Hervé Jeanmart
Recent publications

obtained a mechanical engineering degree from UCLouvain 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 UCLouvain 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 activities cover basic and applied thermodynamics, internal combustion engines and renewable energy.

IMMC main research direction(s):

reacting flows
thermal engines

Research group(s): TFL


PhD and Post-doc researchers under my supervision:

Véronique Dias

obtained her PhD at UCLouvain in 2003, then worked as Postdoctoral Researcher at the Laboratoire de Physico-Chimie de la Combustion (Faculty of Science). In 2009, she moved to the Institute of Mechanics, Materials and Civil Engineering, and since 2012, she has a position of Research Associate. In 2015, she obtained her HDR (Habilitation à Diriger la Recherche) at the Université of Orléans (France).
Her research interests cover the combustion and kinetics of alternative fuels by the elaboration of kinetic models for hydrocarbons and oxygenated species. These projects in combustion include both experimental and numerical parts. They are contributions to the IEA (International Energy Agency) Implementing Agreement for Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction in Combustion.
In 2016-2018, Véronique Dias also worked on a project on energy storage, and more specifically, in chemical form. In the BEST project (2020-2024), she holds the management and coordination that support all the activities to be developed during the project by providing the necessary tools, methods and governing structure.
Since 2018, she has been the IMMC Research Coordinator for European projects on energy transition.

Generating energy transition pathways- application to Belgium
Gauthier Limpens

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
Benoît Herman

Manager of CREDEM platform

Conception thermique et mécanique d'un réacteur de gazéification pour une fabrication en Afrique de l'Ouest
Laetitia Zoungrana

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
Arnaud Rouanet

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 UCLouvain, 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
Xavier Rixhon

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
Martin Colla

Martin Colla is focusing his research on the technical and economic analyses of synthetic fuels derived from biomass, considering life cycle assessments and the different production routes. How much, from where, at what costs and for which final uses can Belgium use biomass for its energy transition ? These are all questions that Martin will try to answer during his PhD.

Study on HCCI engines
Sara Spano

Definition of Belgian energy system's boundary conditions based on multi-region energy modelling
Paolo Thiran

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)
Azd Zayoud

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.

Towards a broader perspective on the energy transition: coupling energy system models with macroeconomic models to study low-carbon pathways for a developed country and an emerging economy
Pierre Jacques

The ecological transition is a formidable challenge, which questions in depth the functioning of our modern societies. To study and plan this transition, innovative interdisciplinary approaches are needed. In energy models developed by engineers, the variations of important economic parameters are generally neglected. On the other hand, environmental constraints, such as the availability and accessibility of energy, are poorly incorporated into standard macroeconomic models. Such simplifications cannot be used when modelling the transition. Hence, several authors have been calling for a more holistic approach of the energy transition and for the integration of models across the engineering and economic disciplines. The goal of my thesis is to couple models from those two disciplines in order to propose more complete and more realistic scenarios for the energy transition. My research questions are, namely:
- “What are the macroeconomic dynamics which would be generated by an ambitious energy transition, both at the global level and at the level of an individual country ?”
- “How should energy system planning be adapted in order to account for economic considerations and financial constraints ?”
- “In what ways do the answers to the first two questions differ for a developed country and for an emerging economy ?”
The thesis is composed of three parts. The first part is the coupling of an energy model (from Dupont et al.) with a macro-economic model (GEMMES) at world level. The goal is to study the dynamics that the global energy sector and the global economy would undergo if an ambitious energy transition was carried out by all countries, in line with the Paris Agreement. The second and third parts focus on the energy transition of an individual country, with all the complexity generated by cross-border energy and financial flows. To this end, a coupling is performed between an energy system planning tool (EnergyScope) and a macro-economic model (GEMMES). Thanks to this, the energy transition of an emerging economy is modeled and studied (second part of the thesis), followed by a case study on Belgium (third part of the thesis).

Impact of demand reduction on the belgian energy system
Sébastien Meyer

This research is a collaboration between negaWatt Belgium and the Sustainable Energy Group of UCLouvain. The goal is to explore how demand reduction (based on sufficiency measures & actions) will impact the Belgian energy system. This is a prospective work mainly focused on the 2050 horizon.

If efficiency is well taken into account in models, a reduction of the end-use demand is not well investigated. As future demand is unknown, a scientific work needs to consider the full spectrum of possibilities and this work aims to fill the gap of the low demand scenarios.

We use the model Energy Scope TD, developped by EPFL in Switzerland and adapted to Belgium by Gauthier Limpens. A collaborative work is in processs with the team working on the tool.

In 2022, a first master thesis investigated for a single year (2050) how the energy system would like with a drastic demand reduction and results are giving new insights in our understanding of our energy system.