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Alain Gelin

Best Innovators



Alain Gelin, mechanical expert – designing rotating machines


After earning a degree in engineering from INSA Lyon (Institut national des sciences appliquées), Alain Gelin  went on to get his PhD in mechanics in 1990 as part of a CIFRE agreement with Framatome Thermodyn (which became General Electric in 2000) for his work on centrifugal compressors equipped with magnetic bearings and dry packing seals, resulting in a breakthrough for Société nationale des pétroles d’Aquitaine (SNPA) at the Lacq site.


At Thermodyn, he started out as a manager in Mechanics R&D, going on to become a Noise and Vibrations expert working on the steam turbines of French Navy nuclear submarines and then manager for the compressor and turbine test bench. At that time, he helped develop new products, draw up design guidelines, approve designs before machining/construction and provide assistance to the on-site start-up teams.


He joined the Total E&P Rotating Machines team in Pau in 2005. His work ranges from design studies to operations assistance.



  • Alain Gelin has helped solve a number of technical problems relating to gas turbines, centrifugal compressors, pumps and electric motors. He is the qualification authority for new equipment, for instance for subsea motocompressors and those that were integrated for the first time ever on Incahuasi in 2016.
  • He works on the implementation of Remote Assistance Intervention & Diagnosis (RAID), a vital tool for monitoring rotating machines, helps maintain the quality of the technical reference materials, and creates framework agreements with Dresser-Rand, General Electric and Mitsubishi. He was named an expert in 2011.


Publications and collaborations

  • He has authored around twenty technical papers in dynamics (for ASME, IMechE, IFToMM and Turbomachinery Symposium of Houston), and he is member of the International Federation for the Promotion of Mechanism and Machine Science (IFToMM).
  • He won the Total Group Technology Committee (CTG) award in 2011 for multiphasic pumps and the Boldness prize in 2016 for the Incahuasi ICLs.

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