In the field of composting, the research group has developed several activities since 2000. These activities have been mainly related to the control and monitoring of the process, both at lab and full scale. As main results, the research group has optimised the respiration techniques to follow the biological activity of the process and to know the stability of the end product. Today, the Group has several dynamic respirometers for research, which are also used in studies for private companies and public administrations. An other important topic has been the study of the environmental impact related to the composting process, and to compare it with other biological technologies for the treatment of organic wastes. Specifically, the research has permitted to determine the greenhouse gas effect of the process, from experimental data obtained at real full-scale waste treatment plants.
Other main research lines on this field include:
- The development of a new controller for the composting process based on the specific respiration rate (OUR).
- The use of novel image analysis techniques to estimate the stability of compost samples.
- The use of compost for soil bioremediation.
- Biodegradability studies (e.g. diapers).
- Home composting.
- Coupling composting and anaerobic digestion.
The composting research activities are being carried out in lab and pilot plants, and some of them include field studies at full-scale plants.
The composting research is the base on which the new studies on solid-state fermentation are being developed.