Abstract: Established practice is available as a reference for evaluating sustainable transport and CO2 emissions at national, European and global levels, but comparing corresponding systems at the regional and local levels are more challenging. Therefore, this paper analyses the use of indicators, evaluation methods and data availability at local and regional levels for applied policies and measures in transport planning. Sweden is used as a case study. Available data show that total surveys (e.g., vehicle registry data), sample surveys (e.g., interviews) or modelling can be used to develop transport indicators, and that either generated (volume generated in the area) or performed (volume in the area) traffic and transportation is estimated. However, there are limitations with all methods and the design of evaluations needs careful consideration in order to reflect changes in local and regional transport systems and to relate those changes to specific measures and policies. In most cases, survey methods need to be used in order to follow up the most common indicators. All evaluation methods need to be complemented with analyses of a baseline to determine additionality and also potential rebound effects need to be considered, which requires the application of a wider systems perspective.
Abstract: The main objectives of this socio-technical study are to investigate the Indian farmers’ biomass production capacities and their perceptions and willingness to supply their surplus biomass to fuel an envisioned biomass-based power plant in three selected Indian states: Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. For doing so, 471 farmers (about one-third from each state) have been interviewed in the field with info-sheet filled in by the field investigators. The farmers from all of the states appeared very much willing to sell their surplus biomass directly to a power plant. The farmers seem to depreciate the involvement of a middleman in the biomass procurement process. The farmers, however, appeared to highly appreciate a community-based association to regulate the biomass prices, with varying perceptions regarding government intervention. The majority of the farmers perceived the establishment of a biomass-based power plant in their region with positive economic outcomes. The farmers identified several barriers to supply biomass to a power plant where transportation logistics appeared to be the main barrier. The study recommends considering biomass collection, storage and transportation logistics as a fundamental segment of any envisioned investment in a biomass-based power plant. Biomass processing, such as pelletization or briquetting is recommended for efficient transportation of biomass at longer distances to reduce the transportation costs. The study further encourages the establishment of a farmers’ association aimed at collecting and selling biomass in agriculture areas predominant for small land holdings.
Abstract: Increasing the representation of women in academia is a priority challenge in higher education policy. This study uses data from the Italian University habilitation competition in 2012 to test whether this national, standardized and quantitative assessment of researchers contributed to improving the situation. The proportion of female applications (on the whole about 36%) was in many fields higher than the reported proportion of female University professors (27%, 2010), but lower than the proportion of female researchers (2010) in Italy (45% and 51% for researchers with and without a permanent position, respectively). There was still a gap between the proportion of female applications at the associate (on average 39%) and full professor level (29%). A similar gap was also present between scientific disciplines and the humanities. Average success rates of female applications (41.2%) were on the whole lower than those of male applications (43.9%), but in most fields these differences were not significant. Overall, it is generally much lower proportion of female applications rather than their lower success rate that perpetuates the low proportion of female academics in Italy. More effort is needed to support female researchers in choosing and pursuing an academic career.
Abstract: As the frequency and intensity of heatwaves are growing in Australia, strategies to combat heat are becoming more vital. Cities are exposed to urban heat islands (UHIs) due to excess urbanisation. In this study, a definition of urban heatwave (UHW) is conceptualised to investigate the combined impacts of heatwaves and UHIs. To quantify the negative impacts of UHW, indicators—such as excess morbidity, electricity and water consumption—are considered. The intensity of UHWs is calculated using the unit of excess heat factor (EHF), developed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. EHF enables the comparability of UHWs in different geographical locations. Using the indicators and the intensity of UHWs, a calculation method to quantify heatwave resilience at a precincts scale is proposed. The study summarises the assumed influential factors of precinct heatwave resilience based on the existing literature and propose a “cool retrofitting toolkit” (CRT). CRT creates the framework to assess the adaptation to and mitigation of UHWs available to retrofit existing precincts, and to evaluate potential retrofitting strategies in terms of energy and carbon efficiency, financial affordability and perceived acceptability by population. This study illuminates the importance of climate, function, built environment and population characteristics-conscious retrofitting.
Abstract: The proliferation of non-scheduled generation from renewable electrical energy sources such concentrated solar power (CSP) presents a need for enabling scheduled generation by incorporating energy storage; either via directly coupled Thermal Energy Storage (TES) or Electrical Storage Systems (ESS) distributed within the electrical network or grid. The challenges for 100% renewable energy generation are: to minimise capitalisation cost and to maximise energy dispatch capacity. The aims of this review article are twofold: to review storage technologies and to survey the most appropriate optimisation techniques to determine optimal operation and size of storage of a system to operate in the Australian National Energy Market (NEM). Storage technologies are reviewed to establish indicative characterisations of energy density, conversion efficiency, charge/discharge rates and costings. A partitioning of optimisation techniques based on methods most appropriate for various time scales is performed: from “whole of year”, seasonal, monthly, weekly and daily averaging to those best suited matching the NEM bid timing of five minute dispatch bidding, averaged on the half hour as the trading settlement spot price. Finally, a selection of the most promising research directions and methods to determine the optimal operation and sizing of storage for renewables in the grid is presented.