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Resources, Volume 12, Issue 2 (February 2023) – 14 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Energy security is widely examined from the perspective of energy import vulnerability, but it is less common to evaluate the vulnerability of energy exporters. This paper presents an assessment framework and quantitative scorecard for evaluating the economic vulnerability of countries with significant energy exports. The background research of various related conceptual frameworks distils useful insights from energy security, corporate risks, and general economic vulnerability. Carbon exposure, largely missing from related work, is introduced to the study in new factors to evaluate exporter vulnerability to increasing global action on climate change. The developed scorecard is used to provide case studies of five major global energy exporters with comparative analysis. View this paper
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15 pages, 2223 KiB  
Article
Oil Theft, Energy Security and Energy Transition in Mexico
by Vlado Vivoda, Ghaleb Krame and Martin Spraggon
Resources 2023, 12(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020030 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3712
Abstract
Oil theft refers to the exploitation of crude oil or refined petroleum products for criminal purposes. In Mexico, oil theft—referred to as huachicolero—is endemic and widespread. By framing it within the energy security and transition context, this paper offers a new perspective on [...] Read more.
Oil theft refers to the exploitation of crude oil or refined petroleum products for criminal purposes. In Mexico, oil theft—referred to as huachicolero—is endemic and widespread. By framing it within the energy security and transition context, this paper offers a new perspective on the problem of oil theft in Mexico. Focusing on crude oil and refined petroleum, the paper demonstrates that Mexico’s energy security—as framed around the 4As (availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptance)—has deteriorated over the past decade. Application of the 4As framework in the Mexican context shows that the increasing frequency of oil theft has contributed to this deterioration. The proposed solution to the energy security and oil theft problems is centred on Mexico moving from gasoline and diesel to electrification in the transportation sector. The paper demonstrates that, while transport electrification in Mexico has been lagging behind other countries, recent developments in the country point to growing momentum among the country’s political and business elites, in tandem with US partners, in support for the energy transition. Areas where further emphasis should be placed to accelerate Mexico’s energy transition in the transportation sector are identified. Finally, the feasibility of and potential limitations associated with implementing the transition are evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Security, Policy and Political Economy of Energy and Minerals)
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15 pages, 1187 KiB  
Review
Geosite Assessment and Communication: A Review
by Federico Pasquaré Mariotto, Kyriaki Drymoni, Fabio L. Bonali, Alessandro Tibaldi, Noemi Corti and Paolo Oppizzi
Resources 2023, 12(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020029 - 13 Feb 2023
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2393
Abstract
This work is aimed at reviewing the current state of the art in geosite selection, assessment, and communication. We first highlight the main papers that have defined paramount concepts such as geodiversity, geoheritage, and geosites. We then delve into the theoretical principles and [...] Read more.
This work is aimed at reviewing the current state of the art in geosite selection, assessment, and communication. We first highlight the main papers that have defined paramount concepts such as geodiversity, geoheritage, and geosites. We then delve into the theoretical principles and guidelines that have been proposed over the last twenty years by researchers who have thoroughly illustrated how to individuate and assess geosites. In doing so, we illustrate notable field examples of applications of qualitative and quantitative assessments of geosites in places such as Serbia, India, Iceland, Ecuador, Sardinia (Italy), Egypt, Tasmania (Australia), and Brazil. The third part of this work is dedicated to illustrating a list (by no means exhaustive) of works that have tried to come up with innovative tools, strategies, and solutions to promote and communicate geosites. From our work, it appears that geosites can be extremely effective as fully fledged outreach tools capable of bridging the gap between Earth science and the lay public. Full article
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13 pages, 2237 KiB  
Article
A Tailing Dump as Industrial Deposit; Study of the Mineralogical Composition of Tailing Dump of the Southern Urals and the Possibility of Tailings Re-Development
by Elena N. Shaforostova, Olga V. Kosareva-Volod’ko, Olga V. Belyankina, Danila Y. Solovykh, Ekaterina S. Sazankova, Elena I. Sizova and Danila A. Adigamov
Resources 2023, 12(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020028 - 13 Feb 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1630
Abstract
It is found that regions with depleted, or on the verge of depletion, of mineral resources are subject to additional pressures due to intensifying social and environmental problems. This paper proposes the development of the mining industry, reducing the dependence of the economy [...] Read more.
