Pierre-Emmanuel Bournet

Teacher researcher in Physical transfers

Department of Physical Environment, Landscape Architecture and Territorial Development

Teaching unit: Physics of transfers and bioclimatology
Research unit: Physical Environment of the Horticultural Plant

Academic background


After an engineer diploma in hydraulics and fluid mechanics (at ENSEEIHT, Toulouse, France), I started a Ph.D. thesis in environmental sciences in a laboratory (CEREVE) belonging to the water and forest engineering school (ENGREF) and to the bridges and roads engineering school (ENPC) in Paris. Then I got a position in administrative research for IFREMER (French National Institute for Marine Research) in Brussels. Afterwards I got a job at Numeca Int SA, Brussels, working on environmental applications of a CFD software. I also worked for INRIA (French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control) on fluid-structure coupling before I became assistant professor in Fluid Mechanics at the French National Agronomic Institute (INA-PG) in Paris in 2001. Finally, I got an assistant professor position in Agrocampus Ouest, Angers, France in 2001. In 2011, I became professor in Physics of transfers and since 2012, I have been the head of the EPHor (Environmental Physics and Horticulture) research unit.


2008: Accreditation to supervise research (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches), University of Angers, specialty Physics Physique : « Contribution to the modelling of flows and transfers in fluid mechanics : analysis of several coupling mechanisms.»
1996: Ph.D. thesis at ENGREF (National School of Agriculture, Environment, Water and Forestry, Paris, France) in Environmental Sciences: « Contribution to the hydrodynamic and thermal study of lake Bourget: Density currents and internal waves » 
1993: Engineer diploma at ENSEEIHT (Engineering school in Electrical Engineering, Electronics, Computer Science, Hydraulics and Telecommunications, Toulouse, France) in hydraulics and fluid mechanics
1999: Master's degree at UPS (Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse) in Environmental physics and chemistry


Teaching courses: 

  • Hydraulics (L3I & L3A)
  • Landscape engineering (M1 major Landscape), Water management (M1 specialty Horticulture)
  • Sciences and technics for landscape engineers (M2 Landscape) 
  • + several short courses (M2 major Horticulture, M1 initiation to project engineering)

Teaching topics: fluid mechanics, hydraulics, water management; implementation: dimensioning of structures, sanitation, drainage, watering, irrigation, pumps, greenhouse climate.

Research topics

My research interest is about the coupled mass-energy transfers in the context of horticultural production. I mainly focus on the modelling of greenhouse distributed climate with a particular attention paid to the radiative transfers and interactions of the crop with the local climate. Recently, we paid attention to the impact of water restriction on the energy and water transfers in the substrate-plant-atmosphere continuum.
The models developed for the horticultural applications are currently adapted to urban applications. The aim there is to reduce water consumption while guaranteeing the ecosystem services of the urban plants – particularly the evaporative cooling to mitigate the urban heat island effect.
I also developed activities on livestock buildings. The aim was to characterise the climate inside such buildings in terms of temperature and humidity, but also to analyse gaseous transfers (ammonia in particular) and plume spreading outside the building.

My former fields of research dealt with: environment (hydrodynamics, pollutant transfer, atmospheric flows …), limnology, river and marine hydraulics, naval hydraulics,  thermics, cooling processes (for food conservation) and fluid-structure interaction (applied to bridges).
During the last few years, I focused on:

  • greenhouse climate (opening management, energy balance, plant-climate interaction, impact of water restriction, condensation),
  • livestock building climate (climate distribution, gaseous transfers).
  • and recently on urban climate: plant interaction with local climate taking account of shading, water inputs, soil compaction. Another point of interest is climate ecosystem services provided by trees in urban environments.

Keywords: greenhouse, livestock building, fluid mechanics, thermics, radiation, coupling, turbulence, CFD, numerical methods, sensible and latent heat, porous medium, metrology

Research programmes

Current programmes

•  Canyon Street (2016-21): Funded by ADEME and French ministry of agriculture. This project aims at quantifying the water and energy transfers in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum in urban condition. The project will focus in particular on the plant’s influence on the urban microclimate especially under water restriction. It includes an experimental stage based on a reduced scale model of a canyon street with trees, and on a modelling approach of the distributed climate based on CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics).

•  Projet OBAUC (2016-17): Funded by Région Pays de la Loire. The aim of the project is to characterise plant-environment interrelations, to understand and predict plant development. The specific goals are to analyse the combined effects of soil compaction, water supply restriction and shading on plant transpiration, plant biomass as well as aerial and root architecture.

•  Nature 4 Cities (2016-20): Funded by the European Commission (H2020). Nature4Cities aims at developing complementary and interactive modules to engage urban stakeholders in a collective-learning process about renaturing cities, develop and circulate an extensive knowledge base on Natural Based Solution (NBS), new business, financial and governance models for NBS projects, as well as providing tools for the impact assessment, valorisation and follow-up of NBS projects. Our aims will be to provide performance assessment of NBS regarding a range of urban challenges by providing definitions of multi-scalar and cross-thematic sets of urban performance indicators.

•  Hortinergy project (2017): Funded by ADEME. Development of a software to simulate the heat balance of a greenhouse with Agrithermic company. We work on the integration of plant impact on the heat balance in the software.

Recently finished programmes

•  Plantinov’ser (2009-13): Funded by ADEME and Région Pays de la Loire. This project aimed at limiting the greenhouse crop systems energy consumption by providing new cultivars and new climatic strategies. The research unit showed the economic and technical interest of dehumidification heat pump. Experimental validation conducted on ornamental crops evidenced the efficiency of our innovative control strategy.

•  Physi’Ho (2012-16): Funded by Région Pays de la Loire and growers. The project aimed at understanding the interactions between climate, pathogens and hydrangea physiology, and their influence on the plants storage.

•  Conser (2014-16): Funded by Région Pays de la Loire and growers. This project aimed at improving the understanding of the cucumber plants responses to greenhouse climate. The project made a physiologic reference of the cucumber photosynthetic efficiency according to climatic conditions in order to improve the energetic efficiency of the climate strategies.

Organization of the Greensys 2019 Symposium from June 16 to 20, 2019

With the support of the CTIFL (Interprofessional Technical Center Fruit Vegetables) and INRAE Antibes, the research unit EPHOR (physical environment of the horticultural plant) to which I belong, will organize in Angers the 2019 session of the congress Greensys (International symposium on new technologies in greenhouses and plant factory) under the aegis of the International Horticultural Society.
Organized every two years, this congress brings together researchers, technicians, academics and professionals to take stock of the future prospects of the greenhouse horticulture sector.


My publications on HAL

My publications on ResearchGate