Study in France

PhD offers for process engineers (chemical engineers)

I hope you will find this information useful. Please read thoroughly the description of the thesis proposal and think about its consistency to your background. Pay attention to the deadline. Probably, you do not need an English language certificate (you can prove your level during the interview), however, you should be a master in writing in English. All you need is your CV and motivation letter. All the contact information is provided. If you have any questions do not hesitate to direct it to the supervisor of the thesis. Probably the semester will start in October.

Intensification of gas/liquid mass transfer by ultrasound - application to ozone reactive de-inking and/or bleaching of lignocellulosic fibres with oxygen or ozone (InTrUS project)

Subject description

The research problem is the use of ultrasound to increase mass transfer in liquid phase of reactive gases used in unit operations of paper processes. Beyond the transfer, the action of ultrasound on the reactivity of these gases and/or on the generation of oxidizing species within the liquid phase will also be investigated. Attention will also be paid on possible interaction between ultrasound and fibres. The objective is therefore the intensification of processes in the aim of improving the overall performances (effluent and fibre quality) while reducing the quantity of reagents used and the environmental impact of discharges.

The main work package (WP) of the thesis work will be:

- WP1: Bibliography on the subject with two main parts: (i) gas/liquid transfer and ultrasound and (ii) implementation of oxygen and ozone in paper processes.

- WP2: Characterization of gas/liquid contactors with and without ultrasound. Determination of volumic transfer coefficients and specific surface area of exchange by controlled model systems (e.g. oxygen in a sulphite solution) and of the solubility of ozone and oxygen in different waters (tap water, paper mill model water, different pH values, etc.) and for different operating conditions (e.g. flow rate) and ultrasonic wave emission (frequency, power).

- WP3: Determination of gas/liquid reaction regimes, for the self-decomposition of gases into water and for reactions with contaminants in paper process water. Reaction kinetics will be studied, and an approach based on adimensional numbers with integration of ultrasound characteristics will be considered.

- WP4: Incorporation of virgin and/or recovered cellulosic fibres in suspension at low consistency (1-3%) with and without ultrasound. The use of ultrasound coupled with the introduction of gas may be carried out upstream or in the reactor containing the fibres. The performances on the optical (whiteness, ...) and physical properties (tear resistance, ...) of the fibres and on the quality of the effluents (COD, ...) will be characterised.

- WP5: Valorisation of the results in the form of articles, conference proceedings and thesis manuscript.

Location et practical information

The PhD student will be supervised by Professors Marc Aurousseau (Grenoble INP / LGP2) and Nicolas Gondrexon (UGA / LRP). The research work will therefore be carried out within the framework of a collaboration between two laboratories, LGP2 (Laboratory of Pulp and Paper Science and Graphic Arts, and LRP (Rheology and Processes Laboratory), located on the Scientific campus of Saint-Martin d'Hères close to Grenoble, 150 metres from each other and providing complementary expertise and experimental means (reactors, ultrasound devices, characterisation of gaseous, liquid and solid phases, etc.). The site's shared platform resources could also be used (high-speed camera for example) and collaborations with other French laboratories are envisaged.

Skills of the candidate

The candidate recruited must have a Master 2 or engineering degree in Process Engineering. Experience in gas/liquid transfer and/or in the implementation of ultrasonic waves would be appreciated, as well knowledge of cellulosic fibres. The expected skills are: taste for the research approach, experimenter qualities, team work on a multidisciplinary subject, autonomy, very good level in English, writing. For foreign student, a B2 level in French will be appreciated. He/she will be enrolled in the I-MEP2 doctoral school.


Within the framework of a doctoral contract with Grenoble INP: 1400 € net/month. Possibility to work shifts or the RES label allowing an additional salary.

To apply

Send CV, transcripts and cover letter with motivations by e-mail to Marc Aurousseau ( et Nicolas Gondrexon ( Deadline: May 20, 2020.

SAVE project – “SepAration and Valorization of materials from printed on paper Electronic devices end-of-life”


SAVE project objective is to study the end-of-life of electronic devices printed on cellulose based substrate. Within the project the functionalized inks will be separated from cellulose fibers and all recovered fractions will be valorized. The fibers will be processed to produce recycled paper and functionalized materials (metallic nanoparticles, nano-sized semi-conductors …) will be transformed into new materials in a closed-loop recycling manner.

The Ph.D. thesis will be divided into 4 Work Packages. The Ph.D. student will be in charge of:

1) Selection of the raw materials (functionalized inks and paper grades to be printed) and production of model printed functionalized devices (WP1),

2) Separation of inks from cellulosic fibers following the traditional paper recycling unit operations (WP2),

3) Analyses of all produced liquid and solid fractions in order to establish a complete mass balance of the separation process (WP3),

4) Separation, recovery and valorization of all materials (WP4).

All along his/her thesis the applicant should perform regular state-of-the-art survey related to the thesis topic. Indeed, this scientific and technological watch is of primary importance within this rapidly developing field where available data are scarce.

