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Resources, Volume 9, Issue 3 (March 2020) – 14 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Water resources are increasingly under pressure because of climate change, droughts, and intense development of civil and industrial activities. The implementation of water reuse solutions is an urgent issue. The reuse of wastewaters generated from sanitizing operations of industrial or public floors, after treatment in a portable device, was proposed. The wastewater was treated through a combination of coarse filtration and clarification processes and reused for floor cleaning operations for 110 cycles. The quality of the water was monitored, and it did not significantly worse cycle after cycle. The proposed treatment allowed not only saving fresh water, in the measure of 18,000 liters over 60 cleaning cycles, but also reducing the cost of water usage by approximately 50%. View this paper.
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Open AccessArticle
Life Cycle Assessment of the Closed-Loop Recycling of Used Disposable Diapers
Resources 2020, 9(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030034 - 17 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2224
Abstract
In Japan, approximately 23.5 billion paper diapers are produced annually (total of diapers for infants and adults produced in 2018). The majority of used paper diapers are disposed of through incineration; in certain regions, some paper diapers are recycled, mostly by open-loop recycling [...] Read more.
In Japan, approximately 23.5 billion paper diapers are produced annually (total of diapers for infants and adults produced in 2018). The majority of used paper diapers are disposed of through incineration; in certain regions, some paper diapers are recycled, mostly by open-loop recycling or thermal recycling. To date, several methods of recycling used paper diapers have been proposed and developed, but these methods are considered to have different types and amounts of recycled materials and different environmental performances. In this study, a new technology was developed for the closed-loop recycling of used paper diapers, and the use of the recycled pulp and superabsorbent polymer (SAP) as materials for paper diapers was evaluated via the environmental impact using the life cycle assessment (LCA) method, using data obtained from experimental facilities for recycling. The results between the comparison of the new method with the landfill and incineration processes demonstrate a greenhouse gas reduction of 47% and 39%, respectively. The results also show that such recycling is expected to reduce land-use occupation and water consumption, closely related to the pulp, main raw material of paper diapers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Suitability of Grape Husks Biochar, Municipal Solid Wastes Compost and Mixtures of Them for Agricultural Applications to Mediterranean Soils
Resources 2020, 9(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030033 - 13 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1985
Abstract
Present work aimed at evaluating the leaching potential of grape husks biochar, municipal solid wastes compost and their combined application as amendments of sandy Mediterranean soil, in order to assess their capability of releasing/retaining nutrients or heavy metals and therefore their suitability for [...] Read more.
Present work aimed at evaluating the leaching potential of grape husks biochar, municipal solid wastes compost and their combined application as amendments of sandy Mediterranean soil, in order to assess their capability of releasing/retaining nutrients or heavy metals and therefore their suitability for agricultural applications. Grape husks biochar was produced by pyrolysis at 500 °C in a fixed bed unit. Column leaching experiments, simulating Mediterranean rainfall conditions, were conducted. For all compost/biochar/soil combinations, alkali and alkaline earth metals showed greater solubility, increasing the pH of the extracts and thus decreasing the leachability of heavy metals Cr, Cu, Zr and Sr. Biochar co-application with compost did not prevent the leaching of nitrates, phosphates or trace elements; however, it did lower the chemical oxygen demand and allowed the slower release of sodium, calcium and magnesium from soil. As compared to compost, addition of biochar to soil increased the concentration of potassium by 76%, whereas it decreased that of heavy metals in the leachates by 40%–95%. Grape husks biochar could serve as a better soil amendment than municipal solid wastes compost and if carefully managed could be used as liming agent or fertilizer on acidic soils. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Review of Life Cycle Assessment Studies of Electric Vehicles with a Focus on Resource Use
Resources 2020, 9(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030032 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2586
Abstract
Changes in the mobility patterns have evoked concerns about the future availability of certain raw materials necessary to produce alternative drivetrains and related batteries. The goal of this article is to determine if resource use aspects are adequately reflected within life cycle assessment [...] Read more.
