Abstract: The nexus of minerals and energy becomes ever more important as the economic growth and development of countries in the global South accelerates and the needs of new energy technologies expand, while at the same time various important minerals are declining in grade and available reserves from conventional mining. Unconventional resources in the form of deep ocean deposits and urban ores are being widely examined, although exploitation is still limited. This paper examines some of the implications of the transition towards cleaner energy futures in parallel with the shifts through conventional ore decline and the uptake of unconventional mineral resources. Three energy scenarios, each with three levels of uptake of renewable energy, are assessed for the potential of critical minerals to restrict growth under 12 alternative mineral supply patterns. Under steady material intensities per unit of capacity, the study indicates that selenium, indium and tellurium could be barriers in the expansion of thin-film photovoltaics, while neodymium and dysprosium may delay the propagation of wind power. For fuel cells, no restrictions are observed.
Abstract: The objectives of this review paper are to provide an overview of issues related to forest health and forest entomology, explain existing methods for forest insect pest detection, and provide background information on a case study of emerald ash borer. Early detection of potentially invasive insect species is a key aspect of preventing these species from causing damage. Invasion management efforts are typically more feasible and efficient if they are applied as early as possible. Two proposed approaches for detection are highlighted and include dendroentomology and near infrared spectroscopy (NIR). Dendroentomology utilizes tree ring principles to identify the years of outbreak and the dynamics of past insect herbivory on trees. NIR has been successfully used for assessing various forest health concerns (primarily hyperspectral imaging) and decay in trees. Emerald ash borer (EAB) (Agrilus planipennis), is a non-native beetle responsible for widespread mortality of several North American ash species (Fraxinus sp.). Current non-destructive methods for early detection of EAB in specific trees are limited, which restricts the effectiveness of management efforts. Ongoing research efforts are focused on developing methods for early detection of emerald ash borer.
Abstract: Food safety is a serious concern among the consumers of agricultural products. Toxicity risks are created by the acute presence of contaminating chemicals in foods. The usage of chemical inputs in paddy farms has not only caused health issues for farmers but it has also adversely affected the environment, killed animals, and polluted air and water. This creates controversial issues that need immediate attention, since sustainable agriculture needs to meet both consumers’ and farmers’ welfare in terms of food and farmers’ safety, respectively. This study looks at paddy farming practices and the creation of the Farmer Sustainability Index as a measurement to gauge whether farmers are practicing sustainable agriculture by following the Rice Check guideline that has been stipulated by the Department of Agriculture, Malaysia. The questionnaire was constructed to capture the 16 farming practices based on the Rice Check guideline and a score was given to each practice to see whether the guideline is being followed. The data from the questionnaire were analyzed and the Farmer Sustainability Index was calculated. The range of index is from 0 to 100, where 0 is not sustainable at all and 100 is highly sustainable. Eighty (80) paddy farmers from Sungai Petani, Kedah participated in the study and the result shows that 80% of the farmers practice quite unsustainable paddy farming with an average score of less than 40.0 on a scale of 0–100.
Abstract: A batch-operated ZVI (zero valent iron) desalination reactor will be able to partially desalinate water. This water can be stored in an impoundment, reservoir or tank, prior to use for irrigation. Commercial development of this technology requires assurance that the partially-desalinated product water will not resalinate, while it is in storage. This study has used direct ion analyses to confirm that the product water from a gas-pressured ZVI desalination reactor maintains a stable salinity in storage over a period of 1–2.5 years. Two-point-three-litre samples of the feed water (2–10.68 g (Na+ + Cl−)·L−1) and product water (0.1–5.02 g (Na+ + Cl−)·L−1) from 21 trials were placed in storage at ambient (non-isothermal) temperatures (which fluctuated between −10 and 25 °C), for a period of 1–2.5 years. The ion concentrations (Na+ and Cl−) of the stored feed water and product water were then reanalysed. The ion analyses of the stored water samples demonstrated: (i) that the product water salinity (Na+ and Cl−) remains unchanged in storage; and (ii) the Na:Cl molar ratios can be lower in the product water than the feed water. The significance of the results is discussed in terms of the various potential desalination routes. These trial data are supplemented with the results from 122 trials to demonstrate that: (i) reactivity does not decline with successive batches; (ii) the process is catalytic; and (iii) the process involves a number of steps.
Abstract: Depletion of abiotic resources is a much disputed impact category in life cycle assessment (LCA). The reason is that the problem can be defined in different ways. Furthermore, within a specified problem definition, many choices can still be made regarding which parameters to include in the characterization model and which data to use. This article gives an overview of the problem definition and the choices that have been made when defining the abiotic depletion potentials (ADPs) for a characterization model for abiotic resource depletion in LCA. Updates of the ADPs since 2002 are also briefly discussed. Finally, some possible new developments of the impact category of abiotic resource depletion are suggested, such as redefining the depletion problem as a dilution problem. This means taking the reserves in the environment and the economy into account in the reserve parameter and using leakage from the economy, instead of extraction rate, as a dilution parameter.
Abstract: In a life cycle assessment (LCA), the impacts on resources are evaluated at the area of protection (AoP) with the same name, through life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods. There are different LCIA methods available in literature that assesses abiotic resources, and the goal of this study was to propose recommendations for that impact category. We evaluated 19 different LCIA methods, through two criteria (scientific robustness and scope), divided into three assessment levels, i.e., resource accounting methods (RAM), midpoint, and endpoint. In order to support the assessment, we applied some LCIA methods to a case study of ethylene production. For RAM, the most suitable LCIA method was CEENE (Cumulative Exergy Extraction from the Natural Environment) (but SED (Solar Energy Demand) and ICEC (Industrial Cumulative Exergy Consumption)/ECEC (Ecological Cumulative Exergy Consumption) may also be recommended), while the midpoint level was ADP (Abiotic Depletion Potential), and the endpoint level was both the Recipe Endpoint and EPS2000 (Environmental Priority Strategies). We could notice that the assessment for the AoP Resources is not yet well established in the LCA community, since new LCIA methods (with different approaches) and assessment frameworks are showing up, and this trend may continue in the future.