Localization and practical details

During the thesis the Ph.D student will work under the supervision of Nadège REVERDY-BRUAS and Lenka SVECOVA and will be helped by a multi-disciplinary team involved in this project. His/her working time will be shared between two laboratories located on Grenoble university campus, Laboratory of Pulp and Paper Science and Graphic Arts (LGP2, and Electrochemistry and Physico-chemistry of Materials and Interfaces Laboratory (LEPMI, The candidate will also have access to all equipment situated in the two laboratories and to diverse existing platforms located in Grenoble in order to succeed his/her thesis.

Applicant qualifications

The applicant should have a master degree (or equivalent) and a solid knowledge of solution chemistry, analytical chemistry and unit operations. The knowledge of paper and the related unit operations together with printing technologies will be appreciated. The candidate should have a strong aptitude for experimental work and be able to work independently. Writing skills will also be required. An excellent level of English is mandatory. The candidate may not be French-speaking. He/she will be enrolled in the I-MEP2 doctoral school.


The project is financed by Grenoble INP, the net salary will be approximately 1400 €/month.

Giving lecture will be possible with the permission of the supervisors.

How to apply?

Send your CV and motivation letter to Nadège REVERDY-BRUAS and Lenka SVECOVA:, – Dead line to apply: 08/06/2020

Understanding the mechanisms of nitrous oxide production in nitrifying biological aerated filters: pilot scale measurements to refine full-scale models

Key words: biofilm, nitrogen removal, modelling, full-scale, pilot-scale, mass transfer, carbon footprint


This PhD project fits into one of the main forthcoming challenges of wastewater management, which is to increase the ecological sustainability of facilities while facing increased urban densification. Specifically, the main goal is to deepen the understanding of the mechanisms underlying N2O emissions by biologically aerated filters (BAFs). This will contribute to the development of mathematical models, calibrated on two of the biggest French facilities using the BAF technology for nitrogen removal. Ultimately the model will be used to optimize the operation and design of the bioreactor considering effluent quality and operating costs and to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Thesis overview and objectives

Climate change caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is one of the major challenges facing mankind today. In the past years, increasing attention has been paid to nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from wastewater resource recovery facilities (WRRF) due to its detrimental environmental effect (potent GHG and ozone depleting substance) and high impact on the carbon footprint of WRRFs. Measurement campaigns performed by the host team, suggested that biologically aerated filters (BAF, intensive biofilm processes widespread in large European cities) produce much higher amounts of N2O compared to the conventional activated sludge systems [1,2].

To get insights into the mechanisms of N2O production, a full-scale nitrifying BAF [3] model was upgraded to include N2O production pathways [4,5] and calibrated on data from the Seine Aval plant (largest plant in Europe, 5.5 million PE). The developed model successfully described long-term nitrification (over 2 years) and high-frequency N2O production (10 min averages over two short periods). Nevertheless, to validate the predictive capacity of the model, the latter should be confronted to data from another plant and preferably tested against long-term N2O datasets. Additionally, the work performed on the gas/liquid mass transfer sub-model evidenced the lack of experimental data on oxygen transfer in full-scale BAF and consequently the poor understanding of the mechanisms affecting it in real conditions [5,6].

This PhD project is aimed at deepen the understanding of the mechanisms underlying N2O production in nitrifying BAFs by coupling experiments carried out at pilot scale (controlled and well defined conditions) with dynamic model development applied on an industrial scale. The research objectives are: (1) to evaluate the impact of biofilm presence on oxygen gas/liquid mass transfer parameters, (2) to analyse the mechanisms of N2O production for contrasted operating conditions (eg, aeration rate, influent composition, etc.), (3) to compare results obtained at pilot-scale with full-scale in order to assess potential differences and refine full-scale models, and (4) to evaluate N2O mitigation strategies using the developed model or based on the pilot-scale testing.

Working conditions

Context: Following to the experimental and modelling work performed in the ANR project-N2Otrack (2015-2020), the proposed thesis will be carried out within the framework of the research program Mocopée in close collaboration with SIAAP (Public Sanitation Service in the Paris area). The candidate will be located in INRAE – research unit PROSE - under the supervision of Ahlem Filali (INRAE, PROSE), Sylvie Gillot (INRAE, REVERSAAL, PhD director) and Mathieu Spérandio (INSA Toulouse, PhD co-director). The candidate will be hosted (2nd year for the pilot-scale experiments) by the SIAAP in their offices, located near the Seine Centre WRRF.

Localisation address: Unit PROSE – PRocédés biOtechnologiques au Service de l’Environnement INRAE – 1 rue Pierre Gilles de Gennes CS 10030 92 761 Antony Cedex

Starting period: October 2020

Duration: 3 years

Gross salary: 1770 € / month (50% Mocopée, 50% INRAE)

Deadline for application: June 2020

Candidate profile

Competence in process engineering completed by a Master or an internship in (waste)water treatment. Modelling experience would be appreciated. In addition, the candidate will have to master scientific English. A taste for field missions is a necessary prerequisite (the candidate will have to carry out campaigns on site with the help of the technical team).


Ahlem Filali (INRAE, PROSE) -

- Cover letter with a focus on past research and motivations

- Detailed academic CV with laboratory/modelling skills and contact details of one academic referee.