Special Issue "Selected Papers from 27th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition (EUBCE 2019)"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Bio-Energy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 29 February 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. David Baxter
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Former European Commission, Joint Research Centre
Interests: bioenergy; bioliquids; heat and electricity; power; climate change; socio-economic impact; biomass conversion
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Solange I. Mussatto
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark, Kemitorvet, Building 220, 2800, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
Interests: biomass pretreatment and hydrolysis; fermentation; biorefinery; techno-economic analysis; sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The European Biomass Conference and Exhibition Conference (EUBCE), 27th edition, held in Lisbon during 27–30 May 2019, is one of the world’s leading R&D conferences combined with an international exhibition. EUBCE represents the leading platform for the collection, exchange, and dissemination of scientific know-how in the field of biomass and its utilization.

The 2019 conference program addressed topics from biomass production, its conversion to bioliquids and biofuels for heat and electricity, transport, and bio-based products, covering all aspects of each value chain, from supply and logistics to conversion technologies, from the industrial application of research results to its impacts on the environment, from market and trade aspects to policy strategies, and last but not least to the role of biomass as a source in integrated energy systems.

Topics to be covered in this Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Biomass feedstocks
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry 
  • Organic waste 
  • Bioenergy
  • Energy carriers 
  • Biofuels 
  • Biorefinery 
  • Bioeconomy 
  • Climate change 
  • Sustainability 
  • Impacts

The submission of the excellent-quality papers in the aforementioned areas is highly encouraged. Please note paper should contain about 50% new content compared to the conference papers.

Dr. David Baxter
Dr. Solange I. Mussatto
Guest Editor

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. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1800 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.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Potential of Biomass to Energy in Portugal—Conclusions from the CONVERTE Project
Energies 2020, 13(4), 937; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13040937 (registering DOI) - 21 Feb 2020
Abstract
The main objective of the Portuguese project “CONVERTE-Biomass Potential for Energy” is to support the transition to a low-carbon economy, identifying biomass typologies in mainland Portugal, namely agri-forest waste, energy crops and microalgae. Therefore, the aim was to design and construct a georeferenced [...] Read more.
The main objective of the Portuguese project “CONVERTE-Biomass Potential for Energy” is to support the transition to a low-carbon economy, identifying biomass typologies in mainland Portugal, namely agri-forest waste, energy crops and microalgae. Therefore, the aim was to design and construct a georeferenced (mapping) database for mainland Portugal, to identify land availability for the implementation of energy crops and microalgae cultures, and to locate agricultural and forestry production areas (including their residues) with potential for sustainable exploitation for energy. The ArcGIS software was used as a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool, introducing the data corresponding to the type of soil, water needs and edaphoclimatic conditions in shapefile and raster data type, to assess the areas for the implantation of the biomass of interest. After analysing the data of interest in each map in ArcGIS, the intersection of all maps is presented, suggesting adequate areas and predicting biomass productions for the implementation of each culture in mainland Portugal. Under the conditions of the study, cardoon (72 kha, 1085 kt), paulownia (81 kha, 26 kt) and microalgae (29 kha, 1616 kt) presented the greater viability to be exploited as biomass to energy in degraded and marginal soils. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Impact Assessments of Integrated Food and Non-Food Production Systems in Italy and Denmark
Energies 2020, 13(4), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13040849 - 15 Feb 2020
Abstract
Given the environmental footprints of the conventional agriculture, it is imperative to test and validate alternative production systems, with lower environmental impacts to mitigate and adapt our production systems. In this study, we identified six production systems, four in Italy and two in [...] Read more.
Given the environmental footprints of the conventional agriculture, it is imperative to test and validate alternative production systems, with lower environmental impacts to mitigate and adapt our production systems. In this study, we identified six production systems, four in Italy and two in Denmark, to assess the environmental footprint for comparison among the production systems and additionally with conventional production systems. SimaPro 8.4 software was used to carry out the life cycle impact assessment. Among other indicators, three significantly important indicators, namely global warming potential, acidification, and eutrophication, were used as the proxy for life cycle impact assessment. In Italy, the production systems compared were silvopastoral, organic, traditional, and conventional olive production systems, whereas in Denmark, combined food and energy production system was compared with the conventional wheat production system. Among the six production systems, conventional wheat production system in Denmark accounted for highest global warming potential, acidification, and eutrophication. In Italy, global warming potential was highest in traditional agroforestry and lowest in the silvopastoral system whereas acidification and eutrophication were lowest in the traditional production system with high acidification effects from the silvopastoral system. In Italy, machinery use contributed the highest greenhouse gas emissions in silvopastoral and organic production systems, while the large contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer was recorded in the traditional and conventional production systems. In Denmark, the combined food and energy system had lower environmental impacts compared to the conventional wheat production system according to the three indicators. For both systems in Denmark, the main contribution to greenhouse gas emission was due to fertilizer and manure application. The study showed that integrated food and non-food systems are more environmentally friendly and less polluting compared to the conventional wheat production system in Denmark with use of chemical fertilizers and irrigation. The study can contribute to informed decision making by the land managers and policy makers for promotion of environmentally friendly food and non-food production practices, to meet the European Union targets of providing biomass-based materials and energy to contribute to the bio-based economy in Europe and beyond. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Temporal Aspects in Emission Accounting—Case Study of Agriculture Sector
Energies 2020, 13(4), 800; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13040800 - 12 Feb 2020
Abstract
Complex relations link climate change and agriculture. The vast majority of the studies that are looking into the quantification of the climate impacts use the Global Warming Potential (GWP) for a 100-year time horizon (GWP100) as the default metrics. The GWP, including the [...] Read more.
