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Special Issue "Sustainability of Resources"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Vincenzo Torretta

Department of Biotechnologies and Life Sciences, Insubria University, Via G.B. Vico 46, Varese I-21100, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +390332218782
Fax: +39 0332 218 779
Interests: waste management; wastewater treatment; energy recovery from waste; sustainable development; air treatment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The concept of sustainability is based on the principle of sustainable use of the environment and its resources, and represents an exciting and crucial issue as it determines the future of our planet. This Special Issue aims to focus on the methodological aspects related to the development of the theme of sustainability and description of case studies or specific researches. We think that papers which also cover the use of the territory as a whole and not only of its resources, because the territory is also a resource, can find a place in this Special Issue. Research on the recovery of resources after the utilization of goods, typically the recovery of energy from waste or urban mining, would be a very interesting topic. Similarly, works on optimizing the use of water resources and the preparation of decision support systems for proper and sustainable use of resources, would be of great interest to readers. How one approaches the subject “environment and sustainable use of resources”, can also be developed in conjunction with issues related to energy conservation and monitoring of climate changes.

Thus, this Special Issue aims to provide a comprehensive overview of current research activities related to this topical theme.

Prof. Dr. Vincenzo Torretta
Guest Editor

Submission

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. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as 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 refereed through a 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 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • aerospace
  • buildings and architecture
  • displays
  • human environment
  • imaging
  • lighting
  • manufacturing
  • medicine
  • rf systems
  • test and measurement
  • wired communications
  • wireless communications

Published Papers (28 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Multi-Agent Modeling and Simulation of Farmland Use Change in a Farming–Pastoral Zone: A Case Study of Qianjingou Town in Inner Mongolia, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(11), 14802-14833; doi:10.3390/su71114802
Received: 31 July 2015 / Revised: 28 October 2015 / Accepted: 28 October 2015 / Published: 6 November 2015
Abstract
Farmland is the most basic material condition for guaranteeing rural livelihoods and national food security, and exploring management strategies that take both stable rural livelihoods and sustainable farmland use into account has vital significance in theory and practice. Farmland is a complex and
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Farmland is the most basic material condition for guaranteeing rural livelihoods and national food security, and exploring management strategies that take both stable rural livelihoods and sustainable farmland use into account has vital significance in theory and practice. Farmland is a complex and self-adaptive system that couples human and natural systems, and natural and social factors that are related to its changing process need to be considered when modeling farmland changing processes. This paper uses Qianjingou Town in the Inner Mongolian farming–pastoral zone as a study area. From the perspective of the relationship between household livelihood and farmland use, this study establishes the process mechanism of farmland use change based on questionnaire data, and constructs a multi-agent simulation model of farmland use change using the Eclipse and Repast toolbox. Through simulating the relationship between natural factors (including geographical location) and household behavior, this paper systematically simulates household farmland abandonment and rent behaviors, and accurately describes the dynamic interactions between household livelihoods and the factors related to farmland use change. These factors include natural factors (net primary productivity, road accessibility, slope and relief amplitude) and social factors (household family structures, economic development and government policies). Ultimately, this study scientifically predicts the future farmland use change trend in the next 30 years. The simulation results show that the number of abandoned and sublet farmland plots has a gradually increasing trend, and the number of non-farming households and pure-outworking households has a remarkable increasing trend, whereas the number of part-farming households and pure-farming households has a decreasing trend. Household livelihood sustainability in the study area is confronted with increasing pressure, and household non-farm employment has an increasing trend, while regional appropriate-scale agricultural management is maintained. The research results establish the theoretical foundation and a basic method for developing sustainable farmland use management that can meet the willingness of households and guarantee grain and ecological security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Mapping Thermal Energy Resource Potentials from Wastewater Treatment Plants
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 12988-13010; doi:10.3390/su71012988
Received: 31 May 2015 / Revised: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 17 September 2015 / Published: 24 September 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
Wastewater heat recovery via heat exchangers and heat pumps constitutes an environmentally friendly, approved and economically competitive, but often underestimated technology. By introducing the spatial dimension in feasibility studies, the results of calculations change considerably. This paper presents a methodology to estimate thermal
[...] Read more.
Wastewater heat recovery via heat exchangers and heat pumps constitutes an environmentally friendly, approved and economically competitive, but often underestimated technology. By introducing the spatial dimension in feasibility studies, the results of calculations change considerably. This paper presents a methodology to estimate thermal energy resource potentials of wastewater treatment plants taking spatial contexts into account. In close proximity to settlement areas, wastewater energy can ideally be applied for heating in mixed-function areas, which very likely have a continuous heat demand and allow for an increased amount of full-load hours compared to most single-use areas. For the Austrian case, it is demonstrated that the proposed methodology leads to feasible results and that the suggested technology might reduce up to 17% of the Austrian global warming potential of room heating. The method is transferrable to other countries as the input data and calculation formula are made available. A broad application of wastewater energy with regard to spatial structures and spatial development potentials can lead to (1) increasing energy efficiency by using a maximum of waste heat and (2) a significant reduction of (fossil) energy consumption which results in a considerable reduction of the global warming potential of the heat supply (GWP) if electricity from renewables is used for the operation of heat pumps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability of Water Safety Plans Developed in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 11139-11159; doi:10.3390/su70811139
Received: 15 May 2015 / Accepted: 5 August 2015 / Published: 14 August 2015
Abstract
In developing countries, the drinking water supply is still an open issue. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 68% of the population has access to improved sources of drinking water. Moreover, some regions are affected by geogenic contaminants (e.g., fluoride and arsenic) and the lack
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In developing countries, the drinking water supply is still an open issue. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 68% of the population has access to improved sources of drinking water. Moreover, some regions are affected by geogenic contaminants (e.g., fluoride and arsenic) and the lack of access to sanitation facilities and hygiene practices causes high microbiological contamination of drinking water in the supply chain. The Water Safety Plan (WSP) approach introduced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2004 is now under development in several developing countries in order to face up to these issues. The WSP approach was elaborated within two cooperation projects implemented in rural areas of Burkina Faso and Senegal by two Italian NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations). In order to evaluate its sustainability, a questionnaire based on five different sustainability elements and a cost and time consumption evaluation were carried out and applied in both the case studies. Results demonstrated that the questionnaire can provide a useful and interesting overview regarding the sustainability of the WSP; however, further surveys in the field are recommended for gathering more information. Time and costs related to the WSP elaboration, implementation, and management were demonstrated not to be negligible and above all strongly dependent on water quality and the water supply system complexity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Is the “Ecological and Economic Approach for the Restoration of Collapsed Gullies” in Southern China Really Economic?
