Open AccessArticle
Taking the Step towards a More Dynamic View on Raw Material Criticality: An Indicator Based Analysis for Germany and Japan
Resources 2016, 5(4), 45; doi:10.3390/resources5040045 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Due to mounting concerns about the security of raw material supplies, numerous studies dealing with the quantification of supply risks and material criticality at the national level have been carried out in previous years. Regarding these studies, most approaches are indicator based static
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Due to mounting concerns about the security of raw material supplies, numerous studies dealing with the quantification of supply risks and material criticality at the national level have been carried out in previous years. Regarding these studies, most approaches are indicator based static screening methods analyzing large numbers of raw materials and identifying those which are most critical for an economy. The majority of these screening methods quantify supply risks and vulnerabilities for one base year without taking into account temporal changes. Dynamic approaches for specific raw materials analyzing affected value chains in detail have been introduced recently; however, these studies do not intend to provide a screening of larger numbers of commodities. In this paper, we present a simple dynamic screening approach to assess raw material criticality at the country level building upon methods from innovation economics. The indicators applied in this study are only based on broadly available production and trade data, which makes this approach relatively easy to apply. We test our methodology on the example of Germany and Japan—two economies with highly specialized industries and low domestic raw material deposits, and, hence, high import dependency. The results are comparable to those of previously conducted multi indicator based static screening methods. However, they provide additional insight into temporal developments over the previous decade. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Feasibility of Small Wind Turbines in Ontario: Integrating Power Curves with Wind Trends
Resources 2016, 5(4), 44; doi:10.3390/resources5040044 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Micro-scale/small wind turbines, unlike larger utility-scale turbines, produce electricity at a rate of 300 W to 10 kW at their rated wind speed and are typically below 30 m in hub-height. These wind turbines have much more flexibility in their costs, maintenance and
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Micro-scale/small wind turbines, unlike larger utility-scale turbines, produce electricity at a rate of 300 W to 10 kW at their rated wind speed and are typically below 30 m in hub-height. These wind turbines have much more flexibility in their costs, maintenance and siting, owing to their size, and can provided wind energy in areas much less suited for direct supply to the grid system. In the future under climate change, the energy landscape will likely shift from the present centralized electricity generation and delivery system to a more distributed and locally-generated electricity and delivery system. In the new system configuration, the role of relatively small sustainable electricity generators like small wind turbines will likely become more prominent. However, the small wind industry has been substantially slow to progress in Ontario, Canada, and there is much debate over its viability in a growing energy dependent economy. This study seeks to demonstrate the performance of a small wind turbine, and speculate on its potential power output and trend over Ontario historically over the last 33 years using the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data. We assessed the efficiency of a Bergey Excel 1 kW wind turbine at the pre-established Kortright Centre for Conservation test site, located north of Toronto. Using a novel approach, the Bergey optimized power curve was incorporated with reanalysis data to establish power output across Ontario at three-hour resolution. Small turbine-based wind power around the Great Lakes and eastern James Bay increased during winter and fall, contributing up to 10% of the annual electricity demand in some regions in Ontario. We purport that increases in power output are driven by long-term reductions in sea and lake ice concentrations affecting atmospheric stability in surrounding regions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Criteria Evaluation of End-of-Life Vehicles’ Dismantling Scenarios with Respect to Technical Performance and Sustainability Issues
Resources 2016, 5(4), 42; doi:10.3390/resources5040042 -
Abstract
Three scenarios of dismantling and shredding operations of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) were compared in this study with respect to technical and sustainability criteria, according to the level of dismantling applied to the vehicles. The scenarios differed from each other in the extent of
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Three scenarios of dismantling and shredding operations of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) were compared in this study with respect to technical and sustainability criteria, according to the level of dismantling applied to the vehicles. The scenarios differed from each other in the extent of the dismantling operations. They were implemented experimentally at the industrial scale on representative samples of 120 vehicles. The data collected from the monitoring of the experimental campaigns were used as feed data for the multi-criteria analysis of the scenarios using the PROMETHEE method. Nine criteria of evaluation were selected, namely global warming, local environmental impacts, tropospheric ozone production, ecotoxicity, operational costs, investment costs, occupational risks, employability, and technical performance. The medium-level dismantling scenario was identified as the best scenario with respect to the criteria of evaluation. This scenario included the steps of depollution, followed by the removal of easily accessible and identifiable plastics and glasses. Reasonable changes in the ponderation of the evaluation criteria did not significantly affect the ranking. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Allocating Group-Level Payments for Ecosystem Services: Experiences from a REDD+ Pilot in Tanzania
