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Anaerobic Digestion in a decentralized and circular system on a micro scale: pilot test in Catalonia

Anaerobic Digestion In A Decentralized And Circular System On A Micro Scale: Pilot Test In Catalonia

The Waste Agency of Catalonia, as a partner of the Horizon 2020 DECISIVE Project, has launched a tender for the purchase of a micro-scale anaerobic digestion equipment (m-AD), with a reduced capacity of around 100 t per year, for the digestion of food based biowaste and the production of biogas, transformable in thermal or electrical energy.

Companies working in the sector are invited to present innovative solutions that allow valorising biowastes in the proximity of their source of generation. The equipment will be part of a pilot test in the framework of the DECISIVE project, which brings together an international and multidisciplinary consortium with the aim of developing different tools and methodologies that will foster the decentralization of biowaste management, its local use in the production of energy and bioproducts in a circular system and the development of business opportunities and job creation.

The new methods, tools and technologies will be implemented in two pilot tests, one of them located in the Campus of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). Due to its population of approximately 46,000 individuals, including students, teaching and administrative staff, and its location in the periphery of the Metropolitan Area, the UAB Campus of Bellaterra suggests itself as a very appropriate environment for the study of decentralized and circular waste management. The study focuses on municipal waste and in particular on biowaste. Recent analyses indicate that a total generation of biowaste of around 100 t per year can be expected to be produced in the kitchens and restaurants of the Campus and in the Vila Universitaria. The separate collection of these biowaste is already implemented in the Campus, although there is a great potential for improvement.

The Campus provides an adequate place to install the m-DA equipment in a designated area for waste management that already houses the UAB Civic Amenity Site (CAS). The aim is to create and study a local circular system, with facilities close to the digester as potential consumers of surplus energy in the form of biogas generated in the anaerobic digestion process. The digestate produced will be used in part in a Solid State Fermentation (FES) process that is being developed at the UAB to produce biopesticides, and which represents another line of work of the project. The remaining digestate could be treated by composting on campus to produce an organic fertilizer. Both products would have an agricultural application in the experimental fields of the Faculty of Veterinary in the feedstock crops for the cattle.

Simultaneously information and communication campaigns will be carried out with the dual purpose of increasing the separate collection of biowaste and disseminating the objectives and results of the project among a large number of individuals who in turn can act as multipliers beyond the Campus.

The aim of the pilot tests of the DECIVE project is to obtain reproducible results that are applicable in similar environments in Catalonia, Spain and throughout Europe, both as an alternative and as a complement to centralized management systems.

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