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Sustainability, Volume 10, Issue 10 (October 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Control of vehicle speed is a central tenet of the safe systems approach to road safety. Most [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Using Local Agroecological Knowledge in Climate Change Adaptation: A Study of Tree-Based Options in Northern Morocco
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3719; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103719 (registering DOI)
Received: 14 September 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 8 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
Communities in northern Morocco are vulnerable to increasing water scarcity and food insecurity. Context specific adaptation options thus need to be identified to sustain livelihoods and agroecosystems in this region, and increase the resilience of vulnerable smallholders, and their farming systems, to undesired
[...] Read more.
Communities in northern Morocco are vulnerable to increasing water scarcity and food insecurity. Context specific adaptation options thus need to be identified to sustain livelihoods and agroecosystems in this region, and increase the resilience of vulnerable smallholders, and their farming systems, to undesired effects of social-ecological change. This study took a knowledge-based systems approach to explore whether and how tree-based (i.e., agroforestry) options could contribute to meeting these adaptation needs. We analysed local agroecological knowledge of smallholders from the Mèknes–Tafilalet region, to (i) characterise existing farming systems at local landscape scale; (ii) identify possible niches for farm-trees within these systems; and (iii) explore locally perceived barriers to tree-based diversification. An iterative cycle of qualitative interviews, with a purposefully selected sample of 32 farmers, revealed that socio-economic constraints and agroecological conditions in the area differed markedly along a relatively short altitudinal gradient. Agroforestry practices were already integral to all farming systems. Yet, many were at risk of degradation, as water scarcity, low profitability of production systems and uncontrolled grazing constituted critical barriers to the maintenance and diversification of farm-trees. We demonstrate the discriminatory power of local knowledge, to characterise farming conditions at the local landscape scale; and unveil adoption barriers and options for tree-based diversification in northern Morocco. Full article
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Open AccessReview Citrus and Winery Wastes: Promising Dietary Supplements for Sustainable Ruminant Animal Nutrition, Health, Production, and Meat Quality
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3718; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103718 (registering DOI)
Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 12 October 2018 / Accepted: 14 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
Citrus and grapes are the most widely grown fruits globally, with one-third of total production used for juice and wine making. The juice and winemaking processes generate large quantities of solid organic wastes including citrus pulp and grape pomace. These fruit wastes pose
[...] Read more.
Citrus and grapes are the most widely grown fruits globally, with one-third of total production used for juice and wine making. The juice and winemaking processes generate large quantities of solid organic wastes including citrus pulp and grape pomace. These fruit wastes pose serious economic, environmental, and social challenges, especially in low-to-middle-income countries due to financial, technological, and infrastructural limitations. They are, however, rich in valuable compounds which can be utilized in the ruminant livestock industry as novel, economical, and natural sources of cellulose, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and phytochemicals, which have nutritional, anthelmintic, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. Despite citrus and grape fruit wastes having such potential, they remain underexploited by the livestock industry in low-to-middle-income countries owing to lack of finance, skills, technology, and infrastructure. Inclusion of these fruit wastes in ruminant diets could combine the desirable effects of enhancing animal nutrition, health, welfare, production, and meat quality attributes with the prevention of challenges associated with their disposal into the environment. The current review explores the valorization potential of citrus and winery wastes as dietary supplements to sustainably enhance ruminant animal nutrition, health, welfare, production, and meat quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The New Paradigm of Waste Management: Waste as Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Antecedent and Consequences of Psychological Capital of Entrepreneurs
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3717; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103717 (registering DOI)
Received: 21 September 2018 / Revised: 7 October 2018 / Accepted: 8 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
Psychological capital is critical for entrepreneurial resilience and sustainability. The purpose of this study is to examine a comprehensive model of the relationships between the antecedents and consequences of the psychological capital of entrepreneurs. A data sample of 208 entrepreneurs from the Philippines
[...] Read more.
Psychological capital is critical for entrepreneurial resilience and sustainability. The purpose of this study is to examine a comprehensive model of the relationships between the antecedents and consequences of the psychological capital of entrepreneurs. A data sample of 208 entrepreneurs from the Philippines was analyzed with Structural Equation Modeling. The results found that organizational climate, organizational justice, leader-member exchange, authentic leadership have significant and positive influences on psychological capital, while occupational stressor is significantly associated with psychological capital. Among them, authentic leadership has the strongest impact on psychological capital. Results also found that psychological capital has significant and positive influences on entrepreneurs’ job satisfaction, performance, attitude, organizational citizenship behavior, while it also has negative influences on undesirable behavior. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Municipal Solid Waste Management from the Experience of São Leopoldo/Brazil and Zurich/Switzerland
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3716; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103716 (registering DOI)
Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 9 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
The challenge of developing country governments in municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is complex, often ineffective, and does not meet the required technical sustainability, which involves environmental, social, and financial aspects. The purpose of this research is to analyze two distinct waste management
[...] Read more.