Resources 2016, 5(4), 43; doi:10.3390/resources5040043 -
Abstract
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) typically reward landowners for managing their land to provide ecosystem services that would not otherwise be provided. REDD+—Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation—is a form of PES aimed at decreasing carbon emissions from forest conversion and extraction
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Payments for ecosystem services (PES) typically reward landowners for managing their land to provide ecosystem services that would not otherwise be provided. REDD+—Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation—is a form of PES aimed at decreasing carbon emissions from forest conversion and extraction in lower-income countries. A key challenge for REDD+ occurs when it is implemented at a group, rather than an individual landowner, level. Whilst achieving a group-level reduction relies on individuals changing their interaction with the forest, incentives are not aligned explicitly at the individual level. Rather, payments are made to a defined group as a single entity in exchange for verified reduced forest loss, as per a PES scheme. In this paper, we explore how REDD+ has been implemented in one multiple-village pilot in Tanzania with the village defining the group. Our findings suggest that considerable attention has been paid towards monitoring, reporting, verification (MRV), and equity. No explicit mechanism ensures individual compliance with the village-level PES, and few villages allocate funds for explicit enforcement efforts to protect the forest from illegal activities undertaken by individual group members or by outsiders. However, the development of village-level institutions, “social fencing,” and a shared future through equal REDD+ payments, factor into decisions that influence the level of compliance at the village level that the program will eventually achieve. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Marginal Life-Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Electricity Generation in Portugal and Implications for Electric Vehicles
Resources 2016, 5(4), 41; doi:10.3390/resources5040041 -
Abstract
This article assesses marginal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of electricity generation in Portugal to understand the impact of activities that affect electricity demand in the near term. In particular, it investigates the introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) in the Portuguese light-duty fleet considering
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This article assesses marginal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of electricity generation in Portugal to understand the impact of activities that affect electricity demand in the near term. In particular, it investigates the introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) in the Portuguese light-duty fleet considering different displacement and charging scenarios (vehicle technologies displaced, EV charging time). Coal and natural gas were identified as the marginal sources, but their contribution to the margin depended on the hour of the day, time of year, and system load, causing marginal emissions from electricity to vary significantly. Results show that for an electricity system with a high share of non-dispatchable renewable power, such as the Portuguese system, marginal emissions are considerably higher than average emissions. Because of the temporal variability in the marginal electricity supply, the time of charging may have a major influence on the GHG emissions of EVs. Off-peak charging leads to higher GHG emissions than peak charging, due to a higher contribution of coal to the margin. Furthermore, compared to an all-conventional fleet, EV introduction causes an increase in overall GHG emissions in most cases. However, EV effects are very dependent on the time of charging and the assumptions about the displaced technology. Full article
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Open AccessReview
System Dynamics Modeling for Agricultural and Natural Resource Management Issues: Review of Some Past Cases and Forecasting Future Roles
Resources 2016, 5(4), 40; doi:10.3390/resources5040040 -
Abstract
Contemporary issues in agriculture and natural resource management (AGNR) span a wide spectrum of challenges and scales—from global climate change to resiliency in national and regional food systems to the sustainability of livelihoods of small-holder farmers—all of which may be characterized as complex
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Contemporary issues in agriculture and natural resource management (AGNR) span a wide spectrum of challenges and scales—from global climate change to resiliency in national and regional food systems to the sustainability of livelihoods of small-holder farmers—all of which may be characterized as complex problems. With rapid development of tools and technologies over the previous half century (e.g., computer simulation), a plethora of disciplines have developed methods to address individual components of these multifaceted, complex problems, oftentimes neglecting unintended consequences to other systems. A systems thinking approach is needed to (1) address these contemporary AGNR issues given their multi- and interdisciplinary aspects; (2) utilize a holistic perspective to accommodate all of the elements of the problem; and (3) include qualitative and quantitative techniques to incorporate “soft” and “hard” elements into the analyses. System dynamics (SD) methodology is uniquely suited to investigate AGNR given their inherently complex behaviors. In this