Development of wasterwater treatment process by freezing ANR WATERSAFE

Laboratoire/laboratory: LAGEPP (Laboratoire d’Automatique, de Génie des Procédés et de Génie Pharmaceutique). Equipes/teams : PRODIS/DYCOP. Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1.

Encadrants/supervisors: Pr. Melaz Tayakout, Dr. Claudia Cogné, Dr. Françoise Couenne, Dr. Aurélie Galfré.

Mots clefs/Keywords: dépollution de l’eau/ génie des procédé/modélisation/congélation ; wastewater treatment/chemical engineering/ modelisation/freezing

Start of the PhD: September/October 2021.

Funding:  ANR WATERSAFE project (ANR-20-CE04-0002)

Application deadline : 30/06/2021

Application procedure: send a detailed CV (including rank and grade in your Master degree, if possible), motivation letter and Transcript of Records for Master and bachelor degrees.

Contact : Dr. Aurélie GALFRE (

Fiche FR/EN

Project details:


Clean water scarcity and the deterioration of the environment by releasing wastewater harmful to both flora and fauna are a worldwide concerning. The development of wastewater purification technologies is nowadays a technical worldwide challenge. Ice Layer Crystallisation on a cooling surface (ILC) is a melt crystallization process here considered for treating low concentrated and toxic soluble pollutants in aqueous liquid effluent. In this process, two products of separation are produced: i) a crystalline layer (ice) that can be poured in the environment according to its purity; ii) a concentrated liquid effluent which valorization depends on its composition. The process shows large limitations, which explains nowadays its low industrial development. Its deadlock status could however possibly be circumvented through: i) performing a process intensification study in order to improve its global efficiency; ii) improving process issue that include batch to continuous approach (process efficiency and management).


PhD mission:

The project intends to develop two tools: a freezing lab-scale pilot unit; an innovative dynamic model based on the Phase Field Method [1] (PFM) to simulate the non-isothermal solidification of ice from a synthetic wastewater. These tools are relevant to carry out a comprehensive analysis of local phenomena of the ice crystallization explaining how, why, where and when impurities incorporation takes place in the ice and the ice growth rate in the relation of process parameters. The PhD steps are detailed below.

First step: The relevance of the synthetic chosen mixture (water/phosphoric acid) will be checked. Phosphorus is a sensitive resource and a well-known pollutant of urban and industrial wastewaters: it contributes to the increase of eutrophication problems. Several crystallization experiments will be here performed in order to i) check the thermodynamic data of the chosen system (liquid/solid diagram) ;ii) achieve data on ice growth to define the new lab scale-pilot operating conditions and design and feed the simulation. The last point will be done by Cryo microscopy.

Second step: The freezing lab-scale pilot unit will be designed and equipped with the relevant characterization methods and temperature probes to achieve experimental data. The reactor can operate on continuous and recycle modes on the liquid phase and on batch mode on the solid phase. The apparatus comprises the last generation camera including a high optical microscope to evidence on line crystallization phenomena (ice layer morphogenesis) and for example a conductimetry probe to follow liquid evolution. The influence of several operating parameters (recycle ratio, feed concentration, cooling rate, subcooling, liquid flowrate, etc.) on the crystallisation behaviour will be determined by several experimental trials.

The third step will consist of developing an innovative dynamic model based on the Phase Field Method to simulate the non-isothermal solidification of ice issue from a synthetic wastewater. The phase field method is here relevant to represent the ice morphogenesis and the liquid pockets inclusion in ice. The works consists here of developing the calculation codes on a software like Matlab and adjusting the key parameters of the model from experiments data.



The pHD fellow will join the LAGEPP (Laboratory of Automatic Control, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Engineering) of the University of Claude Bernard Lyon1.  LAGEPP is a multidisciplinary laboratory that covers the fields of process engineering, engineering products, pharmaceutical engineering and physicochemistry. The research activities focus on two major scientific themes:

  • Physicochemical processes and processes in dispersed and evolving complex media (nanoparticle production process, crystallization, lyophilization).
  • Dynamic modelling.
  • Programming

The pHD fellow will join the DYCOP and PRODIS teams. The supervisors are researchers and professors/assistant professors with expertise in process engineering, crystallization, dynamic modelling, and thermodynamics.  The laboratory is located on the campus Lyon-Tech La Doua (Villeurbanne).


Skills developed along the pHD by the applicantThe multidisciplinary character of the subject (process development, experimental, characterisation of each phase by analytical tools, modelisation), the use of various equipment (freezing pilot with innovative online monitoring, Cryo microscope, etc.) as well as the development of calculation codes will allow the candidate to acquire excellent skills in the field of process engineering.


To apply: The applicant will have master degree in Chemical engineering or Physics. The position is suited for candidates with background in modelling, able to work in team and with experimental liking.


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