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 10308-10323; doi:10.3390/su70810308
Received: 6 July 2015 / Revised: 20 July 2015 / Accepted: 24 July 2015 / Published: 31 July 2015
Abstract
Collapsed gully erosion constantly plagues the sustainability of rural areas in China. To control collapsed gully erosion, an ecological and economic approach, which uses tree plantation to gain economic benefits and control soil erosion, has been widely applied by local governments in Southern
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Collapsed gully erosion constantly plagues the sustainability of rural areas in China. To control collapsed gully erosion, an ecological and economic approach, which uses tree plantation to gain economic benefits and control soil erosion, has been widely applied by local governments in Southern China. However, little is known about the economic feasibility of this new method. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness and economic benefits of the new method. Based on a case study in Changting County, Southeast China, two farms were selected to represent a timber tree plantation and a fruit tree plantation, respectively. The Annual Capital Capitalization Method and Return on Investment (ROI) were selected to conduct cost-benefit analysis. In contrast to previous studies, we found that the new approach was far from economic. The value of the newly-built forestland in Sanzhou Village and Tufang Village is 2738 RMB ha−1 and 5477 RMB ha−1, respectively, which are extremely lower than the costs of ecological restoration. Meanwhile, the annual ROI is −3.60% and −8.90%, respectively, which is negative and also far poorer than the average value of forestry in China. The costs of conservation were substantially over the related economic benefits, and the investors would suffer from greater loss if they invested more in the conservation. Low-cost terraces with timber trees had less economic loss compared with the costly terraces with fruit tree plantation. Moreover, the cost efficiency of the new approaches in soil conservation was also greatly poorer than the conventional method. The costs of conserving one ton soil per year for conventional method, new method for planting timber trees, and planting fruit trees were 164 RMB, 696 RMB, and 11,664 RMB, respectively. Therefore, the new collapsed gully erosion control methods are uneconomic and unsuitable to be widely carried out in China in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Economic Impact and Challenges of Jatropha curcas L. Projects in North-Western Province, Zambia: A Case of Solwezi District
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 9907-9923; doi:10.3390/su7089907
Received: 4 March 2015 / Accepted: 6 April 2015 / Published: 24 July 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
Forest products, wood and non-wood, remain vital among smallholder households in Zambia with charcoal being the most sought after product. This has led to increased exploitation of forest trees to meet the needs for fuel wood, among others. However, Jatropha curcas plant has
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Forest products, wood and non-wood, remain vital among smallholder households in Zambia with charcoal being the most sought after product. This has led to increased exploitation of forest trees to meet the needs for fuel wood, among others. However, Jatropha curcas plant has been identified as a potential fuel source. In the early 2000s, profit-making organizations encouraged smallholder households to grow Jatropha for use as an alternative fuel source. This paper reports on a study conducted in Solwezi between 2011 and 2014 to evaluate the impact of Jatropha cultivation for biofuel production. A sample of 100 small-scale farmers involved in Jatropha cultivation and key informants were interviewed to evaluate the impact of growing Jatropha at the small-scale level. Results show that farmers lost out on time; income from sale of edible non-wood forest products; and experienced reduction in maize (Zea mays) and bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) production, worsening household economic conditions. Farmers attributed this loss to unclear policy alignment on biofuel production by government. We therefore recommend that project implementation should involve interactions of all legislative bodies and any other concerned stakeholders. There is also a need to promote the value chain, from production to marketing, which focuses on minimizing detrimental effects on the livelihood of small-scale farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle GIS Based Measurement and Regulatory Zoning of Urban Ecological Vulnerability
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 9924-9942; doi:10.3390/su7089924
Received: 23 March 2015 / Revised: 14 July 2015 / Accepted: 17 July 2015 / Published: 24 July 2015
Cited by 3
Abstract
Urban ecological vulnerability is measured on the basis of ecological sensitivity and resilience based on the concept analysis of vulnerability. GIS-based multicriteria decision analysis (GIS-MCDA) methods are used, supported by the spatial analysis tools of GIS, to define different levels of vulnerability for
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Urban ecological vulnerability is measured on the basis of ecological sensitivity and resilience based on the concept analysis of vulnerability. GIS-based multicriteria decision analysis (GIS-MCDA) methods are used, supported by the spatial analysis tools of GIS, to define different levels of vulnerability for areas of the urban ecology. These areas are further classified into different types of regulatory zones. Taking the city of Hefei in China as the empirical research site, this study uses GIS-MCDA, including the index system, index weights and overlay rules, to measure the degree of its ecological vulnerability on the GIS platform. There are eight indices in the system. Raking and analytical hierarchy process (AHP) methods are used to calculate index weights according to the characteristics of the index system. The integrated overlay rule, including selection of the maximum value, and weighted linear combination (WLC) are applied as the overlay rules. In this way, five types of vulnerability areas have been classified as follows: very low vulnerability, low vulnerability, medium vulnerability, high vulnerability and very high vulnerability. They can be further grouped into three types of regulatory zone of ecological green line, ecological grey line and ecological red line. The study demonstrates that ecological green line areas are the largest (53.61% of the total study area) and can be intensively developed; ecological grey line areas (19.59% of the total area) can serve as the ecological buffer zone, and ecological red line areas (26.80%) cannot be developed and must be protected. The results indicate that ecological green line areas may provide sufficient room for future urban development in Hefei city. Finally, the respective regulatory countermeasures are put forward. This research provides a scientific basis for decision-making around urban ecological protection, construction and sustainable development. It also provides theoretical method references for future research into urban ecological vulnerability, including the introduction of GIS-MCDA methods into the field of urban ecological vulnerability, which expands the application for these techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Toledo Drinking Water Advisory: Suggested Application of the Water Safety Planning Approach
