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Special Issue "Small-Scale Energy Conversion of Agro-Forestry Residues for Local Benefits and European Competitiveness"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Andrea Colantoni

Department of Agricultural and Forestry scieNcEs (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, SNC, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
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Interests: agricultural mechanics and mechanization; renewable energy, safety and health
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Danilo Monarca

Department of Agricultural and Forestry scieNcEs (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, SNC, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
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Interests: agricultural mechanics and mechanization; renewable energy, safety and health
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Massimo Cecchini

Department of Agricultural and Forestry scieNcEs (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, SNC, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
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Interests: agricultural mechanics and mechanization; renewable energy, safety and health
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Enrico Maria Mosconi

Department of Economics and Entrepreneurship (DEIM), University of Tuscia, Via del Paradiso, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
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Interests: green economy; renewable energy; circular economy
Guest Editor
Dr. Letizia Magaldi

Member of the board, Magaldi Power S.p.A., Via Irno, 219, 84135 Salerno SA, Italy
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Interests: waste to energy; biomass power plants, renewable energy
Guest Editor
Dr. Stefano Poponi

Department of UNISU, Niccolò Cusano University, Via Don Carlo Gnocchi, 3, 00166 Rome, Italy
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Interests: green economy; renewable energy; circular economy
Guest Editor
Dr. Flavio Andreoli Bonazzi

President, EPICO Biomass Ltd, Viale Degli Ammiragli 67, 00136 Roma, Italy
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Interests: renewable energy; hydroelectric energy; biomass

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The current way to produce, convert and consume energy throughout the world is not sustainable. However, our economic growth and social development can be implemented only by means of an appropriate availability of energy services. Large-size plants present several problems: 1. high biomass supply; 2. authorization problems for the large-size plants; 3. Biomass conversion technologies more adapted to change biomass residual in energies. The small size plants are a technology for future energy supply systems. The unique and advantageous point in the combination of residual biomass and small-size plants results from the fact that biomass is a renewable source of energy which can be utilized most efficiently using gasification technology. Thermo-chemical processes can be seen as an energy-efficient technology for the transformation of biomass, especially lignocellulosic feedstock, into a syngas which can be used for various utilization routes (heat, heat and power, gaseous as well as liquid biofuels, chemicals, etc.).  The use of biomass for energetic purposes within Europe varies widely from country to country and from region to region, depending on the climate, the traditions in the use of the land, the available biomass and on the political and financial support for energy from biomass. In some European countries where the energetic use of biomass is considerably supported by national programs (e.g., Austria, Denmark, Finland and Sweden), biomass as a source of energy is already used to a remarkable amount. In Finland, biomass contributes with 17% to the fossil primary energy consumption. In Sweden, Portugal and Austria the share of biomass use is between 12 and 14%. The main biomass resources that are already widely used in Europe are:

  • fuel wood in households for heating and for cooking;
  • wood chips from thinnings and tree harvesting in district heating plants;
  • wood processing residues in the wood processing industry and in district heating plants;
  • residual wood and bark from wood processing including recovered wood products (i.e., demolition wood) in the wood processing industry and power generation sector and pulping liquors in the pulp and paper industry (particularly in the Scandinavian countries).

Biomass already contributes to the European energy supply to a certain extent, though, according to the assessments made above about the potential of biomass as a source of energy, this share could be considerably higher than it is today. From the shares of the currently used fossil energy carriers and the calculated biomass potential, the maximum reachable share of biomass to cover the energy demand can be calculated. The following enumeration shows the results of such calculations: i) Biomass resources below 10 % of the fossil energy supply in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy; ii) biomass resources between 10 and 30% of the fossil primary energy consumption in Denmark, Spain, France, Greece, Portugal and Austria; iii) biomass resources above 30% of the fossil primary energy consumption in Ireland, Sweden, and Finland.

Additionally, the share of the already-used biomass is analyzed against the background of the overall available biomass resources. This shows that, in nearly all of the EU-countries, only slightly more than 25% of the available biomass resources are currently used. In most countries, the share is even significantly lower. It is only higher in countries where the energetic use of biomass is promoted by governmental measures.