paper, we review applications of SD to AGNR and discuss the potential contributions and roles of SD in addressing emergent problems of the 21st century. We identified numerous SD cases applied to water, soil, food systems, and smallholder issues. More importantly, several case studies are shown illustrating the tradeoffs between short-term and long-term strategies and the pitfalls of relying on quick fixes to AGNR problems (known as “fixes that backfire” and “shifting the burden”, well-known, commonly occurring, systemic structures—or archetypes—observed across numerous management situations [Senge, P.M. The Fifth Discipline, 1st ed.; Doubleday: New York, NY, USA, 1990.]). We conclude that common attempts to alleviate AGNR problems, across continents and regardless of the type of resources involved, have suffered from reliance on short-term management strategies. To effectively address AGNR problems, longer-term thinking and strategies aimed at fundamental solutions will be needed to better identify and minimize the often delayed, and unintended, consequences arising from feedback between management interventions and AGNR systems. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Prospective Analysis of Life-Cycle Indicators through Endogenous Integration into a National Power Generation Model
Resources 2016, 5(4), 39; doi:10.3390/resources5040039 -
Abstract
Given the increasing importance of sustainability aspects in national energy plans, this article deals with the prospective analysis of life-cycle indicators of the power generation sector through the case study of Spain. A technology-rich, optimisation-based model for power generation in Spain is developed
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Given the increasing importance of sustainability aspects in national energy plans, this article deals with the prospective analysis of life-cycle indicators of the power generation sector through the case study of Spain. A technology-rich, optimisation-based model for power generation in Spain is developed and provided with endogenous life-cycle indicators (climate change, resources, and human health) to assess their evolution to 2050. Prospective performance indicators are analysed under two energy scenarios: a business-as-usual one, and an alternative scenario favouring the role of carbon dioxide capture in the electricity production mix by 2050. Life-cycle impacts are found to decrease substantially when existing fossil technologies disappear in the mix (especially coal thermal power plants). In the long term, the relatively high presence of natural gas arises as the main source of impact. When the installation of new fossil options without CO2 capture is forbidden by 2030, both renewable technologies and—to a lesser extent—fossil technologies with CO2 capture are found to increase their contribution to electricity production. The endogenous integration of life-cycle indicators into energy models proves to boost the usefulness of both life cycle assessment and energy systems modelling in order to support decision- and policy-making. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Techno-Economic Models for Optimised Utilisation of Jatropha curcas Linnaeus under an Out-Grower Farming Scheme in Ghana
Resources 2016, 5(4), 38; doi:10.3390/resources5040038 -
Abstract
Techno-economic models for optimised utilisation of jatropha oil under an out-grower farming scheme were developed based on different considerations for oil and by-product utilisation. Model 1: Out-grower scheme where oil is exported and press cake utilised for compost. Model 2: Out-grower scheme with
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Techno-economic models for optimised utilisation of jatropha oil under an out-grower farming scheme were developed based on different considerations for oil and by-product utilisation. Model 1: Out-grower scheme where oil is exported and press cake utilised for compost. Model 2: Out-grower scheme with six scenarios considered for the utilisation of oil and by-products. Linear programming models were developed based on outcomes of the models to optimise the use of the oil through profit maximisation. The findings revealed that Model 1 was financially viable from the processors’ perspective but not for the farmer at seed price of $0.07/kg. All scenarios considered under Model 2 were financially viable from the processors perspective but not for the farmer at seed price of $0.07/kg; however, at seed price of $0.085/kg, financial viability was achieved for both parties. Optimising the utilisation of the oil resulted in an annual maximum profit of $123,300. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Comparing Approaches for the Integration of Stakeholder Perspectives in Environmental Decision Making
Resources 2016, 5(4), 37; doi:10.3390/resources5040037 -
Abstract
Including stakeholder perspectives in environmental decision making is in many countries a legal requirement and is widely seen as beneficial as it can help increase decision legitimacy, likelihood of implementation, and quality of the outcome. Whereas the theoretical literature on stakeholder engagement is
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Including stakeholder perspectives in environmental decision making is in many countries a legal requirement and is widely seen as beneficial as it can help increase decision legitimacy, likelihood of implementation, and quality of the outcome. Whereas the theoretical literature on stakeholder engagement is large, less attention has been devoted to comparing and discussing different methodological approaches. Here, we compare three approaches—multi-criteria analysis, plural rationality theory, and scenario construction—that include stakeholders’ perspectives in environmental decision making. We find differences between the approaches concerning the assumptions about stakeholder rationality and whether experts and/or stakeholders are in charge of framing the problem. Further differences concern the type of data input from stakeholders and how it is used by the experts, as well as the role of stakeholders and whether they are involved early—already for identifying options—or later in the process, for evaluating or ranking alternatives analyzed by the experts. The choice of approach thus predetermines the type and depth of stakeholder engagement. No approach is “better” than another, but they are suited for different problems and research aims: the choice of the approach, however, has a large impact on the results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Decreasing Ore Grades in Global Metallic Mining: A Theoretical Issue or a Global Reality?