The challenge of developing country governments in municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is complex, often ineffective, and does not meet the required technical sustainability, which involves environmental, social, and financial aspects. The purpose of this research is to analyze two distinct waste management systems, in São Leopoldo (Brazil) and in Zurich (Switzerland), to develop a tool called “waste stream mapping” and also to compare the cities systems. The results show positively that the two municipalities have selective waste collection, however in São Leopoldo it was found that less volume was reinserted in the production chain, which considerably increases the volume of waste sent to sanitary landfill, which is the main method of disposal in Brazil. On the other hand, the Zurich management model is more expensive, especially compared to incineration, but its billing and power trading system ends up involving more of the population and paying for the operations, as Zurich generates more income than expenses. This study shows that each stage of waste management has its peculiarity and everything should be planned. The tool adapted from Value Stream Mapping has shown that it is useful to have a broad vision about the municipal solid waste management to be implemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Municipal Solid Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle Perceptions, Risk Attitude and Organic Fertilizer Investment: Evidence from Rice and Banana Farmers in Guangxi, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3715; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103715 (registering DOI)
Received: 5 September 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
Overuse of chemical fertilizer has led to severe land degradation and environmental pollution in China. Switching to organic fertilizer may improve soil quality and reduce pollution, which is meaningful to the sustainable development of Chinese agriculture. This study examines how farmers’ perceptions and
[...] Read more.
Overuse of chemical fertilizer has led to severe land degradation and environmental pollution in China. Switching to organic fertilizer may improve soil quality and reduce pollution, which is meaningful to the sustainable development of Chinese agriculture. This study examines how farmers’ perceptions and risk preference affect their organic fertilizer investment using a representative rural household survey from Guangxi, a major agricultural region in China. Tobit and double-hurdle models are used to empirically test their impacts on organic fertilizer adoption and investment. An ordinary least squares model is used to regress chemical fertilizer use on the same set of explanatory variables to compare and contrast farmers’ different fertilizer investment behaviors. It is found that both organic fertilizer perceptions and risk attitude significantly affect organic fertilizer investment. Perceived yield-increasing and quality-improving effects encourage organic fertilizer investment, while perceived cost increases discourage it. Moreover, risk-averse farmers are more likely to invest in organic fertilizers. Most of the perceptions affecting organic fertilizer investment have an opposite impact on chemical fertilizer investment, which suggests substitutability between organic and chemical fertilizer. Interventions that aim to improve farmers’ perceptions of organic fertilizer and illustrate its risk-reduction effect could be effective in promoting organic fertilizer use, which can help achieve China’s sustainable development of agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Inter-Firm Cooperation and Collaboration in Shipper—Shipping Company Relationships for Enhancing Sustainability
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3714; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103714 (registering DOI)
Received: 13 September 2018 / Revised: 13 October 2018 / Accepted: 13 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
This paper aims to reveal the relationship between cooperation, trust, and sustainability, and to uncover whether cooperation, trust, and sustainability is nested within collaboration in shipper–shipping company relationships. Structural equation modeling identified that cooperation has a positive effect on trust, which partially mediates
[...] Read more.
This paper aims to reveal the relationship between cooperation, trust, and sustainability, and to uncover whether cooperation, trust, and sustainability is nested within collaboration in shipper–shipping company relationships. Structural equation modeling identified that cooperation has a positive effect on trust, which partially mediates the impact of cooperation on sustainability. Sub-constructs of cooperation included transparency, fairness, and mutuality. Fairness is the prime antecedent of trust, and developing fairness can create more effective and high-quality relationships among firms. A fuller theoretical model reveals how inter-firm cooperation may progress to collaboration, and why transparency does not necessarily lead to trust. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Efficiency Assessment of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Projects: The Case of Russia
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3713; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103713 (registering DOI)
Received: 9 September 2018 / Revised: 21 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
The most recent international experience shows that public-private partnership (PPP) is a public procurement that improves the management of public and municipal property in the construction sector. This article proposes a method for ranking countries by the probability of being successful in implementing
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The most recent international experience shows that public-private partnership (PPP) is a public procurement that improves the management of public and municipal property in the construction sector. This article proposes a method for ranking countries by the probability of being successful in implementing a PPP. The new methodology is based on a system of indicators to assess the quality of the institutional environment, the experience of project implementation, the state readiness, private organizations, and the society for the effective implementation of PPP projects. We develop a new method to gauge challenging Russia’s new legislation that, although having been introduced in 2015, has already boosted a tumultuous number of new PPP projects and it is expected to enhance PPP opportunities in the country further. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Study on Vulnerability and Coordination of Water-Energy-Food System in Northwest China
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3712; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103712 (registering DOI)
Received: 16 August 2018 / Revised: 11 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
Water, energy and food are the basic resources for human survival and development. The coordination development of water-energy-food (W-E-F) is of great significance to promote regional sustainable development. In this study, Northwest China (Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Xinjiang) was selected as the research
[...] Read more.
Water, energy and food are the basic resources for human survival and development. The coordination development of water-energy-food (W-E-F) is of great significance to promote regional sustainable development. In this study, Northwest China (Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Xinjiang) was selected as the research case, and an evaluation index system was constructed to assess the vulnerability and coordination of water-energy-food (W-E-F) system based on PSR model. Then, a coupled model based on cloud-matter element model and coordination degree model was proposed. The cloud-matter element model was adopted to evaluate the vulnerability level of W-E-F system. The coordination degree model was employed to calculate the coordination degrees of W-E-F system. The results showed that, from 2006 to 2015, the vulnerability levels of W-E-F system in Northwest China were mostly at Level 1. The coordination degrees of W-E-F system belonged to the transitional development level (II) in most years. The vulnerability and coordination problems of W-E-F system in Northwest China were severe. The comprehensive vulnerability index values of W-E-F system were generally on the rise, but far from reaching a good level. Moreover, the comprehensive vulnerability index values and coordination degrees of W-E-F system in Northwest China do not match well. Finally, the countermeasures and suggestions to improve the coordinated development of water resource, energy and food in Northwest China were put forward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conflict Analysis and Sustainable Management of Water Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Analyzing Urban Residents’ Appraisal of Ridepooling Service Attributes with Conjoint Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3711; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103711 (registering DOI)
Received: 29 August 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
Public ridepooling systems could contribute to the reduction of traffic volume and emissions in cities by decreasing the number of rides by private car while increasing the average number of passengers per vehicle. Yet, it is unknown how urban travelers value different attributes
[...] Read more.
