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Resources, Volume 10, Issue 2 (February 2021) – 11 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): District energy systems are of increasing importance in the transition towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The dynamic simulation of these systems is the topic of many scientific papers and several European Union projects. This paper presents the experiences, challenges and lessons learned from one case study on a dynamic simulator of a city-scale district heating system. It is shown that several questions remain unanswered with regard to modeling, computational performance and validation. Based on the case study, literature, and experiences from other projects, research gaps were identified, and future research directions are proposed. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Responsible Resource Management in Remanufacturing—Framework for Qualitative Assessment in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Resources 2021, 10(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10020019 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 415
Abstract
Through the remanufacturing process, obsolete, broken, and end-of-use products are brought to “a like new condition”. Remanufacturing is an example of implementation of circular economy at a company level. There are few studies on responsible resource management in a remanufacturing process. This paper [...] Read more.
Through the remanufacturing process, obsolete, broken, and end-of-use products are brought to “a like new condition”. Remanufacturing is an example of implementation of circular economy at a company level. There are few studies on responsible resource management in a remanufacturing process. This paper contributes to this research gap by presenting a two-layered framework, which uses the maturity model theory, and it allows for a quick scan of a remanufacturing process. First, in the descriptive layer of the framework we define five maturity levels with regard to responsible resource management. We analyze water, emissions, energy, and materials, and describe relevant responsible resource management practices, which we link with maturity levels. We also design the relevant self-assessment tool which utilizes the existing expert’s knowledge of a company. Then, in the prescriptive layer of the framework, we propose a method for the identification of the maturity gap, and areas for improvement. We develop a procedure for prioritizing the measures, which shall be implemented in order to achieve a higher level of responsible resource management in a remanufacturing company. The framework is tested in small and medium-sized enterprises from the automotive industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responsible Resource Management in Micro and Macro Scale)
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Open AccessArticle
Mining and Europe’s World Heritage Cultural Landscapes
Resources 2021, 10(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10020018 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 474
Abstract
This study examines the four cases of World Heritage protected cultural landscapes in Europe that are characterized by mining in order to identify the role mining plays today in such cultural landscapes, the legal requirements for their protection, and also the exploration and [...] Read more.
This study examines the four cases of World Heritage protected cultural landscapes in Europe that are characterized by mining in order to identify the role mining plays today in such cultural landscapes, the legal requirements for their protection, and also the exploration and exploitation in these areas and the differences that exist between the five European countries concerned. Using a qualitative comparative case study approach, the authors find that active mining is taking place in the Austrian case, and exploration is happening adjacent to the German/Czech protected cultural landscape. The legal protection of the cases is mainly based on heritage and monument protection legislation as well as environment protection legislation including the Natura 2000 network. Differences exist, as other than in Germany, exploration and mining could be allowed in protected areas, which is also contrary to the position of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and the International Council on Mining and Metals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Open AccessArticle
Technoeconomic Assessment of Organic Halide Based Gold Recovery from Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment
Resources 2021, 10(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10020017 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 417
Abstract
Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide, with significant economic value due to the precious metals contained within. Currently, only a small share of the total globally produced quantity produced is treated effectively and a [...] Read more.
Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide, with significant economic value due to the precious metals contained within. Currently, only a small share of the total globally produced quantity produced is treated effectively and a large amount of valuable non-renewable resources are being wasted. Moreover, the methods currently applied in industry on a large scale are not always environmentally friendly. Thus, an economically viable and environmentally friendly method that would achieve high recovery of certain elements is sought. The objective of this paper is to assess four different organic halides as leaching agents for gold recovery from WEEE. Two of them have been previously tested (namely N-bromosuccinimide, NBS, and N-chlorosuccinimide, NCS) and have shown promising results, whereas the other two are novel and were selected due to their lower toxicity levels (trichloroisocyanuric acid, TCICA, and tribromoisocyanuric acid, TBICA). Both commercially supplied pure gold powder and WEEE dust from a recycling company were used as the gold source. Results show that from a technical standpoint, the NBS is a superior solution with both substrates, reaching 61% and 99% extraction efficiency from WEEE dust and pure gold, respectively. The other three methods recorded lower recovery efficiency (with the highest value reaching 36% for NCS, 53% for TCICA and 29% for TBICA). However, taking into account the price of gold and the expenses of the extraction process, only three of the lixiviants tested (NBS, NCS and TCICA) could be potentially profitable and viable on a larger scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recovery of Metals from Alternative and Urban Ores)
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Open AccessArticle
Instruments of Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in Poland, Slovakia and Czechia—Comparative Analysis
Resources 2021, 10(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10020016 - 12 Feb 2021
Viewed by 555
Abstract
Mineral deposits are essential for the economic, technological and social development. However, to enable them to play an appropriate role in the process of sustainable development, they need to be safeguarded in a comprehensive and systemic manner in the same measure as other [...] Read more.
Mineral deposits are essential for the economic, technological and social development. However, to enable them to play an appropriate role in the process of sustainable development, they need to be safeguarded in a comprehensive and systemic manner in the same measure as other elements of the environment. The practice of securing access to areas where the mineral deposits can be found is based on the statement that they can be extracted only in places where they occur. This fact defines the type and scope of instruments for safeguarding prospective deposit areas of minerals and their documented deposits. These issues gained in significance in the EU level in recent years however views on this subject across the Member States still vary. The paper subjects instruments of mineral deposit safeguarding used in Poland, Slovakia and Czechia to the analysis and multi-criteria comparative assessment. It recommends their division into the conceptual, legal, spatial planning and economic ones. As a result of studies, similarities and differences in the approach to mineral deposit safeguarding in individual countries are shown, indicating good practices and suggesting possible changes. The analysis revealed many analogies in actions aimed at mineral deposit safeguarding in individual countries, however the assessment of their effectiveness and implementation points at the necessity of taking further steps to increase deposit safeguarding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Open AccessArticle
Crustal Deformation Across and beyond Central Europe and Its Impact on Land Boundaries
Resources 2021, 10(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10020015 - 12 Feb 2021
Viewed by 630
Abstract
Land is a critical and limited natural resource. The Land Administration System (LAS) has been developed to resolve and adjudicate over any disputes that might arise concerning the rights and boundaries of land. Land registration and cadastre are types of land recording that [...] Read more.
Land is a critical and limited natural resource. The Land Administration System (LAS) has been developed to resolve and adjudicate over any disputes that might arise concerning the rights and boundaries of land. Land registration and cadastre are types of land recording that need to be established. To secure the property rights, we must be sure of accuracy of the boundary points determining the size of the property. However, in addition to typical factors considered when determining the boundary point positions, such as accuracy of geodetic networks and measurement errors, the global and local crustal deformation, resulting, e.g., from the movement of tectonic plates, should be considered. In this work, the focus is on the movement of points inside the European plate due to tectonic movement, without taking into account local events caused by erosion, landslides, etc. The study area is Europe, and particular attention was paid to Poland, which is located in the centre of the European continent and does not have significant anomalous sub-areas, making it an authoritative research object. In this study, we analysed the velocity of point displacements and the boundary deformation, using GPS observations. For this reason, we used both global (IGS) and regional (ETRF) reference frames, to show differences in point velocities for the studied areas. Overall, for the needs of the real estate cadastre in Poland, information about parcel boundary points must be obtained with an accuracy better than 0.30 m. Within 25 years, the border mark may be shifted by 0.13 m due to tectonic plate movement, which is within the required accuracy. Pursuant to the current legal regulations, the measurements of the boundary points can be performed with any method, ensuring the required accuracy (0.30 m). The most commonly used are direct measurements (GNSS and tacheometry) and photogrammetric measurements. It is recommended that periodic verifications and update of the cadastre data in Poland be carried out at least once every 15 years. In the case of such relatively frequent verification and possible modernisation of data, the potential impact of tectonic plate movement on the relative boundary point displacement can be ignored, particularly in the short term. However, for a long time period it has an influence. We suggest “relatively frequent” cadastral boundary verification to be able to ignore such influence. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Flash Floods Risk in the Local Spatial Planning (Case Study: Lublin Upland, E Poland)
Resources 2021, 10(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10020014 - 11 Feb 2021
Viewed by 469
Abstract
Flash floods pose a significant threat to humans but the state of our knowledge on the occurrence and related risk of such phenomena is insufficient. At the same time, many climate change models predict that extreme rainfall events will occur more and more [...] Read more.
