pollution. This system is integral to the development of an instrument for continuous biological multiparametric pollutant measurement (ANR COMBITOX). Finally, this work has helped to develop a field detection kit for environmental toxins.

Contact: Alexia Gobrecht,

 Pass

ive sens o

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Green technologies

Laboratory soil measurement by NIRS: to record spectra the  measuring head is applied to triturated screened soil samples.


Innovation stakeholders mobilize around green technologies WATER cluster global competitiveness cluster The Water cluster, a global competitiveness cluster that received its accreditation in May 2010 when the “green technology clusters” call for projects was issued, brings together businesses, local authorities, training organizations and research institutions involved in the “water” sector in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions It also coordinates France’s other water clusters: (Pôle DREAM Eau & Milieux, Pôle de l’Eau Alsace/Lorraine HYDREOS). Its objectives are twofold: to create value and economic development through innovative and collaborative projects, and to spur the export of French technological products, services and knowhow while making French research internationally known. Its strategic thrusts are as follows:  identification and mobilization of water resources;  concerted management of water resources in a context of rapid global climate change;  re-use of water from every source;  institutional and societal approaches. The Water cluster belongs to the “Green Technologies” network* set up by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy to generate “a cooperative sectoral dynamic based on 14 competitiveness clusters”.

At the national level it helps coordinate a working group on environmental metrology and instrumentation. Apart from the ECODREDGE-MED project (cf. p. 38), the majority of projects accredited by the Water cluster relate to:  green technologies for agriculture (irrigation): the MAISEAU and IRRIS projects, funded by FUI [the Single Interministerial Fund] and the environmental industry, respectively;  recycling and recovery of urban water: LAGUMEM and NEOPHIL (FUI) and NOWMMA (environmental industry);  bioenergy via gasification of urban sewage sludge mixed with other wastes: ADWASTE2GAS project (FUI);  environmental monitoring: FISHBOX (FUI), KRHU (FUI), SIRHYUS (FUI), SMARTPIX (FUI), FRESQUEAU (ANR-funded) projects. The Water cluster is financed by the State and by the LanguedocRoussillon, Midi-Pyrénées and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions as well as the Montpellier Urban Community. Contact: Jean-Loïc Carré, For further information: *

The Qualiméditerranée competitiveness cluster innovating in Mediterranean agriculture and food

Green technologies

The Qualiméditerranée cluster seeks to develop innovation at agri-food companies in the Mediterranean region. The cluster has two strategic foci: competitive and sustainable Mediterranean agriculture and commercialization of new products from agriculture and the associated processes.


Green technologies are addressed, in particular, through projects focusing on limiting the impact of conventional pesticides, whether in the environment (open fields) or in storage facilities (silos). The answers it comes up with relate to the development of new treatment solutions based on the use of natural extracts (FUI, PHYTOMARC or GREENPROTECT projects) or on the development of solutions to optimize conventional treatment

through automation or traceability (TICSAD project). Other solutions are based on the development of prevention models to establish the best times for treatments using meteorological data. Meanwhile, life cycle analysis (LCA) is a tool increasingly used to compare the environmental impact of different processes or to improve these through an eco-design approach. LCAs are integrated into projects like FLONUDEP (ANR), on the sustainability of the fruit and vegetable sector, or NOVINPACK (FUI), which seeks to design new types of packaging for wine. Contact: Nicolas Nguyen The, For further information:

DERBI Cluster development of Renewable Energy / Building / Industry DERBI, a nationally-oriented competitiveness cluster, seeks, at the regional, national and international level, to foster innovation, research, training, technology transfer, development and entrepreneurship in the field of renewable energy as it is used in building and industry. The topics it focuses on are in the following strategic areas:  self-powered buildings based on an intelligent holistic design, optimized envelope performance and integration of renewable energies (solar thermal, photovoltaic, geothermal, small wind turbines), with special reference to the Mediterranean climate;  network management and energy storage (electricity, heat, cold) interconnecting dwellings, activity clusters and energy generation sites;  offsite energy production (electrical power plants, hydrogen, biofuels...) from sun, wind or biomass, whether for remote sites or grid-connected systems. Many green technologies are under development within the cluster as part of accredited, supported projects (151 R&D projects) and in line with the strategic foci.