The increasing demand for energy and related environmental concerns are the main drivers for the strong interest in biomass residues in the agro-forestry sector and in appropriate small- scale energy conversion. Biomass residues (e.g., prunings, thinnings and forest residues) constitute a highly promising (and currently largely under-utilized) feed stock with a significant potential to be converted into useful end products. This Special Issue proposal has the overall aim of developing a network around technologies for small-scale energy conversion of forestry residues for local benefit and European competitiveness. The following targets will be addressed: i) to improve knowledge of different energy conversion processes for forest residues; ii) to develop an expert group on forest biomass supply chains; iii) to identify best practice for sampling of available forest biomass residues; and iv) to create agro-forestry-scale energy districts.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to publish high-quality research papers, as well as review articles, addressing recent advances on systems, processes, and materials for work safety, health, and environment. Original, high-quality contributions that have not yet been published, or that are not currently under review by other journals or peer-reviewed conferences, are sought.

Dr. Andrea Colantoni
Prof. Dr. Danilo Monarca
Prof. Dr. Massimo Cecchini
Prof. Dr. Enrico Maria Mosconi
Dr. Letizia Magaldi
Dr. Stefano Poponi
Dr. Flavio Andreoli Bonazzi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Thermal and Fluid Dynamic Analysis within a Batch Micro-Reactor for Biodiesel Production from Waste Vegetable Oil
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2308; doi:10.3390/su9122308
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
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Abstract
Biofuels represent an alternative solution to petroleum-based fuels. In particular, biodiesel is very interesting, especially if it is produced from waste vegetable oil. Biodiesel can be used in diesel engines. The aim of this work is to implement a 2D numerical analysis in
[...] Read more.
Biofuels represent an alternative solution to petroleum-based fuels. In particular, biodiesel is very interesting, especially if it is produced from waste vegetable oil. Biodiesel can be used in diesel engines. The aim of this work is to implement a 2D numerical analysis in Comsol Multiphysics in order to verify an uniform temperature field within a non-isothermal batch mixed micro-reactor. An immersion heater system has been studied as a suitable solution to increase the temperature of WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil) before the start of the transesterification reaction. Thus, the efficiency of the immersion heating system has been investigated. The results show that the temperature field is not uniform within the fluid domain, because of the convective flux with the external environment. These conditions could lead to a low overall conversion rate. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Monitoring and Optimization of the Process of Drying Fruits and Vegetables Using Computer Vision: A Review
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2009; doi:10.3390/su9112009
Received: 27 September 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 28 October 2017 / Published: 2 November 2017
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Abstract
An overview is given regarding the most recent use of non-destructive techniques during drying used to monitor quality changes in fruits and vegetables. Quality changes were commonly investigated in order to improve the sensory properties (i.e., appearance, texture, flavor and aroma), nutritive values,
[...] Read more.
An overview is given regarding the most recent use of non-destructive techniques during drying used to monitor quality changes in fruits and vegetables. Quality changes were commonly investigated in order to improve the sensory properties (i.e., appearance, texture, flavor and aroma), nutritive values, chemical constituents and mechanical properties of drying products. The application of single-point spectroscopy coupled with drying was discussed by virtue of its potentiality to improve the overall efficiency of the process. With a similar purpose, the implementation of a machine vision (MV) system used to inspect foods during drying was investigated; MV, indeed, can easily monitor physical changes (e.g., color, size, texture and shape) in fruits and vegetables during the drying process. Hyperspectral imaging spectroscopy is a sophisticated technology since it is able to combine the advantages of spectroscopy and machine vision. As a consequence, its application to drying of fruits and vegetables was reviewed. Finally, attention was focused on the implementation of sensors in an on-line process based on the technologies mentioned above. This is a necessary step in order to turn the conventional dryer into a smart dryer, which is a more sustainable way to produce high quality dried fruits and vegetables. Full article
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