Flash floods pose a significant threat to humans but the state of our knowledge on the occurrence and related risk of such phenomena is insufficient. At the same time, many climate change models predict that extreme rainfall events will occur more and more frequently. Identifying areas susceptible to flash floods is more complicated that in the case of floods occurring in the valley bottoms of large rivers. Flood risk maps in Poland have not been developed for small catchments. The study objective was to assess whether the threat related to flash floods is taken into account in the spatial planning system of municipalities. Studies were conducted in the Lublin Upland, E Poland (an area of about 7200 km2). A preliminary assessment of susceptibility of 369 catchments to flash floods was carried out in a GIS environment using multi criteria analysis. The susceptible catchments cover about 30% of the area. Existing planning documents, flood hazard and flood risk maps were analyzed for municipalities located in the catchments with highest susceptibility to this phenomenon. Our results show that flash flood risk is usually not recognized at the level of local governments even when it is significant. Local planning documents do not take into account the existence of this threat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analysis of Extreme Hydrometeorological Events)
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Open AccessArticle
Key Challenges and Opportunities for an Effective Supply Chain System in the Catalyst Recycling Market–A Case Study of Poland
Resources 2021, 10(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10020013 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 524
Abstract
Increasing public awareness about low emission and stricter standards has a significant impact on the industry. The use of catalytic converters provides one of the solutions to the problem of lowering the amount of exhaust fumes. As most catalytic converters contain a combination [...] Read more.
Increasing public awareness about low emission and stricter standards has a significant impact on the industry. The use of catalytic converters provides one of the solutions to the problem of lowering the amount of exhaust fumes. As most catalytic converters contain a combination of the three metals Pt, Pd and Rh, the manufacture of catalysts for automobiles is the largest sector of demand for and consumption of PGMs (platinum group metals). In Poland, the recycling system for catalysts is still in the development stage, but there is a significant trend of increase mainly due to EU policy on the circular economy. Due to frequent legal changes, the market is not fully transparent and the price for used catalysts can vary significantly. Therefore, apart from the recycling technology itself, it is important for the company to have a transparent method of testing the catalysts. The aim of this article was to identify the key opportunities and challenges to improving the catalyst recycling system in Poland. The organisational solutions have been analysed to show that an effective system could be implemented by creating a network between suppliers and customers with the use of good laboratory equipment and IT applications. The article defines the key opportunities and challenges such as the need to invest in an innovative laboratory and software for assessment of chemical composition and economic value of waste. A great opportunity for the development of this sector is the high demand for critical raw materials such as PGMs, which can be supported by research and development (R&D) projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Recovery from the Secondary Resources)
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Open AccessArticle
Carrots or Sticks: Which Policies Matter the Most in Sustainable Resource Management?
Resources 2021, 10(2), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10020012 - 03 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 662
Abstract
Green growth has resulted from resource management, setting the speed for sustainable development. Eco-innovations are essential for the improvement of a firm’s performance with societal gains, demanding special attention from policy makers. This paper deals with the effect of policy actions on the [...] Read more.