Resources 2016, 5(4), 36; doi:10.3390/resources5040036 -
Abstract
Mining industry requires high amounts of energy to extract and process resources, including a variety of concentration and refining processes. Using energy consumption information, different sustainability issues can be addressed, such as the relationship with ore grade over the years, energy variations in
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Mining industry requires high amounts of energy to extract and process resources, including a variety of concentration and refining processes. Using energy consumption information, different sustainability issues can be addressed, such as the relationship with ore grade over the years, energy variations in electricity or fossil fuel use. A rigorous analysis and understanding of the energy intensity use in mining is the first step towards a more sustainable mining industry and, globally, better resource management. Numerous studies have focused on the energy consumption of mining projects, with analysis carried out primarily in one single country or one single region. This paper quantifies, on a global level, the relationship between ore grade and energy intensity. With the case of copper, the study has shown that the average copper ore grade is decreasing over time, while the energy consumption and the total material production in the mine increases. Analyzing only copper mines, the average ore grade has decreased approximately by 25% in just ten years. In that same period, the total energy consumption has increased at a higher rate than production (46% energy increase over 30% production increase). Full article
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Open AccessReview
Electronic Waste and Existing Processing Routes: A Canadian Perspective
Resources 2016, 5(4), 35; doi:10.3390/resources5040035 -
Abstract
Electrical and electronic products have become an integral part of the current economy and, with the development of newer technologies, the life span of these products are getting shorter. As a consequence, the volume of electronic waste is increasing drastically around the globe.
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Electrical and electronic products have become an integral part of the current economy and, with the development of newer technologies, the life span of these products are getting shorter. As a consequence, the volume of electronic waste is increasing drastically around the globe. With the implementation of new rules, regulations, and policies by the government, the landfilling of electronic waste has been reduced. The presence of valuable metals in the e-waste stream provides a major economic benefit for recycling industries but, due to the presence of hazardous materials, a proper recycling technique is required prior to the disposal of the e-waste. The total e-waste generated in Canada was 725 kt in 2014. There are several organizations currently working in various provinces to deal with the collection and recycling of e-waste. These organizations collected nearly 20% of the total e-waste generated in 2014. The collection rate for e-waste can be boosted by increasing awareness and by creating more centers to collect all kinds of e-waste. The collected e-waste is processed at local processing facilities mostly dealing with dismantling and hazardous material removal processes and then shipping the remaining material to a central location for subsequent processing. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Drivers and Constraints of Critical Materials Recycling: The Case of Indium
Resources 2016, 5(4), 34; doi:10.3390/resources5040034 -
Abstract
Raw material criticality studies are receiving increasing attention because an increasing number of elements of great economic importance, performing essential functions face high supply risks. Scarcity of key materials is a potential barrier to large-scale deployment of sustainable energy and clean-tech technologies as
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Raw material criticality studies are receiving increasing attention because an increasing number of elements of great economic importance, performing essential functions face high supply risks. Scarcity of key materials is a potential barrier to large-scale deployment of sustainable energy and clean-tech technologies as resorting to several critical materials. As physical scarcity and geopolitical issues may present a barrier to the supply of critical metals, recycling is regarded as a possible solution to substitute primary resources for securing the long-term supply of critical metals. In this paper, the main drivers and constraints for critical materials recycling are analyzed from literature, considering indium as a case study of critical materials. This literature review shows that waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) could be a future source of critical metals; however, the reduction of dissipation of critical materials should have much higher priority. It is put forward that more attention should be paid to sustainable management of critical materials, especially improved practices at the waste management stage. This calls for not only more efficient WEEE recycling technologies, but also revising priorities in recycling strategies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Questioning the Status Quo: Can Stakeholder Participation Improve Implementation of Small-Scale Mining Laws in Ghana?
