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Resources, Volume 7, Issue 4 (December 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The Ecological Footprint (EF) has become more and more popular among sustainability indicators. [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Decreasing Metal Ore Grades—Is the Fear of Resource Depletion Justified?
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 11 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
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Abstract
Metals are an essential part of modern living. Ensuring the future supply of metals is a key issue in politics, science, and economics because the available amount of mineral resources is limited. To measure the depletion of mineral resources, several indicators are used. [...] Read more.
Metals are an essential part of modern living. Ensuring the future supply of metals is a key issue in politics, science, and economics because the available amount of mineral resources is limited. To measure the depletion of mineral resources, several indicators are used. Some of them are based on the ore grade, which has been decreasing over time and is thus taken as a sign of resource exhaustion. However, does this assumption hold true? This paper shows that the development of ore grades is mainly the result of the increasing demand and the outstanding technological improvements that made mining of low grade ores profitable. The usage of ore grades as an indicator may, therefore, lead to erroneous conclusions about the safeguard objects. These are not the metals themselves, but the environment that is impacted by their extraction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Relationship of Causal Factors in the Economic, Social, and Environmental Aspects Affecting the Implementation of Sustainability Policy in Thailand: Enriching the Path Analysis Based on a GMM Model
Received: 6 December 2018 / Revised: 14 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 18 December 2018
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Abstract
This research aimed to analyze the influence of the direct and indirect relationships of economic, social, and environmental factors as well as predict their future effects by applying a path analysis of a generalized method of moments model (path analysis–GMM model). The model [...] Read more.
This research aimed to analyze the influence of the direct and indirect relationships of economic, social, and environmental factors as well as predict their future effects by applying a path analysis of a generalized method of moments model (path analysis–GMM model). The model is believed to be the most effective in relationship analysis, as it is capable of accurate prediction compared to the original models. Most importantly, the model can be applied to different contexts, benefiting the development areas of those contexts. Furthermore, the model has also been found to be the best linear unbiased estimation (BLUE), which is suitable for long-term forecasting. However, the study’s results reflect that the three latent variables of economic, social, and environmental factors have direct and indirect effects. In addition, both economic and social factors were found to have causal relationships. The availability of the path analysis–GMM model enables us to forecast the social and economic changes over the next 20 years (2019–2038), and predict the change in energy-related CO2 emissions for the next 20 years (2019–2038). Thus, the study was able to discern the economic and social growth of Thailand. Studies have shown that the economic and social growth of Thailand has increased by 7.85%, based on various indicators. The economic indicators include per capita gross domestic product ( G D P ) , urbanization rate ( U R E ) , industrial structure ( I S E ) , net exports ( X E ) , and indirect foreign investment ( I F I ) , while the social indicators include employment ( E M S ) , health and illness ( H I S ) , social security ( SSS ) , and consumer protection ( CPS ) . However, the environment has continuously deteriorated, as understood via environmental indicators such as energy consumption ( E C E ) , energy intensity ( E I E ) , and carbon dioxide emissions ( C O 2 ) . This is due to the increment of CO2 emissions in energy consumption of 39.37% (2038/2019) or 103.37 Mt CO2 eq. by 2038. However, by using the path analysis–GMM model to test for performance, it produced the mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) of 1.01% and a root mean square error (RMSE) of 1.25%. A comparison of the above results with other models, including the multiple regression model, grey model, artificial neural natural model (ANN model), back propagation neural network (BP model), and the autoregressive integrated moving average model (ARIMA model) provided evidence that the path analysis–GMM model was the most suitable in forecasting and contextual application to support the formulation of the national strategy in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Natural Resource Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle The Value of a Properly Maintained Hiking Trail Network and a Traditional Landscape for Mountain Recreation in the Dolomites
Received: 23 November 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 12 December 2018
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Abstract
Alpine mountains represent one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, constituting approximately 3.1% of the global tourism market when considering the tourist flows coming from abroad. While there may be numerous factors that motivate tourists to choose rural areas, an [...] Read more.
Alpine mountains represent one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, constituting approximately 3.1% of the global tourism market when considering the tourist flows coming from abroad. While there may be numerous factors that motivate tourists to choose rural areas, an important role is played by the opportunity to visit well-conserved landscapes and uncontaminated natural areas. The purpose of this study was to make a monetary valuation of the social benefits generated by the adoption of three measures of the Rural Development Plan (RDP) of Veneto (Italy) aimed specifically at enhancing the recreational usability of the mountain territory. In this regard, a discrete choice experiment (DCE) was applied for the economic valuation, and a qualitative survey was used to collect the opinion of respondents related to the measures to protect the meadows and mountain hiking trails. According to the DCE estimates, on average, the benefits due to the conservation of the existing meadows and pastures was equal to €851 per hectare, those due to the conservation and improvement of the trail network were €12,260 per km, and the benefits due to the recovery of the meadows and pastures of uncultivated and abandoned areas for naturalistic purposes amounted to €6852 per hectare. Comparing the estimates obtained with the expenditure incurred by the RDP to finance the three actions considered in our DCE, it can be seen that the benefits are considerably higher than the costs, especially with regard to the conservation of paths and the recovery of abandoned areas for naturalistic purposes. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Risk Assessment in a Materials Recycling Facility: Perspectives for Reducing Operational Issues
Received: 24 October 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 6 December 2018 / Published: 10 December 2018
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Abstract
Mechanical separation of light packaging waste is a useful practice for improving the quality of the recyclable waste flows and its exploitation in a frame of the circular economy. Materials Recovery Facilities can treat from 3000 to 5000 tons per year of light [...] Read more.