Public ridepooling systems could contribute to the reduction of traffic volume and emissions in cities by decreasing the number of rides by private car while increasing the average number of passengers per vehicle. Yet, it is unknown how urban travelers value different attributes of the ridepooling’s operational concept. Which characteristics of ridepooling concepts are most important to the users? In order to obtain a deeper understanding of travelers’ preferences concerning a ridepooling system, choice-based Conjoint Analysis was performed. Based on a literature review and a focus group, six relevant attributes of the operational concept of ridepooling systems were determined: fare, walking distance, time of booking, shift of departure time, travel time, and information provision. Data from 237 German city dwellers were analyzed with the help of Cox regression. Except for time of booking, all service attributes significantly affected the respondents’ choice. Besides the high relevance of fare, the results underline the particular importance of the attribute walking distance to the pick-up point for elderly. The results give guidance for the creation of user-centered public transport systems that meet the requirements of the prospective passengers and thus might contribute to the development of shared passenger transport systems for sustainable urban mobility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Road Transportation Planning)
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Open AccessArticle Capturing the Bigger Picture? Applying Text Analytics to Foster Open Innovation Processes for Sustainability-Oriented Innovation
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3710; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103710 (registering DOI)
Received: 13 August 2018 / Revised: 10 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
In open innovation initiatives for sustainability-oriented innovations, it is indispensable to have a wide array of engaging stakeholders. Yet, as not all relevant actors are able or willing to participate, important opinions can go unnoticed. Due to such stakeholder selection effects, aspects of
[...] Read more.
In open innovation initiatives for sustainability-oriented innovations, it is indispensable to have a wide array of engaging stakeholders. Yet, as not all relevant actors are able or willing to participate, important opinions can go unnoticed. Due to such stakeholder selection effects, aspects of high relevance may remain uncaptured. To address this issue, we first define the concept of silent stakeholders and relate it to sustainability-oriented innovations. We then discuss the new approach of employing analytical methods to examine existing sources outside the innovation process for silent stakeholder opinions. For this purpose, we conduct an action research study demonstrating how to examine broad discourse data with text analytics for an open innovation project aiming to create a sustainability-oriented innovation. To this end, we develop an approach for the efficient integration of external sources in open innovation processes. We find that text analytics of broad discourse data can particularly support the orientation and idea generation phase for sustainability-oriented innovation. Furthermore, we identify possibilities for the application of further data mining methods to complement open innovation approaches along the innovation process. Building on that, we propose an integrated framework. Hence, we add to the literature on stakeholder participation, analytical methods and innovation management, as well as sustainability-oriented innovation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Generating Future-Oriented Energy Policies and Technologies from the Multidisciplinary Group Discussions by Text-Mining-Based Identification of Topics and Experts
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3709; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103709 (registering DOI)
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 12 October 2018 / Accepted: 14 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
With increasing problems and challenging issues for sustainability under climate change, energy research has gained a lot of global attention from citizens, business and government on an important mission to make energy available in sustainable and clean ways. Moreover, as the bigger energy
[...] Read more.
With increasing problems and challenging issues for sustainability under climate change, energy research has gained a lot of global attention from citizens, business and government on an important mission to make energy available in sustainable and clean ways. Moreover, as the bigger energy issues get, the more closely they are related to humans, so the multidisciplinary approach in energy research by integrating human sciences in energy domain has been called for and recognized to be of immense importance. However, so far most of the energy research has focused on one side such as economics and technology innovation. In addition, there have been limits to policymakers’ taking multidisciplinary perspectives for agenda-setting and policy-making on energy issues for future society under climate change. In this context, this paper proposes a systematic approach for agenda-setting and policy-making in future-oriented and multidisciplinary perspectives. In particular, it applies text-mining techniques to designing multidisciplinary group discussions and generates energy policies and technologies (EP&Ts) for the future society from the multidisciplinary perspectives. The proposed method was applied to South Korea. To sum up, the core energy-specific future trends in South Korea were identified and subsequently the top-priority future-oriented EP&Ts were generated for South Korea as follows: (i) real-time plan for electricity usage; (ii) purchase system, specialized for green energy products; (iii) cooperation association for sustainability; (iv) donating self-produced energy; (v) social media-based energy policy portal; and (vi) expert system designing the eco-friendly and low-energy indoor and outdoor designs. Thus, this paper has its novelty as the first trial that combines both qualitative and quantitative approaches for building up future-oriented strategies from the balanced and multidisciplinary perspectives. Eventually, it will help deal with bigger problems and grand challenges that our future energy society should overcome to sustain under climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Nodal Farmers’ Motivations for Exchanging Sorghum Seeds in Northwestern Ethiopia
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3708; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103708 (registering DOI)
Received: 26 September 2018 / Revised: 9 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
One of the main challenges of Ethiopian agriculture is the shortage of certified seeds of improved varieties, which results in uneven dispersal of quality seed amongst farmers. In a context where 80% to 90% of the seed requirement is covered by the informal
[...] Read more.