It is found that regions with depleted, or on the verge of depletion, of mineral resources are subject to additional pressures due to intensifying social and environmental problems. This paper proposes the development of the mining industry, reducing the dependence of the economy on the sharp volatility of the raw materials market in a period of global shocks by addressing social and environmental problems in regions with a depleting mineral resource base. It is assumed that the geotechnology development from simple mineral extraction to technologies providing a full cycle of georesources development with industrial waste recycling contributes to the resource provision of sustainable development. The material and mineralogical composition of the four tailing dumps (Uchalinskiy, Buribayskiy, Sibayskiy and Gaiskiy Ore-Processing plants have been studied) united with the similarity of the processed raw materials, and as a consequence, the similar enrichment technology has been studied and established. An approximate estimate of valuable components left in industrial wastes was made. The possibility of valuable component extraction (e.g., gold) from tailings using double agitation cyanidation was substantiated. There is no necessity of obligatory grinding of tailings to increase the recovery rate of valuable components. It was experimentally determined that the extraction of gold from tailings is 75.9–82.14% and depends on the investigated technogenic raw material. It has been proved that industrial waste can be recycled for the purpose of the resource provision of sustainable development. The need for further, more detailed studies of industrial formations has been identified. This will help to identify patterns of valuable component distribution in the industrial mass and to study its extraction possibilities in more details. Full article
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38 pages, 4128 KiB  
Article
Framework for Assessment of the Economic Vulnerability of Energy-Resource-Exporting Countries
by Andrew Curtis and Benjamin McLellan
Resources 2023, 12(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020027 - 8 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2283
Abstract
Energy security is widely examined from the perspective of energy import vulnerability, but it is less common to evaluate the vulnerability of energy exporters. This paper presents an assessment framework and quantitative scorecard for evaluating the economic vulnerability of countries with significant energy [...] Read more.
Energy security is widely examined from the perspective of energy import vulnerability, but it is less common to evaluate the vulnerability of energy exporters. This paper presents an assessment framework and quantitative scorecard for evaluating the economic vulnerability of countries with significant energy exports. The background research of various related conceptual frameworks distils useful insights from energy security, corporate risks, and general economic vulnerability. Carbon exposure, largely missing from related work, is introduced to the study in new factors to evaluate exporter vulnerability to increasing global action on climate change. A holistic view is taken of all energy resource exports as a novel approach, rather than focusing on individual fuels. The developed scorecard is used to provide case studies of five major global energy exporters with comparative analysis between countries and over time. Full article
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18 pages, 5875 KiB  
Article
Analyzing the Impact of Ungauged Hill Torrents on the Riverine Floods of the River Indus: A Case Study of Koh E Suleiman Mountains in the DG Khan and Rajanpur Districts of Pakistan
by Maaz Saleem, Muhammad Arfan, Kamran Ansari and Daniyal Hassan
Resources 2023, 12(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020026 - 3 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4233
Abstract
Floods are one of the most destructive natural hazards in Pakistan, causing significant damage. During monsoons, when westerly winds and concentrated rainfall occur in rivers’ catchments, floods become unmanageable. Given the limited resources of Pakistan, there has been minimal effort to quantify the [...] Read more.
