Special Issue "Reuse, Recycle and Reduce: Smart Innovative Treatments of Agricultural Waste and By-Products"

A special issue of Applied System Innovation (ISSN 2571-5577).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Francesca Valenti
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Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A), University of Catania, Italy
Interests: agricultural engineering; renewable energy; GIS and remote sensing; environmental sciences; biomass; agro-industrial byproducts; biogas; anaerobic digestion; spatial analysis; sustainability; waste-to-energy; biomass supply chain; circular economy; impact assessment; life cycle analysis (LCA)
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Roberta Selvaggi
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A), University of Catania, Italy
Interests: biomass; renewable energy; biomethane; biogas; anaerobic digestion; agricultural and agro-industrial waste; by-products; willingness to pay; economics and econometrics; circular economy; bioeconomy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The valorization of agricultural waste and agro-industrial byproducts is attracting increasing attention, as demonstrated by the publication of several reports on quantification, using GIS tools, of their overall production along the supply chains as well as the increasingly recognized sustainable need to both avoid their disposal in landfill and find new renewable resources from their reuse. This Special Issue, as linked to the sustainability of agricultural production systems, is fundamental, since such waste is often considered useless and, as such, discarded. The accumulation of agricultural waste and byproducts can result in negative effects for human health and safety as well as for the environment. Moreover, to cosider agro-industrial byproducts like wastes produces disposal costs for the companies. If biomasses are used as input for anaerobc digestion processes they can produce income for biogas plant manager, who will sell bioenergy (i.e., biogas or biomethane) and digestate.

In this regard, sustainable management by recycling and reusing agro-industrial waste and byproducts as biomasses for anaerobic digestion (AD) to produce bioenergy is widely studied in literature because of the high saving potential of AD-based systems with respect to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this context, life cycle assessment (LCA) is the most recommended technique to assess the environmental and energy impacts associated with waste management and treatment and is widely used to assess environmental impacts and evaluate new smart techniques/systems for sustainable managing agro-industrial waste and byproducts, which can become a resource for agriculture in terms of improving the environmental balances related to agricultural production processes, or being used in the manufacturing of building construction materials and products, as one valid way to save natural resources and promote environmental sustainability.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect original research articles, as well as review articles, on the most recent developments and research efforts in this field, with the purpose of providing new research directions. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Spatial localization and quantification of waste and byproducts for secondary raw materials production;
  • GIS application for sustainable development of new systems;
  • Clean and renewable energy production from wastes;
  • Life cycle analysis to evaluate environmental impact of new systems for bioenergy production;
  • Novel approaches to sustainable manage wastes and agro-industrial byproducts;
  • Integrated approaches from anaerobic digestion and wastewater treatment;
  • Sustainable reuse of agricultural wastes to reduce GHG emissions;
  • Sustainable reuse of agro-industrial byproducts to reduce disposal costs;
  • Estimation of willingness to pay for adopting sustainable techologies to produce energy from wastes;
  • Green building materials.

Dr. Francesca Valenti
Dr. Roberta Selvaggi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied System Innovation is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • GIS
  • LCA
  • Environmental science
  • Livestock waste
  • Energy production
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Innovative systems
  • Biomethane
  • Biomass
  • Digestate
  • Sustainability
  • Raw materials
  • Land occupation
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Building material commodities
  • Waste management
  • Circular And green economy
  • Bioeconomy