Changes in the mobility patterns have evoked concerns about the future availability of certain raw materials necessary to produce alternative drivetrains and related batteries. The goal of this article is to determine if resource use aspects are adequately reflected within life cycle assessment (LCA) case studies of electric vehicles (EV). Overall, 103 LCA studies on electric vehicles from 2009 to 2018 are evaluated regarding their objective, scope, considered impact categories, and assessment methods—with a focus on resource depletion and criticality. The performed analysis shows that only 24 out of 76 EV LCA and 10 out of 27 battery LCA address the issue of resources. The majority of the studies apply one of these methods: CML-IA, ReCiPe, or Eco-Indicator 99. In most studies, EV show higher results for mineral and metal resource depletion than internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV). The batteries analysis shows that lithium, manganese, copper, and nickel are responsible for the highest burdens. Only few publications approach resource criticality. Although this topic is a serious concern for future mobility, it is currently not comprehensively and consistently considered within LCA studies of electric vehicles. Criticality should be included in the analyses in order to derive results on the potential risks associated with certain resources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
MoGeo, a Mobile Application to Promote Geotourism in Molise Region (Southern Italy)
Resources 2020, 9(3), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030031 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2135
Abstract
Geotourism represents a powerful and new form of sustainable tourism that has rapidly expanded worldwide over the last decades. To promote it, the use of digital and geomatic tools is becoming of increasing importance. Especially mobile information represents one of the most efficient [...] Read more.
Geotourism represents a powerful and new form of sustainable tourism that has rapidly expanded worldwide over the last decades. To promote it, the use of digital and geomatic tools is becoming of increasing importance. Especially mobile information represents one of the most efficient and smart ways to bring geotourism closer to a wide audience. This applies in particular to rural and inner areas, where the exploitation of geoheritage can represent a crucial resource for eco-friendly and sustainable tourism development. With the aim to promote geotourism on a regional scale, we have implemented a mobile devise application for Molise region, tested in the Alto Molise area. This application, called MoGeo App, aims at providing diversified geotourism information that combines geologic attractions (geosites and geologic itineraries) with other possible tourist attractions (other sites of natural and cultural interest), to respond to differentiated interests and needs of a wide audience. Besides geotourism purposes, the structure of MoGeo App can be used also for other purposes such as educational targets, by adapting contents and language. It appears to be a flexible, easily updatable digital tool, adaptable to various target groups, as well as other regional contexts, both inside and outside of Italy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoheritage and Geotourism Resources) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
The Connection between a Suspended Sediments and Reservoir Siltation: Empirical Analysis in the Maziarnia Reservoir, Poland
Resources 2020, 9(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030030 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2358
Abstract
This paper presents research on the influence of suspended sediments on selected aspects of a reservoir’s functioning. As the amount of sediment suspended in water (SS) there was found to correlate significantly with sedimentation rate (Us), it was possible to develop a function [...] Read more.
This paper presents research on the influence of suspended sediments on selected aspects of a reservoir’s functioning. As the amount of sediment suspended in water (SS) there was found to correlate significantly with sedimentation rate (Us), it was possible to develop a function allowing the rate of accumulation of sediments to be predicted by reference to known amounts of suspended sediment. The latter factor was also shown to correlate significantly with the content of organic matter in suspension (OMSS), in sediment captured in a sediment trap (OMS), and of bottom sediment (OMSB). Analysis of amounts of suspended sediment can provide for estimates of total loads of organic pollutants deposited in the sediments of a reservoir. A further significant correlation with SS was noted for the concentration of total phosphorus in water (TPW), confirming the importance of internal production where the circulation of this biogenic substance in a reservoir ecosystem is concerned. Analysis of stable carbon isotopes in turn showed that entrapped sediments were depleted of—or enriched in—13C, in line with whether concentrations of total P in those sediments (TPS) were at their highest or lowest levels. This dependent relationship may thus be of key importance in assessing sources of phosphorus, as well as in forecasting concentrations present in reservoir sediments. The results obtained make it clear that sediments suspended in the water of a reservoir unify phenomena and processes ongoing there, between elements of the water-sediment system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
University Students’ Preferences for Labour Conditions at a Mining Site: Evidence from Two Australian Universities
Resources 2020, 9(3), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030029 - 10 Mar 2020
Viewed by 2442
Abstract
The mining industry makes up a large portion of the gross domestic product (GDP) in Australia, although securing human resources remains a problem in that field. The aim of this paper is to identify Australian university mining students’ preferences, considering it as potential [...] Read more.
