Mocopée: a sustainable forum for scientists and industrialists

The first phase of Mocopée — a pro­gramme launched in 2014 with over twen­ty research teams and indus­tri­al part­ners par­tic­i­pat­ing — end­ed in 2017. The sec­ond phase, run­ning from 2018–22 is now under­way. A con­fer­ence Decem­ber 4, 2018 will present sum­ma­ry results for the first four years and will iden­ti­fy the research pri­or­i­ties for com­ing years. 

It was in 2014 that the Mocopée pro­gramme- acronym in French for Mod­el­ling, Con­trol and Opti­mi­sa­tion of Water Purifi­ca­tion Process­es” — was launched via a group agree­ment between Siaap, UTC and IRSTEA*. What is the aim? Well, the idea aim to cre­ate a work space pro­vid­ing a sus­tain­able forum for exchange among sci­en­tist – note that over 20 research teams (from aca­d­e­m­ic estab­lish­ments and nation­al research cen­tres) have been mobi­lized, plus oper­a­tors for water sup­plies and indus­tri­al­ists involved in urban water processing. 

In the course of the first phase, no less than 8 PhD the­ses launched were com­plet­ed or are close to com­ple­tion, to the point that we can clear­ly claim the expe­ri­ence was suc­cess­ful. On this scale, the Mocopée pro­gramme is unique, both in terms of the num­ber of aca­d­e­m­ic and indus­tri­al part­ners and by the objec­tives, scope and time assigned. The pro­gramme has enabled sig­nif­i­cant progress as to the build­ing of method­ol­o­gy-relat­ed tools (no-break metrol­o­gy and matrix char­ac­ter­i­za­tion) and in math­e­mat­ics (sig­nal pro­cess­ing, water treat­ment mod­el­ling and con­trol & com­mand pro­to­cols) as need­ed in order to enhance the lev­el of mas­tery and opti­miza­tion of water and sludge treat­ment spe­cial­ist work. In addi­tion the pro­gramme has brought some oper­a­tional innovations 

To illus­trate we can cite the design of a tool to mea­sure water nitrite con­tents, which result­ed from a col­lab­o­ra­tion between research sci­en­tists based at UTC-TIMR and Ecole poly­tech­nique, recall­ing that nitrite con­tent is set by s French stan­dard [NF EN 26777 May 1993]. “In this research, the col­leagues were poly­va­lent but UTC was assigned more specif­i­cal­ly to the ques­tion of the sen­sors and to the algo­rithms need­ed where­as Poly­tech­nique focused on con­trol & com­mand,” under­lines André Pauss, lec­tur­er-cum research sci­en­tist who the prime UTC coor­di­na­tor for the programme. 

Phase II of the Mocopée pro­gramme, run­ning from 2018–22, cov­ers four research fields: build­ing of inno­v­a­tive method­ol­o­gy-relat­ed tools (no-break metrol­o­gy and matrix char­ac­ter­i­za­tion), mod­el­ling of water and sludge con­trol treat­ment pro­to­cols, integri­ty of trans­porta­tion sys­tems, treat­ment of waste water and sev­er­al inno­v­a­tive con­cepts (upstream research and mat­ter val­ori­sa­tion of matter). 

Let us exam­ine the first two research fields above. We know that in pur­suance of more strin­gent rela­tions for treat­ment of waste waters over the past two decades, the site oper­a­tors have had to equip the treat­ment fac­to­ries with some effi­cient tech­nol­o­gy, e.g., physi­co-chem­i­cal lay­ered decanta­tion; bio-fil­ters, mem­brane bio-reac­tors, etc. But imple­ment­ing tech­nolo­gies like these requires a high lev­el of tech­ni­co-sci­en­tif­ic know-how. Ques­tions that relate to metrol­o­gy and/or to the con­trol & com­mand of the treat­ment pro­to­cols, for instance, today are to be found at the heart of a set of indus­tri­al prob­lems. A last point here: in the upstream research and val­ori­sa­tion of mat­ter, a the­sis is under­way that analy­ses a dry-phase methani­sa­tion process, at UTC in a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Insti­tute Uni­LaSalle in Beau­vais and the Siaap, and anoth­er the­sis looks at water foam­ing phe­nom­e­na. So, what are the chal­lenges for the near future? To dis­cov­er inno­v­a­tive tools to improve water treat­ments, to val­orise mat­ter down­stream while sus­tain­ing the lev­el of com­pet­i­tive­ness of the com­pa­nies involved.

Le magazine

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