Metrology, Monitoring and Modeling of gas (CO2 and CH4) transfer processes within the system geosphere/biosphere (-1000, 0m)


This work joins within an integrated project, the various international expertise of University of Lorraine, INRA, INERIS and the SOLEXPERTS company, in the field of metrology, monitoring and modelling of gas transfer processes (CO2 and CH4) in geosphere and biosphere compartments (LABAT N. and al Carbon Capture and Storage: The Lacq pilot – Chap. VII Environmental monitoring and modelling. TOTAL Publisher, 141-215, April 2015). This research work aims at combining the in situ, continuous and deported monitoring of gas underground concentration (-1000m), gas flows in the interface soil/atmosphere and within the plant place setting (0, 10m), on a unique experimental site over coal bed formations. This research fits into one of the specific problems of the project DEEPSURF affecting the gas transfer within the critical zone, mainly CH4 in relation with the project of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) extraction in the Lorraine basin. The Ph.D. candidate, would implement a wide geochemical and isotopic database, relative to the gas concentrations and flows within the critical zone targeting the following scientific questionings:

  • The understanding of gas sources and gas exchanges in the geosphere/biosphere system. What is the production (flow/concentration) yield to each of the compartments? Where are located the sources? How do they impact the following compartment? Can we model the system using finished elements?
  • The impact of the natural cycles on the CO2 flows on the surface. What are the most influent between the meteorological and biological cycles?
  • The ability to discriminate between the natural and anthropic sources. How to acquire a representative baseline? What is its variability? On the scale of 4 years, can we express it in terms of likely or stochastic events?

To do it, the PhD student will acquire data and chronicles in cooperation with various partners focusing on a crossed interpretation of the different monitoring results.

For the UL / GeoRessources and SOLEXPERTS, the work will focus on the temporal continuous evolution of CO2 and CH4 concentrations in underground, soil and aquifers, through a specific geochemical and isotopic monitoring in dedicated wells (0 in-1000m) (SYSMOG, Collaborative Region of Lorraine project, on 2015). The data will be interpreted in the form of mixed models of underground gas transfer.

For the INERIS, the researches will focus on the monitoring and the variability of gas flows (CO2 and CH4) by the CARE method (Pokryszka Z., and al, Oil and Gas science and Technology, flight (theft). 65, N 4, pp. 653-666, 2010), coming from the soil. The data will be treated in the form of 2D isoflux mappings.

For the INRA, work will be devoted to a continuous follow-up, using the covariance method (Aubinet and al, Springer Atmospheric Sciences Series, Springer, on 2012, 438 pages), of semi-hourly flows of CO2 and their variability between the ecosystem and the atmosphere, with the objective to assess the contribution of biosphere carbon balance at different scales ranging from local to global. The data will be interpreted in the form of wind rose distribution of concentrations/flows combined with the meteorological data.

All flows and associated data will be compared on the basis of a simple analytical model (Loubet B., et al, Journal of Geophysical Research – D 106, D20, from 24.183 to 24.198, 2001). This model shall be used as a predictive behavioral tool and should be used to determine the relevance of an abnormal situation. The concatenation of two models “concentration” and “flow” will lead to a comprehensive exchange model in the observation column. CO2 and CH4 baselines shall be established as preamble reference standard has a future exploitation of coal gas resources in Lorraine.



UL (GeoRessources UMR UL CNRS CREGU 7359)
Philippe de Donato (DR CNRS) (supervisor – data acquisition)
Odile Barres (IR CNRS)
Marie Camille Caumon (IGR UL)
Scientific Pole of Université de Lorraine : OTELo.

INRA (BEF UR 1138, EEF UMR 1137)
Laurent Saint-André (DR INRA) (Co-supervisor – modelling)
Bernard Longdoz (CR, HDR INRA – CO2 flux between vegetation and atmosphere)
Scientific Pole of Université de Lorraine : A2F.

Finally, the Scientific Pole AM2i (Team to be specified) would likely intervene to concatenating models.


Research unit and Doctoral School of attachment:
Research unit: GeoRessources (UMR 7359)
Doctoral School: RP2E


EPIC et industriels partenaires
For monitoring of flow gas from soils: INERIS (Nancy/Verneuil en Halatte, Zbigniew Pokryska and Stéphane Lafortune) (
For well completion and data acquisition: SOLEXPERTS (Médéric Piedevache – Director) (
Pilote site for CBM : Française de l’Energie


Main LUE challenges
Implementing the future of energy and energy transition, the development of new sources of energy carriers with low carbon impact on climate change and environment and maximizing efficiency energy of industrial processes, transport and buildings.


How to apply

In order to prepare a PhD thesis within the Lorraine Université d’Excellence Program, the interested candidate should consult the PhD topics offered in each social and economic challenges.
These PhD thesis topics are proposed by faculty members or researchers accredited to supervise research.

Candidate application period: according to graduate school schedule

  • visit graduate school web site for application rules. RP2E doctoral school
  • contact adress christine.fivet (@)

Each candidate may submit an application on up to three separate research topics.

Application analysis period by each graduate school
The graduate school reviews the applicants for a doctoral contract in the relevant disciplines. They check the level of supervision for each supervisor and the situation of trained doctors. Each candidate will meet the laboratory director, supervisor and a representative from the graduate school. This interview is to identify the candidate’s motivations and suitability as a candidate for the PhD project proposed by the supervisor. A recommendation will be made to the graduate school. This will summarize the strengths and/or weaknesses of the application.

PhD grants will include monthly income for the PhD student (roughly 1700 € for research only, complement can be provided for teaching missions) and environment for research in the research unit.

Please be aware that in order to offer a variety of subjects, more positions are posted here than available funding. The LUE executive committee will make the final choice on the granted funding (up to 12 positions), based on the recommendations by the doctoral schools.