Green growth has resulted from resource management, setting the speed for sustainable development. Eco-innovations are essential for the improvement of a firm’s performance with societal gains, demanding special attention from policy makers. This paper deals with the effect of policy actions on the enhancement of eco-innovation adoption. The Community Innovation Survey (CIS) 2012–2014 is used to estimate the impact of ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ on innovations with ecological benefits. In addition, the impact of a firm’s structural characteristics in ecological strategies is investigated. Regulations and taxes enhance eco-innovation, but grants are only relevant in the case of eco-innovations with external benefits. The firm dimension and non-technological innovation also increase the eco-innovation propensity. Embedding policy actions with environmental concerns will enhance social responsibility and promote resource preservation, providing waste as an economic value. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it aims to appraise the effectiveness of the different policy instruments applied in the adoption of innovation with ecological benefits with both internal and external benefits. Secondly, it aims to identify which firm characteristics determine these managerial strategies. Hopefully, light will be cast on the topic so that public and private decision-makers will be given recommendations for policy package design working towards smart and green growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responsible Resource Management in Micro and Macro Scale)
Open AccessArticle
Is the EU’s Resource Base of Copper Ore Deposits Large? A Fuzzy Set Theory Approach
Resources 2021, 10(2), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10020011 - 27 Jan 2021
Viewed by 622
Abstract
Copper raw materials have not been identified as a critical raw material for the economy of the European Union (EU). Demand for metal for use within the EU is satisfied mainly by imports of raw materials in various processing stages and from recycling. [...] Read more.
Copper raw materials have not been identified as a critical raw material for the economy of the European Union (EU). Demand for metal for use within the EU is satisfied mainly by imports of raw materials in various processing stages and from recycling. Imports include not only copper concentrates, but also refined metals, alloys, and intermediate and finished products. In terms of EU imports, mining supplies represent a minor share of demand. It is likely that copper demand will grow in the coming decades and that global as well as European reserves of copper will be depleted more rapidly. For Europe, no complete and harmonised dataset presenting estimates of total EU copper resources and reserves exists, with the exception of the attempted Minerals4EU project. In colloquial language, many imprecise concepts aim at describing reality. Classic probability tools cannot be used to describe imperfect information. There are no sharp thresholds between the boundaries of many measurements; instead, smooth transitions are observed. This gradation between full and partial membership and non-membership is not included in classical set theory; thus, the capacity for describing such effects is provided by fuzzy set theory. An attempt is made in the present paper at a fuzzy description of the copper reserve base in the EU countries. The basic terminology of fuzzy sets is presented and useful logical operators are indicated. The copper reserve base in the EU countries was assessed in relation to world reserves and an appraisal of this base within these countries was carried out. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Resource Management: Assessment, Mining and Processing)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Resources in 2020
Resources 2021, 10(2), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10020009 - 25 Jan 2021
Viewed by 594
Abstract
Peer review is the driving force of journal development, and reviewers are gatekeepers who ensure that Resources maintains its standards for the high quality of its published papers [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Experiences from City-Scale Simulation of Thermal Grids
Resources 2021, 10(2), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10020010 - 25 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 760
Abstract
Dynamic simulation of district heating and cooling networks has an increased importance in the transition towards renewable energy sources and lower temperature district heating grids, as both temporal and spatial behavior need to be considered. Even though much research and development has been [...] Read more.
Dynamic simulation of district heating and cooling networks has an increased importance in the transition towards renewable energy sources and lower temperature district heating grids, as both temporal and spatial behavior need to be considered. Even though much research and development has been performed in the field, there are several pitfalls and challenges towards dynamic district heating and cooling simulation for everyday use. This article presents the experiences from developing and working with a city-scale simulator of a district heating grid located in Luleå, Sweden. The grid model in the case study is a physics based white-box model, while consumer models are either data-driven black-box or gray-box models. The control system and operator models replicate the manual and automatic operation of the combined heat and power plant. Using the functional mock-up interface standard, a co-simulation environment integrates all the models. Further, the validation of the simulator is discussed. Lessons learned from the project are presented along with future research directions, corresponding to identified gaps and challenges. Full article
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