Resources 2016, 5(4), 33; doi:10.3390/resources5040033 -
Abstract
Ghana’s small-scale mining sector faces complex challenges, including environmental degradation and pollution, loss of life and increased health risks, despite several years of implementation of small-scale mining laws. These challenges, generally, are known to have escalated because of illegal small-scale mining, locally known
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Ghana’s small-scale mining sector faces complex challenges, including environmental degradation and pollution, loss of life and increased health risks, despite several years of implementation of small-scale mining laws. These challenges, generally, are known to have escalated because of illegal small-scale mining, locally known as “galamsey”. Despite the illegal status of this category of miners, this paper examines the extent to which stakeholder participation can improve implementation of mining regulations and also address the marginalization of these miners. This paper about stakeholder participation is timely because news reports in mid-2016 mentioned that the Government of Ghana, despite many years of disengagement, is now planning to engage with galamsey operators, in terms of registration, as part of measures to effectively regulate the activities of small-scale miners. Findings from fieldwork indicate that (1) chiefs are seldom consulted in the granting of mining licenses; (2) illegal miners do not participate in the implementation of small-scale mining laws; and (3) stakeholders, such as officers in district mining offices, feel distant from the implementation process. Against the backdrop of these findings, it remains useful to explore the extent to which effective stakeholder participation could help overcome the status quo—particularly its ramifications for both the implementation of ASM laws and the eradication of other underlying challenges the sector faces. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Environmental Impacts of Rare Earth Mining and Separation Based on Eudialyte: A New European Way
Resources 2016, 5(4), 32; doi:10.3390/resources5040032 -
Abstract
Neodymium and dysprosium are two rare earth elements (REEs), out of a group of 17 elements. Due to their unique properties, REEs gained increasing importance in many new technologies, like wind turbines, batteries, etc. However, the production of REEs requires high material and
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Neodymium and dysprosium are two rare earth elements (REEs), out of a group of 17 elements. Due to their unique properties, REEs gained increasing importance in many new technologies, like wind turbines, batteries, etc. However, the production of REEs requires high material and energy consumption and is associated with considerable environmental burdens. Due to the strong dependency of European industry on Chinese REE exports, this paper presents a possible European production chain of REEs based on the mineral eudialyte found in Norra Kärr (Sweden). This European production is compared to a Chinese route, as China produces more than 85% of today’s REEs. Bayan Obo as the largest REE deposit in China is considered as the reference system. Using the life cycle assessment method, the environmental impacts of both production lines are assessed. This study presents newly-estimated data of a possible Swedish eudialyte-based production route for Europe. Results for the new eudialyte process route show reduced environmental burdens, although the total REE content in eudialyte is much smaller than in the Bayan Obo deposit. Especially, the results for dysprosium from eudialyte outreach those for Bayan Obo due to the higher content of heavy rare earth elements. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Towards Integrating Political Ecology into Resilience-Based Management
Resources 2016, 5(4), 31; doi:10.3390/resources5040031 -
Abstract
One of the biggest challenges faced today is how to sustainably manage social-ecological systems for both ecological conservation and human wellbeing. This paper explores two approaches to understanding such systems: resilience thinking and political ecology. Resilience thinking is a framework that emerged over
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One of the biggest challenges faced today is how to sustainably manage social-ecological systems for both ecological conservation and human wellbeing. This paper explores two approaches to understanding such systems: resilience thinking and political ecology. Resilience thinking is a framework that emerged over the last 40 years as a management strategy for social-ecological systems, and a resilient social-ecological system is capable of absorbing disturbances and still retaining its basic function and structure. Political ecology is derived from cultural ecology and political economy and aims to critically examine how human-environment interactions are linked to environmental problems while exploring issues of power. Drawing from debates and theoretical issues both within and between these two theories, this paper proposes three main arguments for integrating political ecology into managing for resilience. First, political ecology could help fill in understanding gaps in resilience with its focus on society and politics, while resilience thinking’s focus on ecology can ensure that political ecology engages with ecology. Second, the multiple lenses of political ecology may help define the system for resilience management. Third, political ecology’s explanatory power may assist in identifying surrogates of resilience for indirectly measuring social-ecological resilience. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Resilience Thinking as an Interdisciplinary Guiding Principle for Energy System Transitions
