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Organisation de la formation


The first semester is dedicated to theoretical courses:

  • Biomass production and recycling
  • Bio and chemical processes
  • Biomass pretreatment and thermal treatment
  • Chemicals and fuels from biomass
  • English
  • Transferable skills (GRH,  project management, bibliographic project)

The second semester focuses on a research project which can be carried out in academic or industrial laboratories, or in one of the partner universities' laboratories (Univ. of Thessaloniki in Greece, Univ. of Bari in Italy).


Coordination de la formation

Les enseignements théoriques et pratiques du M2 sont rassemblés sur le premier semestre et sont suivis d’un stage de 6 mois. Le programme comprend sept modules :

  • Biomass production and recycling
  • Bio and chemical processes
  • Biomass pretreatment and thermal treatment
  • Chemicals and fuels from biomass
  • English
  • Transferable skills (GRH,  project management, bibliographic project, …)
  • Research project

Le stage de 6 mois peut s’effectuer dans un des laboratoires d’accueil universitaire, dans une entreprise de spécialité chimique ou dans un des laboratoires des universités partenaires (Thessalonique (Grèce), Bari (Italie), …).

Organisation des semestres
Sem. Intitulé/Présentation des unités d'enseignements Crédits
BioRef1 - Plant Biomass production and valorisation
Pré-requis : Basic structure of the main biomolecules (polysaccharides, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids). - Main techniques used in analytical chemistry (HPLC, GC, MS, NMR, spectroscopy) - Good level in English
Volume horaire : 50h lecture
Responsable : Simon Hawkins
  • Objectives :

- Present the different kinds of land and marine plants that can be used in a biorefinery.

- Describe the opportunities and difficulties of working with biological material

- Describe the contribution of plant biomass in a bioeconomy

- Present the different types of biorefinary and land products.

  • Knowledge and competences :


- on the range of different land and marine plants that can be used in biorefinary 
- on the opportunities and problems of using plant biomass in industry.
- on how differences in macromolecular structure can affect product ‘quality’.
- on the different types of existing biorefineries and associated product lines

Competences :

After the UE, the student is sensed to be capable to :

- Identify a bioeconomic model and provide arguments to (in)validate it Determine the kind of ad-hoc biorefinery needed for a specific land depending on the potential bio ressources present or arable.
-Identify appropriate plants for the production of a given resource

- Identify suitable strategies for evaluating biomass quality


Introduction to the diversity of plant biomass. The module will present several examples of industrial products/resources obtained from plants. Examples will include the use of ligno-celluloses, starch, oils and proteins from both land and marine plants for the production of energy and materials. The opportunities and difficulties of working with biological material (diversity, variability, production, harvesting, extraction etc.) will be discussed, as well as the choice of appropriate analytical techniques for evaluating biomass quality. The contribution of plant biomass to a bioeconomy and the different types of biorefinery and line products will be presented.

BioRef2 - Bio and chemical processes
Pré-requis : - mass and heat balances - reaction kinetics - Knowledge about protein structures and functions
Volume horaire : 40h lecture
Responsable : Benjamin Katryniok
  • Objectives :

- Identify the function of a catalytic reactor – difference between ideal and real reactor

- Model the function of a heterogeneous catalytic reactor

- Optimize a heterogeneous catalytic reactor for a given objective

  • Knowledge and competences :

Knowledge :

- Difference between ideal and non-ideal reactors
- Methods for modeling ideal and non-ideal reactors
- How to optimize a non-ideal reactor (parameters related to the catalyst and the reaction conditions)
- Identification of falsified kinetic data
- About enzyme reactors in homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis

Competences :

After the UE, the student is sensed to be capable to :

- Identify and model the hydrodynamic behavior of a non-ideal reactor
- Dimension a reactor, including catalyst and parameters for a given reaction
- Optimize a reactor for a reaction of a given kinetic
- Analyze and model the behavior of a non-ideal reactor

- Implementation of enzyme in reactors for biomass treatment for bio-molecule and chemicals production.


Chemical Reactors I - Introduction to reactor modeling (M. Araque-Marin)

- Introduction (isothermal reactors, types of reactions (reversible and irreversible)

- Mass balance for ideal reactors (definition of conversion and residence time distribution: stirred tank reactor and plug flow reactor)

- Relationship between volume and conversion for CSTR and PFR (isolated reactors, cascade of reactors)

- Parallel reactions in CSTR and PFR (reactions of same and different reaction order)

- Consecutive reactions in CSTR and PFR

Chemical Reactors II - Non-ideal catalytic reactors (B. Katryniok)

- residence time distribution, modelling (cascade and axial dispersion model)

- Mass transfer limitations (internal / intragranular and external limitations) and their impact on the catalytic performance (conversion, selectivity, deterioration of kinetic data) and on economics

- Heat transfer limitations (internal and external) and their impact on the catalytic performance (efficiency, hot-spot formation, light-off, safety and thermal runaway)