One of the main challenges of Ethiopian agriculture is the shortage of certified seeds of improved varieties, which results in uneven dispersal of quality seed amongst farmers. In a context where 80% to 90% of the seed requirement is covered by the informal seed sector, understanding how and why seeds are exchanged through informal channels is crucial. This study aims to describe why nodal farmers disseminate seeds at a higher rate than other farmers in their network. Following a social network analysis, in-depth surveys were conducted with identified nodal and connector sorghum farmers in order to determine the main social characteristics that differentiate them from other farmers in a western lowlands community of the Tigray Region of Ethiopia. We examined empirically the main factors that motivate them, the main drawbacks they experience, and the behavioral decisions that could potentially speed up or slow down the adoption of newly released improved varieties of sorghum. The study showed that, in this district, few significant socio-demographic differences exist between nodal and non-nodal farmers. The seed exchange network was hyper localized, as the majority of exchanges took place within village boundaries. Focus group discussions showed that a nodal position should not be taken for granted, as the network is dynamic and in constant evolution. In-depth interviews revealed that it was unlikely for accessing farmers to be consistently denied seeds due to a deeply rooted social norm insisting that one should not, under any circumstances, be turned down when asking for seeds. However, in practice, chronic seed insecure farmers suffering from poor performances may find themselves unable to access quality seeds, as automatic support should not be assumed. In terms of motivation, nodal farmers ranked maintaining friendships and relationships as the two most important. Thus, beyond the risk-sharing mechanism underlying much of the seed exchange, it is a mix of personal and community interests that motivates nodal farmers to have more exchange partners and thus disseminate more seeds on average than other farmers in the seed networks. This indicates that their social capital is the major driver to exchange seeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Upland Livelihoods between Local Land and Global Labour Market Dependencies: Evidence from Northern Chin State, Myanmar
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3707; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103707 (registering DOI)
Received: 11 September 2018 / Revised: 11 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
Livelihoods and agrarian change processes across upland South-East Asia have been explored for decades. Yet, knowledge gaps remain about contemporary livelihood strategies and land dependence in areas previously inaccessible to academic research, such as in upland Myanmar. Moreover, new strands of inquiry arise
[...] Read more.
Livelihoods and agrarian change processes across upland South-East Asia have been explored for decades. Yet, knowledge gaps remain about contemporary livelihood strategies and land dependence in areas previously inaccessible to academic research, such as in upland Myanmar. Moreover, new strands of inquiry arise with continued globalisation, e.g., into the effects of remittances and labour migration on household incomes and livelihoods in distant upland areas. This study applied clustering techniques to income accounts of 94 households from northern Chin State, Myanmar to: (i) Identify households’ livelihood strategies; (ii) assess their dependence on access to land and natural resources; and (iii) compare absolute and relative incomes across strategies. We show that households engaged in six relatively distinct livelihood strategies: Relying primarily on own farming activities; making a living off the land with mixed income from agriculture and forest resources; engaging in wage employment; living from remittances; practicing non-forest tree husbandry; or engaging in self-employed business activities. We found significant income inequalities across clusters, with households engaging in remittance and wage-oriented livelihood strategies realizing higher incomes than those primarily involved in land-based activities. Our findings point to differentiated vulnerabilities associated with the identified livelihood strategies—to climate risks, shifting land-governance regimes and labour market forces. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Evolving Role of IT Departments in Digital Transformation
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3706; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103706 (registering DOI)
Received: 17 September 2018 / Revised: 9 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
In the digital era, organizations are increasingly tasked with creating and utilizing new content, applications, and/or services through the use of advanced information and communication technologies (ICT) to sustain a competitive advantage. Indeed, sustainability is now an embedded and overarching feature of organizations’
[...] Read more.
In the digital era, organizations are increasingly tasked with creating and utilizing new content, applications, and/or services through the use of advanced information and communication technologies (ICT) to sustain a competitive advantage. Indeed, sustainability is now an embedded and overarching feature of organizations’ strategic planning. Research has shown that information technology (IT) departments are vital to organizations’ digital transformation. However, the role of IT departments in non-ICT-oriented organizations undergoing digital transformation has yet to be explored. Our study reveals that although the IT departments of non-ICT-oriented organizations play an important and proactive role in the early stages of organizational transformation and a dominant role in developing ICT capabilities, they will be unable to assume a leadership role within the organizations after transformation is complete. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Daylight Performance of Classrooms in a Mediterranean School Heritage Building
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3705; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103705 (registering DOI)
Received: 11 September 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 10 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
In school buildings, natural light has considerable physiological benefits, and increases energy efficiency while reducing the operational energy consumption of buildings. It is thus crucial to maximize the amount of daylight, as well as to improve its quality, in educational premises. In Italy
[...] Read more.
