The fifth international oil and gas group side in the world and leading player of the chemistry, Total has the ambition to have a diversified energy bouquet : hydrocarbons but also new energies as the solar energy or the biomass.
The industrial sites of Total Petrochemicals in France produce big intermediaries of the petrochemistry then transform them into plastics used in applications of the everyday life: automobile, packaging, building, household electrical appliances, leisure activities.
For safety reasons, the laboratory is not accessible to the minors ; the group of visitors Comenius was thus 16 professors and 14 major students. All our guides expressed themselves in English.
At 2pm, the group was welcomed by Mr Bruno VUILLEMIN, responsible of the PERL in Lacq. Aided by a slide show, he made a general presentation on the PERL and on the activity of the laboratory in the Lacq area.
Then he presented the 3 main research fields of the PERL :
– Environment, especially water treatment or ground remediation
– Gas separations
– New technologies for oil extraction
At 3:00 pm, the group of participants was divided in two groups to be able to make both visits (permutation at the end of one hour) :
1. In the Hall F, Mrs Audrey BRETON presented half a dozen experimental units intended to do the separation of the fluids: gases, liquids and solids. The pilots are prototypes of equipment which allow to estimate, to size technical, chemical processes, which according to the context and the materials in presence are going to allow to optimize the treatment and the separation of gases (by solvent, membranes, absorption) as well as the processes of solid separation/liquid, liquid/liquid (hydrocarbons and water for example).The goal of this laboratory is to develop high-performance technologies and products to enhance the efficiency, lower the cost and reduce the environmental footprint of separation processes. Several technical solutions were presented by away detailed enough with the concerned scientific considerations (chemical for the main part) and it was a real challenge for our young students to understand them.
2. For the 2nd visit, we took a bus for about 1 mile and went to the pilot rivers. Mr Kévin CAILLEAUD presented this outdoor “laboratory” consisting of 16 artificial streams. The experimental rivers of the Pond of Lacq allow studying the impacts of industrial discharges on the water, to appreciate them via relevant biological indicators on the fauna and on the flora, and to estimate the risks bound to certain substances.
This outdoor laboratory is connected with the service Environment of Total and was used, in particular, to study the impact of the CO2 dissolved in the water within the framework of the pilot of harnessing transport and geologic storage of CO2 of Lacq. He also allows making the development of new processes of treatment and optimization of the management of the water as well as the hydrogeology elaboration of modelling and hydro dispersive. Mr CAILLEAUD made clear and simple comments to explain how much patience is needed to study the impacts on Environment and how long it usually takes.