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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

Menu Logo Principal MUSE Supagro 3BCar Labex IM2E

Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology

Zone de texte éditable et éditée et rééditée

Internship for Master degree - Microbiology, Environment or Process Engineering

Optimization of biogas upgrading processes


The anaerobic digestion is a widely spread technology that consists in the degradation of organic matter by a highly coordinated chain of reactions, which eventually gives CH4 and CO2 as principal products, in approximately 50/50 ratio. CH4 can be used as an energy carrier. However, in order to use it, CO2 has to be depleted from the mixture, this process is called biogas upgrading. Nowadays, the biogas upgrading methods are not environmentally friendly however, there are biological ways to use the CO2 and upgrade the biogas. CO2 can be reduced to CH4 or to acetate by microorganisms using H2 as energy source. H2 can be provided by other environmentally friendly technologies as windmills or solar panels. These technologies are weather-dependent; in consequence, their energy production is fluctuant. However, by the Power-to-Gas concept the electric energy surplus can be transformed into H2 by water electrolysis, then the produced H2 can be injected into a digester and fixed into CH4 or acetate by hydrogenotrophic methanogens or homoacetogens, respectively. Both of these products can be easily stored. However, the biological biogas upgrading processes have some limitations: on one hand, H2 has a low dissolution rate which could lead to a low CH4 or acetate yields, as it cannot be used by the microorganisms and in the other hand, the high H2 partial pressure can lead to anaerobic digestion process imbalance and eventual process failure. In order to optimize this type of process is necessary to overcome these limitations. 


The objective of this 6-months internship will consist in the optimization of a biological biogas upgrading process using an organic substrate and H2/CO2 gas mixture.

The student will be assigned the design and implementation of an experimental plan on several key biogas upgrading parameters. The experiments will involve the monitoring of the reactors, by the analysis of the biogas production and composition (using gas chromatography). The composition and concentration of the microbial metabolites will be also evaluated by different analytical methods (gas chromatography and HPLC). Using these data, the performances of the reactors will be evaluated (COD mass balance, productivity and yields calculations) along the internship in order to better understand the influence of the studied parameters and to optimize the conditions for the biogas upgrading process. Afterwards, the microbial community will be analyzed by sequencing and qPCR. The obtained results will help to understand the observed performances of the reactors.


This internship is intended for students at the Engineering or Master's level who have been trained in Microbiology, Environment or Process Engineering.

In addition, the candidate must have, during his or her studies, demonstrated an aptitude for experimental research and must demonstrate autonomy, curiosity, and rigor.

Please send your application to:

  • Supervisors: Renaud ESCUDIE (renaud.escudie (arobase), Jean-Philippe DELGENES (jean-philippe.delgenes (arobase), Eric TRABLY (eric.trably (arobase)
  • Co-supervisor: Lucia BRAGA NAN (lucia.braganan (arobase)