Work with the LCS

[PhD grant] Fuels Production from renewable energy and CO2 via hydrogen vector

1       PhD information

Laboratories : INSA Rouen Normandie (France)

LSPC : Laboratoire de sécurité des Procédés Chimiques


LCS : Laboratoire Catalyse et Spectroscopie

Title :

“Fuels Production from renewable energy and CO2 via
hydrogen vector”

Director of the
thesis:INSA Rouen

Isabelle Polaert

Co-director :


Christian Fernandez


Co-supervisor: Federico Azzolina-Jury


March 2017 –  March 2020

Experimental work

18 months in LCS – ENSICAEN (France)

18 months in LSPC – INSA ROUEN (France)

Net Salary:

1350 euros/month (CDD type contract)


2       PhD Context:

This thesis is directly linked to a European project, lasting 36 months and starting in March 2017.

This project is focused on developing hydrogen as an energy vector in the whole North-West Europe.

The objective of this thesis is to develop a methanation pilot plant which would react hydrogen produced from renewable sources with carbon dioxide to produce methane.

The PhD thesis will be supervised by Isabelle Polaert from INSA Rouen and Federico Azzolina-Jury from ENSICAEN. 18 months in each place are planned in order to develop the catalytic aspects and the reaction characterization in LCS (Caen) and CO2 valorization, pilot and process scale-up in LSPC (Rouen).

3       Detailed subject:

The methanation process to be developed is based on Sabatier reaction (1):

CO2 + 4 H2 = CH4 + 2 H2O

The objective of this thesis is to develop a methanation pilot, to run it and collect experimental useful data for the global European project. These data will be introduced into a mathematical and economical model that will simulate the global chain from renewable energy to uses.

The thesis is divided into several parts:

  1. Preparation of an efficient catalyst for the CO2 methanation reaction (Caen)
  2.  Catalyst characterization (DRX, MEB, BET, TPR-MS, ICP, IR Operando …) (Caen)
  3. CO2 methanation mechanistic study under conventional heating or other (i.e. microwaves). Effect of pressure and temperature on the mechanism and products selectivity. Proposition of the CO2 methanation mechanism as well as of the global reaction rate law for each activation methods (Caen)
  4. Design and development of a CO2 methanation pilot at the laboratory scale. A fixed-bed reactor filled with the catalyst synthesized in 1) will be
    used.  Catalytic tests will be performed under various operating conditions (flow rates, gas composition, space velocity, temperature…). Data such as conversion, yields, energy balances and temperature profiles… will be collected from this experimental study (Rouen)

    1. Kinetic modeling of the CO2 methanation reaction under conventional or other will be addressed. Mass and heat transfer limitations will be studied and modeled. The estimation of the kinetic parameters (constants of reaction rate, adsorption constants…) as well as the estimation of thermal parameters will also be performed (Rouen).
    2. A database containing all the experimental results will be built. This information will enable the partners of the European project to carry out the calculations related to the scale-up for the CO2 methanation process (Rouen-Caen).
    3. A global process will be drawn using ASPEN software (or equivalent). Technical and economic studies will be performed. This will lead to output indicators such as energy yields, hydrogen quantities stored from renewable sources, CO2 savings, methane produced…(Rouen).
  5. Safety aspects will also be addressed (Rouen- Caen)

4       Candidate Profile:

  • Degree: Master in Chemical Engineering.
  • Experimental skills:
    • GC-FTIR analysis, Processes modeling skills (ASPEN or similar)
    • Good numerical problem-solving skills (Matlab or other)
    • Autonomy and innovation spirit

5       To postulate:;

Please write to both e-mail addresses and attach the following documents:

  • CV and motivation letter
  • Marks obtained during the 2 last years in University or Engineering school
  • Recommendation letters or name and detailed contact of two or three referees.
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