The DECISIVE solution, offering a decentralised biowaste management through a micro-anaerobic digestion unit, has been warmly welcomed by the participants of the online Final Conference of DECISIVE. The four-hour long event successfully synthesised five intense years of work on the innovative valorisation of urban biowaste.

Brussels, Belgium – On 20 October, ACR+ organised an online conference closing the Horizon 2020 DECISIVE project. Over 110 participants registered to join the DECISIVE partners and invited experts to look back at the five years of the project through presentations and stories. The project coordinator, Anne Tremier of INRAE, welcomed participants by explaining the main motivations for proposing such a project to the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme, back in 2016. Following this, Iain Gulland, the president of ACR+ and director of Zero Waste Scotland, officially opened the conference, praising the project consortium's sense of innovation and perseverance for proving these innovative approaches to be successful. He contributed to the conference with his reflection on the Scottish reality and the need for finding innovative solutions in rural areas and islands which could rely on decentralised schemes, to cut down collection and transport costs among other benefits.

An unprecedented full-scale test in a dense urban area 

Instead of a field trip, it is a video – premiered on that day - that took participants to the main outcome of the project, a test of the DECISIVE solution for decentralised biowaste management. After three years of assessing local biowaste flows and researching into the most appropriate technology for their recovery, a pilot demonstration site has been set up in Ecully in the greater Lyon region (France) in November 2019. The micro-AD unit, surmounted by a solar panel, has been designed to recycle a minimum of 50 tonnes of biowaste per year – or about one tonne per week - to close the nutrient loop. 80% of the biogas produced is used to heat the unit and provide hot water needed for purifying while the remaining 20% is used to generate electricity for an urban farm. This unprecedented pilot site in a dense urban setting is planned to be fuelled mainly by biowaste from the restaurant and catering sector such as collective catering, traditional restaurants, and waste from neighbouring retail premises.

A successful test of the concept of decentralised schemes calling for further improvements

From a technological point of view, the installation of a micro-AD unit in a dense urban space has proved efficient, even attracting new players. The organisation of a short circuit of recycled organic material ultimately demonstrates the potential for creating jobs. The technology, which can easily be replicated, has also proven to be adaptable since it can be transported as needed. Furthermore, it allows a progressive implementation of treatment capacities. The micro-AD unit at Ecully is now set up in Narbonne, and a new site in Italy capable of treating up to 200 tonnes of waste per year is currently being installed in a mountainous zone.

As a further step in the DECISIVE project, the Technical University of Hamburg is looking into how dedicated people are to sorting biowaste in their homes. The results of this sociological study in households of varying socio-economic profiles will help fine-tune policies related to managing waste at the source.

DECISIVE’s potential unanimously supported

Policy officers from the European Associations of biomass, biogas and composting, as well as Brussels Environment and ENWISE, the technology provider for the Lyon demonstration site joined the Conference as external panellists to reflect on the challenges and limitation their industries and organisations are facing. They all agreed that decentralised systems need specific regulations, and the current framework conditions do not really value the positive environmental outcomes of such circular biowaste system. Pane discussions also highlighted the necessity of recovering food waste, with priority given to the prevention of food losses.

The recording and presentations of the DECISIVE Final Conference are available on the DECISIVE website.


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The DECISIVE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement N° 689229


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