obtained a mechanical engineering degree from UCL in 1996 and then his PhD in fluid mechanics in 2002 from the same University. After a post-doctoral experience at the University of Stuttgart (team of Prof. Weigand) in 2003 on the internal cooling of gas turbines, he came back at UCL as an associate professor in 2004.
His teaching activities cover basic and applied thermodynamics, internal combustion engines and renewable energy.
His research activities cover topics related to combustion, and more specifically, biomass thermochemical conversion including gasification, combustion and operationnal issues, combustion of gases in HCCI engines and combustion kinetics. Recently, he started a new interdisciplinary activity on the Energy Return on Investment of renewable energy and its impact on the society.
Research collaboration includes ULB, VUB, Umons, CIRAD, CEA, University of Lille and University of Orléans. He also collaborates with the University of Kinshasa, the University of Ouagadougou and the 2iE.ng activities cover basic and applied thermodynamics, internal combustion engines and renewable energy.
IMMC main research direction(s):
Research group(s): TFL
PhD and Post-doc researchers under my supervision:
|Impacts of energy efficiency and energy availability on economic growth|
I am working on the link between energy availability and accessibility and economic growth. To do so, I study the concept of Energy Return on Investment (EROI), which is the ratio of the energy that is produced by an energy conversion device throughout its lifetime to all the energy inputs that were invested from the extraction of raw materials to the end-of-life treatment of the facility. It is the best indicator to assess the quality and sustainability of an energy project, without any economic distorsion. Easy access to high EROI resources allowed our modern societies to develop their economic activities. However, even taking into account the technological progress, the amount of high EROI resources is decreasing because : (i) EROI of fossil fuels is declining over time, (ii) renewable alternatives have lower EROIs than traditional fossil fuels and (iii) EROI of renewable alternatives is declining with their spatial expansion.
I am developing a methodology to estimate the dynamic function for the evolution of the EROI of different renewable energy sources (wind, solar and biomass) with the cumulated annual production, in order to be able to accurately estimate the evolution of the EROI of the future energy system.
In the BEST project, I hold the management and coordination that support all the activities to be developed during the project by providing the necessary tools, methods and governing structure.
|Energy system modelling|
The transition towards more sustainable, fossil-free energy systems is interlinked with a high penetration of stochastic renewables, such as wind and solar.
Integrating these new energy resources and technologies will lead to profound structural changes in energy systems, such as an increasing need for storage and a radical electrifcation of the heating and mobility sectors.
To capture the increasing complexity of such future energy systems, new
flexible and open-source optimization modelling tools are needed.
In collaboration with EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), we develop EnergyScope, a new open-source energy model for strategic energy planning of urban and national energy systems.
We applied our methodolgy to Switzerland and Belgium. During the end of the thesis, we are developping a transition pathway model representing the transition from 2015 until a long term target (such as 2050) with intermediary steps. The technologies merit order and the total cost of the transition will be key results.
In addition, other studies are under investigation (by master thesis or myself) about more countries, a multi-cells versions, an urban version, model coupling (EnergyScope-DispaSET), create an educational interface for citizens and policy makers or apply the model for uncertainty characterisation.
|Manager of CREDEM platform|
Manager of CREDEM platform
|Conception thermique et mécanique d'un réacteur de gazéification pour une fabrication en Afrique de l'Ouest|
L’Afrique de l’Ouest connait une demande énergétique assez importante car nombreux sont les individus et les ménages vivant en zones rurales et ayant de multiples besoins énergétiques non satisfaits notamment pour la cuisine, l’éclairage et les télécommunications. Au Burkina Faso, le taux d’électrification en 2017 a été estimé à 18%. Le gap à couvrir nécessite en plus du réseau national d’approvisionnement électrique, la mise au point de petite unités de production énergétique qui pourront répondre au besoin croissant. Ces unités devront surtout être facilement adoptées par les populations locales tout en répondant aux critères d’énergie durable. Dans cet élan, de nombreux projets d’installation de plateformes photovoltaïques ont vu le jour. Cependant, des pays comme le Burkina Faso regorgent un grand potentiel de biomasse à savoir les résidus agricoles qui pour certains ne font l’objet d’aucune valorisation énergétique. Dans cette optique, la gazéification de la biomasse s’avère être un très bon moyen de production énergétique. Ainsi, des projets de gazéification ont précédemment été déployés mais se sont pour la plupart murés par un échec. En effet, il s’agit soit de technologies importées et mal maitrisées par les utilisateurs locaux ce qui freine leur adoption ; ou de technologies fabriquées artisanalement et qui rencontrent d’évidents problèmes structurels lors de leur fonctionnement. Ces problèmes sont par exemple des fuites de gaz ou des fissures du réacteur pouvant mettre en danger la santé des utilisateurs. Au vu de ces difficultés qui empêchent l’assise de la technologie de gazéification, prend sens cette étude qui contribuera au développement de la filière de gazéification de résidus agricoles comme source d’énergie thermique et électrique de qualité. Il s’agit principalement de concevoir et réaliser un réacteur de gazéification avec les moyens locaux à l’Afrique occidentale. Ceci en prenant en considération le besoin énergétique, la sécurité et la durabilité du réacteur ainsi que des critères de conception pour une maitrise et une familiarisation intuitive avec le dispositif. Afin d’atteindre l’objectif visé, une méthodologie de conception mécanique sera élaborée, dans un premier temps, afin de repenser dans le détail la fabrication du prototype. Ensuite, une modélisation de la conversion thermochimique de la biomasse ainsi qu’une modélisation de la cinétique chimique et des phénomènes physiques dans le réacteur seront effectuées afin de guider la conception pour aboutir à la fabrication d’un réacteur de gazéification répondant aux besoins des populations ouest africaines.
|Improvement of gas quality in small-scale biomass gasification facilities through steam injection|
Biomass, as a renewable fuel, can be converted in a gasifier to produce a synthetic gas that is easier to transport and has a wider range of applications than solid biomass, including bio-fuels, chemicals or energy production.