In school buildings, natural light has considerable physiological benefits, and increases energy efficiency while reducing the operational energy consumption of buildings. It is thus crucial to maximize the amount of daylight, as well as to improve its quality, in educational premises. In Italy and other European countries, many historic buildings are reused as school buildings, changing their original function. This process of adaptive reusing is one method for conserving heritage buildings, however sometimes this process sacrifices the quality of daylight and well being of pupils. It has therefore become apparent that it is difficult to reconcile the cultural value of historic buildings with comfort standards. This study aimed to investigate the natural lighting performance of a school located in an historic building, and proposes different technological solutions to improve the visual comfort in classrooms whilst also respecting the cultural value of built heritage. Daylight performance was carried out in a representative classroom in the ‘Caserma Gaetano Abela’, an historical building located in Siracusa (Italy). A daylight model built in Radiance was first validated against an illuminance measurement campaign, and was then used to run detailed dynamic simulations. Climate Based Daylight Modelling (CBDM) metrics were used to show the achievable improvements in visual comfort conditions by means of proposed retrofit interventions. These interventions may also be used in other areas of southern Europe with similar climatic and constructive/distributive characteristics of architectural heritage. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial Product Design and Consumer Behaviour in a Circular Economy
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3704; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103704 (registering DOI)
Received: 7 October 2018 / Accepted: 8 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Product Design and Consumer Behavior in A Circular Economy)
Open AccessArticle Internet Use by Secondary School Students: A Digital Divide in Sustainable Societies?
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3703; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103703 (registering DOI)
Received: 26 August 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 9 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
Although the use of the Internet is generalised, its potential as a teaching tool is rarely taken into account. At the same time, there exists a digital divide affecting vulnerable or disadvantaged groups: students of foreign origin and students with special educational needs.
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Although the use of the Internet is generalised, its potential as a teaching tool is rarely taken into account. At the same time, there exists a digital divide affecting vulnerable or disadvantaged groups: students of foreign origin and students with special educational needs. It is necessary to identify how inequality can be overcome to reach the objectives set by the United Nations regarding sustainable forms of development for education and to foster more inclusive and egalitarian societies. In this research with students aged 12–16, the objective was to establish profiles according to gender, social class, ethnic background and educational special needs. We used a mixed methodological design, applying a questionnaire to 2734 students from 15 centres and qualitative data collection techniques. We made a descriptive and inferential analysis (SPSS program) and a qualitative data content analysis supported by the “Maxqda” program. The results show that, although most students have Internet access, students of foreign origin and students with special educational needs use this resource less frequently. There are significant differences for gender. Likewise, social divide has an impact on the learning potential of the Internet. Some proposals for improvement are provided, from the framework of the school, with a view to improving socio-educational equity and inclusion in societies in search of a more sustainable form of development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ICT in Education and Sustainable Futures)
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Open AccessArticle A Robust Regression-Based Stock Exchange Forecasting and Determination of Correlation Between Stock Markets
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3702; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103702 (registering DOI)
Received: 14 August 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 8 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
Knowledge-based decision support systems for financial management are an important part of investment plans. Investors are avoiding investing in traditional investment areas such as banks due to low return on investment. The stock exchange is one of the major areas for investment presently.
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Knowledge-based decision support systems for financial management are an important part of investment plans. Investors are avoiding investing in traditional investment areas such as banks due to low return on investment. The stock exchange is one of the major areas for investment presently. Various non-linear and complex factors affect the stock exchange. A robust stock exchange forecasting system remains an important need. From this line of research, we evaluate the performance of a regression-based model to check the robustness over large datasets. We also evaluate the effect of top stock exchange markets on each other. We evaluate our proposed model on the top 4 stock exchanges—New York, London, NASDAQ and Karachi stock exchange. We also evaluate our model on the top 3 companies—Apple, Microsoft, and Google. A huge (Big Data) historical data is gathered from Yahoo finance consisting of 20 years. Such huge data creates a Big Data problem. The performance of our system is evaluated on a 1-step, 6-step, and 12-step forecast. The experiments show that the proposed system produces excellent results. The results are presented in terms of Mean Absolute Error (MAE) and Root Mean Square Error (RMSE). Full article
Open AccessArticle Does Mobile Phone Penetration Affect Divorce Rate? Evidence from China
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3701; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103701 (registering DOI)
Received: 12 September 2018 / Revised: 10 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
Marital happiness is an important symbol of social harmony and can help promote sustainable economic and social development. In recent years, the rapid rise of the divorce rate in China, a country where the divorce rate had previously been low, has attracted wide
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Marital happiness is an important symbol of social harmony and can help promote sustainable economic and social development. In recent years, the rapid rise of the divorce rate in China, a country where the divorce rate had previously been low, has attracted wide attention. However, few articles have focused on the popularization of information and communication technology's impact on China’s rising divorce rate in recent years. As a first attempt, the provincial panel data during the period 2001–2016 is applied to study quantitatively the relationship between mobile phone penetration and the divorce rate. In order to get more reliable estimation results, this paper uses two indicators to measure the divorce rate, and quantile regression is applied for further analysis. Additionally, one-year to five-year lag times of the mobile phone penetration are used as the core explanatory variables in order to analyse the lagging effect of mobile phone penetration on divorce rate. The result shows that the correlation between the mobile phone penetration and the divorce rate was statistically positive significant in China during the period 2001–2016. Furthermore, the paper also finds that mobile phone penetration had the greatest impact on divorce rate in central China, followed by eastern China, but it was not obvious in western China during this period. From a technological perspective, this paper provides some possible explanations for the rising divorce rate in China in recent years, and further enriches the relevant research on the impact of the development of information and communication technology on societal changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Public Health System and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Identification of Levels of Sustainable Consciousness of Teachers in Training through an E-Portfolio
