October 27, 2006 10:44 ET

ANR is helping to finance phase 1 of the programme led by EUROPLASMA and CEA

MORCENX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 27, 2006 -- Bordeaux, 26 October 2006

The aim is to conduct a technico-economic evaluation of a sector concerned with the profitable industrial production of synthetic diesel

During the first half of 2006, the GALACSY programme was certified as a (2)pole of competitivity(2) in the PACA region (Provence, Alpes, Côte d'Azur) of southeast France, in the field of "energy that does not emit greenhouse gases".

Since then, the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (a national research agency), has awarded funding for module 1 of the GALACSY programme. Module 1 largely comprises a scientific approach to methods of degrading biomass using a thermal plasma. It will provide a useful contribution to a technico-economic evaluation of the biofuel production sector.

The European Commission Green Paper has set targets to substitute 20% of petrol with alternative fuels by 2020.

Therefore, the GALACSY programme aims to produce a diesel that is perfectly compatible with current engines. This naturally sulphur-free biodiesel will not have to be diluted in a fossil fuel. It will be directly available at the pump using the existing infrastructure for distribution (no modifications will be necessary). When the time comes, this 2nd generation gasification process will mean that the biodiesel can be converted into a source of hydrogen production for future vehicles.

Since 2004, Europlasma and the CEA, the French nuclear energy agency, have been working together on the GALACSY[1] programme to develop a sector for the profitable industrial production of synthetic diesel.

In 2005, joint discussions resulted in the joint application for a licence and the establishment of a road map that aims to check the technical and economic elements at each stage of the development of industrial biofuel production.

The plasma torch: the disruptive technology

Europlasma and the CEA are now setting up a process that follows the gasification of biomass. The aim is to produce synthetic diesel on a huge scale, by investigating the plasma pathway as a technology of rupture.

[1] Gazéification Allothermique de la Ligno-Cellulose Appliquée à la production de bio-Carburant de Synthèse (allothermic gasification of lignocellulosis applied to synthetic biofuel production. The Galacsy programme is part of the ANR's bioenergy programme.

In order to meet its ambitious objectives by 2020, the CEA and EUROPLASMA are being supported by a body of experts from LCSR, ARMINES-CEP, IUSTI (direct partners in the programme), financed by the ANR.

This body is spread out and financed by funds from EUROPLASMA and CEA at CNIM, SPCTS, LATEP as well as LAEPT.

In the framework of this technological deployment, EUROPLASMA is focusing on the development and qualification of a prototype torch of several hundred kilowatts that could be used for targeted applications in 2007. The torch has to be qualified before a semi-industrial demonstration platform can be developed (module 2 of GALACSY).

Identity sheet for the GALACSY Programme

Allothermic gasification of lignocellulosis applied to the production of synthetic fuel


To use fuels from biomass in order to reduce CO2 emissions (greenhouse gas) from fossil fuels and the transport sector's dependency on petrol. This method of adding value to biomass is one of the best ways of dealing with these two problems. However, in order to find a solution that has a significant impact, the petrol equivalent that can be provided by a given (and finite) resource of available biomass has to be maximised. On the basis of which, the current project aims to demonstrate the feasibility and the technico-economic value of using energy that is external to the system to convert biomass into biofuel (the so-called allothermic pathway).

Coordinators: EUROPLASMA & CEA


CNIM (La Seyne sur Mer)


IUSTI (UMR CNRS 6595/ Polytech Marseille)

LCSR (UPR 4211 CNRS Orleans)

SPCTS (University of Limoges-UMR CNRS 6638)

LAEPT (University of Clermont Ferrand)

LATEP (University of Pau and the Adour region)

CRMHT (University of Orleans-UPR 4212 of CNRS)


The CEA is a technological research body with 15 000 staff. It was founded in 1945 by General de Gaulle. It conducts research in three main areas: non-greenhouse gas emitting energy - nuclear fusion, fusion and new energy technology, information and health technology, defence applications, particularly that of the nuclear deterrent.

CEA is developing an ambitious programme for new energy technology. Since 1999, its budget has grown and in 2006 its budget was around EUR 40M. It employs 330 people. It is focusing on the development of a photovoltaic sector in France and energy storage, hydrogen as an energy vector, fuel cells and, lastly, the second-generation processes for biofuel production using biomass gasification.


Europlasma was established in 1992 and specializes in the disposal of hazardous waste. It operates in niche markets with high added value. The group treats waste, such as asbestos or the residues from incineration. Thus, Europlasma offers an alternative solution to waste disposal sites, in accordance with the law and the European objectives to reduce waste production and toxicity and add value to waste. The company is also active in the fields where energy is produced from biomass and waste, particularly with the development of the GALACSY programme.

In 2005, Europlasma had a turnover of 12.3 million euros.

Europlasma is registered on the Euronext Paris Free Market (code mnemo: MLEUP - code ISIN: FR0000044810).


Didier PINEAU - P.D.G. EUROPLASMA - Tel. +33 (0)5 56 49 70 00

Press officer: Chantal FARANT - ACTUS - Tel. +33 (0)1 53 67 35 86


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