IFPEN Ressources Energétiques Carnot Institute
Reinforcing and accelerating R&I
In 2020, IFPEN’s energy resources activities were awarded the “Carnot Institute” label, in recognition of the numerous active collaborative initiatives with economic players and academia, in France and around the world. IFPEN Ressources Energétiques is now one of the 39 members of the Carnot network, initially for a period of four years.
Created by the French Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation in 2006, the label is awarded to public laboratories very actively involved in partnership research with a view to supporting company innovation and the country’s growth.
Distributed throughout France, the Carnot Institutes work in synergy to pursue a common objective: to prepare the industrial and economic future, accelerating the transfer of research technologies to the socio-economic world.
Addressing the energy transition challenge
The IFPEN Ressources Energétiques Carnot Institute (IFPEN RE) is resolutely committed to the energy transition, seeking to:
- develop renewable energies, focusing on wind and ocean energies, geothermal energy and hydrogen, as well as their integration in electricity networks via energy storage;
- minimize the “climate risk” associated with industrial activities, via the reduction in CO2 emissions and a better understanding and anticipation of climate/ground interactions;
- support its partners in the oil industry and oil-related sector, helping them to conduct production activities in a more environmentally-friendly manner, exploiting only the oil and gas resources strictly necessary to take us through this transition period and minimizing the risks associated with exploration and production and enhanced oil recovery techniques, both onshore and offshore.
Supporting innovation in SMEs
In addition to the development of new energy technologies, IFPEN RE is committed to:
- proactively increasing the number of partnerships with intermediate-sized companies, SMEs and start-ups;
- enabling the Carnot Institute network to benefit from its international development expertise and also drawing on feedback in return.
A dense partnership network
The IFPEN Ressources Energétiques Carnot Institute enjoys close ties with industry, from micro-companies, SMEs and intermediate-sized companies through to major French and international industrial groups.
Moreover, it is actively involved in numerous international, European and national collaborative structures, placing it at the heart of a dense research partnership network.
Internationally, the IFPEN RE Carnot Institute has close ties with numerous Research Technology Organizations (RTOs), particularly via framework agreements and strategic partnerships. Carnot research enjoys a high profile and more than half of its A-list publications are the fruit of cooperative international activities. In addition it is a stakeholder in numerous world-leading scientific organizations and represents France on the Executive Committee of the International Energy Agency’s Technological Cooperation Program, IEA Wind.
In Europe, the IFPEN RE Carnot Institute is positioned as a key player in the European Research Area (ERA) and works in synergy with platforms such as ETIP-DG in order to define industry’s needs and development opportunities in the geothermal energy sector. In the field of CCUS, it also actively contributes to European networks such as ECCSEL and the ZEP platform to accelerate the deployment of these technologies. In the field of geosciences, it contributes to the development of ground management solutions with the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA).
Nationally, the IFPEN RE Carnot Institute is an active contributor to the ANCRE research alliance, of which IFPEN is a founding member, and that of AllEnvi, dedicated to energy and the environment respectively. It also participates in other themed structures, such as the AVENIA competitiveness cluster dedicated to geosciences, the Club CO2 in the field of CCS, which it chairs, the EVOLEN association promoting French technological excellence, the CITEPH Open Innovation program supporting the development of SMEs and intermediate-sized companies in the energy field, and the Convergence Data IA Institute dedicated to digital technology.
The IFPEN RE Carnot Institute also works closely with the university community and other public research organizations. Finally, it is actively involved in demonstration projects within the framework of the French Investments for the Future Programs (PIA) supported by Ademe.
Expertise and skills
• Descriptive and quantitative geosciences
• Fluid, solid and structural mechanics
• Molecular and thermodynamic modeling
• Physical chemistry of complex materials and fluids
• Physics and Analysis
• Chemical engineering and technologies
• Process design and modeling
• System modeling and simulation
• Digital science and technology
Climate, environment and circular economy
New R&I themes, stimulated by the energy transition and circular economy markets, are beginning to emerge. The multidisciplinarity of IFPEN’s researchers is used in projects covering fields as diverse as CO2 capture/storage and plastics recycling, addressing the problems of industry.
- CO2 capture, storage and use
- Plastics recycling
- Environmental monitoring
- Life cycle analysis (LCA)
- Critical metals and rare earths
- Expertise derived from oil and gas exploration, production and storage applied to the development of new energy technologies based on the use of the underground environment.
- Scientific expertise recognized via publications enabling the dissemination of information and the scientific promotion of our R&I work.
- Turnkey methods, for rapid industrial deployment.
- Mature technologies, aimed at finalizing proofs of concept.
- Patents to transfer the activity to industry.
IFPEN is developing a range of solutions designed to enable industrial and environmental gas monitoring in the atmosphere, on the ground, in the soil and underground.