The mining industry makes up a large portion of the gross domestic product (GDP) in Australia, although securing human resources remains a problem in that field. The aim of this paper is to identify Australian university mining students’ preferences, considering it as potential employees’ preferences, for labour conditions at mining sites by means of a discrete choice experiment to promote efficient improvements in labour conditions in the mining industry. The data of 93 respondents analysed in this paper was collected by survey carried out in two universities in Australia. The result of the study showed that students have preferences on several factors such as wage, fatality rate, working position, commuting style, and company. Students having specific sociodemographic characters were found to show specific preferences on labour conditions. The results of this study indicate the potential average of appropriate monetary compensation for each factor. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of the “El Sexmo” Tourist Gold Mine (Zaruma, Ecuador) as A Geosite and Mining Site
Resources 2020, 9(3), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030028 - 10 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4114
Abstract
Zaruma is host to the ‘‘El Sexmo’’ tourist mine, the galleries of which extend below the city, and its exploitation dates back to precolonial times. The mining boom created important development in the area, but informal mining also emerged causing environmental issues and [...] Read more.
Zaruma is host to the ‘‘El Sexmo’’ tourist mine, the galleries of which extend below the city, and its exploitation dates back to precolonial times. The mining boom created important development in the area, but informal mining also emerged causing environmental issues and safety problems. This study presents a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the “El Sexmo” Tourist Mine in the context of its potential as a tourism geosite and mining site. The methodological stages included: (i) The process and systematization of the general mine information and its surroundings; (ii) the assessment of the geological and mining interest of the mine, through GAM and Brilha method; and (iii) description and proposal of action strategies through Delphi analysis and a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) matrix. Based on the results of the quantitative evaluation, the high values in the educational, scientific, and tourist aspects of the two applied methodologies, show the mine as a potential geosite and mining site with added cultural value. In addition, the quantitative assessment in correspondence with the qualitative analysis, allowed to propose improvement strategies to take advantage of the geological resources and mining identity of the area, as an alternative that strengthens the infrastructure of the mine and consolidates the geotouristic development of the area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoheritage and Geotourism Resources) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability Assessment of Food Redistribution Initiatives in Sweden
Resources 2020, 9(3), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030027 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2854
Abstract
Food banks that redistribute surplus food from retailers and the food industry to people in need are not a new concept globally, but their connection to food waste prevention is new. As a result, new types of food redistribution units are emerging and [...] Read more.
Food banks that redistribute surplus food from retailers and the food industry to people in need are not a new concept globally, but their connection to food waste prevention is new. As a result, new types of food redistribution units are emerging and diversifying to find new target groups and distribution methods. The aim of this study was to identify and study surplus food redistribution units in Sweden, and then to assess the impact on several sustainability indicators for selected redistribution units, in order to increase knowledge on the types of values these redistribution concepts generate. The methods used for analyzing the scenarios were Environmental Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Costing and Social Life Cycle Assessment. The results showed that providing food bags to socially exposed people generated the largest reduction of greenhouse gas emissions per kg of redistributed food (−1.2 kg CO2 eq./FU). Reprocessing surplus food to a high-quality end-product was attributed a high social value, due to job creation effects in the high number of working hours required per kg of redistributed food. With regard to economic impacts, all but two scenarios studied had monthly financial losses, and therefore needed other sources of financial support. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Water Recovery from Floor Cleaning Operations of Industrial or Public Areas: The Results of a Field Test
Resources 2020, 9(3), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030026 - 06 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1975
Abstract
Water resources are increasingly under pressure because of human activities and economic development. Moreover, accelerated urbanization and the expansion of drinking water supply and sanitation systems contribute to this rising demand. The development of water reuse solutions is an urgent issue. This study [...] Read more.