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 9787-9808; doi:10.3390/su7089787
Received: 29 April 2015 / Revised: 15 June 2015 / Accepted: 16 July 2015 / Published: 23 July 2015
Cited by 5
Abstract
On 2 August 2014 the city of Toledo, in Ohio USA issued a “do not drink” water advisory and declared a state of emergency. This was as a result of elevated levels of the toxin microcystin in the final treated water, a dangerous
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On 2 August 2014 the city of Toledo, in Ohio USA issued a “do not drink” water advisory and declared a state of emergency. This was as a result of elevated levels of the toxin microcystin in the final treated water, a dangerous toxin produced by the algae cyanobacteria. The Toledo water crisis is a key focusing event that can advance dialogue on eutrophication governance in the context of public health. This paper examines the Toledo water ban with the aim of determining whether this crisis could have been averted. Further, we explore how this event can be used to stimulate action on eutrophication governance, to motivate action to protect water at its source. We use the World Health Organization’s Water Safety Planning Methodology to show that the crisis could have been averted with some simple risk management actions. We also show that a water safety planning approach could lead to well developed operational and maintenance planning resulting in a higher probability of safe drinking water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Interdisciplinarity as an Emergent Property: The Research Project “CINTERA” and the Study of Marine Eutrophication
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9118-9139; doi:10.3390/su7079118
Received: 14 April 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Abstract
Research projects combining different disciplines are increasingly common and sought after by funding agencies looking for ways to achieve environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Creating and running a truly integrated research project that combines very different disciplines is, however, no easy task. Large-scale
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Research projects combining different disciplines are increasingly common and sought after by funding agencies looking for ways to achieve environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Creating and running a truly integrated research project that combines very different disciplines is, however, no easy task. Large-scale efforts to create interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary research efforts have reported on their experiences in trying to achieve this goal. This article shares the methods, challenges and achievements experienced by a smaller group of researchers who have developed an interdisciplinary approach based on former results of Norwegian and Chilean experiments. The project “A Cross-disciplinary Integrated Eco-system Eutrophication Research and Management Approach” (CINTERA), funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN, project 216607), brings together the fields of political science, economics, marine biology/oceanography and marine bio-geo-chemistry to improve the understanding of marine eutrophication and its possible socio-economic impacts. CINTERA is a multidisciplinary project that evolved into an interdisciplinary project and in so doing, transformed the attitudes of participants. The transformative process was generated particularly by the need to work closely together in making the CINTERA project useful for policy-makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Biomass Resources Distribution in the Terrestrial Ecosystem of China
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8548-8564; doi:10.3390/su7078548
Received: 20 April 2015 / Revised: 13 June 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 1 July 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this study, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data and the multiple linear regression model were used to estimate distribution of biomass resources in 2010. The establishment of models, developed using different vegetation biomass sample data, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), leaf area
[...] Read more.
In this study, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data and the multiple linear regression model were used to estimate distribution of biomass resources in 2010. The establishment of models, developed using different vegetation biomass sample data, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), leaf area index (LAI), meteorological data, coordinates, terrain data, and statistical data. Results based on a cross-validation approach show that the model can explain 95.6% of the variance in biomass, with a relative estimation error of 67 g·m−2 for a range of biomass between 0–73,875 g·m−2. Spatial statistic results were consistent with the practical condition in most cases. The above- and below-ground biomass (ABGB) of China was estimated to be 31.1 Pg (1 Pg = 1015 g) in 2010. The forest ecosystem has the largest total biomass, which represents about 70% of the whole terrestrial ecosystem. The desert ecosystem has minimum biomass value. The Belowground Endowment (BRE) varied differently in spatial distribution, with the high values occurring in the southeast and northeast. The low values were primarily distributed in north and northwest regions, where it is mostly desert and few plants. Biomass per capita indicates the availability of natural resources per capita. Tibet had the maximum biomass per capita (807 tone in 2010). Shanghai and Tianjin had the minimum biomass per capita, less than 500 kg. Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Hainan had negative growth of biomass per capita. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Attitudes of Citizens towards Urban Parks and Green Spaces for Urban Sustainability: The Case of Gyeongsan City, Republic of Korea
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8240-8254; doi:10.3390/su7078240
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 17 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 25 June 2015
Cited by 3
Abstract
Urban parks and green spaces support a wide array of species and play an important role in long-term sustainability. This study analyzed the needs and attitudes of citizens towards urban parks and green spaces in order to provide information for setting the future
[...] Read more.
