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R&D platform dedicated to plant-based filters for treating water and sludge - REFLET

R&D platform dedicated to plant-based filters for treating water and sludge - REFLET

R&D platform dedicated to plant-based filters for treating water and sludge - REFLET

Contact : Pascal Molle, pascal.molle(at)


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The platform

The Lyon-based REFLET R&D platform provides access for consultants, contractors and project owners to a set of custom tools for developing and validating green systems for treating wastewater, sludge and urban discharges during rainfall events (actual effluents).

Overseen by a specialist research team competent across various study scales (laboratory, pilot set-ups, semi-industrial prototypes, up to full-scale), this platform makes it possible to conduct original and innovative work, enhancing the understanding of processes in pursuit of operational objectives.



The facilities

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The platform, which encompasses several distinct sites across the Lyon metropolitan area, proposes a number of study scales:

■ Laboratory for the physical and hydrodynamic characterization of porous media (Photo 1)

■ A solid respirometry test bench for measuring biological kinetics (Photo 2)

■ Four laboratory columns (0.1 m²) for the detailed study of mechanisms under controlled conditions (Photo 3)

■ Four 2-m² pilot devices to evaluate processes under actual conditions (Photo 4).

Full-scale validation under real-world conditions is also proposed on this platform, in conjunction with an adapted metrology. The metrology equipment on hand is able to continuously measure both chemical parameters (e.g. COD, SS, NH4, NO3, oxygen, redox potential) and physical parameters (e.g. flow rate, water content, capillary pressure).


The metrology developed at Inrae has pursued three innovative directions:

■ continuous measurements (custom ion probes, in situ spectrophotometry, flow meter readings, etc.)

■ the introduction of sensors inside filtering mass blocks (redox potential, water content, oxygen concentration, etc.)

■ measurements aimed at specific processes.

This platform relies on the LAMA Laboratory to analyze standard physicochemical parameters, as well as metals and organic micropollutants, and on the EMHA Laboratory to measure microbial communities.


Detailed assessments of treatment facilities in an effort to develop, validate and optimize new treatment systems:

■ Use of mechanical models (Hydrus/CW2D, BIO PORE, COMSOL) or model development to assist with design and/or management

■ Compilation of performance-based datasets from various facilities listed in Irstea’s “Plante Défi” database in order to share feedback.

Modification date : 20 May 2023 | Publication date : 17 October 2022 | Redactor : RC