In particular:  The THPE [very high energy efficiency] Monitoring project being conducted by an SME, Pyrescom, funded by FUI, the Single Interministerial Fund, in 2006, is focused on developing the concept of building monitoring. a building monitoring system that meets a demand flowing from environmental and economic issues. It comprises instruments, analytical tools, and monitoring and simulation tools. Its support service stands ready to resolve any concerns regarding overconsumption or discomfort. The findings are based on the actual data provided by the building (energy, air quality, comfort, water, etc.).  The SALINALGUE project, being carried out by the Compagnie du Vent (FUI financing, 2010), seeks to culture and harvest microalgae and to turn them into bioproducts. The ultimate markets for the project’s products, following the thorough biological refining of the microalgae, are diverse: bioenergy, food, nutraceuticals, cosmetics.  The cluster strives to bring together all renewable energy channels, but particularly concentrating solar plants. It is deeply involved in the rehabilitation of the THEMIS power station, the first thermodynamic power station to be built, dating from the 1980s. The THEMIS site (Cerdagne, Pyrénées-Orientales) is now an innovation platform where new French technologies are being developed for concentrating solar plants. It is the only such site in France. Contact: Gilles Charier, For further information:

BIOÉNERGIESUD the mass effect of the Languedoc-Roussillon region

Financed by the Languedoc-Roussillon Region, the Regional Directorate for Business, Competition, Consumer Affairs, Labour and Employment (DIRECCTE), ADEME and Europe, the BIOÉNERGIESUD network brings its players together to foster new innovation and industrial development projects. It now has more than 90 member organizations—ranging from technological and industrial enterprises, to energy producers and distributors, competitiveness clusters, and research agencies—with common issues and objectives. BIOÉNERGIESUD’s missions revolve around six areas of expertise in which green technologies are ubiquitous:  Biomass pre-treatment: biochemical and biotechnological processes, thermochemical and catalytic processes;  methanation: as it relates to the environmental biorefinery concept, comprising organic waste treatment, digestate recovery, water recycling and the uses of biogas;

 3rd-generation biofuels: mass algaculture, extraction and separation processes…;  gas analysis and separation: separation and purification technologies;  measurement and process control: innovation in sensors, online analysis method;  channels and impact studies: new Mediterranean energy crops, societal and environmental analysis of bioenergy channels. To serve its members, BIOÉNERGIESUD offers them customtailored activities: technical seminars and coordination of working groups, general and targeted technology watches, coaching in setting up projects and in the search for funding and partners; and greatly enhances their visibility. Hence, BIOÉNERGIESUD is well positioned both to meet the technological issues faced by bioenergy and advanced biofuels channels and to anchor the development of such new industries in the Languedoc-Roussillon Region; in addition, it will seek to expand its scope to all countries of the South. Contact: Aurélie Beauchart, For further information:

Green technologies

BIOÉNERGIESUD is a network of 90 industrial and academic stakeholders focused on the issues that arise in developing bioenergy processes: new cultures and technological roadblocks.


Innovation stakeholders around environmental technologies

EcoTech-LR a regional platform: “Environmental Technologies for Agro-bioprocesses” The EcoTech-LR regional platform was created with the support of the LR Region to stimulate research and the industrial transfer of environmentally sound technologies for agro-bioprocesses, drawing on the areas of expertise of four applied research laboratories with diverse and solid industrial relationships: LBE (INRA), Biomass & Energy (CIRAD), UMR ITAP (IRSTEA/Montpellier SupAgro), LGEI (EMA). The platform’s structure comprises four technological facilities with one cross-cutting focus:  the TraitPol facility, on effluent and waste treatment;  the BioFuel facility, on energy production from biomass;  the MesurPol facility, on pollution measurement;  the ReducPol facility, on reduction of phytosanitary pollution;  the ELSA cluster on tools and methods for eco-evaluation, eco-design, LCA (cf. p. 32).

