Hélène Roux-de Balmann

Directrice de recherches CNRS (CNRS Senior scientist)

GIMD – Génie des Interfaces et des Milieux Divisés



My research is about the physicochemical mechanisms and their impact on the performances of membrane processes, like production capacity, selectivity, yield or separation factor. The approach is a multiscale approach from the molecular level (quantum mechanics, combination of QM with Molecular Mechanics) up to the process level, i.e. integration of membrane operations in downstream process.

Some topics of interest are listed below:

– influence of the membrane/solute interactions on the membrane structural properties, especially polymeric membranes like ion exchange ones used in electrodialysis or fuel cells or nanofiltration and Reverse Osmosis ones

– Influence of the triple Solute/Ion/Water interactions on the hydration of organic solutes and their transfer through polymeric membranes

– Development of thermodynamic methods and computational chemistry to characterise the solute/ion/water interactions

Cation Exchange Membrane equilibrated with Na+– Optimized geometry of macromolecular model formed by two polymer fragments equilibrated by Na+

From A.Fuoco et al., J. of Membrane Science, 493(2015)311–320.

Two step recovery process coupling NF and RO for the recovery of succinic acid from fermentation broth- performances: yield 99.3 %, purity>99.5%

From Khunnonkwao et al., Separation and Purification Technology, (2018), 207, pp.451-460


Application & Teaching

Research applications: Since it concerns physiochemical mechanisms and combination of those with mass transfer, the research carried out is not totally specific of membrane processes. The potential applications are then very large. The main ones are in the field of waste water treatment, desalination, demineralisation, removal of pollutants, biomass valorisation, production of bio based molecules (chemical building blocks), CO2 valorisation,…

Examples of projects

  • Traitement d’effluents polysiloxaniques dans les matrices aqueuses salines (thèse CIFRE Arthur Boedec Bluestar Silicones, 2014-2018)
  • Bioimpulse (PIA ADEME) https://bioimpulse.fr/ The BioImpulse project aims to create a new adhesive resin free of substances ofvery high concern (SVHC). By developing a biobased molecule of interest, this project will open up new applications for biotechnology in the field of materials. My contribution is about the development of a downstream for the extraction and purification of the target molecule
  • BioCO2organics (PhD grant INP Région Occitanie) and gas2organics (TWB precomp), collaboration with Claire Dumas (TBI): The objective is to develop an integrated process allowing the production of organic acids and alcohols from CO2 by microbial consortia. The project has two parts: on the one hand, the feasibility and the understanding of the bioprocess (via the study of the impact of operating parameters and the metabolic pathways used) and on the other hand, the separation of the products obtained (acids organic, alcohols) by membrane processes.

Research supervision

– 18 PhD students

– 2 post-docs

Teaching activities: head of a doctoral school (2007-2016)- teaching membrane processes for engineers (ENSAT, MSc students), tutorship

Collaborators: restricted to last 10 years

  • Academic: Institut Carnot 3BCar, GMPA AgroParistech, ISCR Rennes, TBI Toulouse, LPTC Bordeaux, IEM Montpellier, UTINAM Besançon, LPCNO Toulouse,
  • Industry: VEOLIA, EURODIA, RHODIA, Elkem Silicones, Michelin, Safran, Total
  • International: Ut Twente (NL), ITM (It), SUT (Thailande)

Patents :

« Procédé et dispositif améliorés de filtration de bain de platine par Electrodialyse »

Brevet européen, titulaire « Safran Aircraft Engines » SNECMA/SAFRAN, n° 18735633.2-1103

20.12.2019, co inventeurs : S. GALIER, H. ROUX-de BALMANN

Education and Degrees

Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches – Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse 3- titre « Séparation de biomolécules : une approche physico-chimique de l’opération unitaire au couplage de procédés »

PhD chemical engineering – Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse 3- titre “ Utilisation de l’ultrafiltration dans le traitement de l’eau”- Thèse CIFRE Lyonnaise des Eaux

Chemical engineer LGC


Directrice de Recherche CNRS LGC

Chargée de Recherche CNRS LGC

Ingénieur de Recherche UPS/CNES

Doctorante CIFRE/Lyonnaise des Eaux