Water resources are increasingly under pressure because of human activities and economic development. Moreover, accelerated urbanization and the expansion of drinking water supply and sanitation systems contribute to this rising demand. The development of water reuse solutions is an urgent issue. This study presents a solution for the reuse of wastewaters generated from floor cleaning operations of industrial or public areas. A portable device containing a grid, for coarse filtration, and a 300-L reaction chamber to carry out the sequential processes of coagulation, flocculation and settling, was employed for a field test. In the field test the wastewater coming from the tank of a cleaning machine, used for floor cleaning in an industrial site, was treated and reused for the same purpose for a total of 110 times. The quality of the treated wastewater was monitored cycle after cycle and the results of the test demonstrated that the treated water was suitable to be reused for the same purpose, even after a large number of cycles, provided that a finishing treatment was eventually supplemented in order to reduce the residual concentration of organic substances. It was demonstrated that, under standard operating conditions, that is a wastewater with a total suspended solid (TSS) content of 800 mg/L, and on the grounds of the results found in the test, that is a TSS removal efficiency of 98% and a sludge total solid (TS) content of 6%, the whole volume of the cleaning machine tank was completely renewed with fresh water after 60 cycles. Eventually, the combination of treatment and reuse operations allowed to save approximately 18,000 L of fresh water over a series of 60 cleaning cycles. The proposed treatment allowed not only to save fresh water but even to reduce the cost of water usage by approximately 50%. In fact, thanks to this treatment, the cost of a single cubic meter of water decreased from approximately 6 €/m3, which included supply of fresh water and discharge to the public sewer, to approximately 3 €/m3. Full article
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Mohr et al. Global Projection of Lead-Zinc Supply from Known Resources. Resources, 2018, 7, 17
Resources 2020, 9(3), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030025 - 06 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1829
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following correction to this paper [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Cousins, Siblings and Twins: A Review of the Geological Model’s Place in the Digital Mine
Resources 2020, 9(3), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030024 - 04 Mar 2020
Viewed by 2136
Abstract
Digital mining is a broad term describing the enhancement of the physical mining method through the use of digital models, simulations, analytics, controls and associated feedbacks. Mining optimisation will be improved through increased digitisation and real-time interactions via a “digital twin”, however digitisation [...] Read more.
Digital mining is a broad term describing the enhancement of the physical mining method through the use of digital models, simulations, analytics, controls and associated feedbacks. Mining optimisation will be improved through increased digitisation and real-time interactions via a “digital twin”, however digitisation of the rock mass component of this system remains problematic. While engineered systems can be digitally twinned, natural systems containing inherent uncertainties present challenges, especially where human-intensive procedures are required. This is further complicated, since the mining system is designed not only to interact with, but to substantially and continually alter its surrounding environment. Considering digital twin requirements and geological modelling capabilities, we assess the potential for a mine’s synchronised digital twin to encompass the complex, uncertain, geological domain within which it interacts. We find that current geological (and indeed hydro-geological) models and simulations would support digitisation that could be considered to provide, at best, a digitised ‘cousin’. Based on this assessment, the digital twin’s value for medium term forecasting of mining operations may be limited and we discuss technological advancements that can mitigate this. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mining Technology: The Digital Mine)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Assessment of Innovative Paper Recycling Technology Using Product Lifecycle Perspectives
Resources 2020, 9(3), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030023 - 29 Feb 2020
Viewed by 2395
Abstract
Paper can be reused to efficiently manage biomass consumption, meaning that it has potential as an environmentally friendly material. On the other hand, because of high energy usage during the recycling process and transportation inefficiencies, there is a call for the development of [...] Read more.