With a view to stimulating innovation, the EcoTech-LR platform develops internal multi-laboratory research projects, in preparation for industrial transfer, and specific industry-related activities:  provision (under certain conditions) of the experimental equipment used by each of the strata;  performance of testing and research;  training;  joint research projects, including CIFRE theses (Industrial Agreements for Training through Research);  assistance in the creation of innovative businesses and business hosting. One example of such joint research (IRSTEA/EMA/INRA) has been a project to predict BMP (BioMethane Potential) by UV and NIR spectroscopy (cf. p. 26), which won a Pollutec award for innovative technology and resulted in an industrial transfer to a regional startup. Contact: Véronique Bellon-Maurel, For further information:

Transferts LR transfer of innovative technology and know-how in Languedoc-Roussillon An association founded in 2005 at the initiative of the LR Region and the State, Transferts LR supports business competitiveness through innovation and technology transfer in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. To that end, it supports the region’s companies in project structuring, the identification and mobilization of technological, human and financial resources, and develops strong partnership with regional, national and European centres of expertise in innovation. Transferts LR’s work is at the interface between research and business; it is accredited as a “technology dissemination centre” by the Ministry of Research. Transferts LR is active in six areas related to green technologies— air, water, noise and waves, soil, energy, and waste—through its efforts to develop natural resource management technologies. These efforts depend on close working relationships between research laboratories and dynamic, frequently networked, “eco-businesses” of Languedoc-Roussillon. Transferts LR supports numerous innovative projects involving individual firms or consortia of varying size. Support is provided

right from the preparation stage and continues through prototyping, piloting and the construction of an industrial-scale demo. These projects, lasting 6 to 36 months, represent a significant investment (several million euros). For example:  ECODREDGE-MED (cf. p. 38).  Phyt’eau BV Mod (ERDF, OSEO, and LR Region funding), a collaborative regional R&D project to develop an integrated tool to deal with the issue of the use of plant protection products in agricultural watersheds. It draws on the expertise of UMR LISAH (INRA/IRD/Montpellier SupAgro) and the companies Envilys and Eurofins IPL Sud.  The technological feasibility project “Design, Fabrication and Testing under Real Operating Conditions of a Prototype Geophysical Observatory Device Integrated into Drilling Operations”, conducted by the ImaGeau company with the scientific support of UMR Geoscience (CNRS/UM2) and a grant from the LanguedocRoussillon Region. Contact: Anne Lichtenberger, For further information:


Green technologies

looking to a new generation of microalgae-derived biofuels and products


GreenStars, winner of the “Institutes of Excellence for Carbonfree Energy” (IEED) call for projects, is a set of collaborative platforms bringing together France-based stakeholders in the microalgae value chain. Microalgae are recognized as being extraordinarily rich in proteins, lipids, fibre, vitamins, minerals and pigments. Because they are such a rich source of these substances, microalgae offer great potential for innovation in the areas of energy, chemicals, human and animal nutrition and cosmetics; and are emerging as a promising solution for the future and a possible source of major economic developments.

GreenStars is seeking, between now and 2020, to develop useful compounds—in particular, highperformance biofuels and high-value-added molecules—from microalgae, using CO2 emissions and waste substances from human activities. GreenStars is supported by INRA and brings together 45 partners (research organizations and universities, local authorities, competitiveness clusters, and business people). The project budget is €160 million over 10 years. It boasts three major assets: a strong capacity for innovation; expertise and technologies drawn from the best teams in French public research, innovative SMEs and major industrial groups; and quality infrastructure possessing substantial technological means.

Trimatec a competitiveness cluster on green technologies The Trimatec competitiveness cluster contributes to the development of innovative R&D projects on green technologies, in four topic areas:  Algal biomass production and enhancement, a largely unexplored resource that constitutes an appropriate response to environmental imperatives (conservation of natural resources, conversion of CO2). Algae enhancement has great potential in the production of biofuels, proteins, high value-added molecules for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals…  The use of separation (ultrasonic, microwave…) and membrane technologies: ecological processes that enable separation to be done in the liquid or gaseous phase with minimum energy consumption, zero greenhouse gas emissions, and a reduction in the volume of final waste.  Supercritical fluids applications: when substituted for traditional organic solvents in the extraction and purification processes, supercritical fluids leave the products treated and the environment unaffected. Other possible applications are nanopowder synthesis, impregnation of materials, or degreasing.  Control of confined environments to respond to the imperatives of protecting persons, goods and the environment. The technologies developed have applications in areas such as health, nuclear, and micro-nanotechnology.

