INNOVATION, A PRIORITY FOR COLAS ENVIRONNEMENT
Colas Environnement relies on innovation to meet its customers’ expectations with ever greater efficiency and transparency.
Colas Environnement’s Innovation and R&D approach is divided into two phases and is hinged around several areas:
Technical and technological intelligence
Colas Environnement systematically keeps abreast of the latest developments in the field of treatment and monitoring solutions, particularly in North America.
Colas Environnement teams are working on:
- the optimization of existing techniques and technologies, including improving the equipment used to implement the chosen solutions. This ability to “fine-tune” techniques to make them more reliable lies at the heart of Colas Environnement’s history and is one of the pillars of its customer relations: the aim is to provide customers with the most innovative techniques, but without innovating at the customer’s expense.
- the development of new techniques and technologies, based on pilot test protocols, full-scale trials, etc.
These tests, developments and improvements are carried out in Colas Environnement’s workshop and laboratory, as well as, in agreement with clients, on the sites being remediated.
In order to develop the best processes, Colas Environnement works with European and American partners and enters into partnerships with universities and research start-ups. The sharing of expertise and feedback between Colas Environnement and its partners is the basis of the company’s innovation approach.
3 examples of innovation
AN EXAMPLE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW TECHNOLOGY:
THE CONNECTED CONTAINER
The connected container makes it possible to monitor and/or control all the processes remotely while giving the customer the possibility of viewing the operation of the installations on-site live from a smartphone or computer. This technology is a concrete example of how to improve the implementation of the chosen methods.
In addition to the technical advantages it provides, the connected container fits squarely with the transparency policy pursued by Colas Environnement, which allows the client to obtain information about the operation of the equipment at any time.
AN EXAMPLE OF AN IMPROVEMENT TO AN EXISTING TECHNIQUE:
SEQUENCED LNAPL EXTRACTION (E2S PATENT)
Based on a multiphase extraction, the E2S uses a sequencing system linked to the pressure in the wells to recover the supernatant while limiting the recovery of water and air to be treated. With this technique, not only is the investment and consumption of activated carbon significantly reduced, but it is also possible to add a large number of recovery wells during the treatment without modifying the extraction and treatment unit.
This technique has been successfully implemented at several sites. It has been 100 times more efficient and productive than a conventional “skimming” device.
AN EXAMPLE OF THE DEVELOPMENT AND RELIABILITY FINE-TUNING OF A CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY:
HIGH-TEMPERATURE COUNTERFLOW THERMAL DESORPTION AND THERMAL DESORPTION OF DIOXIN PRECURSORS
In the early 1990s, Colas created and operated the world’s largest thermal desorption plant in the United States. Building on this success, Colas Environnement et Recyclage developed the first mobile thermal desorption unit in Europe capable of treating chlorinated pollutants that are precursors of dioxins. The technology heats the soil by means of a heated rotating drum in which a counter-current flow of hot air circulates. The most emblematic examples are the operations at Amponville and Moulin de Nanchon carried out between 1998 and 2001. These two projects, involving several tens of thousands of tons, made it possible to treat pollutants such as chlorinated phenols and lindane isomers, as well as their derivatives, under cover.
Colas Environnement’s expertise in making the technology reliable was a determining factor in the successful treatment of these dioxin precursors. Although these two projects were firsts in France, and even in Europe, they were carried out with a controlled process, within budget and to the satisfaction of the client, the authorities and local residents, thanks to a policy of complete transparency in real time with all stakeholders.