Floods are one of the most destructive natural hazards in Pakistan, causing significant damage. During monsoons, when westerly winds and concentrated rainfall occur in rivers’ catchments, floods become unmanageable. Given the limited resources of Pakistan, there has been minimal effort to quantify the amount of rainfall and runoff generated by ungauged catchments. In this study, ten hill torrents in Koh e Suleiman (District Rajanpur and DG Khan), an area affected by flash flooding in 2022 due to extreme precipitation events, were investigated. The Hydrologic Engineering Centre’s Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS), a semi-distributed event-based hydrological model, was used to delineate streams and quantify runoff. Statistical analysis of the rainfall trends was performed using the non-parametric Gumbel extreme value analysis type I distribution, the Mann–Kendall test, and Sen’s slope. The results of the study show that the total inflow to the river Indus is 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, and 0.8 MAF for 25, 50, 100, and 200 years of return period rainfall, respectively. This study presents appropriate storage options with a retention potential of 0.14, 1.14, and 1.13 MAF based on an analysis of the hydrology of these hill torrents to enhance the spate irrigation potential as flood control in the future. Full article
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28 pages, 35122 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Expert Assessment of Geosites with Tourist Preferences, Case Study: Sub-Tatra Region (Southern Poland, Northern Slovakia)
by Anna Chrobak-Žuffová
Resources 2023, 12(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020025 - 2 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2380
Abstract
The purpose of this research was to compare the geotouristic potential of the Sub-Tatra Region, expressed in the values of expert assessment of geosites, against the preferences of tourists coming to the area. Tourist preferences were evaluated by a survey in which tourists [...] Read more.
The purpose of this research was to compare the geotouristic potential of the Sub-Tatra Region, expressed in the values of expert assessment of geosites, against the preferences of tourists coming to the area. Tourist preferences were evaluated by a survey in which tourists assessed the attractiveness of the types of geosites that can be admired in the area. The expert valorizations showed high and very high indices for most of the analyzed geosites. The highest of these assessment values show particularly high geotourism values for three geosites: the travertine hill with Spiš castle, the limestone hill with Orava castle and the travertine dome in Gánovce. A comparison of these results against average tourist preferences shows a moderate correlation (r = 0.4). Geosites of low and medium value according to expert assessments are rarely selected as the destination for equipment-intensive tourism. The sites with the highest combined valorization coefficients, i.e., hills with castle ruins, are of moderate interest to the surveyed group of respondents. The largest difference is in the assessment of the cave, waterfall and viewpoint geosites, where there is a great interest among tourist respondents, but the expert assessment index is low or moderate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodiversity Assessment: What, Why and How?)
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21 pages, 602 KiB  
Article
Benefits and Limitations of Indicators for Monitoring the Transformation towards a Circular Economy in Poland
by Agnieszka Nowaczek, Ewa Dziobek and Joanna Kulczycka
Resources 2023, 12(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020024 - 2 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2986
Abstract
More and more attention is paid to the circular economy (CE) and indicators that enable the monitoring and verification of the progress of transformation at various levels (the European Union, countries, regions, companies, etc.). Many analyses of CE indicators for different levels have [...] Read more.
More and more attention is paid to the circular economy (CE) and indicators that enable the monitoring and verification of the progress of transformation at various levels (the European Union, countries, regions, companies, etc.). Many analyses of CE indicators for different levels have been presented in the literature, but the benefits of their implementation and their limitations have not been discussed individually. The aim of the work is to identify and verify, based on the research conducted, CE indicators relating to sustainable production, along with their advantages and limitations. The article presents the selection process as well as the potential benefits and limitations of using indicators to assess the transformation towards a CE as identified for the Polish economy. The practical aim is to apply the indicators identified to different sectors of the economy. An important element of the work is the proposal for the process of selecting CE indicators that monitor the CE transformation based on their advantages and limitations, taking into account the goals and obligations set out in the main strategic documents of Poland and the EU, the process of consultations with industry, and the structure of the economy. Full article
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17 pages, 712 KiB  
Article
Perspectives on Closure and Revitalisation of Extraction Sites and Sustainability: A Q-Methodology Study
by Stefanie Streit, Michael Tost and Katharina Gugerell
Resources 2023, 12(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020023 - 1 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1566
Abstract
Closure and revitalisation are essential steps in the life cycle of a mineral extraction site. Proper planning and execution can counteract potential negative impacts caused by extraction activities and allow a positive impact to be left on the post-closure region. Decisions on these [...] Read more.