Trimatec brings together a network of 249 members and partners in the Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Rhône-Alpes regions. At the end of 2011, the cluster had accredited 158 projects valued at some €725 million. As the environmental technologies sector is characterized by a multiplicity of emerging industries and an array of SMEs with varying levels of visibility, Trimatec’s approach is to foster or create structured ecosystems in each of its topic areas. In addition, Trimatec is actively involved in the national network of 14 EcoTech clusters set up by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. Contact: Laura Lecurieux-Belfond, For further information:

Risk cluster innovative risk management solutions

The cluster is also much involved in the “EcoTech” network, comprising 14 ecotechnology-focused competitiveness clusters. Developed by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, it enables the Risk cluster to take action in a strategic area, namely environmental impacts: water, air, soil, noise, odours and adaptation to climate change. Contacts: Pôle Risques Alice Letessier, & DéFiRisq Lucile Lallie, For further information:

GreenStars will help train the engineering resources that will be needed tomorrow and should be able to create jobs and new opportunities in numerous industrial sectors. This IEED will endow France with an industrial vision of the whole production chain and make the country a major player in this field at the international level. Within five to ten years, GreenStars hopes to be among the world’s major centres of excellence in the field of microalgae biorefining.

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The Institute’s main facilities will be at three sites: MontpellierÉtang de Thau (headquarters), Narbonne, and Nice-Plaine du Var.


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Contact: Jean-Philippe Steyer, For further information:

Green technologies

It aims also to boost the economic growth of regional businesses and to develop their R&D. With nearly 230 members spread over two areas of activity (the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and LanguedocRoussillon regions), the Risk cluster supports 91 R&D projects (totalling €168 million, with more than €62 million worth of aid) in four strategic areas:  Environmental monitoring and risk management systems  Training in major risk management  Risk management in CO2 storage  Technological risk management in industrial waste treatment  Innovation and civil security

Since 2010, the Risk cluster has been responsible for the DéFiRisq mission: “Defining Emergent Risks”. That mission, jointly funded by the State, the Languedoc-Roussillon Region, the cities of Nîmes and Alès and the Conseil Général du Gard, is focused on four priority areas: nanoparticles, agricultural practices, drug residues and indoor air quality. Each of these areas affords development opportunities for local companies and laboratories.

LBE-Inra Mottet,

The competitiveness cluster “Risk management and territorial vulnerabilities”—commonly called the “Risk cluster”—has since 2005 been bringing together companies, major groups, research laboratories, technical centres and training institutions, seeking to innovate and offer concrete management solutions for natural and industrial risks, among others.


Agropolis International training and education in the area of green technologies


gropolis International, through its member institutions (universities, engineering schools and specialized training institutions) offers comprehensive training, covering

more than 80 diploma courses (from Bac+2 to Bac+8: technician, engineer, licence, master’s, specialized master’s, PhD...) as well as some one hundred training modules (existing or custom).

The tables below detail the training given in the area of green technologies. They specify the degree levels, course titles and institutes responsible.

Degree courses entirely focused on the theme of “green technologies” Level




Bac +5

Ingénieur Engineering

Agronomy engineer—specialization “Chemistry and bioprocesses for sustainable development (green chemistry, sustainable chemistry)”

Montpellier SupAgro, ENSC.M

Chemical analysis applied to the environment


Bac +3

Licence professionnelle BSc with professional scope

Green technologies for remediation


Bac +2

DUT (University Diploma of technology)

Maintenance applied to the treatment of pollution


Disciplines involved in environmental risks and impacts

Univ. Nîmes

Biological Engineering, specialization “environmental engineering”


Chemical engineering, process engineering, specialization “bioprocesses”