Mechanical separation of light packaging waste is a useful practice for improving the quality of the recyclable waste flows and its exploitation in a frame of the circular economy. Materials Recovery Facilities can treat from 3000 to 5000 tons per year of light packaging waste. Concerning the plastic content, this is divided in four flows: PET, HDPE, other plastics, and waste rejects. The last two are generally used for energy recovery. For improving the quality of the recyclable plastic waste, a manual separation is required for reducing the impurities detectable in the final products. However, this practice could enhance the risk at work of the operators, which should be constantly monitored. This article explores the main differences of a manual separation and of a mechanical separation, assessing the costs and the health risk for the workers. The analysis started from the situation in an Italian Materials Recovery Facility, generalizing the context; a future scenario with the application of a mechanical separation is theoretically introduced. The main results obtained suggest that the manual separation plant improves the quality of the material, though increasing the risk of the operators due to the possible contact with sharp waste, sanitary danger, and risk of injuries for the mismanagement of machines, among others. The mechanical separation can be considered a real advantage from an economic point of view, since the operating costs are lower and the investment could be recovered in around 10 years, in an Italian-like context. On balance, on the one hand, the article provides indications for the private sector for improving the management of a Materials Recovery Facility, while, on the other hand, it detects the main pros and cons of both methodologies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Food Waste Recovery with Takakura Portable Compost Boxes in Offices and Working Places
Received: 24 September 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 9 December 2018
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Abstract
The Takakura technique converts food waste into compost. This project explored the potential use of composting in offices and workplaces. The method involves using small boxes containing a fermentation substrate where food waste is added. Two Takakura composting boxes (TCBs) were placed in [...] Read more.
The Takakura technique converts food waste into compost. This project explored the potential use of composting in offices and workplaces. The method involves using small boxes containing a fermentation substrate where food waste is added. Two Takakura composting boxes (TCBs) were placed in the kitchens of the Chemistry Department and the Environmental Engineering buildings at the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica, Costa Rica. Food waste from both buildings, comprising the food waste of 45 staff members, were composted from June to December 2015. All types of food, except grease, oil, raw meat, and bones, were processed. The mass and volume of food added to the boxes were quantified daily. A chemical analysis of the compost was also performed. A speech was given to educate the staff members about the system. A survey, before and after the speech, was developed to evaluate the knowledge and tolerance towards composting in closed spaces. A total mass of 88.29 kg, equivalent to 232 L of residues, was processed, from which 17.37 kg (37 L) of compost was obtained. This represented a mass and volume reduction of 80% and 84%, respectively. Compost analysis gave a C/N ratio of 14.7/1, indicative of maturity. Most of the staff members (92%) agreed to the separation of waste at the source. However, 37% suggested allocating the box outside the building. The survey, after the speech, showed that educating staff is necessary before installing boxes at a workplace. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Stakeholder Management: An Approach in CCS Projects
Received: 7 November 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 6 December 2018 / Published: 9 December 2018
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Abstract
Currently, a prime position in the global emission mitigation and power transformation system is taken up by CCS technology (carbon capture and storage), proven by the successful realization of a number of CCS projects around the world, not only for CO2 storage, [...] Read more.
Currently, a prime position in the global emission mitigation and power transformation system is taken up by CCS technology (carbon capture and storage), proven by the successful realization of a number of CCS projects around the world, not only for CO2 storage, but also for its deployment in industry. CO2-utilizing technologies are circular business models connected with the usage of emissions to provide added benefits throughout the value chain, with their value being part of a response to end the era of cheap mineral resources and materials, as well as their ability to contribute to the transition to a low carbon economy. At the same time, one of the main problems they face lies in the engagement and interaction of stakeholders, as well as public perception of these projects. The purpose of this research is to explore the main stakeholder groups in CCS projects and offer an approach for their management. The methodology of this study is based on case studies, stakeholder management tools, and a checklist method, which were adapted to the specific area of CCS projects. The results of this study amounted to the identification of stakeholder groups with interests and respective roles in CCS projects, as well as proposing a new approach for their assessment through the created checklist method. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Karst as Important Resource for Geopark-Based Tourism: Current State and Biases
Received: 11 November 2018 / Revised: 27 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Global Geoparks initiative balances the conservation of geological heritage with its use in purposes of tourism industry. However, the resources of geoparks and the current state of their use are yet to be fully [...] Read more.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Global Geoparks initiative balances the conservation of geological heritage with its use in purposes of tourism industry. However, the resources of geoparks and the current state of their use are yet to be fully understood. The phenomenon of karst (caves, sinkholes, etc.) appears to be a valuable geopark resource because it attracts numerous visitors interested in geo-, eco-, and speleotourism. Of 140 global geoparks, 37% exploit karst resources. These are located chiefly in Europe and Southeast Asia. Just a few geoparks are fully based on karst features and the others use this resource together with other geological heritage resources. Global geoparks tend to emphasize either particular karst elements or entire karst landscapes. Many interesting features (e.g., gypsum and salt karst) are underrepresented in global geoparks. The UNESCO Global Geoparks initiative should become more phenomenon-focused to offer full representation of karst resources. For some countries like Russia and the United States, where geoparks have not been created yet, the consideration of karst resources may provide significant advantages in the strategic development of geopark-based geotourism. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Relationships between Causal Factors Affecting Future Carbon Dioxide Output from Thailand’s Transportation Sector under the Government’s Sustainability Policy: Expanding the SEM-VECM Model
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 28 November 2018 / Published: 3 December 2018
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Abstract
This research aims to analyze the relationships between causal factors likely to affect future CO2 emissions from the Thai transportation sector by developing the Structural Equation Modeling-Vector Autoregressive Error Correction Mechanism Model (SEM-VECM Model). This model was created to fill information gaps [...] Read more.
