Phobars, an eco-friendly solution for industry

Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor Khasha­yar Saleh is direc­tor of UTC’s research unit TIMR, whose activ­i­ties focus on green chem­istry and process­es. These activ­i­ties are reflect­ed in projects such as Phobars.

This is a project fund­ed by the ANR, involv­ing UTC-TIMR, the project leader, NEU-JKF Process and IFP Ener­gies Nou­velles. “We are work­ing on the recov­ery of uncon­ven­tion­al solids from plas­tic waste or sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion bio­mass. This may involve ener­gy, ther­mal or mechan­i­cal recov­ery, or recy­cling as a raw mate­r­i­al. In the case of ther­mal recov­ery, for exam­ple, the heat can be used direct­ly. Con­verse­ly, in the case of con­vert­ing plas­tic bot­tles, which are essen­tial­ly made up of hydro­gen and car­bon, the idea is to return this mate­r­i­al in the form of syn­thet­ic gas, in par­tic­u­lar hydro­gen. So, after decades of man­u­fac­tur­ing plas­tics from oil, we are tak­ing the oppo­site route by trans­form­ing plas­tic into ener­gy,” explains Khasha­yar Saleh.

The project rep­re­sents a real chal­lenge for the part­ners, par­tic­u­lar­ly in terms of trans­port­ing uncon­ven­tion­al prod­ucts. “The main prob­lem lies in trans­port­ing the pow­der from these mate­ri­als to the reac­tor. Con­ven­tion­al process­es, such as pneu­mat­ic trans­port using a cur­rent of air or mechan­i­cal vibra­tions, are inef­fec­tive and are also like­ly to entail risks, par­tic­u­lar­ly of explo­sion. So, how can they be made more effi­cient and safer? The idea is to study both the hydro­dy­nam­ics of the con­vey­or sys­tem and the elec­tro­sta­t­ic phe­nom­e­na that occur in this sys­tem with a view to under­stand­ing and mod­el­ling the behav­iour of the solids being trans­port­ed in order to improve the con­trol and effi­cien­cy of pneu­mat­ic trans­port. Once all the lab­o­ra­to­ry tests have been val­i­dat­ed, the ulti­mate aim is to opti­mise the oper­a­tion of indus­tri­al instal­la­tions,” empha­sis­es Khasha­yar Saleh.

Hydrogen storage

Oth­er areas of research? “We are work­ing hard on gaseous ener­gy car­ri­ers such as hydro­gen, ammo­nia and methane, which have very high ener­gy capac­i­ties, as well as liq­uid ener­gy car­ri­ers such as methanol and bio­fu­els, even if their capac­i­ties are low­er. As far as gas car­ri­ers are con­cerned, one of the main stum­bling blocks is their stor­age. Stor­ing hydro­gen gas in a car tank, for exam­ple, would require a pres­sure 200 times greater than atmos­pher­ic pres­sure. That’s why we’ve decid­ed to explore anoth­er option, that of sol­id stor­age, i.e., fix­ing the hydro­gen in a con­densed form in a sol­id matrix or met­al hydride. We can use alu­mini­um hydrides, for exam­ple, or any oth­er met­al hydride depend­ing on its safe­ty, acces­si­bil­i­ty, avail­abil­i­ty, etc.,” explains Khasha­yar Saleh.

Le magazine

Novembre 2023 - N°61

Activité physique, nutrition & santé

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