12/06/2010 : Echoes from Paris (Educational trip to France)

PNG - 46.6 ko

The French embassy in Sweden in cooperation with the AFSR (Swedish-French Association for Research) and Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies organised an “Educational Trip to France” for future researchers and engineers focusing on water science.0
The group was in Paris from the 12th to the 18th of June, meeting several research centers, companies, Ministries and associations all related with water (Program).0
Here are the student’s daily reports.

June 14th : VWS presentation and Wastewater treatment plan visit

After a nice Paris sighseeing by boat on the Seine Sunday, the Educational Tour to france started with presentations prepared in Veolia Water Solution & Technology HQ by Sandrine Humbrecht, Talent Sourcing Manager and Mélanie Bertin, Talent Scouring Coordinator.

A very interesting way of emphasizing the importance of water problems was to go through statistical information by making a quiz. Putting together the important points it can be said that :

  • 2.2 million people die because of lack of water
  • 1 billion people do not have access to drinking water
  • 72 % of the Earth is covered by the water
  • 97.7 % of the water on the Earth is salt water
  • in each year water head increase as 9% in the city of Dubai
  • the biggest water consumer in the world is Quebec, using 800 m3/day
  • the portion of drinking water produced by desalination is 1%

Presentations continued by introducing the Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies as being one of the branches of Veolia Environment, together with Veolia Energy, Veolia Transport and Veolia Waste Management. Veolia water has many branches around the world with at least 5963 employees in Europe. There are three representatives of VWS in Sweden : AnoxKaldnes, Hydrotech and VA-Ingenjörerna. Those three have been presented by Marie Gralén, Human resources Manager for VWS Sweden. The first one is basically the technological center of MBBR (Biofilm Reactor), the second one is more concentrated on Drum and Disc Filters. The third one develops SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) and management system.

JPEG - 199.3 ko
The entire group in front of VWS Head Quarters
Photo : Bertrand ILHE


It is interesting to know that there are many job opportunities at all branches of VWS for graduates to find internships and permanent jobs. The main fields of these opportunities can be categorized as design, which is suitable for the students with strong technical background interested in calculations and theoretical details. The second category is proposal of tenders which is a good option for the ones that like to deal with design and practical matters. Then it comes to execution and commissioning, that is concentrated on building and delivery services. Another position could be services, which provides management support and deals with R&D research centers. Overall it can be said that from total 20 typical positions 8 could be appropriate for the fresh graduates.

Click on the logo to download the presentation (This file is protected due to privacy contents and is only accessible for the students)

JPEG - 9.4 ko

It was nice to enjoy the traditional French pancakes for lunch. In the afternoon we visited the Wastewater treatment plant Siam in Lagny-sur-Marne. Jean-Luc Willems, international relations manager for VWS, was guiding us. Firstly he gave us an overview of how the drinking water and wastewater is managed in Paris and in the municipalities around it (app. 12 million inhabitants).
There are six drinking water treatment plants and the water is taken from three different rivers. The treatment plants are over dimensioned which allows the supply of consumers even in case of an emergency when one of the plants needs to be closed. The maximum residence time of drinking water in the pipe system is 24 hours and the water from different water treatment plants is mixed before it reaches the consumer.

JPEG - 160.9 ko
Jean-Luc Willems, international relations manager for VWS giving explanation to the students
Photo : Bertrand ILHE

The wastewater in the area around Paris is treated at six wastewater treatment plants. Most of the storm water is also treated at the wastewater treatment plants. In the older parts there are combined pipe system and the new areas is a separated system when the storm water is stored in buffer tanks and then delivered to the wastewater treatment plants.
The General director Patrick Pavillon of the wastewater treatment plant SIAM gave (in French !) an overview of the organization and goals of the treatment plant. It was build in 1994 and due to the near location of drinking water plant special attention to the water effluent is needed. After this, we were guided around the treatment plant by Jean-Luc. Since the treatment plant is located in an urban area, the odor issue is important and therefore the air is treated. Several treatment steps are used in the Siam treatment plant : fine screening, sand and grease removal, lamella settlers, biological treatment and sludge dewatering. There are two lines at the treatment plant and the capacity of one can be doubled in the future.