This research aims to analyze the relationships between causal factors likely to affect future CO2 emissions from the Thai transportation sector by developing the Structural Equation Modeling-Vector Autoregressive Error Correction Mechanism Model (SEM-VECM Model). This model was created to fill information gaps of older models. In addition, the model provides the unique feature of viable model application for different sectors in various contexts. The model revealed all exogenous variables that have direct and indirect influences over changes in CO2 emissions. The variables show a direct effect at a confidence interval of 99%, including per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ), labor growth ( Δ ln ( L ) t 1 ), urbanization rate factor ( Δ ln ( U R T ) t 1 ), industrial structure ( Δ ln ( I S ) t 1 ), energy consumption ( Δ ln ( E C ) t 1 ), foreign direct investment ( Δ ln ( F D I ) t 1 ), oil price ( Δ ln ( O P ) t 1 ), and net exports ( Δ ln ( X E ) t 1 ). In addition, it was found that every variable in the SEM-VECM model has an indirect effect on changes in CO2 emissions at a confidence interval of 99%. The SEM-VECM model has the ability to adjust to the equilibrium equivalent to 39%. However, it also helps to identify the degree of direct effect that each causal factor has on the others. Specifically, labor growth ( Δ ln ( L ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ) and energy consumption ( Δ ln ( E C ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%, while urbanization rate ( Δ ln ( U R T ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ), labor growth ( Δ ln ( L ) t 1 ), and net exports ( Δ ln ( X E ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%. Furthermore, industrial structure ( Δ ln ( I S ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%, whereas energy consumption ( Δ ln ( E C ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%. Foreign direct investment ( Δ ln ( F D I ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%, while oil price ( Δ ln ( O P ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on industrial structure ( Δ ln ( I S ) t 1 ), energy consumption ( Δ ln ( E C ) t 1 ), and net exports ( Δ ln ( X E ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%. Lastly, net exports ( Δ ln ( X E ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%. The model eliminates the problem of heteroskedasticity, multicollinearity, and autocorrelation. In addition, it was found that the model is white noise. When the SEM-VECM Model was used for 30-year forecasting (2018–2047), it projected that CO2 emissions would increase steadily by 67.04% (2047/2018) or 123.90 Mt CO2 Eq. by 2047. The performance of the SEM-VECM Model was assessed and produced a mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) of 1.21% and root mean square error (RMSE) of 1.02%. When comparing the performance value with the values of other, older models, the SEM-VECM Model was found to be more effective and useful for future research and policy planning for Thailand’s sustainability goals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Environmental and Social Pressures in Mining. Results from a Sustainability Hotspots Screening
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 27 November 2018 / Accepted: 29 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
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Abstract
In recent years, increased interest and actions have been taken to better understand, and mitigate, sustainability impacts of mining activities, by both industry and policy. The present work reports on a sustainability hotspots screening performed for the EU Horizon 2020 “Integrated Mineral Technologies [...] Read more.
In recent years, increased interest and actions have been taken to better understand, and mitigate, sustainability impacts of mining activities, by both industry and policy. The present work reports on a sustainability hotspots screening performed for the EU Horizon 2020 “Integrated Mineral Technologies for More Sustainable Raw Material Supply” (ITERAMS) project, which foresees a more efficient water recycling, tailings valorization, and minimization of environmental footprint. The focus of this paper is on social and environmental issues in mining. Different methodologies were explored, starting from a qualitative causal loop modelling. Afterwards, an environmental and social LCA screening was performed using well-accepted databases and methods, thus completing results with a literature research. The main findings related to the importance of the supply chain, the vulnerability of local communities, and the toxic emissions from tailings offer a starting point to reflect on the specific social, socio-economic, and environmental context which may influence these issues. A better understanding of the environmental and social pressures associated with mining is not only crucial to orient the sustainability assessment foreseen for the ITERAMS project, but also to contribute in terms of methodology to the challenges tackled by policy and research worldwide towards a more sustainable mining. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Critical Natural Resources: Challenging the Current Discourse and Proposal for a Holistic Definition
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 28 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
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Abstract
Studies on critical natural resources have grown in number over the last decade out of concern for resource availability and its potential impacts. Nonetheless, only a handful of studies explicitly define criticality for natural resources. Through a systematic literature review, we identified four [...] Read more.
Studies on critical natural resources have grown in number over the last decade out of concern for resource availability and its potential impacts. Nonetheless, only a handful of studies explicitly define criticality for natural resources. Through a systematic literature review, we identified four main perspectives in the descriptions of critical natural resources: (1) economic importance is overemphasized at the expense of sociocultural and ecosystem support functions of natural resources; (2) a Western perspective dominates the research discourse; (3) apart from the field of economics, the debate lacks input from social sciences; and (4), non-renewable resources are overrepresented compared to renewables. Based on the current discourse and its apparent inclinations, we propose a new definition of criticality for natural resources aligned with risk theory. We argue for the need to balance out the perspectives described above to provide decision-makers with impartial information for the sustainable management of natural resources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Developing Adequate Communication of Waste Footprints of Products for a Circular Economy—A Stakeholder Consultation
Received: 13 September 2018 / Revised: 11 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 26 November 2018
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Abstract
Relatively few consumers are conscious of the waste generated in the course of producing the goods that they consume, although most are aware of the amount of waste they dispose of. This article reports on a small-scale survey (N = 28) among stakeholders [...] Read more.