In order to improve the quality of the produced gases, we will investigate how steam can be used instead of air as the oxidizing agent, to limit the syngas dilution with inert nitrogen and increase its heating value. The project will focus on improving an existing small-scale two-stage gasification unit owned by UCL, on which ad-hoc modifications will be brought and experimental campaigns will be performed.
Theoretical calculations and literature reviews will be performed to confirm and precise the potential for improvement of syngas composition. The design and ideal location of steam injection points will be studied, and experiments will be conducted on the modified gasifier to complement the theoretical calculations. Advanced tools and methods will be used for the characterisation of the syngas composition, to increase the accuracy of the experimental results. Finally, a numerical model of the gasification process will possibly come as complement for a more accurate prediction and confirmation of the experimental results.
This research project will take place in the frame of the project ENERBIO, in collaboration with ULB, UMons and CRA-W.
|Robust optimisation of the pathway towards a sustainable whole-energy system: role of synthetic fuels|
Securing energy supply while mitigating the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions embodies one of the biggest challenges of today’s -and tomorrow’s- society. In this perspective, renewable energies, mainly wind and solar, will be extensively installed. However, these resources per se present a time and space disparity which generally leads to a mismatch between supply and demand. Therefore, to harvest their maximum potentials, the energy system shall become more flexible, especially through the storage of this renewable electricity. The integration of electro-fuels seems to be a promising solution. They could play the role of long-term storage of electricity and energy carriers to supply other sectors (e.g. heat or mobility). To address the question of the role of these fuels in the energy transition, a multi-energy and multi-sector model, Energy Scope TD (ESTD), will be further developed. It optimizes the design of an energy system to minimize its costs and emissions. Defining an energy transition strategy for a large-scale system, such as a country, implies decisions with long-term impacts (20 to 50 years) and, hence, many uncertainties. To perform the uncertainty quantification (UQ), ESTD will be complemented with a surrogate-assisted UQ framework. The perspective of this project is then to provide the designers and the decision-makers with optimized energy system designs, including the knowledge we have on the uncertainties, in order to pave a robust pathway towards sustainability.
|Technical and economic analyses of synthetic fuels derived from biomass|
|Definition of Belgian energy system's boundary conditions based on multi-region energy modelling|
In the context of the energy transition, strategic planning is necessary to ensure security of supply. In Belgium, this planning should consider the influence of neighbouring countries. In particular, exchanges of electricity and other energy carriers may have a major role in Belgium’s energy system transition. The goal of this thesis is to assess such a problem and define proper boundary conditions for the study of Belgian energy system transition.
|FLEXibilize combined cycle power plant through Power-to-X solutions using non-CONventional FUels (FLEXnCONFU)|
FLEXnCONFU project aims to demonstrate the flexibility of combined cycle power plants, using hydrogen, or an ammonia carrier, as an energy storage elements.
A comprehensive model will be developed to evaluate the contribution of imported synthetic/electro fuels and their usages and the non-energy use of energy vectors. The model will be used in different scenarios considering two objectives: the minimization of the economic cost (LCOE) and the minimization of the Global Warming Potential (GWP). However, when taking the parameters to optimize as perfectly known, the real objective could even be really far, leading to a fragile optimum, and therefore insecurity of supply. Instead of deterministic optimization, this task will include uncertainty quantification analysis in order to perform robust optimization instead. Considering the uncertainties, it will provide much richer information to policy maker or system designers.
|Modelling low-carbon pathways for developing and emerging economies: an interdisciplinary approach|
Numerous academic and non-academic institutions have been calling for new approaches in economics, which would better integrate environmental constraints and help guide the low-carbon transition. Thus, following the pioneering World3 model from Meadows et al., a considerable number of new economic models have been produced. Among them, the biophysical economic models aim at integrating thermodynamic and ecological principles and emphasising the importance of natural resources to economic processes. Yet, we do not know any biophysical economic model which takes into consideration the specificities of emerging or developing economies (hereafter denoted as EDEs). Current models are poorly relevant for EDEs, since they do not consider important aspects such as balance of payments constraints (import/export dynamics, international finance constraints, etc.). Disposing of adequate models for EDEs is nonetheless crucial, since these countries will play a determining role in climate change mitigation. Our goal is thus to close this gap. Based on a strongly interdisciplinary environment and on existing models, we are developing a hybrid model at the frontier of biophysical and post-Keynesian economics, aimed at guiding the low-carbon transition in the specific context of an EDE. This model combines equations from the MEDEAS model (https://www.medeas.eu/) together with the financial dynamics of a model developed at the French Agency for Development (https://www.afd.fr/en/ressources/modelling-small-open-developing-economies-financialized-world-stock-flow-consistent-prototype-growth-model). Using our hybrid model, we will investigate a series of scenarios and development pathways, which will vary in terms of decarbonation speed and magnitude.