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ENERGY 2005, November 21
 
IUT pores over biofuels
 

 
At the behest of the Region, the thermal engineering and energy department of the Poitiers IUT (university technology institute) is presently poring over biofuels… The objective consists in determining whether or not agricultural products may be used for heating. The answer is awaited in 2006.

Sky-high prices for the usual combustible fuels, uncertainty as to how long they will wind up lasting… For the Region, as is the case elsewhere, today’s energy crisis is a cause for concern. And so, after having launched two large-scale work projects on the themes of biofuels and eco-energies, the authorities have ordered a new study by Valagro (*) on combustible biofuels. How might be possible, in other words, to heat public buildings (and that’s just the beginning!) with products derived from regional agriculture?

At the outset, it will nevertheless be necessary to proceed to different studies in order to learn “how to use the canola seed or the sunflower, in solid or liquid form”. And it is with this in mind that the thermal engineering and energy department of the Poitiers IUT comes into play. “Valagro has commissioned us to perform several studies”, confirms Jean-Luc Demenet, the department chairman. In this respect, the university institute is called upon to measure the energy quality (in other words, the calorific power) as well as the viscosity of the products. Pollution studies are sure to ensue.

Results awaited in June 2006

Will liquid from the canola soon permeate our boilers? As of now, it’s anything but a safe bet! “It will first be necessary to see how combustible fuels actually burn in traditional boilers”, recommends a cautious Alain Teillet, a teacher and thermal specialist at the Poitiers IUT. And in order to go through with the entire process, the establishment will need to invest in new materials – such as a boiler with granules of wood. An application has been filed with the Region.

As regards human resources, on the other hand, the IUT is decidedly … resourceful. Five professors have been poring over the “biofuel” file, as is a group of third-year students close to a degree in the “valorizing of renewable energies and energy techniques” (the French VERTE). “In a way, this project has come in the nick of time, and is rewarding the work we’ve furnished”, posits a proud Jean-Luc Demenet. As of now, in all likelihood the results of today’s sundry studies are due for June 2006 “at the latest”.

(*) The unit valorizing agro-resources

Contact: Jean-Luc Demenet at 05 49 45 34 12

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