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3700; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103700 (registering DOI)
Received: 3 August 2018 / Revised: 22 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
The contents of Education for Sustainable Development should be included in teachers’ initial and advanced training programs. A sustainable consciousness is one of the main foundations for determining the key competences for sustainability. However, there are not many empirical studies that deal with
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The contents of Education for Sustainable Development should be included in teachers’ initial and advanced training programs. A sustainable consciousness is one of the main foundations for determining the key competences for sustainability. However, there are not many empirical studies that deal with consciousness from education. In this context, the e-portfolio appears as a tool that promotes reflection and critical thinking, which are key competences for consciousness development. This work intends to propose a categorization system to extract types of consciousness and identify the levels of consciousness of teachers in training. For this research work, which is of an eminently qualitative nature, we have selected 25 e-portfolios of students (teachers in pre-service training) in the last year of the School of Education at the University of Macerata (Italy). The qualitative methodological procedure that was followed enabled deducing three bases that shape the consciousness of teachers in training: thinking, representation of reality, and type of consciousness. We concluded that the attainment of a sustainable consciousness in teachers requires activating and developing higher levels of thinking, as well as a projective and macrostructural representation of reality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ICT in Education and Sustainable Futures)
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Open AccessArticle Financial Credit Risk Evaluation Based on Core Enterprise Supply Chains
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3699; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103699 (registering DOI)
Received: 6 September 2018 / Revised: 1 October 2018 / Accepted: 2 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
Supply chain finance has broken through traditional credit modes and advanced rapidly as a creative financial business discipline. Core enterprises have played a critical role in the credit enhancement of supply chain finance. Through the analysis of core enterprise credit risks in supply
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Supply chain finance has broken through traditional credit modes and advanced rapidly as a creative financial business discipline. Core enterprises have played a critical role in the credit enhancement of supply chain finance. Through the analysis of core enterprise credit risks in supply chain finance, by means of a ‘fuzzy analytical hierarchy process’ (FAHP), the paper constructs a supply chain financial credit risk evaluation system, making quantitative measurements and evaluation of core enterprise credit risk. This enables enterprises to take measures to control credit risk, thereby promoting the healthy development of supply chain finance. The examination of core enterprise supply chains suggests that a unified information file should be collected based on the core enterprise, including the operating conditions, asset status, industry status, credit record, effective information to the database, collecting related data upstream and downstream of the archives around the core enterprise, developing a data information system, electronic data information, and updating the database accurately using the latest information that might be available. Moreover, supply chain finance and modern information technology should be integrated to establish the sharing of information resources and realize the exchange of information flows, capital flows, and logistics between banks. This should reduce a variety of risks and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of supply chain finance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Holistic Approaches to Develop Sustainability and Research Competencies in Pre-Service Teacher Training
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3698; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103698 (registering DOI)
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 8 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
Since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into effect, both UNESCO and other international organisations recommend empowering youth to implement the SDGs in universities. Getting started with the SDGs at university level is of special relevance in pre-service teacher training since future teachers
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Since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into effect, both UNESCO and other international organisations recommend empowering youth to implement the SDGs in universities. Getting started with the SDGs at university level is of special relevance in pre-service teacher training since future teachers are powerful agents of change in the lives of young people. Future teachers need to acquire competencies in sustainability to be able to promote meaningful changes in sustainable behaviour. To that end, holistic approaches to facilitate their acquisition need to be developed. The aim of this study is to explore which teaching methodologies are suitable for the development of competencies in sustainability and research in Higher Education (HE). The participants taking part in the study are students in pre-service teacher training. The experimental educational model used for the development of competencies in sustainability and research consists of a methodological sequence of Project-Oriented Learning (POL) and a Cross-disciplinary Workshop on Sustainable Food. This study provides evidence that POL is an excellent methodology for developing competencies in sustainability and facilitates the relationship between sustainability and research competencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Landslide-Prone Areas and Their Zonation Using Logistic Regression, LogitBoost, and NaïveBayes Machine-Learning Algorithms
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3697; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103697 (registering DOI)
Received: 9 August 2018 / Revised: 4 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
The occurrence of landslide in the hilly region of South Korea is a matter of serious concern. This study tries to produce landslide susceptibility maps for Jumunjin Country in South Korea. Three machine learning algorithms, namely Logistic Regression (LR), LogitBoost (LB), and NaïveBayes
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The occurrence of landslide in the hilly region of South Korea is a matter of serious concern. This study tries to produce landslide susceptibility maps for Jumunjin Country in South Korea. Three machine learning algorithms, namely Logistic Regression (LR), LogitBoost (LB), and NaïveBayes (NB) are used, and their final model outcomes are compared to each other. Firstly, a landslide inventory map and the associated input data layers of the landslide conditioning factors were developed based on field verification, historical records, and high-resolution remote-sensing data in the geographic information system (GIS) environment. Seventeen landslide conditioning factors were prepared, including aspect, slope, altitude, maximum curvature, profile curvature, topographic wetness index (TWI), topographic positioning index (TPI), distance from fault, convexity, forest type, forest diameter, forest density, land use/land cover, lithology, soil, flow accumulation, and mid slope position. The result showed that the area under the curve (AUC) values of LR, LB, and NB models were 84.2%, 70.7%, and 85.2%, respectively. The results revealed that the LR and LB models produced reasonable accuracy than respect to NB model in landslide susceptibility assessment. The final susceptibility maps would be useful for preliminary land-use planning and hazard mitigation purpose. Full article