Closure and revitalisation are essential steps in the life cycle of a mineral extraction site. Proper planning and execution can counteract potential negative impacts caused by extraction activities and allow a positive impact to be left on the post-closure region. Decisions on these steps are not made solely by the extraction company; legislators and the public also exert influence. Different opinions and expectations on closure and revitalisation can lead to tensions between actors. Thus, knowing diverse opinions and expectations and considering them in planning contributes to a successful implementation of measures. Using Q-methodology in a study focused on selected EIT RIS countries, we identified five viewpoints on the closure and revitalisation of an extraction site. The statements for this study have been developed based on international and company standards for closure and revitalisation, namely ICMM, IRMA, AngloAmerican and Rio Tinto, which we then also used for comparison in order to see how they relate to the five resulting viewpoints. Across all viewpoints, our results reveal a preference for environmental considerations, followed by social and economic concerns. Even though this paper considers closure and revitalisation separately from mineral extraction, these processes are intertwined. Thus, a sustainable planning and management of the extraction process itself contributes to a successful and sustainable post-closure landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals and Land-Use Planning: Sustainable Narratives and Practices)
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18 pages, 720 KiB  
Article
A LifeCycle Analysis and Economic Cost Analysis of Corrugated Cardboard Box Reuse and Recycling in the United States
by Harshwardhan Ketkale and Steven Simske
Resources 2023, 12(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020022 - 1 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 5996
Abstract
Manufacturing of a product such as a corrugated cardboard box (CCB) includes the extraction of a variety of raw materials in addition to supply chain efforts to get the raw materials to the industry. Conducting a LifeCycle Assessment (LCA) gives the carbon emission [...] Read more.
Manufacturing of a product such as a corrugated cardboard box (CCB) includes the extraction of a variety of raw materials in addition to supply chain efforts to get the raw materials to the industry. Conducting a LifeCycle Assessment (LCA) gives the carbon emission of each phase of the product and a quantitative estimate of the overall product carbon footprint and its effect on the environment. This gives impetus to recommendations for improving the phases of the lifecycle to minimize carbon emissions. The proposed waste management method in this paper is the “reuse” method instead of recycling or landfilling the CCB and, in so doing, focusing only on reducing carbon emissions in the manufacturing phase. The paper examines if the incremental cost of reusing the CCBs is less than the environmental and economic cost of reducing the extraction and supply chain of raw materials. This paper uses LCA to evaluate the carbon emission in each phase of the lifecycle of a typical 1 kg corrugated cardboard box in the United States. Carbon emission for the proposed “reuse” phase is also calculated, and the results are compared. This paper also explores the economic feasibility of the proposed “reuse” method that incentivizes the general population to reuse the CCBs instead of recycling or landfilling them. Economic tools such as willingness-to-pay vs. marginal cost curves and benefit-cost analyses are used to evaluate economic feasibility. The results indicate that the “reuse” method for CCBs is economically and environmentally feasible. It also supports the approach of using analytics, economics, and LCA to create a model that can be used for other products and processes as an evaluative process to determine if businesses can benefit from the reduction (or removal) of material extraction costs from the supply chain. Full article
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15 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Renewable Energy Targets on Natural Gas Export Policy: Lessons from the Israeli Case
by Avri Eitan
Resources 2023, 12(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020021 - 1 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1483
Abstract
Evidence indicates that various countries around the world set renewable energy targets in an effort to promote clean and sustainable energy sources at the expense of polluting, fossil fuel-based energy systems. While scholars have discussed extensively how these targets affect the promotion of [...] Read more.