Complex relations link climate change and agriculture. The vast majority of the studies that are looking into the quantification of the climate impacts use the Global Warming Potential (GWP) for a 100-year time horizon (GWP100) as the default metrics. The GWP, including the Bern Carbon Cycle Model (BCCM), was proposed as an alternative method to take into consideration the amount and time of emission, and the fraction of emissions that remained in the atmosphere from previous emission periods. Thus, this study aims to compare two methods for GHG emission accounting from the agriculture sector: the constant GWP100 and the time dynamic GWP100 horizon obtained by using the BCCM to find whether the obtained results will lead to similar or contradicting conclusions. Also, the effect of global temperature potential (GTP) of the studied system is summarized. The results show that the application of the BCCM would facilitate finding more efficient mitigation options for various pollutants and analyze various parts of the climate response system at a specific time in the future (amount of particular pollutants, temperature change potential). Moreover, analyze different solutions for reaching the emission mitigation targets at regional, national, or global levels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Simulating the Effect of Torrefaction on the Heating Value of Barley Straw
Energies 2020, 13(3), 736; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13030736 - 07 Feb 2020
Abstract
Many recent studies focused on the research of thermal treated biomass in order to replace fossil fuels. These studies improved the knowledge about pretreated lignocellulosics contribution to achieve the goal of renewable energy sources, reducing CO2 emissions and limiting climate change. They [...] Read more.
Many recent studies focused on the research of thermal treated biomass in order to replace fossil fuels. These studies improved the knowledge about pretreated lignocellulosics contribution to achieve the goal of renewable energy sources, reducing CO2 emissions and limiting climate change. They participate in renewable energy production so that sustainable consumption and production patterns can by ensured by meeting Goals 7 and 12 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To this end, the subject of the present study relates to the enhancement of the thermal energy content of barley straw through torrefaction. At the same time, the impact of the torrefaction process parameters, i.e., time and temperature, was investigated and kinetic models were applied in order to fit the experimental data using the severity factor, R0, which combines the effect of the temperature and the time of the torrefaction process into a single reaction ordinate. According to the results presented herein, the maximum heating value was achieved at the most severe torrefaction conditions. Consequently, torrefied barley straw could be an alternative renewable energy source as a coal substitute or an activated carbon low cost substitute (with/without activation treatment) within the biorefinery and the circular economy concept. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Sustainability of Bioenergy Strategies in Western Kenya to Address Household Air Pollution
Energies 2020, 13(3), 719; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13030719 - 07 Feb 2020
Abstract
Over 640 million people in Africa are expected to rely on solid-fuels for cooking by 2040. In Western Kenya, cooking inefficiently persists as a major cause of burden of disease due to household air pollution. Efficient biomass cooking is a local-based renewable energy [...] Read more.