Relatively few consumers are conscious of the waste generated in the course of producing the goods that they consume, although most are aware of the amount of waste they dispose of. This article reports on a small-scale survey (N = 28) among stakeholders aimed at developing adequate communication of preconsumer waste footprints of consumer goods in the context of the circular economy. Life cycle assessment (LCA) practitioners and consumers assessed five methodological details of an approach for calculating and communicating a product waste footprint (PWF). Most of the respondents expressed that the guidelines described in the proposed PWF methodology are good enough for the purposes of differentiating waste and byproducts, and defining which material flow shall be accounted for. Some LCA practitioners declared that the proposed streamlined method may not be adequate for conveying the environmental significance of waste types. The respondents also expressed that the PWF concept would be primarily useful and/or needed for consumers and government, and in the contexts of improving environmental awareness of consumers, environmental policy making, visualizing waste flows in a circular economy, and improving resource efficiency in industry, and less useful/needed in a business-to-business context. The PWF has been successfully used by diverse stakeholder groups in Sweden mostly to promote sustainable production and consumption across society. A notable example is the ‘invisible waste’ (#invisiblewaste) campaign of the Swedish Waste Management Association (Avfall Sverige). The concerns of the LCA experts have therefore not held true. The symbolic power and parsimony of the PWF concept appears to be effective in sensitizing consumers towards waste issues so that circular economy strategies beyond recycling are possible to be fully realized. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Political Law on the Environment: The Authority of the Government and Local Government to File Litigation in Law Number 32 Year 2009 on Environmental Protection and Management
Received: 5 October 2018 / Revised: 20 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
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Abstract
The construction of legal norms concerning the government’s right to file litigation for compensation in Article 90 paragraph (1) of Law No. 32 Year 2009 on Environmental Protection and Management (hereafter referred to as UUPPLH) is very important. However, Article 90 paragraph (1) [...] Read more.
The construction of legal norms concerning the government’s right to file litigation for compensation in Article 90 paragraph (1) of Law No. 32 Year 2009 on Environmental Protection and Management (hereafter referred to as UUPPLH) is very important. However, Article 90 paragraph (1) of UUPPLH raises legal problems in the form of obscurity of norms, regarding the basis that underlies government institutions’ and regional governments’ authority to file claims for compensation. The first hypothesis believes that most of the environmental problems are caused by the ineffectiveness of supervision by the government itself. This research focuses on studying the government’s right to file litigation as a law enforcement effort in the natural resources sector. The method used in this research is normative juridical, which comprehensively assesses the norms regulated by the government’s authority on the environment. The result of the study shows that the legal rights of the government can be utilized to claim civil liability in the form of compensation for ecosystem losses. Constitutionally, the legal basis of the government’s right to file litigation is the State’s right to control the earth, water, and natural resources as regulated in ground norm Article 33 paragraph (3) of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia. However, to enforce article 90, the government needs to realize that supervision is the key element of preventive measures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Linear Programming-Based Cropland Allocation to Enhance Performance of Smallholder Crop Production: A Pilot Study in Abaro Kebele, Ethiopia
Received: 7 September 2018 / Revised: 3 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
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Abstract
Smallholder farmer crop production is a mainstay of the Ethiopian economy. A series of agricultural extension programs have been implemented since the 1950s in an effort to improve smallholder productivity. In this study, we argue that the limited attention that is given to [...] Read more.
Smallholder farmer crop production is a mainstay of the Ethiopian economy. A series of agricultural extension programs have been implemented since the 1950s in an effort to improve smallholder productivity. In this study, we argue that the limited attention that is given to cropland allocation by smallholders is one key driver of low performance of crop production as well as a key factor in environmental degradation. Drawing on data from a household survey of 75 randomly selected households in Abaro Kebele, Ethiopia, combined with focus-group discussions, key informant interviews, and secondary data sources, we use linear programming to highlight the impact of cropland allocation decisions on the performance of rural smallholder crop production systems. We find that under current land use practices households are not able to meet their consumption needs. The average profitability of farms under the current cropland allocation is also significantly below the estimated level of profit that could be realized by reallocating cropland while using linear programming. Additionally, survey results suggest that low crop production performance (in terms of meeting both household food crop production needs and profit goals) is the primary reason why households do not participate in conservation efforts and sustainable resource management practices. This study suggests that linear programming-based cropland allocation modeling might be applied to enhance the profit performance of smallholder crop production, help meet household food crop production requirements, and thereby promote the sustainable utilization of environmental resources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle New Insight into the Influence of Rhamnolipid Bio-Surfactant on the Carbonate Rock/Water/Oil Interaction at Elevated Temperature
Received: 11 October 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 8 November 2018 / Published: 16 November 2018
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Abstract
Tertiary recovery is directly dependent on the alteration in wettability and interfacial tension (IFT), hence releasing the trapped oil from rock pore spaces. Bio-surfactant water flooding to mobilise residual oil in reservoirs is a new and developing prospect that can be used more [...] Read more.