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Open AccessReview Simulation-Based Decision Support Tools in the Early Design Stages of a Green Building—A Review
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3696; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103696 (registering DOI)
Received: 5 September 2018 / Revised: 11 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
Early simulation work in the decision-making stage faces several challenges, including, for example, rapid changes of design, input variable uncertainties, and the lack of design information, although early design work represents a large percentage of energy saving potential. The availability of simulation tools
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Early simulation work in the decision-making stage faces several challenges, including, for example, rapid changes of design, input variable uncertainties, and the lack of design information, although early design work represents a large percentage of energy saving potential. The availability of simulation tools for early design stages can help the architect analyze more alternatives. In this study, the existing simulation tools were explored and classified into three categories: simulation plugins based on the design software, geometry user interfaces for a simulation engine, and self-governing simulation tools. Each category’s typical tools were illustrated with their use, and a uniform standard comparison was conducted to screen tools that are available in the early design stages. The future trends of simulation tools are discussed in the second part: building databases based on existing knowledge, uncertainty and sensitivity analyses, and optimization. Time-consuming simulation is a problem in the use of simulation tools in early design stages. Advanced techniques were developed in this part for fast computing, i.e., cloud computing, parallel computing, meta-models, and more statistical methods. This paper illustrates the practical application of particular simulation tools in the early design stage, presents their limitations, and discusses decision-support tools for specific building design activities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Delta Project: Towards a Sustainable Campus
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3695; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103695 (registering DOI)
Received: 23 June 2018 / Revised: 14 September 2018 / Accepted: 16 September 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
The University of Guayaquil, which shares the same name as the city where it is located, faces the challenge of its image transformation for the 21st century. It was deemed necessary to identify details about the urban evolution of the city over time,
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The University of Guayaquil, which shares the same name as the city where it is located, faces the challenge of its image transformation for the 21st century. It was deemed necessary to identify details about the urban evolution of the city over time, in relation to the changes produced by the project’s site and its direct area of influence. The goal is to integrate the main university campus within a framework which guarantees sustainability and allows innovation in the living lab. To achieve this, the action research method was applied, focused on the community participation and the logic framework. The proposal, the management model, and the integrated working groups were organized with internal users such as professors, students, and university authorities, and external actors such as residents, local business communities, Guayaquil city council, and its local mayor and governor. As result of the diagnosis, six different analysis dimensions were established which correspond to the new urban agenda for the future campus: compactness, inclusiveness, resilience, sustainability, safety, and participation. As a proposal, the urban design integrates the analysis of the dimensions whose financial support and execution are given by the municipality authorities that integrates the campus with its network of community police headquarters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Method to Compare the Biodiversity Conservation Effectiveness between Regions based on a Reference Condition
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3694; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103694 (registering DOI)
Received: 13 September 2018 / Revised: 3 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
Assessment of conservation effectiveness in biodiversity ecological function zones (BEFZs) is important for biodiversity in China. However, a scientific and practical method for effectively comparing biodiversity conservation between different BEFZs is lacking. In this study, a reference condition index that can represent the
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Assessment of conservation effectiveness in biodiversity ecological function zones (BEFZs) is important for biodiversity in China. However, a scientific and practical method for effectively comparing biodiversity conservation between different BEFZs is lacking. In this study, a reference condition index that can represent the optimum value of biodiversity in one BEFZ and a conservation effectiveness index that can reflect the effect of conservation measures were developed. Then a method to compare the biodiversity conservation effectiveness between different BEFZs on both temporal and spatial scales was developed. The method was applied to three BEFZs in China—Yili-Tianshan Mountain, San Jiang Plain Wetland and Minshan-Qionglai Mountain—which are located in different geographic environments. The main conclusions are as follows: (1) the reference condition index can reflect differences in the background of conservation capacity among BEFZs examined, allowing comparison of the biodiversity conservation effectiveness between different BEFZs; (2) the conservation effectiveness index is a useful quantitative measure of the biodiversity conservation effectiveness in BEFZs; and (3) application of this method to the three BEFZs indicated that the method can provide a powerful tool for the management of biodiversity conservation in BEFZs at a macroscale in China. Meanwhile, this method can also provide a reference for building strategies for protecting the ecological environments in other countries on a case-by-case basis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability, Biodiversity, and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Wind Speed Forecasting Method Using EEMD and the Combination Forecasting Method Based on GPR and LSTM
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3693; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103693 (registering DOI)
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 11 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
Short-term wind speed prediction is of cardinal significance for maximization of wind power utilization. However, the strong intermittency and volatility of wind speed pose a challenge to the wind speed prediction model. To improve the accuracy of wind speed prediction, a novel model