Resources 2016, 5(4), 30; doi:10.3390/resources5040030 -
Abstract
Resource usage and environmental consequences of most current energy systems exceed planetary boundaries. The transition to sustainable energy systems is accompanied by a multitude of research methods, as energy systems are complex structures of technical, economical, social and ecological interactions. The description of
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Resource usage and environmental consequences of most current energy systems exceed planetary boundaries. The transition to sustainable energy systems is accompanied by a multitude of research methods, as energy systems are complex structures of technical, economical, social and ecological interactions. The description of different discipline’s perspectives in this paper show that a more mutual understanding between disciplines of their respective focus is necessary as they partly create internally competitive views arising from differing emphasis of connected matters. The purpose of this paper is to present a framework for interdisciplinary proceeding in a complex energy system transition process. Resilience thinking is chosen as a core concept for a more holistic view on sustainable energy system development. It is shown that it is already widely used in different disciplines connected to energy system research and is especially suitable due to its wide application across disciplines. The seven principles of resilience thinking (maintain redundancy and diversity, manage connectivity, manage slow variables and feedback, foster complex adaptive systems thinking, encourage learning, broaden participation, and promote polycentric governance systems) are chosen as the basis for a procedure that can be utilized to increase the interdisciplinary perspectives of energy system transitions. For energy transition processes based on scenario development, backcasting and pathway definition, resilience thinking principles are used to assess the resilience of the target energy system, the pathway resilience and the design of the scenario process with respect to the probability of a resilient outcome. The described procedure consisting of questions and parameters can be applied as a first attempt for a resilience assessment of energy transition processes. The perspective of resilience in sustainable energy systems strengthens the importance of diversity, redundancy and flexibility, which reduces the current dominant focus on efficiency of the overall system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Metal Criticality Determination for Australia, the US, and the Planet—Comparing 2008 and 2012 Results
Resources 2016, 5(4), 29; doi:10.3390/resources5040029 -
Abstract
Episodic supply shortages of metals and unsettling predictions of potential supply constraints in the future have led to a series of recent criticality evaluations. This study applies a consistent criticality methodology to the United States, Australia, and to the global level for both
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Episodic supply shortages of metals and unsettling predictions of potential supply constraints in the future have led to a series of recent criticality evaluations. This study applies a consistent criticality methodology to the United States, Australia, and to the global level for both 2008 and 2012. It is the first time that criticality assessments are presented for Australia, a country that contrasts with the United States in terms of its mineral deposits and metal use characteristics. We use the Yale criticality methodology, which measures Supply Risk (SR), Environmental Implications (EI), and Vulnerability to Supply Restriction (VSR) to derive criticality assessments for five major metals (Al, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn) and for indium (In). We find only modest changes in SR between 2008 and 2012 at both country and global levels; these changes are due to revisions in resource estimates. At the country level, Australia’s VSR for Ni, Cu, and Zn is 23%–33% lower than that for the United States, largely because of Australia’s abundant domestic resources. At the global level, SR is much higher for In, Ni, Cu, and Zn than for Al and Fe as a consequence of SR’s longer time horizon and anticipated supply/demand constraints. The results emphasize the dynamic nature of criticality and its variance between countries and among metals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improving Decision Making about Natural Disaster Mitigation Funding in Australia—A Framework