JPEG - 159.9 ko
The wastewater treatment plant SIAM
Photo : Bertrand ILHE

The evening ended up with a dinner at the restaurant Nos ancêtres les Gaulois. It was a very nice cultural experience with the traditional French food and a guitar player that was entertaining us. We even got to know more about French people and culture on the 1.5 hour long journey by metro back to the hotel.0

Written by Ekaterina Sokolova, Arezou Babaahmadi and Madeleine Forss, all coming from Chalmers tekniska högskolan.0

June 15th : Research center and meeting at Ecole Centrale Paris

The day started with yet another delicious hotel breakfast before an early departure by metro to Maisons-Laffitte. Located close to the metro station was our destination, Anjou Recherche. There Mr. Romain Lemaire gave us a guided tour and explained the different areas of research performed at the center. The research is conducted on drinking water and waste water treatment processes, as well as on subjects closely linked to those processes. Among other things, Mr. Lemaire showed us the pilots where he is working, conducting research on the development of the Anamox bacteria on MBBR carriers from AnoxKaldnes (Sweden). Under the right conditions, the Anamox bacteria are able to perform both nitrification and denitrification in the same tank. However, they grow very slowly, and Mr. Lemaire is therefore investigating how to optimize the growth of these bacteria.

Then, we received explanations and descriptions about the research done on the production of PHA (bioplastic) from organic material in sludge from waste water treatment, as well as research on MBR, on the role of the material of piping, and on the elimination of micropollutants in waste water. One of Veolia Water’s patented processes that are already being applied in full scale is the biofiltering method named Biostyr. The principle of this filtering method is to make the waste water pass through a bed of polymer beads covered with biofilm.
After this very interesting tour, we went to a nearby restaurant, where Jean-Luc Willems gave us a brief presentation of the Research and Development section of Veolia Water after which we were presented with lunch. 0
We departed from the restaurant to Ecole Centrale de Paris (ECP) by our private coach. We were welcomed by the Dean of international affairs, Christopher Cripps, to be followed by a presentation of the environmental engineering education in France and ECP by Professor Dominique Pareau who explained how the engineering and master educations are formed in france and more specifically at ECP. The students that are accepted at any French “Grande École” firstly must complete the Baccalauréat and thereafter be accepted to the preparatory classes for two years. After having finished those two years there is another elimination before some students are accepted to the “Grande École”. The educations at ECP are guided by real problems proposed by companies and NGOs, as well as team- work and project management with multidisciplinary approaches. After Professor Pareaus presentation, Dean Cripps presented Ecole Centrale de Paris international affairs, explained the strong link to different industries and gave some background information involving ECP and its history. 0
ECP was founded the third of November 1829 by M. Lavalée together with Jean- Baptiste Dumas, Théodore Oliver and Eugéne Péclet. Students and alumnies of the ECP are originally described as doctors of industries and factories. There are in total 1500 engineering students at ECP of which only 17% are females and more than 30% of the students are internationals. One strong characteristic for ECP, like in many “Grandes Écoles”, is that every student has to work or study at least six months abroad before they can graduate. After this, Professor Anne Spasojevic informed about workshops at ECP, in where students with different background work together in projects. Before the visit ended we were shown the chemical engineering laboratory by assistant professor Estelle Couallier and Filipa Lopes.
And finally we would like to thank all people involved for an informative and educational day. 0
Written by Maria Piculell (Lund tekniska Högskolan), Maria Dremé (Kungliga tekniska Högskolan, Stockholm), Magdalena Wolynczyk (Lund tekniska Högskolan) and Sofie Flod (Göteborg Universitet).

June 16th : Ministery of ecology and Sewage network of Paris

After breakfast, the group went dressed up towards the Ministry of Ecology (MEEDDEM : Ministère de l’Écologie, de l’Environnement, du Développement Durable et de la Mer, which means that the Ministry includes as well environment, sustainable development and sea). It is located at the business district La Défense at the outskirts of the city of Paris. 0

JPEG - 199.5 ko
The entire group in La Défense
Photo : Bertrand ILHE

Inside the Grande Arche we were welcomed by the International and local coordinator Jean-Paul Rivaud from the Ministry and François-Xavier Imbert from the French Water Partnership. The Ministry had been recently merged and they are to handle currently a wider variety of aspects. Jean-Paul Rivaud talked about the general water situation in France. 0
Click on the logo to download the presentation of MEEDDEM

A discussion emerged about catchment areas and transboundary river basins and site specific solutions. The water situation in France is fairly good but in some areas there is water scarcity during certain times of the year, for example in the Garonne river catchment area. Instead of increasing the water production, for example by desalination, they work towards decreasing the water use and implementation of integrated water recourses management. The major issue is related to the pollution from the intensive agriculture sector in France and some results in reducing the degradation of water quality has been achieved, but there is still a long way to go. 0

JPEG - 90 ko

The French Water Partnership was created as a platform helping stakeholders in France to coordinate their actions, developing relations and shearing information. Mr Imbert and Mr Rivaud shared very interesting experiences they have faced of how different water related problems emerged and dealed with in France.
Click on the logo to download the presentation of PFE GIF0

Before heading downtown, we ate lunch at the restaurant Pizza del Arte in La Défense.
After Lunch we visited the “Égouts de Paris” at the Pont de l’Alma. We were guided around in the museum and were able to receive a unique insight of how the sewage network of Paris works and are maintained.

