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Scientific positioning

TED-S’s area of research focuses on mastering and developing biological procedures for the treatment and recovery of solid waste: composting, landfilling, anaerobic digestion etc. Landfilling is treated as a complete biological procedure of its own, where the processes associated with biodegredation and transfer must be controlled and led as efficiently as possible.

Our objective is to offer waste management stakeholders technological solutions that are efficient and sustainable. Therefore, our research does not focus exclusively on the study of procedures themselves but also on the technical, economic and environmental evaluation of these procedures in the context of their implementation. Our work therefore considers the processes and procedures in addition to the treatment channels and the waste management systems. In this combined approach lies the originality of our positioning. Furthermore, we are mindful to retain a balance between our knowledge-based production activities and those based on transfer, expertise and the support of public action, with each of the areas forming part of our mission and drawing strength from one another.

The strongly multi-disciplinary nature of our research has led to numerous collaborations in the scientific world, from molecular microbiology to social sciences, by way of geophysics or fluid mechanics. Moreover, the majority of our publications are co-written with partner teams. In addition, the bulk of our work is carried out in the form of research partnership projects in conjunction with the waste management stakeholders: waste treatment operators (large operators or SMEs), local communities and the State. ADEME (French environment and energy management agency) is one of our key partners.

Scientific and technical questions

Our main areas of research are as follows:

Composting procedures

  • Understanding the process: the influence of the physical characteristics of the substrate, nitrogen transformations, energy consumption, biodegredation modelling and microbiology.
  • On a procedure level: handling aeration, composting of digestates, individual and community composting, linking aerobic and anaerobic procedures, global modelling.
  • Impacts and risks: hygienisation conditions, determination and measurement of gaseous emissions.

Landfilling procedures

  • Preparation and pre-treatment of waste and characterisation of its biodegradation.
  • Study and coupled modelling of microbial processes and the transfer of leachates, biogas and heat within the waste mass.
  • Characterisation of the geosynthetic properties and their durability; evaluation of the advective and diffusive transfer of the leachates across liner systems

Anaerobic treatment of solid waste: anaerobic digestion and innovative recovery procedures

  • Study of populations and microbial processes.
  • New methods for recovering organic waste (bioethanol, co-digestion, production and isolation of molecules of interest etc.).

A global assessment of procedures and channels

  • Knowledge creation on the environmental impact of the procedures and the treatment channels (composting, anaerobic digestion, landfilling).
  • Adaptation and improvement of environmental evaluation methods (life cycle analysis etc.) applied to waste management in conjunction with the decision-making processes.
  • Economic determination of the "sustainability" of the channels and the irreversibility of the waste storage.

Human and material resources

TED-S’s research project employs a total of thirty members of staff, spread between two research units: "Hydrosystems and bioprocedures" in Antony (HBAN) and "Environmental management and biological treatment of waste" in Rennes (GERE).

Our main disciplines are the engineering sciences, process engineering,  fluid mechanics (transfers), microbiology, chemistry, economy and environmental evaluation methods.

In addition to the access to the processing sites of our industrial partners, we have analytical resources and extensive experimental work at our disposal in laboratories at the HBAN and GERE units. The HBAN unit also plays host to a geosynthetic test laboratory with a COFRAC (association for the accreditation of laboratories, certifying bodies and inspection) accreditation at a national and European level. 

Examples of projects underway

A more complete list of projects is available on the pages for the different teams (accessible, for example, via the research unit pages), alongside additional details on the partners, theories and staff.

CLEANWAST: integrated evaluation of the mechanical-biological treatment of waste. ANR (research funding organisation) / ECOTECH 2008 Project led in collaboration with the BRGM (France’s leading public institution in earth science applications) (coordinator), INERIS (French national institute for industrial environment and risks), 13Développement, INRA (public-mission oriented institute for agricultural research) in Avignon and IDEP (public economy institute) in Marseille.

PRODDEVAL: using environmental evaluation tools in the decision-making process. ADEME / Waste & Society 2009 Project coordinated by Irstea, in conjunction with UMR GESTE (territorial management of water and the environment) in Strasbourg and the Mediation & Environment Cabinet.

DIVA: on the treatment and recovery of digestates. ANR / Bioenergies 2010 Project, coordinated by Irstea in partnership with INRA Grignon, ARMINES (contractual research structure), the LGPEB (engineering laboratory for the production and development of bioproducts) Montpellier, Solagro, Suez Environnement and Géotexia (joint venture with TED-S).

BIORARE: for "Microbial bioelectrosynthesis for the refinement of residual waste and effluents". Investments of the Future/Biotechnologies and bioresources Project coordinated by Irstea, involving the LBE (laboratory of biotechnology and the environment) in Narbonne, the LGC (laboratory of chemical engineering) in Toulouse and Suez Environnement.

MINIWASTE: development, implementation and evaluation of a strategic plan that is innovative and sustainable in order to reduce communal organic waste. LIFE+ 2009 Project is backed by Rennes Métropole in partnership with Irstea and the Brno (Czech Republic) and LIPOR (Inter municipal Waste Management Service of Greater Porto, Portugal) communities.