Resources 2016, 5(3), 28; doi:10.3390/resources5030028 -
Abstract
Economic losses from natural disasters pose significant challenges to communities and to the insurance industry. Natural disaster mitigation aims to reduce the threat to people and assets from natural perils. Good decisions relating to hazard risk mitigation require judgments both about the scientific
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Economic losses from natural disasters pose significant challenges to communities and to the insurance industry. Natural disaster mitigation aims to reduce the threat to people and assets from natural perils. Good decisions relating to hazard risk mitigation require judgments both about the scientific and financial issues involved, i.e., the efficacy of some intervention, and the ethical or value principles to adopt in allocating resources. A framework for selecting a set of mitigation options within a limited budget is developed. Project selection about natural disaster mitigation options needs to trade off benefits offered by alternative investments (e.g., fatalities and injuries avoided, potential property and infrastructure losses prevented, safety concerns of citizens, etc.) against the costs of investment. Such costs include capital and on-going operational costs, as well as intangible costs, such as the impact of the project on the visual landscape or the loss of societal cohesion in the event of the relocation of part of a community. Furthermore, dollar costs of any potential project will need to be defined within some prescribed budget and time frame. Taking all of these factors into account, this paper develops a framework for good natural hazard mitigation decision making and selection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Global Societal Steel Scrap Reserves and Amounts of Losses
Resources 2016, 5(3), 27; doi:10.3390/resources5030027 -
Abstract
In this study a newly developed method called the Progressing and Backcasting models were used to evaluate the annual resource utilizations of steel scrap in Sweden and globally. The model results show that it is possible to assess the amounts of steel scrap
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In this study a newly developed method called the Progressing and Backcasting models were used to evaluate the annual resource utilizations of steel scrap in Sweden and globally. The model results show that it is possible to assess the amounts of steel scrap available for steelmaking at a given point in time, based on statistical dynamic material flow models. By a better mapping of the available amounts of steel scrap reserves on a country basis, it is possible to ease the trade of scrap across country boarders. This in turn can optimize the supply of recyclable metals as a raw material used in the industry. The results for Swedish steel consumption show that export bans used to secure the domestic market of steel scrap do damage the internal market due to increased amounts of losses. This suggests that export bans should be lifted to optimize recycling in countries. The model results also show that the global losses of steel are higher than for an industrialized country such as Sweden. Furthermore, the results show that the Backcasting and Progressing models can be used to calculate robust forecasts on the long term availability of steel scrap assets. This information could be used for future structural plans of scrap consuming steelmaking mills and waste management facilities. Hence, it is possible to contribute to a sustainable industrial development and a circular economy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Novel Food Waste Collection Kiosk and Waste-to-Energy Business Model
Resources 2016, 5(3), 26; doi:10.3390/resources5030026 -
Abstract
The U.S. generates more than 37 million metric tons of food waste each year, and over 95% of it is disposed of at U.S. landfills. This paper describes the development of a novel food waste collection kiosk and business model called “Greenbox” that
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The U.S. generates more than 37 million metric tons of food waste each year, and over 95% of it is disposed of at U.S. landfills. This paper describes the development of a novel food waste collection kiosk and business model called “Greenbox” that will collect and store food waste from households and restaurants with incentives for user participation to spur food waste-to-energy production in a local community. Greenbox offers a low-cost collection point to divert food waste from landfills, reduce greenhouse gases from decomposition, and aid in generating cleaner energy. A functional prototype was successfully developed by a team of engineering students and a business model was created as part of a senior design capstone course. Each Greenbox unit has the potential to reduce 275 metric tons of food waste per year, remove 1320 kg of greenhouse gases, and create 470,000 liters of methane gas while providing a payback period of 4.2 years and a rate of return of 14.9%. Full article
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