Paper can be reused to efficiently manage biomass consumption, meaning that it has potential as an environmentally friendly material. On the other hand, because of high energy usage during the recycling process and transportation inefficiencies, there is a call for the development of technologies that can mitigate this environmental burden. This study evaluated, from a lifecycle perspective, a new technology that can collect and recycle paper within the office. This technology can reduce by over 90% the amount of water used compared with the conventional recycled paper that is pulped and bleached once by the dry process. It also eliminates transportation from paper collection facilities to recycling factories, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This new technology is already in use in Japan, and analyses by user data indicate that evaluation results differ greatly depending on the utilization rate of the machine. In the future, environmental information should be shared by both users and manufacturers, so that users could increase their utilization rate, and manufacturers could develop alternative bonding agents in order to further reduce the total environmental burden. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Social Resistance to the Hydrological Transition in Southern Spain: Public Support for the Building of New Reservoirs
Resources 2020, 9(3), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030022 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2190
Abstract
Spain has the most reservoirs in Europe, and is near the top of the list globally. Despite this, national hydrological planning still continues to rely overwhelmingly on this type of infrastructure. This indicates that the traditional hydraulic paradigm is deeply entrenched in Spain. [...] Read more.
Spain has the most reservoirs in Europe, and is near the top of the list globally. Despite this, national hydrological planning still continues to rely overwhelmingly on this type of infrastructure. This indicates that the traditional hydraulic paradigm is deeply entrenched in Spain. The present work takes the new, hitherto unexplored perspective of public resistance, and seeks to complement other studies by aiming to understand why a hydrological transition, in line with environmental demands, has not taken place in Spain. In order to do this, we analyze data from a representative survey (years 2004–2013) of the residents of one of Spain’s most densely regulated drainage basins, that of the Guadalquivir River. Our results reveal that during a several drought (2005–2008), people’s support for the construction of new reservoirs declined sharply, whilst social resistance to changes in the water management strategy was associated with profiles closest to the agricultural sectorm and characterized by a lack of awareness about water distribution in productive sectors Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mobilizing Benefit-Sharing Through Transportation Infrastructure: Informal Roads, Extractive Industries and Benefit-Sharing in the Irkutsk Oil and Gas Region, Russia
Resources 2020, 9(3), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9030021 - 26 Feb 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2335
Abstract
Road infrastructure development is an existing, but not a frequent element of extractive industry benefit-sharing frameworks in remote northern regions. However, it is often at the center of extractive activity and inflicts major impact on environment and communities. This paper examines the benefits [...] Read more.
Road infrastructure development is an existing, but not a frequent element of extractive industry benefit-sharing frameworks in remote northern regions. However, it is often at the center of extractive activity and inflicts major impact on environment and communities. This paper examines the benefits and impacts derived from development of informal roads, i.e., vehicular roadways beyond the current publicly-governed road networks constructed, maintained and/or used by various entities and individuals based on private, special purpose and/or informal practices and regulations. Based on several field studies, GIS analysis of road networks and examination of secondary sources, the article investigates the use of informal roads as a form of benefit-sharing and details their impact on mobilities, environment and livelihoods of local and indigenous communities in the Irkutsk Oil and Gas region, Russia. We argue that construction, maintenance and use of the industry-built roads can be a part of benefit-sharing agreements, albeit mostly semi-formal and negotiated. The gains and problems stemming from ‘trickle-down’ (i.e., unintended) effects of the road networks are the most significant. The community-relevant implications of informal roads go far beyond immediate impacts on surrounding environment, but deeply affect subsistence activities, mobility, food security, personal safety and even consumer preferences of the indigenous residents. Full article
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