SOLPART interviews: COMESSA, an SME for the design and construction of the pilot unit

SOLPART interviews: COMESSA, an SME for the design and construction of the pilot unit

Meet SOLPART partner COMESSA (France) in our interview series in video: Frédéric Pron, Managing Director of this French SME, answers 8 questions about his role in the project, challenges, achievements and the way ahead.

Interview at Odeillo solar furnace, France

Question: Tell us a bit about yourself…

Answer: I’m Frédéric Pron, working at COMESSA for 23 years now. COMESSA is an SME specialized in the thermal processing of divided solids, this means drying, cooling or calcining application. We are based in Strasbourg, east of France, and we are working abroad in different kind of industries and applications.

Describe your role in the SOLPART project.

In the SOLPART project, we are mostly involved in the design and construction of the pilot unit, the solar loop. This means the detailed engineering of the equipment and the construction but also the erection on-site of the pilot unit.

Why did you decide to take part in this project?

In the past, we have already been involved in another EU project and this one was quite promising in terms of technology. Thus, we were interested to continue our cooperation and especially for the future application of this project.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role?

For the SOLPART project, it was a real challenge to start from a basic concept and make it real, make it workable and feasible. I won’t say we started from a white page but nearly. We are quite satisfied to have achieved this task and we are waiting for the next steps.

How do you overcome these challenges?

As it was a new concept, we succeed in our tasks mostly thanks to the mutualisation of the knowledge and experience of the different partners. But also based on our own experience in the high-temperature processes which was helpful.

What success has been achieved within your task?

Just behind me is the pilot unit. We were almost in time and the first step of commissioning is starting this day. It looks promising so far and we expect to get some good results in the coming months.

What should be the next step after the end of the project?

I think that there is a real need to do a larger-scale pilot unit before getting into industrial application. But the principle of this reactor can be duplicated for several industries, cement industry and calcining of different rocks. I think that the industrial application of this project and process shouldn’t be a problem. I think that on CO2 release it will be really interesting because we avoid the consumption of fossil resources like coal, oil and fuel. It’s a first gain on the CO2 reduction. And also maybe on the CO2 catching at the outlet of the process: it could be a second way to reduce the CO2 footprint of these industrial plants.

Some last comments to conclude?

We appreciate to participate in this project and hope to be involved in other projects in the future.