Title: Graphenic-like materials from biomass and biowastes using thermal treatments
Co-Supervisors: Ange Nzihou (RAPSODEE CNRS-IMT Mines Albi) and Gilles Flamant (PROMES CNRS)
Co-advisor: Elsa Weiss (RAPSODEE CNRS-IMT Mines Albi)
Location: Albi (RAPSODEE) et Font Romeu (PROMES)
Financial support: Labex SOLSTICE (ANR-Investissement d’Avenir)
Starting date: October 2021
Doctoral school: MEGEP (Toulouse)
Graphene is a bidimensional material with one atomic layer as thickness. Itis a lightweight and flexible material, having outstanding mechanical and thermal properties, as well as a high conductivity. Therefore graphene is considered as a high performance material for applications such as batteries, energy storage, sensors for pollution control, electronics, and biology.
Graphene is only encountered in nature in combination with other elements Graphene sheets are highly organized in graphitic structure or randomly oriented in turbostratic structure, leading to the formation of carbon nanotubes, carbon fibers, carbon black. Depending on the characteristics such as the length and the orientation of the graphene sheets, various properties could be developed: electrical conductivity, mechanical or thermal resistance.
To reach these high performances, graphene are currently produced from petroleum-based industries (exfoliation of graphite or carbon nanotubes, epitaxial growth of SiC, or chemical vapor deposition) leading to a high negative environmental impact.
The RAPSODEE research center-CNRS has developed a strong background on carbon materials production using thermochemical conversion (pyrolysis, gasification) of biomass and biowastes. Many studies were also developed in collaboration with PROMES Laboratory, in particular, on solar-assisted pyro-gasification. We have gained an outstanding experience in the characterization of carbon materials using standard and advanced techniques. The goal of the PhD project is to develop and characterize highly graphenic materials from biomass and biowastes (lesser environmental impact), for mainly energy applications and sensors for pollution control. For this purpose, various conversion processes will be compared: hydrothermal carbonization, conventional pyro-gasification and solar-assisted pyro-gasification. Solar-assisted experiments will be carried out with the dedicated equipements located at PROMES CNRS in Font-Romeu (Concentrated Solar facilities). A collaboration with a research team in the USA is considered for this work.
The scientific challenges of the project are:
- Understanding the mechanism of graphene formation using the selected operating conditions
- Understanding and identifying the parameters that influence the graphitization
- Unravelling the relationship between the physico-chemical, mechanical, electrical and thermal properties of
the graphenic layers and the production process.
- Modeling the growth of graphenic phases
Master or engineering degree (Master 2) in chemical engineering or energy engineering, preferably with a first experience in thermochemical conversion of biomass and wastes or on carbonaceous materials. Skills on carbon materials characterization would be appreciated.
Ange Nzihou (), Gilles Flamant (), Elsa Weiss ()