Tertiary recovery is directly dependent on the alteration in wettability and interfacial tension (IFT), hence releasing the trapped oil from rock pore spaces. Bio-surfactant water flooding to mobilise residual oil in reservoirs is a new and developing prospect that can be used more often in future due to its environmentally friendly nature and economic advantages. In this work, the impact of rhamnolipids as water soluble bio-surfactant solutions on the interfacial activities of saline water and the wettability of carbonate rock are studied at elevated temperature. The effectiveness of the bio-surfactant as a rock wettability modifier is analysed in the presence of different salinities, in particular SO42− ions. The reason for the focus on SO42− is its high affinity towards calcite surfaces, and hence its ability to intervene strongly on bio-surfactant performance. To achieve the objectives of this study, the oil-wet calcite samples at elevated temperature were put through a washing process that included bio-surfactant solutions in seawater at various concentrations of sodium sulphate ions, where the measurement of the contact angles of each sample after treatment and the IFT between the oil model and the washing solutions were taken. The obtained results illustrated that bio-surfactants (rhamnolipids) with incremental concentrations of SO42− ions in sea water (up to three times higher than the original ion concentration) can lower the IFT, and assessed changing the rocks towards greater water-wettability. This study reveals that the alteration of SO42− ions had a greater impact on the wettability alteration, whereas rhamnolipids were better at reducing the IFT between the oil phase and the aqueous phase. This study also looked at temperatures of 50 °C and 70 °C, which demonstrated undesired influences on the wettability and IFT. Bio-surfactants at high temperature showed less interfacial activity, thus indicating that rhamnolipids are not active at high temperatures, while the addition of SO42− shows a continuous decrease in the contact angle and IFT measurements at high temperature. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The PROMETHEE Framework for Comparing the Sustainability of Agricultural Systems
Received: 24 August 2018 / Revised: 31 October 2018 / Accepted: 9 November 2018 / Published: 13 November 2018
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Abstract
The PROMETHEE (Preference Ranking Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluation) method is applied to five different types of agricultural systems in coastal Bangladesh in order to rank the alternatives from most to least suitable according to a range of sustainability indicators. More specifically, composite [...] Read more.
The PROMETHEE (Preference Ranking Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluation) method is applied to five different types of agricultural systems in coastal Bangladesh in order to rank the alternatives from most to least suitable according to a range of sustainability indicators. More specifically, composite indicators from six sustainability categories—productivity, stability, efficiency, durability, compatibility, and equity—are used for this assessment. The case study demonstrates that PROMETHEE constitutes a flexible MCDA (Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis) tool to investigate the sustainability of agricultural systems, rank the different alternative systems, and provide valuable insights. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Optimal Pump Scheduling for Urban Drainage under Variable Flow Conditions
Received: 9 October 2018 / Revised: 7 November 2018 / Accepted: 9 November 2018 / Published: 13 November 2018
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Abstract
The paper is focused on the optimal scheduling of a drainage pumping station, complying with variations in the pump rotational speed and a recurrent pattern for the inflow discharge. The paper is structured in several consecutive steps. In the first step, the experimental [...] Read more.
The paper is focused on the optimal scheduling of a drainage pumping station, complying with variations in the pump rotational speed and a recurrent pattern for the inflow discharge. The paper is structured in several consecutive steps. In the first step, the experimental set-up is described and results of calibration tests on different pumping machines are presented to obtain equations linking significant variables (discharge, head, power, efficiency). Then, those equations are utilized to build a mixed-integer optimization model able to find the scheduling solution that minimizes required pumping energy. The model is solved with respect to a case study referred to a urban drainage system in Naples (Italy) and optimization results are analysed to provide insights on the algorithm computational performance and on the influence of pumping machine characteristics on the overall efficiency savings. With reference to the simulated scenarios, an average value of 32% energy can be saved with an optimized control. Its actual value depends on the hydraulic characteristics of the system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficiency in Water Distribution and Supply Systems)
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Open AccessReview Review of Generated Waste from Cruisers: Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar Port Case Studies
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 31 October 2018 / Accepted: 7 November 2018 / Published: 9 November 2018
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Abstract
The amount of waste generated is becoming an increasing problem both in terms of inefficient use of resources and its harmful effects. Large quantities of waste originate from land, but a certain amount of waste is generated at sea, in which shipping holds [...] Read more.
The amount of waste generated is becoming an increasing problem both in terms of inefficient use of resources and its harmful effects. Large quantities of waste originate from land, but a certain amount of waste is generated at sea, in which shipping holds its share. A recent analysis for 2015–2016 has rated the Croatian ports of Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar in the top 10 out of 20 main cruising ports in the Adriatic Sea. As it is clear that a large number of persons present onboard generate a large amount of waste, the aim of this paper is to estimate the amount of waste (plastic, domestic, and food) and examine the significance of its increasing quantity produced by cruisers in the three main cruiser ports in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea for the period 2014–2017. Cruise calls correlation, together with repeated measures one-way Analysis of variance -ANOVA, showed that a future increase in the port calls for Zadar can be expected while, for the port of Dubrovnik, a decrease is projected, which is in correspondence with the taken measures for a reduction in the adverse effects of the cruise industry. Regarding the type of waste, domestic waste contributes the most with 62%, followed by the plastic waste with 26%, and food waste, which makes only 11% of the total amount of waste for that year. Waste minimization practices and further recommendations for the improvement of waste management practices are presented and put into relation with specific measures to protect and preserve the quality of the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Resources, Clean Resources, Future Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of pH and Ionic Molar Ratios on Phosphorous Forms Precipitation and Recovery from Different Wastewater Sludges
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 28 October 2018 / Accepted: 1 November 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
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Abstract
Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plants, which use it as a basic fertilizer component and is expected to increase significantly in the coming years due to higher food crops demand. Unfortunately, the available phosphorus natural reserves are not renewable, and estimates indicate [...] Read more.
Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plants, which use it as a basic fertilizer component and is expected to increase significantly in the coming years due to higher food crops demand. Unfortunately, the available phosphorus natural reserves are not renewable, and estimates indicate their rapid decline in the future. Urban wastewater, due to its abundance and relatively high phosphorus content, is an excellent candidate for phosphorus recovery, while the element’s removal from urban effluents was introduced in the 1970′s to limit the undesired effects of eutrophication. In this study, the process of struvite (and related phosphorous compounds) crystallization was investigated for three different sludge types, and the results were compared. While most studies focus strictly on anaerobically digested sludge for high struvite precipitation efficiency, this study investigated the possibility of inducing precipitation on both aerobic (extended aeration) and anaerobic sludges produced by two wastewater treatment plants in northern Italy. Analysis of precipitates from sludge samples was compared, where the focus was on the aerobic sludge, and its potential for struvite recovery. The effect of different reaction parameters was studied under different operating conditions, and the use and effects of Ca(OH)2 addition as an inexpensive potential pH adjustment reagent was investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Resources, Clean Resources, Future Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Hemp Cables, a Sustainable Alternative to Harmonic Steel for Cable Nets
Received: 6 September 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 30 October 2018 / Published: 5 November 2018
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Abstract
Recent developments in the field of materials engineering have allowed for the use of natural materials for common structural elements, instead of traditional materials, such as steel or concrete. In this context, hemp is a very interesting material for structural building design. This [...] Read more.
Recent developments in the field of materials engineering have allowed for the use of natural materials for common structural elements, instead of traditional materials, such as steel or concrete. In this context, hemp is a very interesting material for structural building design. This paper proposes the use of hemp cables for roofs with hyperbolic paraboloid cable nets, which sees the use of a sustainable material for structure, thus having a very low environmental impact, in terms of structural thickness and amount of material. The paper discusses five different plan sizes and two different hyperbolic paraboloid surface radius of curvatures. The cable traction, which gives the cable net stiffness, was varied in order to give a parametric database of structural response. Three dimensional geometrically nonlinear analyses were carried out on different geometries (i.e., 10), cable net stiffnesses (i.e., 8), and materials (i.e., 2). Traditional harmonic steel and hemp cables are compared, in terms of vertical displacements and natural periods under dead and permanent loads. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Coastal Tourism Management Model toward Developing Independent Tourist Village in Central Lombok District, Indonesia
Received: 6 October 2018 / Revised: 23 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 5 November 2018
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Abstract
Village development aims to improve the welfare of villagers and the quality of human life. The purpose of this study was to formulate a coastal tourism management model toward developing independent tourist villages. This study employed a quantitative approach by using survey methods. [...] Read more.
Village development aims to improve the welfare of villagers and the quality of human life. The purpose of this study was to formulate a coastal tourism management model toward developing independent tourist villages. This study employed a quantitative approach by using survey methods. The data analysis was performed using structural equation modeling (SEM). There were four variables namely: the potential of mangrove ecosystem, the perception of the coastal community, the coastal tourism facilities, and the coastal ecotourism. The results indicated that there were two variables which had a significant effect on the management of coastal tourist villages, namely the perception of coastal community and coastal ecotourism. Furthermore, the management of a coastal tourist village had a significant effect on the development of independent coastal tourist villages, and the management of coastal tourist villages was a strong mediator to develop an independent coastal tourist village. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Hybrid Maximum Power Point Tracking Method for Photovoltaic Systems for Dynamic Weather Conditions
Received: 14 September 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 17 October 2018 / Published: 2 November 2018
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Abstract
A hybrid MPPT (maximum power point tracking) controller integrates FLC (fuzzy logic controller) and P&O (Perturbation and Observation) method for MMPT of PV (Photovoltaic) under dynamic weather conditions is proposed. An adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system is used to optimize parameters and membership functions [...] Read more.
A hybrid MPPT (maximum power point tracking) controller integrates FLC (fuzzy logic controller) and P&O (Perturbation and Observation) method for MMPT of PV (Photovoltaic) under dynamic weather conditions is proposed. An adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system is used to optimize parameters and membership functions of FLC. FLC is used to find the region of MPP (maximum power point); then, P&O technique is employed to accurately track the MPP. MATLAB/Simulink models are built to evaluate the performance of the proposed hybrid algorithm. In order to validate the performance of the proposed algorithm, comparisons with standalone FLC and P&O are carried out. The performance of the proposed algorithm is tested against dynamic weather condition. The results showed that the proposed algorithm successfully improve the dynamic and steady state responses of PV under severe dynamic weather condition. More specifically, the proposed approach shows its capability to attain the MPP faster than P&O and provided higher power than the standalone FLC. Finally, the proposed algorithm overcomes the limitations associated with FLC and P&O. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Decoding the Wickedness of Resource Nexus Problems—Examples from Water-Soil Nexus Problems in China
Received: 4 June 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 26 October 2018
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Abstract
Managing environmental resources in a nexus manner is typically denoted as a highly wicked problem. Such denotations are, however, barely based on clearly defined dimensions and degrees of wickedness. This hinders the application of effective policy and governance strategies to address nexus problems [...] Read more.