Over 640 million people in Africa are expected to rely on solid-fuels for cooking by 2040. In Western Kenya, cooking inefficiently persists as a major cause of burden of disease due to household air pollution. Efficient biomass cooking is a local-based renewable energy solution to address this issue. The Life-Cycle Assessment tool Simapro 8.5 is applied for analyzing the environmental impact of four biomass cooking strategies for the Kisumu County, with analysis based on a previous energy modelling study, and literature and background data from the Ecoinvent and Agrifootprint databases applied to the region. A Business-As-Usual scenario (BAU) considers the trends in energy use until 2035. Transition scenarios to Improved Cookstoves (ICS), Pellet-fired Gasifier Stoves (PGS) and Biogas Stoves (BGS) consider the transition to wood-logs, biomass pellets and biogas, respectively. An Integrated (INT) scenario evaluates a mix of the ICS, PGS and BGS. In the BGS, the available biomass waste is sufficient to be upcycled and fulfill cooking demands by 2035. This scenario has the lowest impact on all impact categories analyzed followed by the PGS and INT. Further work should address a detailed socio-economic analysis of the analyzed scenarios. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Application of Heterogeneous Catalysts Based on Heteropolyacids for 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural Production from Glucose
Energies 2020, 13(3), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13030655 - 04 Feb 2020
Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the synthesis and application of heterogeneous catalysts based on heteropolyacids for 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) production from glucose. Initially, assays were carried out in order to establish the most favorable catalyst synthesis conditions. For such purpose, calcination temperature (300 or [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the synthesis and application of heterogeneous catalysts based on heteropolyacids for 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) production from glucose. Initially, assays were carried out in order to establish the most favorable catalyst synthesis conditions. For such purpose, calcination temperature (300 or 500 °C), type of support (Nb2O5 or Al2O3), and active phase (H3PW12O40—HPW or H3PMo12O40—HPMo) were tested and combined based on Taguchi’s L8 orthogonal array. As a result, HPW-Nb2O5 calcined at 300 °C was selected as it presented optimal HMF production performance (9.5% yield). Subsequently, the reaction conditions capable of maximizing HMF production from glucose using the selected catalyst were established. In these experiments, different temperatures (160 or 200 °C), acetone-to-water ratios (1:1 or 3:1 v/v), glucose concentrations (50 or 100 g/L), and catalyst concentrations (1 or 5% w/v) were evaluated according to a Taguchi’s L16 experimental design. The conditions that resulted in the highest HMF yield (40.8%) consisted of using 50 g/L of glucose at 160 °C, 1:1 (v/v) acetone-to-water ratio, and catalyst concentration of 5% (w/v). Recycling tests revealed that the catalyst can be used in four runs, which results in the same HMF yield (approx. 40%). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Economic and Environmental Analysis of Small-Scale Anaerobic Digestion Plants on Irish Dairy Farms
Energies 2020, 13(3), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13030637 - 03 Feb 2020
Abstract
The European Union’s (EU) climate and energy package requires all EU countries to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% by 2020. Based on current trends, Ireland is on track to miss this target with a projected reduction of only 5% to [...] Read more.
The European Union’s (EU) climate and energy package requires all EU countries to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% by 2020. Based on current trends, Ireland is on track to miss this target with a projected reduction of only 5% to 6%. The agriculture sector has consistently been the single largest contributor to Irish GHG emissions, representing 33% of all emissions in 2017. Small-scale anaerobic digestion (SSAD) holds promise as an attractive technology for the treatment of livestock manure and the organic fraction of municipal wastes, especially in low population communities or standalone waste treatment facilities. This study assesses the viability of SSAD in Ireland, by modelling the technical, economic, and environmental considerations of operating such plants on commercial Irish dairy farms. The study examines the integration of SSAD on dairy farms with various herd sizes ranging from 50 to 250 dairy cows, with co-digestion afforded by grass grown on available land. Results demonstrate feedstock quantities available on-farm to be sufficient to meet the farm’s energy needs with surplus energy exported, representing between 73% and 79% of the total energy generated. All scenarios investigated demonstrate a net CO2 reduction ranging between 2059–173,237 kg CO2-eq. yr−1. The study found SSAD systems to be profitable within the plant’s lifespan on farms with dairy herds sizes of >100 cows (with payback periods of 8–13 years). The simulated introduction of capital subvention grants similar to other EU countries was seen to significantly lower the plant payback periods. The insights generated from this study show SSAD to be an economically sustainable method for the mitigation of GHG emissions in the Irish agriculture sector. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Production, Characterization, and Evaluation of Pellets from Rice Harvest Residues
Energies 2020, 13(2), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13020479 - 18 Jan 2020
Abstract
Pellets from residues from rice harvest (i.e., straw and husk) were produced and their main properties were evaluated. Firstly, rice straw pellets were produced at lab scale at varying operational conditions (i.e., load compression and wt % of feeding moisture content) to evaluate [...] Read more.
Pellets from residues from rice harvest (i.e., straw and husk) were produced and their main properties were evaluated. Firstly, rice straw pellets were produced at lab scale at varying operational conditions (i.e., load compression and wt % of feeding moisture content) to evaluate their suitability for palletization. Successively, rice straw and husk pellets were commercially produced. All the samples were characterized in terms of their main physical, chemical, and physico-chemical properties. In addition, axial/diametral compression and durability tests were performed to assess their mechanical performance. All the analyzed properties were compared with the established quality standards for non-woody pellets. In general, rice straw pellets presented suitable properties for their use as pelletized fuels. Rice husk pellets fell out of the standards in recommended size or durability and thus preliminary treatments might be required prior their use as fuels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Feedstock-Dependent Phosphate Recovery in a Pilot-Scale Hydrothermal Liquefaction Bio-Crude Production
Energies 2020, 13(2), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13020379 - 13 Jan 2020
Abstract
Microalgae (Spirulina) and primary sewage sludge are considerable feedstocks for future fuel-producing biorefinery. These feedstocks have either a high fuel production potential (algae) or a particularly high appearance as waste (sludge). Both feedstocks bring high loads of nutrients (P, N) that [...] Read more.