Urban parks and green spaces support a wide array of species and play an important role in long-term sustainability. This study analyzed the needs and attitudes of citizens towards urban parks and green spaces in order to provide information for setting the future direction of urban sustainability to maximize quality of life. A questionnaire survey was conducted to analyze the general characteristics of respondents and their awareness of parks and spaces. First, the results indicate that the main purpose of visiting parks was relaxation and walking. Second, the type of parks visited most frequently by the respondents was pocket parks around home. Third, the main reason for going to the frequently visited parks was “close to home”. Fourth, the major reason for visiting parks infrequently was “improper park management”. Fifth, the desired types of urban parks were relaxation parks close to natural rivers. Sixth, citizens wanted to participate in the expansion projects of parks and green spaces through non-profit civic organizations or volunteer activities. Further research with a comparative analysis among different cities will be necessary to generalize Korean attitudes to urban parks and green spaces for urban sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Environmental and Social Sustainability of the Proximity Waste Collection System: A Case-Study Evaluation at an Italian Local Scale
Sustainability 2015, 7(6), 7492-7511; doi:10.3390/su7067492
Received: 7 February 2015 / Revised: 23 May 2015 / Accepted: 1 June 2015 / Published: 11 June 2015
Abstract
In an urban or suburban area, the sustainability of a waste management process is expected to be closely related to the territorial context and the local citizens’ behaviour. From this perspective, the implementation of the peculiar proximity waste collection system in a small
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In an urban or suburban area, the sustainability of a waste management process is expected to be closely related to the territorial context and the local citizens’ behaviour. From this perspective, the implementation of the peculiar proximity waste collection system in a small town in Central Italy (San Costanzo) was considered. As compared to the previous road collection system in the same municipality, its environmental performance in terms of Source Separation Level (SSL), Waste Generation or Collection Rate (WGR or WCR) and Interception Rate (IR) was evaluated. An original analysis of the citizens’ monthly frequency and of their participation rate both in relation to the setting out of the Unsorted Residual Waste (URW) was also carried out. Following the full implementation of the new waste collection scheme, the SSL achieved almost 79%, the WCR of the URW decreased by about 82% and the most IR values resulted above 83%. From a social point of view, the study further highlighted that, with the new waste collection scheme active, more than 50% of users were accustomed to set out the URW at most 5 times per month and the corresponding participation rate to set out the URW was around 62%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Benchmarking Environmental Impacts of Peat Use for Electricity Generation in Ireland—A Life Cycle Assessment
Sustainability 2015, 7(6), 6376-6393; doi:10.3390/su7066376
Received: 12 March 2015 / Accepted: 15 May 2015 / Published: 26 May 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
The combustion of peat for energy generation accounts for approximately 4.1% of Ireland’s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with current levels of combustion resulting in the emission of 2.8 Mt of CO2 per annum. The aim of this research is to evaluate
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The combustion of peat for energy generation accounts for approximately 4.1% of Ireland’s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with current levels of combustion resulting in the emission of 2.8 Mt of CO2 per annum. The aim of this research is to evaluate the life cycle environmental impacts of peat use for energy generation in Ireland, from peatland drainage and industrial extraction, to transportation, combustion, and subsequent after-use of the cutaway area, utilising Irish-specific emission factors. The environmental impacts considered are global warming potential, acidification potential, and eutrophication potential. In addition, the cumulative energy demand of the system is evaluated. Previous studies on the environmental impact of peat for energy in Ireland relied on default Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emission factors (EFs). This research utilises Irish-specific EFs and input data to reduce uncertainty associated with the use of default IPCC EFs, and finds that using default IPCC EFs overestimates the global warming potential when compared to Irish-specific EFs by approximately 2%. The greatest contribution to each of the environmental impacts considered arises from emissions generated during peat combustion, which accounts for approximately 95% of each of the environmental impact categories considered. Other stages of the life-cycle, such as impacts emanating from the peat extraction area, fossil fuel usage in harvesting and transportation machinery, and after-use of the cutaway area have much smaller effects on overall results. The transformation of cutaway peatlands to different after-use alternatives has the potential to mitigate some of the effects of peatland degradation and peat combustion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Gardening Wastes as a Co-Substrate for Diapers Degradation by the Fungus Pleurotus ostreatus
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 6033-6045; doi:10.3390/su7056033
Received: 18 March 2015 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 8 May 2015 / Published: 15 May 2015
Abstract
Waste with high biomass content generated in cities in developing countries is sent to landfills or open dumps. This research aims to degrade biomass content in urban waste through cultivation, at pilot scale, of the edible mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus. First, the number
[...] Read more.