Managing environmental resources in a nexus manner is typically denoted as a highly wicked problem. Such denotations are, however, barely based on clearly defined dimensions and degrees of wickedness. This hinders the application of effective policy and governance strategies to address nexus problems in practice. This study provides a conceptually thorough analysis of the wickedness of resource nexus problems, taking specific water-soil nexus problems in the Loess plateau in China as an example. Analyses are based on a clear operationalization of wicked problems, as provided in the literature on public policies, the nexus, and the case study area. Results show that resource nexus problems generally fulfill the theoretical criteria of wicked problems, namely the existence of highly conflicting goals, high system complexity, and high informational uncertainty. Consequently, traditional policy and governance strategies to address wicked problems such as participatory modes of governance may be fruitful in order to deal with resource nexus problems in general and in the Loess plateau, more particularly. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on Distribution of Major Non-Timber Forest Plants in Chitwan Annapurna Landscape, Nepal
Received: 18 September 2018 / Revised: 12 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 23 October 2018
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Abstract
For many decades, non-timber forest products (NTFPs) have been an important livelihood commodity in Nepal as a traditional source of food, fiber, and medicines. However, the importance of NTFPs have been recognized only recently. NTFPs form more than 5% of Nepal’s national gross [...] Read more.
For many decades, non-timber forest products (NTFPs) have been an important livelihood commodity in Nepal as a traditional source of food, fiber, and medicines. However, the importance of NTFPs have been recognized only recently. NTFPs form more than 5% of Nepal’s national gross domestic product and are facing threat due to anthropogenic drivers and changing climate. Understanding of the current distribution and future dynamics of NTFPs is essential for effective conservation planning and management. In the maiden attempt, we used the Maxent model to understand the current and predict the future distribution by 2050 of 10 major NTFPs in Chitwan Annapurna Landscape, Nepal. The prediction accuracy of the models calculated based on the area under curve was high (>90%) and the prediction by 2050 highlights potential increase in distribution range of seven NTFPs and potential decrease in that of three NTFPs in the study area. The results from our study could play an important role in planning and management of these NTFPs considering their high economic and ecological significance and sensitivity to predicted climate change. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Ecological Footprint Accounting of Products: When Larger Is Not Worse
Received: 29 July 2018 / Revised: 28 September 2018 / Accepted: 9 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
One of the main goals of any (sustainability) indicator should be the communication of a clear, unambiguous, and simplified message about the status of the analyzed system. The selected indicator is expected to declare explicitly how its numerical value depicts a situation, for [...] Read more.
One of the main goals of any (sustainability) indicator should be the communication of a clear, unambiguous, and simplified message about the status of the analyzed system. The selected indicator is expected to declare explicitly how its numerical value depicts a situation, for example, positive or negative, sustainable or unsustainable, especially when a comparison among similar or competitive systems is performed. This aspect should be a primary and discriminating issue when the selection of a set of opportune indicators is operated. The Ecological Footprint (EF) has become one of the most popular and widely used sustainability indicators. It is a resource accounting method with an area based metric in which the units of measure are global hectares or hectares with world average bio-productivity. Its main goal is to underline the link between the (un)sustainability level of a product, a system, an activity or a population life style, with the land demand for providing goods, energy, and ecological services needed to sustain that product, system, activity, or population. Therefore, the traditional rationale behind the message of EF is: the larger EF value, the larger environmental impact in terms of resources use, the lower position in the sustainability rank. The aim of this paper was to investigate if this rationale is everywhere opportune and unambiguous, or if sometimes its use requires paying a special attention. Then, a three-dimensional modification of the classical EF framework for the sustainability evaluation of a product has been proposed following a previous work by Niccolucci and co-authors (2009). Finally, the potentialities of the model have been tested by using a case study from the agricultural context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Footprint Assessment for Resources Management)
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication Environment and Big Data: Role in Smart Cities of India
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 23 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 October 2018 / Published: 9 October 2018
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Abstract
The intention of India’s Smart City Mission program is to achieve better living conditions in a sustainable environment with smart solutions. This program identifies the key challenges of urbanization and the environment. The mitigation of these challenges depends on the monitoring and assessment [...] Read more.
The intention of India’s Smart City Mission program is to achieve better living conditions in a sustainable environment with smart solutions. This program identifies the key challenges of urbanization and the environment. The mitigation of these challenges depends on the monitoring and assessment of multiple factors, including demography, education, health, and the environment; however, the inclusion of environmental factors are limited. The monitoring and assessment of environmental factors will continuously generate big data and hence would require scientific and technological innovation for a sustainable management plan. This study identifies six environmental factors, which should be integrated in the development of smart cities. These environmental factors include indicators of landscape and geography, climate, atmospheric pollution, water resources, energy resources, and urban green space as a major component of the environment. This paper also discusses the importance of these environmental components and the maintenance of big data in the management of smart cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data Initiative on Resources Management)
Open AccessArticle Extraction of γ-Alumina from Low-Cost Kaolin
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 19 September 2018 / Accepted: 20 September 2018 / Published: 25 September 2018
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Abstract
A combined process is proposed for the utilization of local kaolin to produce alumina particles. The applied process is made in two stages: calcination at 700 °C with sodium chloride and leaching with sulfuric followed by hydrochloric acids. The optimal extraction efficiency can [...] Read more.