- Pressure drop and the balance between mass transfer limitations including economical impacts

- Examples: Micro-reactors, fluidized-bed reactors, trickle-bed reactors

Bioreactors (R. Froidevaux, D. Le Couturier, P. Jacques)

- Biomass treatment with enzymes in reactor for biomolecule and chemicals production: examples of non-continuous and continuous reactors (batch, CSTR, PBR)

Unit operations specific to biomass treatment (L. Nikov, D. Krasimir, L. Firdaous, M. Aresta)

Extraction of oils from oleaginous seeds; Oil characterization; Conversion of lipids into FAMEs; The Free Acid issue;Hydrolysis;  Catalysts for the simultaneous transesterification of lipids and esterification of FFAs; Conversion of polyenes into mono-enes.

Conversion of C6-C5 into furan derivatives.

BioRef3 - Biomass pretreatment and thermal treatment
Pré-requis : - mass and heat balances - reaction kinetics
Volume horaire : 50h lectures
Responsable : Mirella Virginie
  • Objectives :

- To explore the feasibility of thermal pretreatment of biomass
- To obtain a knowledge of the large diversity of biomass sizes, shapes, compositions, and other parameters
- To identify the effect of each pretreatment on the cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin
- To obtain a knowledge of the chain of biomass valorization

  • Knowledge and competences :

Knowledge :

- Basic knowledge in heterogeneous catalysis.

- Basic knowledge of the biomass obtained in the "biomass" module in the first year.

- Bases in inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry and physical chemistry acquired in license

- Good level of English


After the UE, the student is sensed to have knowledge about :

- Pretreatments applied to the cellulosic biomass to its transformation
- Pretreatments applied to biomass lignin for its transformation
- The different methods of fractionation of algae
- Gasification of biomass to form synthesis gas and the value of the latter (methanation).
- Transformation of waste into biogas.


Cellulosic biomass pretreatment: Hydrolyze, fermentation, chemical treatment (G. Agrimi, L. Palmeri)

I - Molecular structure of biomass

- cellulosic

- Hemicellulose


II - Physical, Chemical and Biological pretreatment of biomass

- Hydrolysis

- Enzymatic Hydrolysis.

- Enzyme discovery

III - Fermentation to Bioethanol

- Process configuration

IV - Case studies


Lignin pretreatment:  Radical and chemical pretreatments (K. Vigier de Oliveira, F. Jerome, C. Crestini)

I - Description of the lignin

- structure

- variability with the source of lignin

- What can we do with lignin?


II - Chemical pretreatments of lignin

- lignoboost process

- organosolv process

-  Alkalin treatment

- AFEX process (effect on lignin)

- oxidation

III - Physical treatment, ball milling

IV - Lignin biosynthesis

V – Advanced methods in lignin analysis

- 31P-NMR,

- 2D-NMR

- quantitative 2D-NMR


VI - Hydrothermal treatments

VII - Kraft process

VIII - structural characterization of technical lignins

IX - Lignin fractionation methods

X - Lignin upgrade


Algae fractionation : to proteins, sugars, lipids, fine chemicals (M. Aresta)

I - Introduction to aquatic biomass

- macroalgae

- microlagae

- plants

II - Composition of algae 

Main classes of compounds: lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, other chemicals

III - Cultivation of algae

Dependence of the composition on the cultivation technology

IV -  Harvesting of algae

Technologies and energy consumption

V -  Fractionation technologies

VI - The lipidic fraction composition

Dependence on the strain used and the cultivation technology

VII - Energy (biofuels) from algae and perspective exploitation

    - FAMEs

    - biodiesel

    - bioalcohols

    - biohydrogen

    - biomethane

VIII - Economics of algae growing for energy production

Is energy from algae economically viable?


Gasification of biomass - Syngas production and valorization (V. Ordomskiy, A. Khodakov)

I - Biomass gasification

- Theory of gasification

Types of gasifies, zones in gasification, chemistry of gasification, properties of producer gas

- Characteristics of biomass for gasification

Energy content and density, moisture content, dust and tar content

- Gasification systems

Fixed bed gasifiers, fluidized bed gasifiers, entrained flow gasifiers, plasma gasifiers

II - Biosyngas upgrading

Biosyngas composition
Dependence from feedstock composition
Dependence from production process

III - Biosyngas transformation

Methane production
Liquid fuel production from bio-syngas: methanol and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis

IV - Examples of biomass gasification ongoing technologies (Rentech, Gussing gasifier, EON-SNG, UCG process etc… )


Biogas from waste, residual biomass, environmental issues (M. Virginie)