Degree programmes focused on other topics including significant components relating to the theme of “green technologies” Level




Bac +8

Doctorat (PhD)

Process Sciences, Food Sciences (ED 306 SPSA)

Montpellier SupAgro, UM1, UM2, Univ. Avignon

Agronomy engineer—specialization “Management of water, cultivated lands and the environment”

Montpellier SupAgro

Ingénieur Engineering

Bac +5 Master (MSc)

Polytech Engineer—Water sciences and technologies


Biology of plants and microorganisms, biotechnology, bioprocesses, specialization “Food and Environment Bio-engineering” specialization “Agri-food and Environmental Science and Processes” curriculum

Montpellier SupAgro, UM2

Water, specialization “Water and Agriculture”

AgroParisTech, Montpellier SupAgro, UM2

Green technologies

Short courses


Institution(s) Montpellier SupAgro CIRAD

Training Environmental Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) (3 days) Re-use of wastewater for irrigation (2 days) Agricultural and environmental impact of organic matter management. Application to the South (5 days)

ChemSuD European Chair of New Chemistry for Sustainable Development The European Chair of New Chemistry for Sustainable Development (ChemSuD) is located at the École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie Montpellier (ENSC.M). It was created with the support of CNRS and the LanguedocRoussillon Region and under the patronage of the French Academy of Technologies. The ChemSuD Chair is a locus of exchange, meetings, education and research for the emergence and development of a new chemistry that can effect the harmonious co-evolution of the human species and the planet. It has a corporate foundation, the ChemSuD Foundation, with the following founding members: Arkema, BASF, Colas, Firstsolar, Solvay and Tecsol. The actions of the ChemSuD chair are threefold:  Teaching: through academic education and continuing training, to train responsible chemists, active in sustainable development and eco-design, ChemSuD develops educational content and organizes courses, seminars and conferences for

the students and researchers involved, including those working in social sciences and the humanities, in an exemplary spirit of openness to the European space.  Research, to meet sustainable development criteria, generate innovation and stimulate business development in support of the laboratories of the Carnot Institute on Chemistry, Environment and Sustainable Development (CED2) and the Balard cluster. ChemSuD is thus working to promote research and development in chemistry in accordance with sustainable development criteria and the new regulations. This research relates to chemical products and processes but also to chemistry’s contributions to various human activities (energy, housing, transport, agriculture, health, etc.), in close collaboration with the companies concerned.  Scientific mediation, to educate the public about this new chemistry through lectures, discussions and appropriate publications. Contact: Sylvain Caillol, For further information: ou

Engineering, specialization “Chemistry and Bioprocesses for Sustainable Development”  One-day “Chemistry grows on you!” session organized by ENSC.M and Montpellier SupAgro students, 08/03/11.

This comprehensive approach is required to develop sustainable innovation strategies. Hence, the courses are built around four main subjects:  upstream: control of the properties of agricultural raw materials and their sustainable production;  core subject, biorefining: fractionation, microbial and enzymatic bioconversion, clean chemistry, mining, water and energy management;  downstream: products and application areas;  in a global approach, socio-economic integration and sectoral sustainability: markets, institutional policies, public and industrial strategies, environmental assessment, production management, management, regulation.

This training, a joint undertaking of Montpellier SupAgro and the École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie in Montpellier (ENSCM) begun in 2008, is offered to engineering students of both schools. Its objective is to provide students with the scientific knowledge and methodological tools they need to achieve a thorough grasp of the field of sustainable production of biomolecules, materials and fuels from agricultural raw materials (green chemistry). The courses include: raw materials production and quality control; biological, physical and chemical processing technologies; tools to study industries’ environmental impact; a socio- economic analysis of their sustainability; and the regulatory framework to which they are subject.

This training will equip engineers to work in any of the aspects of the production chain with an awareness of how their work fits into the global issues and to work closely with different units (R&D, procurement, production, marketing, commercialization...) in the agribusiness, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics sectors, to name a few… They may also work for eco-assessment and industrial ecology consultancy firms and services, organizations that set orientation or incentive policies at the regional, national or international level, or research organizations. Contacts: Éric Dubreucq, & Rémi Auvergne,

Green technologies


The training consists of six months of courses (September to March) based on case studies and visits and involving many professional stakeholders, together with an engineering internship (March to September) in France or abroad.


