The LBE is a research unit of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, on contract with Montpellier Supagro.
The LBE activity is focused on the concept of the environmental biorefinery. It was labeled "Knowledge Enabling Technologies (KET) Technology Centre" by the European Commission.
The aim of the research conducted at the LBE is the treatment and the valorization of emissions linked with human activities: liquid effluents (mainly of food origin), solid wastes (agricultural residues, household wastes and sewage sludge) or specific biomasses such as micro or macro-algae. The production of bioenergy (eg., via biogas and bio-hydrogen by anaerobic ecosystems) is a major valorization pathway studied in the laboratory. Waste and effluent treatment has to integrate health safety constraints (eg., related to the presence of pharmaceutical residues, detergents and / or pathogens ...). Research conducted at the LBE covers a large range of scientific disciplines: microbiology, microbial ecology, biological engineering, process engineering, modeling, automatics, lifecycle analysis, project engineering and technology transfer.
With a 1882 m² experimental hall, a performant scientific and analytical equipment and more than 50 digesters (one liter to several m3) operating all year round, the LBE is a world leader laboratory in the field of anaerobic digestion. It puts on excellence research and offers a multidisciplinary approach on a broad range of topics.The laboratory efficiently valorises its research through innovation and technology transfer, with 6 patents, 11 license agreements, and the Pollutec Innovation Award in 2007, 2009 and 2010.