I - Biogas composition

- Dependence from feedstock composition

- Dependence from production process

 II - Biogas for energy uses

- Biogas for heat production

- Biogas to cogeneration systems

- Biogas into natural gas grid

- Biogas as vehicle fuel

III - Biogas upgrading

- Adsorption

- Water scrubbing

- Physical adsorption

- Chemical adsorption

- Membrane technology

IV - Biogas cleaning

- Hydrogen sulfide removal

- Water removal

- Siloxanes removal

- Oxygen removal

- Nitrogen removal

- Ammonia removal

BioRef4 - Chemicals and fuels from biomass
Pré-requis : Students wishing to take this training must have a good background in catalysis and must be aware of the most usual reactions (and of the main moieties of interest) in organic chemistry, together with having a broad basic knowledge of the main current techniques used in spectrochemistry. The multidisciplinary nature of the topic addressed in the lectures also requires a good general culture and a spirit of curiosity that is not limited to chemistry but also touches on all scientific disciplines.
Volume horaire : 80h lectures
Responsable : Franck Dumeignil
  • Objectives :

Develop skills in catalysts synthesis (chemical complexes of transition metals, supported, colloids,...), in catalytic reaction for biomass transformation through homogeneous, heterogeneous and enzymatic catalysis.

  • Knowledge and competences :

Knowledge :

- Have knowledge of major industrial processes involving homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis for the conversion of biomass.
- Have skills in production of molecules, including one or more catalytic steps from bio-based building blocks.
- Know the main processes of enzymatic catalysis.

Competences :

The student acquires a scientific approach in the implementation of enzymatic catalysis for transformation and valorization of biomass for biomolecule and chemical production. This concerns a future engineer or researcher, and is valid for any industry in biotechnology, both public and private.


Homogeneous catalysis for cellulosic and oily biomass conversion

o Principles of homogeneous catalysis, organometallic mainly (metals, ligands, key steps), acid / base catalysis, Lewis / Brønsted; notions of recycling
o hydroesterification / carbonylation (oils)
o hydrogenation / hydrogenolysis / dehydroxylation
o Cleavage C-O (lignin)
o Metathesis (oils)
o Etherification / amination (polyols)
o Oxidation / Epoxidation (oil / polyols)
o Anhydridation / biobased monomers appearance, polymerization: Roquette, IFMAS link (polyols


Heterogeneous catalysis for cellulosic and oily biomass conversion

o Principles of heterogeneous catalysis

What is catalysis ?
History of heterogeneous catalysis
Catalytic cycle and origin of accelerated reaction rate, influence on product selectivity, active site in heterogeneous catalysts
Economic interest
Synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts
Most common families of heterogeneous catalysts
Physical and chemical properties,

o Transformation of polyols in liquid and gas phases

Gas-phase and liquid phase dehydration of glycerol to acrolein and upgrading of the latter to high value-added chemicals (acrylonitrile, acrylic acid).
Liquid phase oxidation of glycerol to carboxylic acids. Influence of the purity of the substrate.

o Acetalization reaction of light alcohol.

o Guerbet reaction (alcohols)

o Transformation of sugar (fructose, saccharose, …)

o H2 production from bio-based compounds.

o Principle of high-throughput experiments

Development of HTE for catalysis
HT tools for synthesis
HT tools for characterization
HT tools for catalytic performances measurements
HT methodology
Some examples of HT catalyst development


Biotechnologies for biomass conversion (algae, cellulose, etc.)

o Principles of enzymatic catalysis in homogeneous and heterogeneous mode

o Metabolic engineering of microorganisms: Strain engineering and development

o Metabolic engineering of microorganisms: Metabolic flux analysis

o Biomass gasification

o Biotechnologies for biodiesel production

o Biochemicals from Biomass

Enzymatic transesterification of oily biomass

Enzymatic conversion for chemicals production from biomass

BioRef5 - English
Pré-requis : B2-level
Volume horaire : 48
Responsable : Frédéric Damageux


- Academic English: how to differentiate between spoken English and formal English, and use the appropriate terms and expressions in a formal essay/letter/thesis

- Presentation English: how to give good, clear and concise PP Presentation. How to prepare it, express yourself clearly, address your audience, react to questions, etc.

- CVs and covering letters: how to write a modern, clear, attractive CV well adapted to your goals. How to write a covering letter that will stand out and emphasise your qualities in good, accurate English

- Lab English: how to describe lab experiments (including materials, equipment, set up, conclusions) with audio exercises providing examples in international context

- Part of the course is also specifically aimed at students who need to improve their proficiency, with vocabulary and grammar exercises, audio and video documents, and interaction.

Lab research -
Responsable : Mickaël Capron
  • Objectives :

Be able to manage a clear research topic and provide a structured report of the work, evidencing results, problems, potential solutions,…

  • Knowledge and competences :

Knowledges : application of the acquired knowledges

Competences :

After the UE, the student is sensed to be capable to :

- Manage a bibliography research

- Implement experiments
- Interpret experimental results and compare them with the data of the literature
- Offer prospects a research topic


Bibliography research

Experimental work

Report writting

Oral presentation of the results