Waste with high biomass content generated in cities in developing countries is sent to landfills or open dumps. This research aims to degrade biomass content in urban waste through cultivation, at pilot scale, of the edible mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus. First, the number of diapers used by one baby per week was measured with a survey in day care facilities. Then, cellulose content of diapers was assessed. Finally, cultivation of P. ostreatus was carried out using as substrate a mixture of diapers with gardening waste, a co-substrate readily available at urban settings. The factors assessed were strain of P. ostreatus (grey BPR-81, white BPR-5), conditioning of the substrate (diapers with and without plastic) and co-substrate (wheat straw, grass, and withered leaves). Results show that diapers are a valuable source of biomass, as generation of diapers with urine is 15.3 kg/child/month and they contain 50.2% by weight of cellulose. The highest reductions in dry weight and volume (>64%) of substrates was achieved with the substrate diaper without plastic and co-substrate wheat straw. Although diapers with plastic and grass and leaves showed lower degradation, they achieved efficiencies that make them suitable as a co-substrate (>40%), considering that their biomass is currently confined in landfills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Conflicts in Everyday Life: The Influence of Competing Goals on Domestic Energy Conservation
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5963-5980; doi:10.3390/su7055963
Received: 29 January 2015 / Revised: 5 May 2015 / Accepted: 7 May 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
Abstract
A common approach for understanding people’s domestic energy behavior is to study the influence of deterministic factors, such as attitudes, norms and knowledge, on behavior. However, few studies have succeeded in fully explaining people’s behavior based on these factors alone. To further the
[...] Read more.
A common approach for understanding people’s domestic energy behavior is to study the influence of deterministic factors, such as attitudes, norms and knowledge, on behavior. However, few studies have succeeded in fully explaining people’s behavior based on these factors alone. To further the understanding of people’s everyday energy use, a goal-oriented approach based on activity theory has been applied to discuss energy conservation from a multiple goal perspective based on the findings from an interview study with 42 informants. The findings show that the informants used energy to fulfill goals linked to basic needs or desires related to their well-being. Even though the majority of informants had an explicit goal to reduce their energy consumption, many experienced conflicts with other competing goals, which often made energy conservation undesirable or challenging. The findings suggest that actions to reduce energy use will most often not be prioritized if they cannot be integrated into people’s daily life without jeopardizing their possibilities to achieve their primary goals and satisfy their everyday needs. It is thus vital to consider people’s everyday life and the many conflicts they experience when aiming to understand why people do, or do not, prioritize energy conservation during everyday activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Build-Up/Wash-Off Monitoring and Assessment for Sustainable Management of First Flush in an Urban Area
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5050-5070; doi:10.3390/su7055050
Received: 2 December 2014 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 21 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
Cited by 4
Abstract
The characterization of stormwater runoff on urbanized surfaces by means of comparison between experimental data and simulations is a strict requirement for a sustainable management of urban sewer systems. A monitoring campaign was carried out within a residential area in Puglia (Southern Italy)
[...] Read more.
The characterization of stormwater runoff on urbanized surfaces by means of comparison between experimental data and simulations is a strict requirement for a sustainable management of urban sewer systems. A monitoring campaign was carried out within a residential area in Puglia (Southern Italy) in order to collect and evaluate quantity and quality data. A strong correlation was observed between COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and TSS (Total Suspended Solid) concentrations, whose values exceed water quality standards. TSS was used for calibration of Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) which was then validated with reference to the pollutograph’s shape and the peak-time. The first flush phenomenon occurrence was also investigated by looking at the distribution of pollutant mass vs. volume in stormwater discharges, using the so-called “M(V) curves”. Results show that on average the first 30% of that washed off carries 60% of TSS and provides important information for the design of efficient systems for first flush treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Agricultural Practices on Biotic Production Potential and Climate Regulation Potential. A Case Study for Life Cycle Assessment of Soybean (Glycine max) in Argentina
Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 4386-4410; doi:10.3390/su7044386
Received: 24 December 2014 / Revised: 6 April 2015 / Accepted: 8 April 2015 / Published: 14 April 2015
Abstract
The aim of this study is to determine the impact potential of land use on biotic production and climate regulation in the agricultural phase of a product, taking into account the varied soil and crop management. Land occupation and transformation impacts of soybean
[...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to determine the impact potential of land use on biotic production and climate regulation in the agricultural phase of a product, taking into account the varied soil and crop management. Land occupation and transformation impacts of soybean production in Argentina for different agricultural systems are evaluated. The results indicate that the magnitude of occupation and transformation impacts is considerably reduced by implementing no-tillage instead of conventional tillage. Nevertheless, the methodologies adopted are unable to show any of the expected differences between rainfed or irrigation systems, crop sequences and delays in seed-planting, due to failures in the specific characterization factors. On the other hand, an uncertainty is demonstrated by the results associated with the choice of regeneration time corresponding to the different ecoregions over which soybean cultivation extends across the country. One of the recommendations that comes to the fore is to consider in the characterization factors increments in the soil organic carbon stock and in the mineralization rates, associated with the presence of the preceding crop and the greater availability of water in the soil of irrigated systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Spatial Distribution of Fragmentation by Diversion-Typed Hydroelectric Plant Exploitation in East Baoxing Catchment from 1999 to 2013
Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 3515-3527; doi:10.3390/su7043515
Received: 1 December 2014 / Revised: 22 February 2015 / Accepted: 18 March 2015 / Published: 24 March 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
In the Southwest Mountain areas, successive hydroelectric plant exploitation by humans on Baoxing River can exert a significant impact on regional landscape composition and structure. Taking East Baoxing River Catchment as the study area, the authors developed a method combining Moving Window based
