BACK 29/06/2021

Interview with CoEC partner Benedicte Cuenot

Prof. Benedicte Cuenot, a leading scientist in CERFACS:

   If we achieve the goal, cars, trucks, planes will use non- or low-carbon fuels

They will not anymore contribute to climate change


Professor Cuenot, you are one of the best EU scientists in the field of numerical combustion and fluid mechanics developing different advanced and massively parallel software for the numerical simulation (DNS and LES) of turbulent combustion. Additionally, you also work in heat transfer (including thermal radiation) in industrial systems. With these tools, you address various topics such as pollutant emissions, ignition and extinction, combustion efficiency or thermal fatigue of combustion chambers. Today many countries are trying to solve the tasks set by CoEC on their own, but so far without success. Do you think it is realistic for the CoEC team to cope with these complicated tasks in such a short time?

Not in a short time, but intermediate.

The scientific community around the world is experimenting, but judging by the air we breathe, these efforts have not been very successful. You face a severe problem – between 25% and 28% of greenhouse gas emissions are due to combustion and the transport sector. What is your task in the project?

I study non-carbonated fuels H2 (Hydrogen), NH3 (Ammoniac) and metal powders.

Could you explain the problem and the task most clearly?

To avoid the emission of carbon oxides, the most direct solution is to burn fuels which do not contain carbon. These fuels must be easy to find and to burn Hydrogen, Ammoniac and metal powders are among the good candidates. But they require to re-design all industrial systems.
This can be made via numerical simulation, which has become essential for innovation.

What is your plan – what are the next steps?

I plan to continue to promote the use of new, non-polluting fuels.

What is the most challenging problem, task or complex of tasks in this project and why?

Simulating complex physics with a true capacity of prediction is a challenge and requires extremely high CPU resources.

What will be the benefit for EU citizens if you make the right decisions?

The benefit in the long term is the availability of a renewable, non-toxic and environmental-friendly source of energy.

What will the world look like if the project fulfils all its goals? What will be the technologies, the fuels, alternative fuel?

Cars, trucks, planes etc., will use non-carbon or low-carbon fuels, i.e., will not anymore contribute to climate change.

Are you more motivated, more inspired when you take part in an endeavour that tries to save our home Earth – The little blue dot, as Carl Sagan says. What is your dream as a researcher?

I like science, and my dream as a researcher is to make progress in science.