A combined process is proposed for the utilization of local kaolin to produce alumina particles. The applied process is made in two stages: calcination at 700 °C with sodium chloride and leaching with sulfuric followed by hydrochloric acids. The optimal extraction efficiency can be obtained when the conditions are as follows: leaching temperature is at 140 °C, leaching time is 3 h 45 min and concentration of sulfuric acid is 40 wt.%. The results show that the purity of alumina reaches 79.28%, which is suitable for the production of aluminum metal. It is evident that this method of extraction of alumina from the kaolin ash is practical and feasible. The structural and morphological properties of the calcined microcrystalline powder was characterized by X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscope (SEM). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Ten Steps Qualitative Modelling: Development and Validation of Conceptual Institutional-Social-Ecological Model of Public Open Space (POS) Governance and Quality
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 19 September 2018 / Published: 21 September 2018
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Abstract
Compared to the literature on quantitative and statistical modelling, there is a lack of research on qualitative environmental-related modelling, which focuses on a conceptual-theory-based model. Therefore, this paper attempts to formulate a qualitative institutional-social-ecological model, by showcasing how the 10 steps modelling is [...] Read more.
Compared to the literature on quantitative and statistical modelling, there is a lack of research on qualitative environmental-related modelling, which focuses on a conceptual-theory-based model. Therefore, this paper attempts to formulate a qualitative institutional-social-ecological model, by showcasing how the 10 steps modelling is relevant and is applied to the institutional-property-rights model of neighbourhood residential commons. Using an instance from one case study (i.e., Sabah, Malaysia), a conceptual problem-solution model describing local property-rights system tragedies of public open space (POS) governance and quality, and the emergence of self-governing collective action was demonstrated. Methodologically, the modelling procedures were specified as a 10-step process, starting with setting the objectives of the model and concluding with the validation of suitability and usefulness of the model. The validation was conducted using the experts’ opinion, via the semi-structured interviews with five public officials. With slight necessary amendments, the model was proven practical, useful, flexible, reliable and valid in serving its purposes in understanding and predicting the effects of local property-rights system tragedies on POS commons dilemmas, and the subsequent emergence and necessity of a self-governing solution. This local model provides policy insights to the local public officials, which facilitate their institutional-social-ecological decision-making process that helps improve local POS governance and quality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fisheries-Based Ecotourism in Bangladesh: Potentials and Challenges
Received: 6 August 2018 / Revised: 5 September 2018 / Accepted: 18 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract
Recreational fishing trips constitute a significant part of the tourism business in many countries. Linking fisheries to tourism can be both a response to the need to create innovative tourism products and the need to find new sources of income for fisheries to [...] Read more.
Recreational fishing trips constitute a significant part of the tourism business in many countries. Linking fisheries to tourism can be both a response to the need to create innovative tourism products and the need to find new sources of income for fisheries to make them more profitable and sustainable. This leads to the question of whether Bangladesh can be developed as a Fisheries-Based Ecotourism (FbE) destination. Though several types of research have been done concerning the prospects of ecotourism in Bangladesh, the feasibility of FbE specifically remains under-studied. Based on a literature review and stakeholder interviews, this study explores the concept of FbE in a Bangladeshi context and its potential impacts on socio-economic community life as well as on the environment. This paper makes the case that the diversified topography of Bangladesh—including the riverine flat alluvial plains, hills and valleys, deciduous and evergreen forests, lakes, seashores, and beaches—is ripe with potential for FbE development. With its focus on the prospects and challenges of FbE development in Bangladesh, this paper could provide a useful reference point for future discourse on these sorts of cultural and economic strategies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fermentable Sugar Production from the Peels of Two Durian (Durio zibethinus Murr.) Cultivars by Phosphoric Acid Pretreatment
Received: 15 August 2018 / Revised: 14 September 2018 / Accepted: 18 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract
The potential of durian (Durio zibethinus Murr.) peel as feedstock for the production of fermentable sugars was evaluated. Durian peel biomass from two cultivars, monthong (Durio zibethinus Murr. cv. Monthong) and chanee (Durio zibethinus Murr. cv. Chanee), were pretreated with [...] Read more.
The potential of durian (Durio zibethinus Murr.) peel as feedstock for the production of fermentable sugars was evaluated. Durian peel biomass from two cultivars, monthong (Durio zibethinus Murr. cv. Monthong) and chanee (Durio zibethinus Murr. cv. Chanee), were pretreated with different concentrations (70%, 75%, 80%, and 85%) of phosphoric acid (H3PO4) at a moderate temperature of 60 °C for 60 min. The H3PO4-pretreated durian peel biomass was then subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis. Significantly higher glucan (44.74 ± 0.21%) content was observed in the monthong peel compared to the chanee peel (42.06 ± 0.28%). Phosphoric acid pretreatment caused the significant solubilization of the xylan and acid soluble lignin (ASL) contents. This enhanced the enzymatic hydrolysis process causing a significant increase in the hydrolysis efficiency and glucose concentration. The highest hydrolysis efficiency and glucose concentration were obtained after 72 h from the 75% H3PO4-pretreated peel biomass for both the monthong (90.33 ± 0.42% and 9.55 ± 0.11 g/L, respectively) and chanee (90.06 ± 0.40% and 8.56 ± 0.13 g/L, respectively) peels. Biomass to glucose recovery for monthong and chanee were improved by approximately 7- and 6-fold, respectively. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis showed destruction of the peel biomass structure and changes in the cellulose crystallinity index (CrIs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Resources, Clean Resources, Future Resources)
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