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Hydrothermal Carbonization of Lemon Peel Waste: Preliminary Results on the Effects of Temperature during Process Water Recirculation
Appl. Syst. Innov. 2021, 4(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/asi4010019 - 03 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 711
Abstract
Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is a promising thermochemical pre-treatment to convert waste biomass into solid biofuels. However, the process yields large amounts of organic process water (PW), which must be properly disposed of or reused. In this study, the PW produced from the hydrothermal [...] Read more.
Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is a promising thermochemical pre-treatment to convert waste biomass into solid biofuels. However, the process yields large amounts of organic process water (PW), which must be properly disposed of or reused. In this study, the PW produced from the hydrothermal carbonization of lemon peel waste (LP) was recycled into HTC process of LP with the aim of maximize energy recovery from the aqueous phase while saving water resources and mitigating the overall environmental impact of the process. The effects of HTC temperature on the properties of solid and liquid products were investigated during PW recirculation. Experiments were carried out at three different operating temperatures (180, 220, 250 °C), fixed residence times of 60 min, and solid to liquid load of 20 wt%, on a dry basis. Hydrochars were characterized in terms of proximate analysis and higher heating values while liquid phases were analyzed in terms of pH and total organic carbon content (TOC). PW recirculation led to a solid mass yield increase and the effect was more pronounced at lower HTC temperature. The increase of solid mass yield, after recirculation steps (maximum increase of about 6% at 180 °C), also led to a significant energy yield enhancement. Results showed that PW recirculation is a viable strategy for a reduction of water consumption and further carbon recovery; moreover preliminary results encourage for an in-depth analysis of the effects of the PW recirculation for different biomasses and at various operating conditions. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Fruit and Vegetable Residues Suitable for Renewable Energy Production: GIS-Based Model for Developing New Frontiers within the Context of Circular Economy
Appl. Syst. Innov. 2021, 4(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/asi4010010 - 03 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 779
Abstract
Due to the necessity of developing renewable energy sources, the anaerobic digestion for producing biomethane has developed significantly in the last years, since it allows to both reduce disposal treatment and produce green energy. In this field, fruit and vegetable wastes have been [...] Read more.
Due to the necessity of developing renewable energy sources, the anaerobic digestion for producing biomethane has developed significantly in the last years, since it allows to both reduce disposal treatment and produce green energy. In this field, fruit and vegetable wastes have been recently put forward, since they could represent a suitable resource for producing biomethane as a new frontier within the context of a circular economy. This study aims at filling the gap in the knowledge of the production, quantities and biogas potential production of these residues. On this basis, a GIS-based model was developed and applied to the Sicily region by investigating the specific regulatory framework as well as by analysing descriptive statistics. The results of the GIS analyses enabled the localisation of the highest productive territorial areas and highlighted where fruit and vegetable wastes are abundantly located. In this regard, about 7 million Nm3 of biogas could be produced by reusing only the fruit and vegetable residues coming from the three most representative Sicilian wholesale markets among those considered. Finally, the regulatory framework is of crucial importance in inhibiting or supporting the use of the selected biomass in a specific sector, with regard to the case study considered. Full article
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Article
Life-Cycle Assessment of Biofortified Productions: The Case of Selenium Potato
Appl. Syst. Innov. 2021, 4(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/asi4010001 - 28 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 871
Abstract
The increasing micronutrient deficiency within the nutritional habits of the world’s population and the growing need for healthy foods have given rise to the development of biofortified crops. In a context where the consumer’s attention is focused on a healthy lifestyle and respect [...] Read more.
The increasing micronutrient deficiency within the nutritional habits of the world’s population and the growing need for healthy foods have given rise to the development of biofortified crops. In a context where the consumer’s attention is focused on a healthy lifestyle and respect for the environment, the cultivation of potatoes enriched with selenium offers an undisputed advantage in the pursuit of this twofold objective. The crop has been analyzed through the life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology in order to highlight the environmental burden generated by selenium (Se) potato cultivation and to compare it with potato in conventional regime. The LCA highlights how the biofortified product is more sustainable than the conventional one, and this not only provides a benefit for the consumer, but also designates a new time for farmers who have the opportunity to implement more environmentally friendly practices. Full article
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Article
Exploring Consumer’s Propensity to Consume Insect-Based Foods. Empirical Evidence from a Study in Southern Italy
Appl. Syst. Innov. 2020, 3(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/asi3030038 - 08 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1417
Abstract
While admitting that neophobia and sociocultural factors negatively affect consumers’ propensity to consume insect-based foods, other aspects related to food values that consumers attach to these foods could have an influence on consuming decision. In order to identify the motivations and determinants that [...] Read more.
While admitting that neophobia and sociocultural factors negatively affect consumers’ propensity to consume insect-based foods, other aspects related to food values that consumers attach to these foods could have an influence on consuming decision. In order to identify the motivations and determinants that influence the propensity to consume insects and then to explore the drivers behind consumers’ willingness to consume insect-based foods, the data collected through the questionnaire were processed. After a descriptive analysis of the data, ANOVA was performed. Moreover, Student’s t test and pairwise correlation indices were estimated in order to determine statistically significant correlation. Our findings show that information about edible insects brought about an increase in food neophobia and appearance affected the expected liking levels. In addition, we have shown that respondents’ propensity to consume insect-based foods also depends on consumers’ subjective beliefs about food values such as healthiness, naturalness and environmental impact. We also found that respondents’ beliefs about food values associated with insect-based foods do not depend on the degree of information provided but are probably due to pre-existing prejudices about them. Full article

Review

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Review
Assessment of Several Approaches to Biofortified Products: A Literature Review
Appl. Syst. Innov. 2021, 4(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/asi4020030 - 24 Apr 2021
Viewed by 838
Abstract
The aim of this study is to provide a literature review on biofortified products and their role in the scientific sphere. Despite the large number of studies conducted on biofortified products in the last 20 years, many defining issues are still debated in [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to provide a literature review on biofortified products and their role in the scientific sphere. Despite the large number of studies conducted on biofortified products in the last 20 years, many defining issues are still debated in the literature and several research questions should be clarified. It is therefore relevant to investigate more on this topic, which is considered increasingly important to human health, world hunger reduction strategy, and also for the international marketing strategy of production holdings. The papers were analyzed according to a chronological/conceptual approach, with greater emphasis on research that has added significant value to the literature. The research was carried out using a scientific database from which 1189 scientific papers were extracted. A careful analysis of the abstracts and the text led to the identification of the five dimensions of our greatest interest (Reducing world hunger; Human health; GMOs; Agronomy, herbaceous crops; Economy and the market). The suggestions for future research reported by various authors are organized and structured in order to create an incentive for new studies and insights into biofortification. Full article
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