Cooling tower without aerosols

Chantal Maatouk, joint research as a second nature

Now 28 years old and with a doctoral title in hand, Chantal Maatouk had arrived in France from Lebanon on January the 9th, 2004 in order to finish her course of studies with a 9 months internship at the Ecole des Mines de Paris (now known as MINES ParisTech). She liked the quality of life in Paris and decided to pursue her research and settled down here.

She looks back on the 4 years that saw her pursue a joint research programme from A to Z.


Poster with an explication of the tower without aerosols
Lateral view of the tower without aerosols (credits: Contextes – Mines ParisTech/CEP)



A post-doctoral life with a bright future

She is a Doctor in Energy Engineering and works for the CEP. She pursues her work on the towers, aiming toward large scale industrialisation. A patent has also been taken.

This experience has but strengthened her desire to work on joint industrial research, which she considers to be stimulating and animated. Chantal confirms that her experience in research has been very different from what she had imagined at the University. There are no mad scientists. The joint industry-research arrangement allows progress to proceed by supplying material and financial means at a much higher level than in academic research. Without doubt, this is yet another satisfactory ending for the partners from industry who decide to commit to research oriented toward their problems.



Earlier studies in Lebanon

Chantal led her course of studies in Lebanon. She obtained a Secondary School diploma with an emphasis in Mathematics, and holds a French Baccalauréat; she attended the University of Lebanon to study for a diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Mechanical is to be taken in its broadest sense, meaning a field covering such varied topics as energy, thermal or material sciences.


Destination: France!

Noticed and chosen by one of her professors who happens to also teach at MINES ParisTech, Chantal took the opportunity to come finish her studies with an internship in France.

She came to the CEP (Centre Energétique et Procédés of MINES ParisTech) to work in applied thermodynamics on eliminating emissions from cooling towers. This first experience turned out to be highly motivating, and after a series of tests conducted with her internship tutor and a number of analyses she came up with no fewer than three solutions to the problem.

At the end of this period, she considered returning home to her country. But the atmosphere in the laboratory and the freedom offered by joint industrial research were appealing, and Chantal decided to stay longer and start work on a thesis. She took advantage of a scholarship and the services of EGIDE (operator for international mobility) and then signed a CFR, a contract for research training.



Study and design of an aerosol free cooling tower

During the legionella epidemic in the Pas de Calais, Chantal began work on a thesis of high topical interest: the design of an aerosol free tower. Source of the problem: the vesicular consequences penalising the exploitation of cooling towers despite their energy efficiency.

In a partnership with the Environment Protection Agency, the Centre for Energy Control (ADEME) and the concessionary for the urban cooling system of the City of Paris –Climespace-, Chantal pursued several studies already carried out in the laboratory.

She also conducted an experimental work and a bibliographical study which showed that vaporisation is at the origin of the droplet formation. The impact of water on the exchanger body and the airflow blown against the stream contribute to the disintegration of the drops entering thereby the atmosphere.

She decided to build a prototype with a new cooling system based on humidity without aerosols. She followed the whole process from production at the manufacturer to installation on the roof of the Galeries Lafayette in April 2005. Thanks to this innovation, Climespace can continue using cooling towers. Emissions are eliminated without additional energy consumption and with the same, if not even better, energy efficiency.

Chantal looks back at her work and feels satisfied. Her goals have been achieved, even though, as she points out on several occasions, nothing is ever definitive and improvements can always be made.


The next step for Chantal will be go out and work in industry!