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In the Southwest Mountain areas, successive hydroelectric plant exploitation by humans on Baoxing River can exert a significant impact on regional landscape composition and structure. Taking East Baoxing River Catchment as the study area, the authors developed a method combining Moving Window based Calculation and Spatial Correlation Analysis to analyze the relationship between fragmentation and related spatial factors at a local scale, aiming to examine the spatial distribution rule of the landscape fragmentation and provide scientific support for the conservation of landscape ecology in the study area. From the perspective of the whole study area, although there is no clear relationship between the selected factors and the Change of DIVISION (CODIV), the comparison of R values in the latter interval (2006–2013) with those in the former interval (1999–2006) proves that the human activities of plant building have led to the increase in the DIVISION value. At the local scale, results show that a high positive relationship exists between slope and CODIV (R = 0.857, p-value = 0.05), while the relationship between river distance and CODIV is highly negative (R = −0.837, p-value = 0.01). A medium strong negative relationship lies between elevation and CODIV, while there is almost no linear relationship between distance from Qiaoqi reservoir and CODIV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development and Technological Impact on CO2 Reducing Conditions in Romania
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1637-1650; doi:10.3390/su7021637
Received: 3 January 2015 / Accepted: 22 January 2015 / Published: 3 February 2015
Cited by 10
Abstract
Climate change is a reality all over the world, and its complexity is increasing. Therefore, sustainability has become a national and international concern, ingrained in many organizational processes. The ability of organizations to respond to sustainability concerns is sometimes hindered by the complexity
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Climate change is a reality all over the world, and its complexity is increasing. Therefore, sustainability has become a national and international concern, ingrained in many organizational processes. The ability of organizations to respond to sustainability concerns is sometimes hindered by the complexity of integrating sustainability into business models and by the need to rethink their strategic directions. In Romania, sustainable development has become a priority for businesses, but even though companies are showing some concern, there are yet to demonstrate any full commitment (they are mainly concerned with areas such as society and the environment). This paper assesses Romania’s involvement in the adoption of actions directed toward the reduction of pollutants and greenhouse gases, namely actions focused on reducing the main causes of pollution. This analysis compares the situation in Romania with that of the European Union. The main concerns can be categorized according to four sectors, which produce the highest quantity of carbon dioxide emissions in the world: the energy sector, the transport sector, the waste sector and the industry sector. The last section of this paper deals with the carbon footprint of Romania and its implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Modeling Factors with Influence on Sustainable University Management
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1483-1502; doi:10.3390/su7021483
Received: 1 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 January 2015 / Published: 29 January 2015
Abstract
The main objective of this paper is to present the factors with influence on the sustainable university management and the relationships between them. In the scientific approach we begin from a graphical model, according to which the extracurricular activities together with internal environmental
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The main objective of this paper is to present the factors with influence on the sustainable university management and the relationships between them. In the scientific approach we begin from a graphical model, according to which the extracurricular activities together with internal environmental factors influence students’ involvement in such activities, the university attractiveness, their academic performance and their integration into the socially-economic and natural environment (components related with sustainable development). The model emphasizes that individual performances, related to students’ participation in extracurricular activities, have a positive influence on the sustainability of university management. The results of the study have shown that the university sustainability may be influenced by a number of factors, such as students’ performance, students’ involvement in extracurricular activities or university’s attractiveness and can in turn influence implicitly also the sustainability of university management. The originality of the paper consists in the relationships study using the modeling method in general and informatics tools of modeling in particular, as well as through graphical visualization of some influences, on the sustainability university management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Oxygen Control and Improved Denitrification Efficiency by Means of a Post-Anoxic Reactor
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1201-1212; doi:10.3390/su7021201
Received: 17 November 2014 / Accepted: 19 January 2015 / Published: 23 January 2015
Cited by 3
Abstract
The presence of dissolved oxygen (DO) in biological denitrification reactors determines inhibition effects on the denitrification rate. The article shows the results of an experimental study to control the DO concentration in the pre-denitrification stage by a post-anoxic reactor. The results demonstrate that
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The presence of dissolved oxygen (DO) in biological denitrification reactors determines inhibition effects on the denitrification rate. The article shows the results of an experimental study to control the DO concentration in the pre-denitrification stage by a post-anoxic reactor. The results demonstrate that the post-anoxic reactor is very effective in improving the nitrogen removal efficiency because it causes a considerable reduction of the DO content in the mixed liquor recycle sent to the pre-denitrification reactor. This reduction is influenced by both the retention time and the F:M ratio (referred to the denitrification and the oxidation-nitrification volume). In fact, a retention time and a F:M ratio equal to 1.5 h and 0.130 kgBOD5 kgMLVSS−1·day−1, respectively, allow to limit DO in the post-anoxic reactor at 0.31 mgO2·L−1. Such concentration determines a DO concentration of 0.11 mgO2·L−1 in the pre-denitrification reactor and, consequently, a denitrification efficiency of 91%. Moreover, the contribution of the endogenous denitrification to the whole denitrification efficiency was found negligible. The paper contributes to the progress in nitrogen removal from sewage, a fundamental issue for a sustainable management of water resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Modelling the Potential Biogas Productivity Range from a MSW Landfill for Its Sustainable Exploitation
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 482-495; doi:10.3390/su7010482
