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The UAB Campus has been selected as the Catalan demonstration site after analysing its advantages and disadvantages compared to other potential locations. The Autonomous University of Barcelona has approved an overall sustainability programme “Campus Saludable i Sostenible” (Healthy and Sustainable Campus) which encompasses a wide range of aspects related to sustainability, from water and energy consumption to waste prevention and management. The general aims and objectives of the DECISIVE project and the installation of a pilot equipment for anaerobic digestion fit nicely into this strategic programme. The characteristics of UAB’s location in the outskirts of the metropolis of Barcelona render the campus a suitable study area.  The campus of the UAB covers an area of 260 ha, of which 90 ha are built; 60% of the total area is composed of forest and agricultural fields. The campus is delimited by highways C-58 (SE) and AP-7 (NE), and Bellaterra village. The campus population consists of about 36.000 undergraduate and students, 4.800 PhD, 3.750 teaching staff and 2.340 administrative staff. This leads to the assumption that the communication and dissemination of the objectives and results will reach a great number of individuals and have a considerable impact on waste separation behaviour and biowaste quality.


A great variety of activities generate wastes on the campus, from municipal waste and similar to specific wastes arising from research activities (agricultural waste, hazardous and non-hazardous laboratory waste, etc.). For the pilot study the main concern lies with the general municipal waste and particularly the biowaste. At the campus 10 restaurants and a hotel generate kitchen- and food waste. The Vila Universitària consisting of students’ residences and a number of houses for guest teachers are also sources of biowaste generation. Nevertheless, the pilot study mainly focuses on the restaurants, considering that their biowaste generation and handling will be easier to control. A separate collection scheme for biowaste is currently in place, but offers potential for improvement.  The catering enterprises running the major campus restaurants have expressed their commitment to participate in the source separation of biowaste as feedstock of the pilot plant.

Recent analyses indicate that between the biowaste generation of the restaurants and the separate collection of biowaste from the Vila an annual biowaste quantity of about 100 t can be expected. During the development of the project it is expected to increase the collection of biowaste, mainly due to the deployment of awareness campaigns in all the campus (restaurants and Vila).


The treatment technology chosen for the biowaste produced in the UAB campus is anaerobic digestion in a micro-Anaerobic Digester – mDA of small capacity (under max 200 t/year). The advantages of this technology are its reduced space demand in comparison to other systems such as composting, and the production of biogas, which can be converted into thermal or electric energy. This technology also allows to control the emission of gases and liquids, and consequently the production of odours.

The campus offers an adequate location for the micro-AD equipment to be installed at the so called Space R, an area dedicated to waste management and research that houses already the Civic Amenity Site of the UAB. This area is fenced and offers electricity and water supply.

The expected surplus energy produced by the micro-AD pilot equipment may be used in either in the Civic Amenity Site or in a nearby maintenance area. Part of the digestate produced by the mAD will be used in a SSF process developed at UAB to produce bio-pesticides. The remaining part can be treated on the premises of the university, to produce organic fertilizers. Both bio-based products will be used in the veterinarian area as soil amendment or fertiliser or biopesticide in the crops for farm animal feeding.

You can read more and detailed information, including the technical specifications in the dedicated publication “Methodology of characterization of the biowaste management system in the DECISIVE demonstration sites: current and new systems simulation for the Lyon and Catalonia cases”. It can be found in the library.

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