14 nov. 2017

PhD position - Hybrid concentrated thermo-solar eco-process for desalination of seawater

TITLE: Hybrid concentrated thermo-solar eco-process for desalination of seawater

Duration 3 years, starting in January 2018

Since 40 years, concentrated thermodynamic solar power plants have been developing and are currently recognized as mature industrial solutions available to contribute to the renewable mixed energy. These electro-solar thermal processes (www.solarpaces.org) consist in concentrating solar radiation, converting it into high temperature heat (from 400 to 800 °C) and then producing steam and redirecting it to produce electricity. Thanks to the thermal storage, these power stations are able to produce stabilized electricity 24 hours a day without fossil fuels.

In these processes, water is thus currently used as a thermodynamic fluid according to closed evaporation/condensation cycles. If such a process is already recognized as economically profitable, the exploitation of the evaporation stage for hybridization with a desalination operation for a freshwater/electricity cogeneration could only strengthen it.

An alternative concept of concentrated solar desalination has been designed using an innovative approach aiming at reducing environmental impacts and enabling the process to be carried out continuously. The study consists in first dimensioning the system, selecting the appropriate materials and characterizing them and prototyping the system to validate it at the laboratory scale. The entire study will be conducted using an ecodesign approach and in direct contact with desalination partners, processes and materials dedicated to solar concentrating, water treatment and marine environments.

The ecodesign approach, integrated into the design phase at low/medium TRL (Technology Readiness Level), will identify, evaluate and combine, at upstream level, the actual performance indicators (technical, economic and environmental) in view of renewable mixed energy promoted by concentrated electro-solar processes associated with seawater desalination.

The environmental assessment will be conducted by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to ensure the most appropriate technological choices. This phase requires a reasonable knowledge of predictive inventories of "downstream" and "upstream" processes on an industrial scale; hence the importance of mature reflections on scale-up at beforehand since the design phase. It should be noted that the integration of downstream processes (both in the context of a techno-economic analysis and an environmental assessment) concedes a better expertise on real footprints - economic and ecological - of the new sectors.

The sensitivity analyzes and the multi-objective optimization approach will then be used to complete the different levels of information (Simulation, LCA, Energy Integration, Performance Criteria), to merge them into a proper decision-making scheme and to derive the optimal operating conditions.

Profile sought: energy or process (chemical) engineering with good backgrounds in thermodynamics, computer-programming skills (preferably in Python)

Location: LISBP laboratory at INSA Toulouse and PROMES CNRS laboratory in Perpignan. PhD enrollment at INSA Toulouse (doctoral school MEGEP)

Funding: INSA Toulouse

Application deadline : 31 December 2017

Application to be sent to:

Xavier PY (PROMES) :