Received: 21 September 2014 / Accepted: 18 November 2014 / Published: 5 January 2015
Cited by 2
Abstract
A model of biogas generation was modified and applied to the case of a sanitary landfill in Italy. The modifications considered the role of the temperature field normally established within each layer of waste. It must be pointed out the temperature affects the
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A model of biogas generation was modified and applied to the case of a sanitary landfill in Italy. The modifications considered the role of the temperature field normally established within each layer of waste. It must be pointed out the temperature affects the anaerobic biodegradation kinetics. In order to assess the effect of moisture on the waste biodegradation rate, on the bacteria process and then on the methane production, the model was compared with the LandGEM one. Information on the initial water content came from data concerning waste composition. No additional information about the hydrological balance was available. Thus, nine sets of kinetic constants, derived by literature, were adopted for the simulations. Results showed a significant variability of the maximal hourly biogas flows on a yearly basis, with consequences for the collectable amount during the operating period of a hypothetical engine. The approach is a useful tool to assess the lowest and highest biogas productivity in order to analyze the viability of biogas exploitation for energy purposes. This is useful also in countries that must plan for biogas exploitation from old and new landfills, as a consequence of developments in the waste sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Management of Municipal Solid Waste in One of the Galapagos Islands
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 9080-9095; doi:10.3390/su6129080
Received: 6 October 2014 / Revised: 24 November 2014 / Accepted: 26 November 2014 / Published: 9 December 2014
Cited by 4
Abstract
This paper analyses some aspects of the management of municipal solid waste in one of the islands of the Galapagos archipelago. The aim is to point out a few aspects of an interesting experience that could help decision managers faced with the organization
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This paper analyses some aspects of the management of municipal solid waste in one of the islands of the Galapagos archipelago. The aim is to point out a few aspects of an interesting experience that could help decision managers faced with the organization of the waste sector in similar realities. The relevance of this case study consists in the presence of a very famous National Park surrounding the inhabited area. The role of tourism in the generation of waste is analyzed too. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Substrate-Bulk Interaction on Hydrolysis Modeling in Anaerobic Digestion Process
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8348-8363; doi:10.3390/su6128348
Received: 9 September 2014 / Revised: 5 November 2014 / Accepted: 12 November 2014 / Published: 25 November 2014
Cited by 5
Abstract
In an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) process treating particulate substrates, the size of solids is expected to negatively affect the rate of hydrolysis step and consequently influence the performance of the whole process. To avoid any disadvantage due to size of solids, expensive pre-treatments
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In an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) process treating particulate substrates, the size of solids is expected to negatively affect the rate of hydrolysis step and consequently influence the performance of the whole process. To avoid any disadvantage due to size of solids, expensive pre-treatments aimed at disintegrating and solubilizing substrates are commonly conducted prior to AD. This practice is doubtlessly successful, but not always necessary, since some organic substrates, although particulate, once immersed in water, tend to solubilize immediately. This aspect, if properly considered, could result in saving money and time in the AD process, as well as refining the development and calibration of AD mathematical models. The present study is actually aimed at demonstrating, through experiments and mathematical simulations, different results deriving from the AD process performed, under the same operating conditions, on two different substrates, i.e. homemade pasta and carrot batons, having the same particle size, but different chemical composition and texture. Experimental outcomes highlighted the effect of particles size on bio-methane production only from the bio-methanation potential tests (BMP) conducted on carrot batons. Similar results were obtained by mathematical model calibration, i.e., different kinetic constants for differently-sized carrot batons and same kinetic constant for differently-sized homemade pasta solids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Dynamic Evaluation of Water Quality Improvement Based on Effective Utilization of Stockbreeding Biomass Resource
Sustainability 2014, 6(11), 8218-8236; doi:10.3390/su6118218
Received: 29 July 2014 / Revised: 30 October 2014 / Accepted: 12 November 2014 / Published: 18 November 2014
Cited by 2
Abstract
The stockbreeding industry is growing rapidly in rural regions of China, carrying a high risk to the water environment due to the emission of huge amounts of pollutants in terms of COD, T-N and T-P to rivers. On the other hand, as a
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The stockbreeding industry is growing rapidly in rural regions of China, carrying a high risk to the water environment due to the emission of huge amounts of pollutants in terms of COD, T-N and T-P to rivers. On the other hand, as a typical biomass resource, stockbreeding waste can be used as a clean energy source by biomass utilization technologies. In this paper, we constructed a dynamic linear optimization model to simulate the synthetic water environment management policies which includes both the water environment system and social-economic situational changes over 10 years. Based on the simulation, the model can precisely estimate trends of water quality, production of stockbreeding biomass energy and economic development under certain restrictions of the water environment. We examined seven towns of Shunyi district of Beijing as the target area to analyse synthetic water environment management policies by computer simulation based on the effective utilization of stockbreeding biomass resources to improve water quality and realize sustainable development. The purpose of our research is to establish an effective utilization method of biomass resources incorporating water environment preservation, resource reutilization and economic development, and finally realize the sustainable development of the society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Sustainable Use of Water Resources: A Technical Support for Planning. A Case Study
Sustainability 2014, 6(11), 8128-8148; doi:10.3390/su6118128
Received: 16 July 2014 / Revised: 7 November 2014 / Accepted: 7 November 2014 / Published: 14 November 2014
Abstract
The paper presents both the structure and application of a Decision Support System (DSS) for an important river in Brazil—along with the sustainable management of its watershed. This DSS assesses both surface-water quality and riverine microhabitats in terms of future scenarios, taking into
