Process evaluation of 3rd generation biofuel production from micro-algae

CEA contributes to R&D activities in 3rd generation biofuel production from micro-algae by its fundamental research in biology (understanding of biological mechanism and improvement of microorganism performances) led by DSV at CEA Cadarache. LITEN Institute, belonging to CEA/DRT, investigates 2nd biofuel generation, from studies on resources (biomass, waste) up to industrial, economical and environmental integration.
This post doc fellow will use the different approaches developed at LITEN/DTBH to :
- perform a prospective study on process integration, for biofuel production from micro-algae,
- realize a technico-economical study of the more promising process solutions in the 2rd generation domain and industrial use of micro-algae,
- estimate the environmental impact (especially CO2) of these processes.

This work will take place in in frame of a collaboration of both labs (DSV/IBEB and DRT/LITEN/DTBH), the first one bringing its very fundamental knowledge on technical ability and performance of the micro-organism, the second one giving the knowledge on process and technico-economical evaluation of industrial reactor systems.
The post doc fellow, located in Grenoble, will go as needed in Cadarache to discuss with biology experts.

Hydrothermal carbonization as a pretreatment of wastes before their thermochemical conversion by gasification

Gasification, a thermochemical transformation generally performed at about 850°C, produces a gas that can be valorised in cogeneration, or for the synthesis of chemical products or fuels. Some bottlenecks are still present mainly for the gasification of biogenic or fossil origin wastes: irregular feeding in the reactor due to the heterogeneity in form and composition; formation of inorganic gaseous pollutants (HCl, KCl, NaCl, H2S) or organic ones (tars), which are harmful for the process and/or decrease its efficiency, and must be removed before the final application.
The objective of the post-doctoral work will be to test and optimize a pre-treatment step of the resource based on hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC). This transformation is performed at 180-250°C, in a wet and pressurised environment (2-10 MPa). The principal product is a carbonaceous solid residue (hydrochar), that can be valorised by gasification. HTC aims to limit the release of inorganic and organic pollutants in gasification, and to homogenise and improve the physical properties of the resource.
The proposed approach will consist in: experimentations in batch reactors on pre-selected resources and model materials, together with quantification and analyses of products; analysis of results aiming at elucidating the links between the resource and the properties of the hydrochar, as a function of operating conditions; an evaluation of mass and energy balances for the HTC-gasification process.

Modelling and evaluation of the future e-CO2 refinery

In the context of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, the CEA has initiated a project in 2021 to assess the relevance of coupling a nuclear power system with a direct atmospheric carbon capture device (DAC) thanks to the use of the system's waste heat.

As a member of a team of about twenty experts(energy system evaluation, techno-economic engineering, energy system modeling, optimization and computer programming), you will participate in a research project on the modeling and evaluation of a CO2 refinery dedicated to the production of Jet Fuel fed by a nuclear reactor and coupled with an atmospheric CO2 capture process.