In addition to its employees and the wealth of expertise they bring, one of IFPEN’s strengths is its equipment pool supporting research activities. These resources are often developed or adapted in-house since they address specific needs. They cover different scales, ranging from a laboratory assembly to pre-industrial pilot, and make it possible to focus efforts on the entire TRL spectrum: from the understanding of phenomena through to the development and integration of industrial solutions, via the creation of methodologies adapted to project needs.
CUTTING-EDGE RESOURCES AVAILABLE
For example, the understanding of fluidized flows is gained from the microscopic scale, using laboratory microfluidics tests, through to the industrial scale, with Lyre loop flow tests conducted in real conditions, via the modeling of the physical phenomena that characterize fluid flows, either alone or in interaction with solids or structures, in or around varied geometries.
Similarly, for the understanding of the structure of materials, resources are available from the elementary scale – with, in particular, an elemental analysis laboratory, an X-ray scanner for homogeneity characterization, two laboratories dedicated to the characterization of the morphology and mechanical properties of solids – through to industrial-scale facilities, such as tensile and flexion stress test benches.
The change in scale between the laboratory and industrial application tests in real conditions is vital to technology transfer in the field of chemistry. It is for this reason that IFPEN played an active role in the Sysprod “Multiscale systemic approach for industrial production processes” project, alongside academic and industrial partners from Lyon’s chemistry valley. The project, organized around two fields - catalysis for eco-efficient processes and polymer materials - led to the introduction of advanced tools in the form of platforms dedicated either to discovery (TRL 1 to 3) or scale change (TRL 4 to 6). The latter are also available to industrial players via the Axel’One platform.
Moreover, to develop levers for understanding fundamental research problems, IFPEN also contributes to pooled equipment, such as EquipEx (facilities for excellence), and joint LabEx-type laboratories, and uses large-scale facilities via access agreements.
For example, the framework agreement with SOLEIL Synchrotron was renewed for a period of four years in 2016. This very large research infrastructure (TGIR) at the Saclay platform gives IFPEN access to advanced tools for the detailed characterization of materials in the fields of energy and processes and the dynamic monitoring (in situ or operando) of mechanisms at work within materials. Find out about some of the advances made possible by this TGIR.
Similarly, in 2018, thanks to an access agreement concerning a GC-ICP/MS/MS instrument at the Institut des sciences analytiques (Institute of Analytical Sciences) in Lyon, a major advance was made possible in the field of the speciation of organochlorides in reformates. Detection limits in the region of 40 ppb of elemental chlorine per compound were achieved, i.e., around ten times smaller than other existing methods.
LABEX EXCELLENCE LABORATORY
IFPEN is active in the excellence laboratory iMust “Institute for Multi-scale Sciences and Technologies”, hosted by the University of Lyon Comue. The active involvement in this laboratory reinforces the long-standing collaboration with this partner and enhances the quality of research conducted in Lyon region.
The iMust project aims to establish an excellence center in the fields of materials, processes and eco-technologies, for which multidisciplinary research integrating physics, chemistry and engineering is essential. IFPEN brings its expertise in the fields of catalysis and catalytic processes, numerical models and simulations as well as instrumentation and characterization.
EQUIPEX FACILITIES FOR EXCELLENCE
IFPEN is one of the users of the NanoimagesX EquipEx facility for excellence, dedicated to very high-resolution 3D imaging. This investment for the future at SOLEIL Synchrotron consists in constructing a 3D material imaging facility dedicated to structural and functional studies. It will make it possible to obtain 2D or 3D images, without destroying samples, including in areas usually invisible with traditional techniques, due to the lack of contrast. It is due to be brought into service in 2019.
DATAIA CONVERGENCE INSTITUTE
IFPEN’s research dedicated to data sciences is also supported by the DataIA Convergence Institute within the framework of scientific challenge 4, “the optimum processing of large volumes of experimentation and simulation data”. This institute, of which IFPEN is a founding member, brings together 12 partners (universities, research institutes and graduate schools) to focus on the scientific and technical challenges related to data sciences and associated socio-economic issues.
IFPEN is also a member of the ECCSEL (European Carbon dioxide Capture and StoragE Laboratory infrastructure) consortium, bringing together leading European laboratories in the field of CO2 capture and storage. As such, IFPEN contributes its expertise and test facilities to analyze and interpret geochemical gas data.