List of acronyms and abbreviations 3BCAR Carnot Institute Bioenergy, Biomolecules and Biomaterials from Renewable Carbon (France) ADEME Environment and Energy Management Agency (France) ANR National Research Agency (France) CIRAD Centre for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development (France) CMR Carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic CNRS National Centre for Scientific Research (France) EC European Community ELSA Environmental Lifecycle and Sustainability Assessment EMA École des Mines d’Alès (France) ENSC.M École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie, Montpellier (France) ERDF European Regional Development Fund FPTRD Framework Programme for Technological Research and Development FUI Single Interministerial Fund ICGM Institut Charles Gerhardt, Montpellier (France) IEED Institutes of Excellence for Carbon-free Energy IFREMER French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea INRA National Institute for Agricultural Research (France) IRD Institut de recherche pour le développement (France) IRSTEA National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (France) LCA Life cycle analysis LR Languedoc-Roussillon (France) M.IN.E.S. Innovative Methods for Business and Society NIRS Near-infrared spectrometry PVC Polyvinyl chloride R&D Research and Development SMEs Small and medium enterprises UM1 Université Montpellier 1 (France) UM2 Université Montpellier 2 (France) UMR Joint Research Unit UPR Internal Research Unit UR Research Unit

Green technologies

UV Ultraviolet


This document was published with the support of the French government and Languedoc-Roussillon Region. Member organizations and partners of Agropolis International involved in this Dossier:


enscm CHIMIE Montpellier

Partners BIOÉNERGIESUD DERBI Cluster Qualiméditerranée Risk cluster Transferts LR Trimatec Water cluster Publication director: Bernard Hubert Scientific Coordinator: Véronique Bellon-Maurel (IRSTEA) Agropolis International Coordinators: Fabien Boulier, Claudine Soudais, Nathalie Villeméjeanne Scientific Editor: Isabelle Amsallem (Agropolis Productions)

Contributors to this issue: Rémi Auvergne, Ingrid Bazin, Aurélie Beauchard, Véronique Bellon-Maurel, Anthony Benoist, Isabelle Berger, Anne Bergeret, Nicolas Bernet, Johanna Bismuth, Bernard Boutevin, Catherine Boutin, Denis Bouyer, Stefan Brosillon, François Broust, Sylvain Caillol, Armando Caldeira Pires, Michel Cavailles, Gilles Charier, Laurent Deliere, Hugo de Vries, Éric Dubreucq, Claire Dumas, Jean-Luc Farinet, Jean-Michel Fatou, Catherine Faur, Hélène Fulcrand, Éric Garcia-Diaz, Jean-Jacques Godon, Alexia Gobrecht, Nathalie Gontard, Catherine Gonzalez, Claude Grison, Marjolaine Hamelin, Marc Heran, Guillaume Junqua, Éric Latrille, Laura Lecurieux-Belfond, Nicolas Le-Moigne, Eléonore Loiseau, José-Marie Lopez Cuesta, Miguel Lopez-Ferber, Michel Maugenet, Philippe Miele, Sylvie Mouras, Patricia Mottin, Olivier Naud, Jean-Marie Paillat, Didier Perrin, Sandra Pignon, Jean-Jacques Robin, Thiago Oliveira Rodrigues, Jean-Michel Roger, Patrick Rosique, Xavier Rouau, Patrick Rousset, Philippe Roux, André Rouzière, Hervé Saint Macary, Martial Sauceau, Rodolphe Sonnier, Jean-Philippe Steyer, Nathalie Tanchoux, Laurent Thuriès, Éric Trably, Gilles Vaitilingom, Laurent Van De Steene, Tom Wassenaar,

Sixteen dossiers published in the same collection, including:

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July 2009 52 pages French / English

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June 2010 48 pages French / English

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Green technologies

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Green technologies  

Les Dossiers d'Agropolis International, Green technologies number 16, February 2013.