- Flair car: mobile multi-gas air and soil analysis station
- Flair box: autonomous mobile multi-gas air analysis station
- Flair soil: fixed multi-gas soil and underground analysis station
- Flair lab: gas laboratory for complementary studies
- Flair map: interactive data processing web app
By enabling the real-time analysis of gas present in the air or soil, Flair Suite meets a broad range of needs, such as :
• Leak detection (CO2 / CH4 / C2H6/THT)
• Air quality, odors (sulfur and ammonia particles, agricultural plant health product molecules)
• Soil respiration
• Greenhouse gas
Find out more through a video.
Flair Suite: a package of innovations for industrial and environmental gas monitoring
The environmental monitoring of gases in the air concerns a variety of sectors: industrial sites in the broadest sense, gas storage sites (CO2, hydrogen, methane), waste storage sites (household, radioactive), geothermal sites and gas distribution networks.
Environmental gas monitoring addresses a variety of problems (safety, economic, quality of life, environmental) in scenarios in towns and cities (gas pipelines, hydrogen stations), on industrial sites (CO2 capture, transport and storage, defective gas storage, drilling wells in poor condition) and sometimes in more remote regions (melting permafrost, volcanic activity, landslips).
Flair car incorporates onboard gas sensors and analyzers such as the Picarro analyzer (uses infrared lasers to measure CO2, CH4, C2H6, steam, carbon 13 isotopy) to provide real-time measurements. A GPS station enables the geolocation of data and a weather station records wind details, in order to be a able to model plumes. The development objective is to enable Flair car to detect anomalies in the air composition in the soil and in ambient air and to identify the source of these emissions.
Flair box is based on the use of UV spectrometry to analyze ultra-low concentrations of a broad range of molecules, such as THT (tetrahydrothiophene, an odorant added to natural gas), sulfur (SO2, etc.), ammonia, nitrogen molecules, etc. Flair box can be integrated into Flair car for mobile measurements or installed on-site for long-term measurements.
Flair soil lends itself to a broad range of applications, such as the detection of gas leaks (CO2, CH4, C2H6 et THT), the behavior of gas in closed environments, the study of soil respiration at different depths, the presence of sulfur and ammonia molecules from plant health products in agricultural soil.
Flair lab is made up of a vast platform of analytical resources (compositional analysis, recovery line, isotopy, rare gases, calibration of new molecules) that supplement analyses conducted in the field. Flair lab is also used to develop new methods and sensors dedicated to geothermal energy, hydrogen and odorants.
Flair map is designed to be the brains of the FlairSuite and uses the information provided by the different tools. Thanks to xDash technology developed by IFPEN, Flair map reproduces the data in a fun, practical way.
The main services provided by Flair map include :
- the real-time visualization of measurements obtained in the field by tools contained in the Flair Suite: maps, graphs, meteorological data, etc.;
- data management: field measurement storage and laboratory analyses;
- gas plume modeling, from source to dispersion and visual representation of calculation results;
- consultation of data at www.flairmap.com.
In addition to the partnerships mentioned below, research and development activities are conducted in collaboration with industrial partners (gas storage operators, etc.) who provide access to sites where different tools are tested.
A framework partnership agreement with Andra
On 2 May 2018, following a 20-year partnership, IFPEN and Andra* signed a new framework partnership agreement covering a period of four years aimed at overcoming the major scientific challenges relating to their shared research themes. One of these themes concerns monitoring, instrumentation and analysis, with the aim of enhancing geological storage monitoring capacity, especially for gas transfers. A thesis is under way to measure the impact of a surface oxygen supply (gallery ventilation) on the geological formation within which Andra’s underground laboratory is located.
*Agence nationale pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs (French National Radioactive Waste Management Agency)
Methane storage monitoring partnerships
IFPEN contributes to this theme via a partnership with Teréga, a gas storage and transport player operating in France and Europe. Research is under way to test THT-Mercaptan gas monitoring stations at the Lussagnet industrial site.
CO2 storage monitoring partnerships
Numerous collaborative initiatives have been set up over the years to refine the development of effective monitoring techniques for CO2 storage sites.
In 2018, environmental standards were tightened up around the world with the objective of limiting the overall increase in global temperature to below 2°C by the end of the century. To meet this ambitious target, a reduction in global CO2 emissions of more than 40% will be required by 2040, along with an acceleration in states’ efforts to support the energy transition.
Monitoring is crucially important in order to determine whether the quality of the environment is improving or worsening and to assess the potential impact of new energy technologies. This monitoring concerns different areas:
- climate change, via the necessary inventory of greenhouse gases, which accumulate in the earth’s atmosphere,
- air quality, for which the challenge is to determine concentrations of, and exposure to, the various pollutants,
- monitoring of underground storage and usages, requiring a combination of methodologies and technologies, from the deep underground environment to the atmosphere.
With respect to usage of the underground environment, the industrial-scale development of new technologies, such as:
will require the development of technologies meeting criteria related to:
- economic sustainability,
- protection of the environment.
Facilities requiring environmental impact assessment (industrial sites, landfill sites, farms) are controlled by the operators themselves. The more global monitoring of air quality around urban centers, affected by road traffic, heating and the concentration of industries, is the responsibility of regional bodies, which collect data and report to government, to support decision-making where necessary.
Provide combined monitoring methodologies and technologies
from the deep underground environment to the atmosphere.