Historical Background

The Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering (former Chemical Engineering Department, october 2015) of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona had its origins in what was then called the Department of Technical Chemistry (1971), within the Faculty of Sciences in Bellaterra Campus, two years after the founding of the UAB.

Technical Chemistry is named after the German tradition of offering higher education, within the Chemistry studies, to those responsible for the design and operation of chemical process plants. Later on, it was adopted the internationally accepted title of Chemical Engineering as a specialised Engineering discipline with its own characteristics and separated from Chemistry.

At the beginning, the teaching staff concentrated their main teaching tasks on Industrial Chemistry, within the Chemistry degree. At that time, in the last two years of the degree students received intensive training in most of the defining elements of Chemical Engineering. This situation lasted until the 1992 reform of Spanish higher education system, when the degree in Chemical Engineering was established, and started to be thought in the Faculty of Sciences in 1993-94. The courses were incorporated at the School of Engineering when it was created in 1998 at the UAB. Since 2001 the Department of Chemical Engineering is located in the new building of the School of Engineering.

The initial phase of the department was very precarious both in terms of material resources and staff. The first permanent lecturer position occupied was in 1975 (Professor Manuel Bao, who would soon move to the Santiago de Compostela University). Until then, the pioneering work made, initially, by Professor Ferran Relea and later by Professor Juan M. Lema Rodicio, must be recognised. In 1977 there was the incorporation of the first permanent member of the staff who would remain at the Department, Professor Carles Solà). New funding would enable to build a stable teachers and researchers team (Juan M. Lema, Josep París, Josep López Santín, Carles de Mas) and, among other activities, the doctorate to be organised. In 1981 the first PhD thesis was presented by professor Josep París in 1980, with the experimental work partially carried out at the Universitat de València. One year later, Professor Josep López Santín presented the first doctoral thesis undertaken entirety in the department.

From the beginning, the research was focused on the field of biochemical engineering, essentially enzyme engineering, wastewater biological treatment, fermentation processes and modelling of bioreactions and natural systems (rivers). Specialisation in Biotechnological Process Engineering is, definitely, what identifies this department.

International collaboration was of notable benefit for research development and the relation with the National Institute for Applied Science in Toulouse was especially fruitful thanks to the generosity of professors Gerard Goma and Pierre Monsan.


Documents Departmental documents and regulations at your disposal


UAB' official gazette Information on UAB' agreements and resolutions


Getting to the department Maps and transport to help you reach the department and UAB's campus



Department of Chemical Engineering
Edifici Q
08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès)
TEL +34 93 581 10 18






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