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Short-term wind speed prediction is of cardinal significance for maximization of wind power utilization. However, the strong intermittency and volatility of wind speed pose a challenge to the wind speed prediction model. To improve the accuracy of wind speed prediction, a novel model using the ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) method and the combination forecasting method for Gaussian process regression (GPR) and the long short-term memory (LSTM) neural network based on the variance-covariance method is proposed. In the proposed model, the EEMD method is employed to decompose the original data of wind speed series into several intrinsic mode functions (IMFs). Then, the LSTM neural network and the GPR method are utilized to predict the IMFs, respectively. Lastly, based on the IMFs’ prediction results with the two forecasting methods, the variance-covariance method can determine the weight of the two forecasting methods and offer a combination forecasting result. The experimental results from two forecasting cases in Zhangjiakou, China, indicate that the proposed approach outperforms other compared wind speed forecasting methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wind Energy, Load and Price Forecasting towards Sustainability 2019)
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Open AccessArticle Markov-Chain Simulation-Based Analysis of Human Resource Structure: How Staff Deployment and Staffing Affect Sustainable Human Resource Strategy
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3692; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103692 (registering DOI)
Received: 8 September 2018 / Revised: 9 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
Manufacturing and service processes are composed of several elements: Technical, financial, logistics, information and human resources. Staff deployment and staffing is an essential problem in the human resource management domain because the structure of employees would be continuously in an optimal relationship to
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Manufacturing and service processes are composed of several elements: Technical, financial, logistics, information and human resources. Staff deployment and staffing is an essential problem in the human resource management domain because the structure of employees would be continuously in an optimal relationship to the jobs to be performed. This paper proposes a conceptual model for the analysis of human resource deployment processes. After a systematic literature review, it was found that algorithms are important tools for the design and control of human resource problems since a wide range of models determines an optimization problem. According to that, the main focus of this research is the modelling and analysis of human resource deployment processes of manufacturing companies using Markov-chain mathematics, also taking into account the absorbing phenomena of employees’ promotion. The main contribution of this article includes the model framework of Markov-chain simulation of a human resource deployment problem; the mathematical description of different human resource deployment strategies with subdiagonal and superdiagonal promotion matrices; the computational results of the described model with different datasets and scenarios. In the case of a given human resource strategy, the Markovian human resource deployment process of a company was analyzed. The analyzed model was the HR deployment of assembly line operators in a multinational company, including six levels of promotion. The results of the scenario analysis show that promotion and recruitment rates have a great impact on the future employees’ structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Human Resource Management)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development of the Economic Circle around Beijing: A View of Regional Economic Disparity
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3691; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103691 (registering DOI)
Received: 10 September 2018 / Revised: 10 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
The economic circle around Beijing is a very important area that supports the development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in China. The economic growths of the economic circle around Beijing are deeply affected by the regional economic disparity. Besides the resources and environment problems, economic
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The economic circle around Beijing is a very important area that supports the development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in China. The economic growths of the economic circle around Beijing are deeply affected by the regional economic disparity. Besides the resources and environment problems, economic factors may be more prominent of regional sustainability. The objective of this paper is: (1) To find out what caused the regional economic disparity of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region; and (2) to assess the economic sustainable development status of the cities around Beijing, and give suggestions to narrow the regional disparity from the economic growth view. We used an assessment method based on the economic sustainable index system—the order relation method named G1 method, revised by standard deviation. The results showed that the fundamental reason for the differences lies in the disparity in production efficiency. The disparity in the regional economy increases the flow of talent to Beijing and Tianjin, so the labor productivity of Hebei Province will not improve. Thus, the economic gap among Hebei, Beijing, and Tianjin will continue to grow. This negative feedback will further exacerbate the economic growth problem. In terms of narrowing regional disparity, some implications are highlighted. Rational industrial structure, a high level of development in the manufacturing industry, and a high proportion of strategic emerging industries are important for the cities around Beijing to achieve high-level industry transfer, and the technological progress needed to promote economic growth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Resource Assessment and Techno-Economic Analysis of a Grid-Connected Solar PV-Wind Hybrid System for Different Locations in Saudi Arabia
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3690; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103690 (registering DOI)
Received: 4 August 2018 / Revised: 10 October 2018 / Accepted: 10 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
The economic growth and demographic progression in Saudi Arabia increased spending on the development of conventional power plants to meet the national energy demand. The conventional generation and continued use of fossil fuels as the main source of electricity will raise the operational
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The economic growth and demographic progression in Saudi Arabia increased spending on the development of conventional power plants to meet the national energy demand. The conventional generation and continued use of fossil fuels as the main source of electricity will raise the operational environmental impact of electricity generation. Therefore, using different renewable energy sources might be a solution to this issue. In this study, a grid-connected solar PV-wind hybrid energy system has been designed considering an average community load demand of 15,000 kWh/day and a peak load of 2395 kW. HOMER software is used to assess the potential of renewable energy resources and perform the technical and economic analyses of the grid-connected hybrid system. The meteorological data was collected from the Renewable Resources Atlas developed by the King Abdullah City of Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE). Four different cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, namely, the cities of Riyadh, Hafar Albatin, Sharurah, and Yanbu were selected to do the analyses. The simulation results show that the proposed system is economically and environmentally feasible at Yanbu city. The system at this city has the lowest net present cost (NPC) and levelized the cost of energy (LCOE), highest total energy that can be sold to the grid, as well as the lowest CO2 emissions due to a highly renewable energy penetration. This grid-connected hybrid system with the proposed configuration is applicable for similar meteorological and environmental conditions in the region, and around the world. Reduction of some greenhouse gasses as well as the reduction of energy costs are main contributors of this research. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Power System and Sustainability)
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