HBAN - Hydrosystems and bioprocesses

Centre :

The Hydrosystems and Bioprocesses research unit aims to qualitatively and quantitatively understand inland surface waters. The unit focuses on two main lines of research: the knowledge and management of hydrosystems (flows of water and pollutants, aquatic communities and habitats) and associated technologies (bioprocesses for domestic waste and wastewater treatment).

The unit’s models and expertise can be applied to:

  • engineering for wastewater treatment plants and waste processing storage facilities (storage, anaerobic digestion)
  • forecasting water resources (rivers, reservoirs) and exceptional events (floods, low water)
  • managing fish populations and the occupation of highly anthropized catchment areas in order to facilitate an integrated approach to managing hydrosystems.

The HBAN research unit

The unit’s research aims to improve knowledge of the hydrological behavior of catchment areas, including agricultural microcatchments, and to produce modeling tools that can be used for operational purposes (forecasting, predetermination, management, impact assessments). It is primarily based on data from the ORGEVAL experimental research catchment area. GIS ORACLE is a tool used for long-term multidisciplinary and collaborative monitoring with many other research units within the region. It has become known through the Equipex CRITEX project.

We can understand how river ecosystems work by studying the contemporaneous evolution of fish populations and the impact of fish farm habitats on their distribution in relation to several natural and manmade factors (temperature conditions, water quality, river and catchment area development).
Studies relating to the optimization of developments and the understanding of their environmental consequences focus primarily on the degradation and transformation processes of wastewater from wastewater treatment plants as well as natural water. Any new discoveries must be systematically supported by a full-sized fieldwork phase. This is the only way to uncover actual installation problems that can hinder reliable operations. Wastewater is extremely variable prior to treatment, and the biological phenomena under investigation are complex and relatively unstable.

Investigations into the operation of waste storage facilities focus on water and leachate transfers and how these transfers influence changes in waste and the sustainable management of any associated environmental risks.

A recent line of waste management research looked at understanding and optimizing the use of microbial ecosystems within organic waste treatment and recovery bioprocesses. Foundations for the environmental engineering of microbial bioprocesses have been laid in order to encourage innovation and maximize the services obtained.

Research topics


HBAN research unit organizational chart


The HBAN research unit is made up of 8 research teams. An interdisciplinary Chemistry team contributes significantly to research conducted by the various research teams.

These teams include a wide range of skills and disciplines from fields as varied as fluid mechanics, bioprocess engineering, hydrobiology, geophysics, microbial ecology, transfer of contaminants, and environmental engineering.

Facilities and equipment

Partners and Higher Education

Important socioeconomic partners

Public (75% of own resources)

  • ANR , CE (Horizon 2020), Ministries of Research, Agriculture and Ecology
  • EDF, Météo-France, Schapi, AESN, DDT, ONEMA
  • Ile-de-France Regional Council

Private (25% of own resources)

  • Suez, Véolia, SAUR, CREED
  • Afitex, Les Champs Jouault, Aqui'brie, Eaux de Paris

Important scientific partners

  • Public institutions: CNRS, IRD, INRA, CEH Wallingford, Université Laval, CSIRO, Tongji University
  • Scientific associations: ASTEE, IWRA, AISH, CFG, IGS

Higher education

  • Grandes écoles (selective business and engineering schools): AgroParistech, ENPC, INSA, ENSTA, ENGEES
  • Universities: Paris VI, Paris XI, Paris XII, Laval, Tongji
  • Training centers: OIEau, ONEMA, ENTE

GR models have their own website

The ability to simulate the hydrological behavior of a catchment area is one of the main challenges in modern hydrology. Rainfall runoff modeling is an attempt to shed light on these issues.


Head of the research unit: Nathalie Touze-Foltz
Hydrosystems and Bioprocesses, Irstea Antony Center
1, rue Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Antony Cedex CS 10030
Tel.: +33 (0)1 40 96 60 39  Fax: +33 (0) 40 96 61 99

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