JPEG - 179.1 ko
Les égouts de Paris
Photo : Bertrand ILHE

After the visit, a free evening were given and the group split up ; some went to the Eiffel tower to get a amazing view over the beautiful city and the others went for some shopping.0

JPEG - 174.9 ko
La tour Eiffel
Photo : Bertrand ILHE

The day ended with a dinner at the Restaurant Petit Bofinger together with Bertrand Ilhe (French embassy in Sweden) and Sandrine Humbrecht (VWS), where discussion about the experiences of the day where one of the topics.0
Written by Rasmus Halling and Gustaf Lustig, both from Lund tekniska Högskolan.00
June 17th : Project Cycle presentation and Château de Versailles0
After breakfast, guided by Mr. Bertrand Ilhe, the whole group arrived headquarter of VWS, starting another new and exciting day !0
Our schedule started with a presentation of Project Cycle at Haussmann meeting room, which was given by Jean-Luc Willems, International relations Managers. Mr. Bertrand Ilhe and all the educational group members attended the presentation.0
At first, Mr. Willems defined the prequalification which is required by the projects with bidders. And for the projects without bidders, reference and documents should be given. Afterwards, project cycle was introduced. In order to get a final contract with an employer, it needs about 5 years commercial phase and 18 to 24 months offer phase. Feasibility should be discussed and tender preparation should be issued at the first phase. And at the second phase, contract will be adjusted and finalized after prequalification and project studies. 0

JPEG - 141.3 ko
Jean-Luc Willems
Photo : Bertrand ILHE

Later a clear concept about a complete project cycle was given by Mr. Willems : commercial phase, project studies, contract, design, procurement, works and start-up. Also he emphasized the importance of design and procurement sections which are the main tasks of VWS working group.0
After a clear business circle and specific positions in each step were showed. From the tender analysis to the final guaranty, there are four specific professions : sales engineer, project manager, design engineers and commissioning engineer. And their main tasks and roles are clearly defined. These gave us a clear job definition and requirement of each position. 0
At last, a practical project named Hague done by VWS group in Delfland was illustrated in the form of video. This example vividly demonstrated a process of a real project which deepens the understanding of the project cycle presentation. 0
During the presentation, more details regarding the project process and time series and human resources were deeply discussed among Mr. Willems and study group. 0
After a very nice lunch, we headed to le Château de Versailles by coach. Thanks to the experienced tour guide, this trip is full of interest and as well as fun. The geographical, short historical background and introduction of architects were given before we arrived. The city sits on an elevated area, nearby Paris and surrounded by the woods of Marly, Fausses-Reposes, Satory and Meudon. The Palace of Versailles was the official residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1790, which was originally a hunting lodge, built in 1624, by Louis XIII. It was expanded by Louis XIV. 0

JPEG - 141.9 ko
A nice view from the Versailles Castle
Photo : Bertrand ILHE

We were all shocked when entering the palace, while no matter the paintings on the arches, the lights or even small knob on the window are all delicate and “detail is everything”. Also these luxuries showed the power France had that time, while the number of the tourist is also impressive.0
Jules Hardouin Mansart, the king’s principal architect, drew the plans to remove some terrace to make the garden overlooked as the magnificent Hall of Mirrors. The French classical architecture was complemented by extensive gardens. And the guide introduced the version symmetry which is very impressive. 0
Written by Jing Li (Lund tekniska högskolan) and Xing Lan (Chalmers tekniska högskolan).0

June 18th : Conclusion
For the last session, the students had a presentation about their possibilities to get contracted by VWS and of the “Volontariat International” by Mrs Stéphanie Ponsin from UBIFRANCE. Two young engineers attending the program for VWS gave their testimony about their own experience : Simon Simonsen from Norway, and Angèle Radjagobal from France.0
Click on the logo to download the presentation (This file is protected due to privacy contents and is only accessible for the students)

JPEG - 9.4 ko

Click on the logo to download the VIE Programm presentation by UBIFrance :
(This file is protected due to privacy contents and is only accessible for the students)

JPEG - 5.2 ko

The conclusion was given to the students by Mr Jean-Michel Glasman, Synergy and integration Director at VWS. All the students left Paris the Friday afternoon, tired but with new ideas in mind.
Mozaïque - JPEG

Modifié le 12/08/2010

Haut de page