Evidence indicates that various countries around the world set renewable energy targets in an effort to promote clean and sustainable energy sources at the expense of polluting, fossil fuel-based energy systems. While scholars have discussed extensively how these targets affect the promotion of renewable energy sources, their effect on fossil fuel policy at the national level has been neglected. The current study addresses this research lacuna, examining the impact of renewable energy targets on decision making vis à vis fossil fuels, given that these energy sources are considered substitutes. This is achieved by focusing on intra-governmental discussions in Israel during 2020–2021 that sought to formulate the country’s natural gas export policy as a function of its ambitious renewable energy targets. The study demonstrates how renewable energy targets, which are often set by politicians, can significantly influence decision making concerning fossil fuels, even when they contradict professional regulators’ positions and from their perspective represent a risk to national energy security. Full article
30 pages, 18711 KiB  
Article
A Framework for Geoconservation in Mining Landscapes: Opportunities for Geopark and GEOfood Approaches in Minas Gerais, Brazil
by Raphael Ocelli Pinheiro, Sara Gentilini and Marco Giardino
Resources 2023, 12(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020020 - 1 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2517
Abstract
The continuous processes of mining development, since the very beginning of Minas Gerais State’s development, have been giving new attention and meaning to valuable pre-existing features (i.e., cultural, social, and physical-environmental), impacting and recharacterizing not only its municipalities but their essential local or [...] Read more.
The continuous processes of mining development, since the very beginning of Minas Gerais State’s development, have been giving new attention and meaning to valuable pre-existing features (i.e., cultural, social, and physical-environmental), impacting and recharacterizing not only its municipalities but their essential local or native sociocultural components. At the same time, mining, as one of the central pillars of the Brazilian development model, has put different communities, natural and cultural heritage, and mineral and water resources at risk. The wide concept of geodiversity and the related geoheritage emerge as an alternative for conservation, territorial planning, and sustainable development, to reconcile these spheres. This study developed a comprehensive framework for geoconservation within selected areas of mining landscapes, contributing to insights for the creation of a catalog about geoheritage in the state of Minas Gerais, discussing and analyzing well-established strategies and opportunities based on UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp) and the GEOfood brand. We concluded that the mining landscapes of Minas Gerais must be administered as a viable possibility for economic and environmental dynamic actions and activities, strengthening the maintenance of municipalities from the very beginning to after the end of operational activities. Heritage programs such as UGGp and GEOfood enable knowledge sharing and engagement with geoheritage, improving the comprehension and management of the short- and long-term impacts of mining, while elevating geodiversity as a major source of information in the “greening” of mining policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodiversity Assessment: What, Why and How?)
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19 pages, 1634 KiB  
Article
Diversification as a Method of Ensuring the Sustainability of Energy Supply within the Energy Transition
by Lazar Gitelman, Mikhail Kozhevnikov and Yana Visotskaya
Resources 2023, 12(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020019 - 1 Feb 2023
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 6015
Abstract
This article presents a structured approach to the implementation of diversification in the energy sector during the energy transition, accompanied by crisis phenomena in the economy. On the basis of the study of the unique features of the electric power industry, it is [...] Read more.
This article presents a structured approach to the implementation of diversification in the energy sector during the energy transition, accompanied by crisis phenomena in the economy. On the basis of the study of the unique features of the electric power industry, it is proved that diversification is an effective tool ensuring sustainable operation and development in the course of transformation. The specific directions of diversification to achieve technical, environmental and economic results are considered. The authors demonstrate that diversification can manifest itself in different forms: as a way to implement a systematic approach to energy transition management, as a complex set of organizational and technical changes in the electric power industry, and as an institutional mechanism to support innovations. Tools for managing diversification during the energy transition have been identified. In particular, the experience of implementing systems of integrated planning of energy resources is systematized, representing a set of legal and economic procedures that contribute to minimizing public costs for energy services to consumers. The key provisions of the structural maneuver have been formulated. These include specific directions of diversification, consisting of a certain increase in the specific market share of thermal power plants, in the structure of generation capacities of renewable energy sources in order to compensate for their increased production costs, and nuclear power plants under advanced development. The advantages and limitations of the developed principles of diversification in the context of the global energy crisis are discussed. Full article
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18 pages, 5622 KiB  
Article
Warming Air Temperature Impacts Snowfall Patterns and Increases Cold-Season Baseflow in the Liwiec River Basin (Poland) of the Central European Lowland
by Urszula Somorowska
Resources 2023, 12(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020018 - 17 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2794
Abstract
The rapidly changing climate affects vulnerable water resources, which makes it important to evaluate multi-year trends in hydroclimatic characteristics. In this study, the changes in cold-season temperature (November–April) were analyzed in the period of 1951–2021 to reveal their impacts on precipitation and streamflow [...] Read more.