Microalgae (Spirulina) and primary sewage sludge are considerable feedstocks for future fuel-producing biorefinery. These feedstocks have either a high fuel production potential (algae) or a particularly high appearance as waste (sludge). Both feedstocks bring high loads of nutrients (P, N) that must be addressed in sound biorefinery concepts that primarily target specific hydrocarbons, such as liquid fuels. Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL), which produces bio-crude oil that is ready for catalytic upgrading (e.g., for jet fuel), is a useful starting point for such an approach. As technology advances from small-scale batches to pilot-scale continuous operations, the aspect of nutrient recovery must be reconsidered. This research presents a full analysis of relevant nutrient flows between the product phases of HTL for the two aforementioned feedstocks on the basis of pilot-scale data. From a partial experimentally derived mass balance, initial strategies for recovering the most relevant nutrients (P, N) were developed and proofed in laboratory-scale. The experimental and theoretical data from the pilot and laboratory scales are combined to present the proof of concept and provide the first mass balances of an HTL-based biorefinery modular operation for producing fertilizer (struvite) as a value-added product. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of pH on the Combustion Properties of Bio-Coal Following Hydrothermal Treatment of Swine Manure
Energies 2020, 13(2), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13020331 - 09 Jan 2020
Abstract
The application of excessive amounts of manure to soil prompted interest in using alternative approaches for treating slurry. One promising technology is hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC) which can recover nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen while simultaneously making a solid fuel. Processing manure under [...] Read more.
The application of excessive amounts of manure to soil prompted interest in using alternative approaches for treating slurry. One promising technology is hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC) which can recover nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen while simultaneously making a solid fuel. Processing manure under acidic conditions can facilitate nutrient recovery; however, very few studies considered the implications of operating at low pH on the combustion properties of the resulting bio-coal. In this work, swine manure was hydrothermally treated at temperatures ranging from 120 to 250 °C in either water alone or reagents including 0.1 M NaOH, 0.1 M H2SO4, and finally 0.1 M organic acid (CH3COOH and HCOOH). The influence of pH on the HTC process and the combustion properties of the resulting bio-coals was assessed. The results indicate that pH has a strong influence on ash chemistry, with decreasing pH resulting in an increased removal of ash. The reduction in mineral matter influences the volatile content of the bio-coal and its energy content. As the ash content in the final bio-coal reduces, the energy density increases. Treatment at 250 °C results in a more “coal like” bio-coal with fuel properties similar to that of lignite coal and a higher heating value (HHV) ranging between 21 and 23 MJ/kg depending on pH. Processing at low pH results in favourable ash chemistry in terms of slagging and fouling. Operating at low pH also appears to influence the level of dehydration during HTC. The level of dehydration increases with decreasing pH, although this effect is reduced at higher temperatures. At higher-temperature processing (250 °C), operating at lower pH increases the yield of bio-coal; however, at lower temperatures (below 200 °C), the reverse is true. The lower yields obtained below 200 °C in the presence of acid may be due to acid hydrolysis of carbohydrate in the manure, whereas, at the higher temperatures, it may be due to the acid promoting polymerisation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Marginal Agricultural Land Low-Input Systems for Biomass Production
Energies 2019, 12(16), 3123; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12163123 - 14 Aug 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
This study deals with approaches for a social-ecological friendly European bioeconomy based on biomass from industrial crops cultivated on marginal agricultural land. The selected crops to be investigated are: Biomass sorghum, camelina, cardoon, castor, crambe, Ethiopian mustard, giant reed, hemp, lupin, miscanthus, pennycress, [...] Read more.
This study deals with approaches for a social-ecological friendly European bioeconomy based on biomass from industrial crops cultivated on marginal agricultural land. The selected crops to be investigated are: Biomass sorghum, camelina, cardoon, castor, crambe, Ethiopian mustard, giant reed, hemp, lupin, miscanthus, pennycress, poplar, reed canary grass, safflower, Siberian elm, switchgrass, tall wheatgrass, wild sugarcane, and willow. The research question focused on the overall crop growth suitability under low-input management. The study assessed: (i) How the growth suitability of industrial crops can be defined under the given natural constraints of European marginal agricultural lands; and (ii) which agricultural practices are required for marginal agricultural land low-input systems (MALLIS). For the growth-suitability analysis, available thresholds and growth requirements of the selected industrial crops were defined. The marginal agricultural land was categorized according to the agro-ecological zone (AEZ) concept in combination with the marginality constraints, so-called ‘marginal agro-ecological zones’ (M-AEZ). It was found that both large marginal agricultural areas and numerous agricultural practices are available for industrial crop cultivation on European marginal agricultural lands. These results help to further describe the suitability of industrial crops for the development of social-ecologically friendly MALLIS in Europe. Full article
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