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The paper presents both the structure and application of a Decision Support System (DSS) for an important river in Brazil—along with the sustainable management of its watershed. This DSS assesses both surface-water quality and riverine microhabitats in terms of future scenarios, taking into account regulation limits and appropriate quality indexes. Our future scenarios consider: (a) population and climate change trends; (b) upgrade of sewage systems and wastewater treatment plants; and (c) withdrawal management from rivers and reservoirs. We use some main types of interrelated models, which can simulate different aspects of the responses of a basin, with respect to different modes of use of the water resource. In particular, the surface-water quality models simulate total phosphorus, BOD, dissolved oxygen concentration and thermo-tolerant coliform bacteria pollution. The riverine microhabitat models apply habitat suitability indexes of autochthonous fish species considering water depth, velocity, bottom substrate and dissolved oxygen. Both models are based on hydrologic and hydraulic models results and both were calibrated using discharge and water quality measurements collected over a 1.5-year monitoring period. Our pre- and post-processing are based on common spreadsheets and the output data are spatially analyzed using GIS software. Examples are also shown of how the DSS can contribute to developing a sustainable use of the basin resources, including a reservoir used to supply drinking water to the capital city (Salvador da Bahia). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Terra Preta Sanitation: A Key Component for Sustainability in the Urban Environment
Sustainability 2014, 6(11), 7725-7750; doi:10.3390/su6117725
Received: 8 August 2014 / Revised: 1 September 2014 / Accepted: 23 October 2014 / Published: 5 November 2014
Cited by 1
Abstract
Terra Preta Sanitation (TPS) plays a key role in sustainable sanitation (SuSan) and in the sustainable management of resources such as water, energy, soil (agriculture), liquid and solid organic waste streams as well as in the development of sustainable urban environment and infrastructure
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Terra Preta Sanitation (TPS) plays a key role in sustainable sanitation (SuSan) and in the sustainable management of resources such as water, energy, soil (agriculture), liquid and solid organic waste streams as well as in the development of sustainable urban environment and infrastructure systems. This paper discusses the advantages of, and requirements for, SuSan systems, focusing on TPS. Case studies showing the stepwise extension and re-development of conventional sanitation systems (CSS) using TPS technologies and system approaches are presented and discussed. Decentralized TPS systems integrated in sustainable urban resource management were implemented in the German cities of Hamburg and Berlin. The compilation of best practice examples and findings using the newest TPS systems illustrates the immense potential of this approach for the transformation from conventional to SuSan systems. For this purpose, the potential savings of drinking water resources and the recycling potential of nutrient components are quantified. The results strongly suggest the need to encourage the development and application of innovative decentralized sanitation technologies, urban infrastructures, and resource management systems that have TP as a key component. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Mapping of Biomass Fluxes: A Method for Optimizing Biogas-Refinery of Livestock Effluents
Sustainability 2014, 6(9), 5920-5940; doi:10.3390/su6095920
Received: 24 July 2014 / Revised: 25 August 2014 / Accepted: 26 August 2014 / Published: 4 September 2014
Abstract
This paper presents the topic of the management of livestock effluents and, therefore, nutrients (particularly N) in the framework of the biogas supply chain. The bio-refinery will be analyzed as a unique system, from the farm to the biomass produced and sent to
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This paper presents the topic of the management of livestock effluents and, therefore, nutrients (particularly N) in the framework of the biogas supply chain. The bio-refinery will be analyzed as a unique system, from the farm to the biomass produced and sent to anaerobic digestion, focusing on the fate/change of the flow of material and nutrients content through the system. Within four categories of farms considered in the article, integrated ones frequently have a breeding consistency from 90 to 320 heads, according to more extensive or intensive settings. These farms must manage from 3.62 to 12.81 m3 day−1 of slurry and from 11.40 to 40.34 kg day−1 of nitrogen (N) as the sum of excreta from all herd categories. By selecting a hypo-protein diet, a reduction of 10% and 24% for total effluent amount and for N excreted, respectively, can be achieved. Nitrogen can be reduced up to 45% if the crude protein content is limited and a further 0.23% if animals of similar ages, weights and (or) production or management are grouped and fed according to specific requirements. Integrated farms can implement farming activity with biogas production, possibly adding agricultural residues to the anaerobically-digested biomass. Average biogas yields for cattle effluents range from 200 to 400 m3 ton−1 VS (volatile solids). Values from 320 to 672 m3 day−1 of biogas can be produced, obtaining average values from 26 to 54.5 kWe (kilowatt-electric). This type of farm can well balance farm-production profit, environmental protection, animal husbandry well-being and energy self-sufficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle A Sustainable Approach for the Geopolymerization of Natural Iron-Rich Aluminosilicate Materials
Sustainability 2014, 6(9), 5535-5553; doi:10.3390/su6095535
Received: 7 July 2014 / Revised: 14 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 August 2014 / Published: 25 August 2014
Abstract
Two iron-rich clayey materials (L1 and L2, with the main difference being the level of iron accumulation) have been studied for their suitability as solid precursors for inorganic polymer composites. L1, with the lower iron content, was calcined at 700°C for 4 h
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Two iron-rich clayey materials (L1 and L2, with the main difference being the level of iron accumulation) have been studied for their suitability as solid precursors for inorganic polymer composites. L1, with the lower iron content, was calcined at 700°C for 4 h and used as replacement, in the range of 15–35 wt%, for both raw laterites in the formulations of geopolymeric composites. The different mixtures were activated with a highly concentrated alkaline solution containing sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate. River sand with semi-crystalline structure was added to form semi-dry pastes which were pressed to appropriate shape. X-ray diffraction, Infrared spectroscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy and Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry results demonstrated the effectiveness of the calcined fraction of L1 to act as nucleation sites and extend the geopolymerization to the matrix composites. A highly compact matrix with low porosity and good stability in water, together with a strength comparable to that of standard concretes was obtained allowing for conclusions to be made on the quality of laterites as promising solid precursor for sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and cost-efficient structural materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)

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