The rapidly changing climate affects vulnerable water resources, which makes it important to evaluate multi-year trends in hydroclimatic characteristics. In this study, the changes in cold-season temperature (November–April) were analyzed in the period of 1951–2021 to reveal their impacts on precipitation and streamflow components in the Liwiec River basin (Poland). The temperature threshold approach was applied to reconstruct the snowfall/rainfall patterns. The Wittenberg filter method was applied to the hydrograph separation. The Mann–Kendall test and Sen’s slope were applied to estimate the significance and magnitude of the trends. An assessment of the similarity between trends in temperature and hydroclimatic variables was conducted using the Spearman rank-order correlation. The shift-type changes in river regime were assessed via the Kruskal–Wallis test. The results revealed that temporal changes in both snowfall, rainfall, and baseflow metrics were significantly associated with increasing temperature. Over 71 years, the temperature rose by ~2.70 °C, the snowfall-to-precipitation ratio decreased by ~16%, the baseflow increased with a depth of ~17 mm, and the baseflow index rose by ~18%. The river regime shifted from the snow-dominated to the snow-affected type. Overall, this study provides evidence of a gradual temperature increase over the last seven decades that is affecting the precipitation phase and streamflow component partitioning in the middle-latitude region. Full article
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14 pages, 4289 KiB  
Article
Behavior of Sludge Dewaterability and Nutrient Contents after Treatment with Cellulose-Based Flocculants with Combined PTS and Catalytic Behavior of Sludge towards Tetracycline Degradation
by Jannatul Rumky, Ekaterina Bandina and Eveliina Repo
Resources 2023, 12(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources12020017 - 17 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1824
Abstract
Wastewater treatment plants are increasingly interested in adopting inorganic coagulants and organic flocculants in their sludge treatment process since sludge disposal costs more than half of the overall operational costs. This study synthesized poly titanium sulfate (PTS) by different molar ratios and used [...] Read more.
Wastewater treatment plants are increasingly interested in adopting inorganic coagulants and organic flocculants in their sludge treatment process since sludge disposal costs more than half of the overall operational costs. This study synthesized poly titanium sulfate (PTS) by different molar ratios and used the best one with cellulose-based flocculants for sludge conditioning. PTS synthesized with a 1:2 molar ratio showed the lowest capillary suction time (CST) of sludge and was selected for further studies with cellulose-based flocculants. As bio-based flocculants have gained popularity due to current environmental problems, cationized cellulose-based flocculants (Ce-CTA) were used in this work with or without PTS for sludge treatment. After coagulation–flocculation, dewaterability of sludge enhanced, and the Lowry and Anthrone method was used to assess proteins and polysaccharides. Next, metal content and nutrients such as total phosphorus, phosphate, and nitrate were measured by ICP-OES and IC, and we found promising results of phosphate especially at pH 3. Higher total phosphorus content was found at pH 3 and 9, and even at pH 6 after PTS or PTS+Ce-CTA treatment. In addition, PTS-treated sludge materials also showed catalytic behavior, suggesting a new research avenue for future development. Based on this study, the PTS+Ce-CTA combination is promising for sludge treatment and nutrient recovery, along with the possibility for the further valorization of the sludge materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Recovery from the Secondary Resources)
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