Special Issue "Sustainability Assessment of Energy Technologies and Energy Systems and Their Contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 April 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Yolanda Lechon
Website
Guest Editor
Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), Av. Complutense, 40, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: life cycle sustainability assessment, sustainability, energy technologies, energy systems, energy scenarios
Dr. Michael Belsnes

Guest Editor
SINTEF, Norway
Dr. Janie Ling Chin

Guest Editor
Newcastle University, UK
Dr. Valeria Jana Schwanitz

Guest Editor
Western Norwegian University of Applied Sciences, Norway
Prof. Lenny Koh
Website
Guest Editor
Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre, Energy Institute, Management School, The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Interests: sustainabiltiy; resource efficiency; life cycle; circular economy
Dr. Gabriele Manella

Guest Editor
University of Bologna, Italy
Dr. Alessandra Landi

Guest Editor
University of Bologna, Italy
Dr. Francesco Rizzi

Guest Editor
Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Italy
Prof. Dr. Peter Driessen
Website
Editorial Board Member
Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Interests: climate adaptation; sustainable urban development; water management; environmental impact assessment; science-policy interactions; sustainability governance
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, provide a powerful framework for international efforts to achieve both human development and climate objectives. They define a path to end poverty, ensure prosperity and protect the planet and its inhabitants. To help achieve this endeavor, the international community is now working towards the definition of a set indicators and methodologies to measure the progress towards achieving the 17 sustainable development goals.

Among other methodologies, life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) has emerged as a methodology to systematically assess the sustainability of products and services from a life cycle perspective and provides a framework to integrate the analysis of the three pillars of sustainability, namely the economy, environment, and society. Similarly, other methodologies, based on the use of extended multirregional input–output analysis (MRIO), have also been proposed to assess sustainability in a comprehensive way through a top down approach.

Among the 17 SDGs, SDG7 is a dedicated goal on energy that aims to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all”. In turn, energy technologies and energy systems contribute directly or indirectly to achieving many of the others SDGS. For example, compared to fossil fuel alternatives, renewable technologies can contribute to SDGs 11 and 15, which are aimed at having sustainable cities and communities and fighting climate change, respectively. Furthermore, they can also contribute to SDG 1 (no poverty) and SDG 3 (good health and well-being) by facilitating access to basic services, improving human health and supporting income generation activities. Additionally, energy technologies can also contribute to sustainable economic growth—SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth)—by generating economic benefits in the form of job creation and new income generating activities across a wide set of economic sectors.

Despite their limitations, LCSA in combination with other sustainability assessment methodologies, can be very useful tools to measure the progress towards the fulfilment of some of the SDG indicators. However, more research is still needed to assess the suitability of such methodologies and areas of improvement.

In this context, the purpose of this Special Issue is to discuss and reflect on the contribution that sustainability assessment methodologies can have in assessing and monitoring the progress towards the SDGs. It is intended to provide a forum for scientific progress on both the overall concept of life cycle sustainability assessment and its links with the SDG framework, as well as case studies on practical applications of the proposed methodologies and links to energy technologies and systems. Research papers on methodological issues, case study applications and complementary methodologies and research gaps to measure the missing identified interlinkages between sustainability assessment methodologies and the SDGs are welcome.

Dr. Yolanda Lechon
Dr. Michael Belsnes
Dr. Janie Ling Chin
Dr. Valeria Jana Schwanitz
Prof. Lenny Koh
Dr. Gabriele Manella
Dr. Alessandra Landi
Dr. Francesco Rizzi
Guest Editors—European Energy Research Alliance (EERA). Economic, environmental and social impacts Joint Program(JP e3s)

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.

Keywords

  • sustainability assessment
  • sustainable development goals (SDGs)
  • life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA)
  • multiregional input–output assessment (MRIO)
  • energy technology
  • energy system
  • sustainability
  • integrated assessment

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Ecosystem Design: An Evaluation Model to Support the Choice of Eco-Compatible Technological Solutions for Residential Building
Energies 2019, 12(14), 2659; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12142659 - 11 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The technological components regarding building cladding are designed for ensuring thermo-hygrometric comfort conditions within habitable spaces and realising smart buildings. Often the solutions adopted are identified referring only to the characteristics of mechanical and energy materials without considering the ecological–environmental properties in an [...] Read more.
The technological components regarding building cladding are designed for ensuring thermo-hygrometric comfort conditions within habitable spaces and realising smart buildings. Often the solutions adopted are identified referring only to the characteristics of mechanical and energy materials without considering the ecological–environmental properties in an urban context. Thus, it is appropriate to choose technological components not only according to material type, but also ecological aspects pursued through presence and/or structured integration of natural elements. The technical-design forms based on “building–nature” integration allows, on one hand, the sustainable soil use with multiple benefits (ecosystem services) that natural systems produce, on the other hand, the identification of technological solutions sized referring environmental quality levels achieved through appropriate natural species use. In this way, it can be obtained lower buildings investment and maintenance costs, and greater energetic–environmental benefits. So, it is proposed an evaluation protocol for settlement transformation interventions structured considering environmental effects obtained with Nature-Based Solutions (NBSs) into the project. According to ecological–environmental quality level achieved with NBSs, the technological component is sized according to preliminary design parameters (noise reduction and solar irradiation degree) obtained through NBSs. The total performance level of technological solutions is expressed using Economic–Environmental Indicators. The protocol is tested on social housing case in Anagnina district of Rome (Italy). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Waste Glass as A Replacement for Raw Materials in Mortars with a Lower Environmental Impact
Energies 2019, 12(10), 1974; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12101974 - 23 May 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Glass waste used in mortars or concretes behaves similar to cement, with resulting environmental benefits. In this light, the behavior of glass powder of various particle sizes has been analyzed as a cement replacement in mortars, in an attempt to minimize the loss [...] Read more.
Glass waste used in mortars or concretes behaves similar to cement, with resulting environmental benefits. In this light, the behavior of glass powder of various particle sizes has been analyzed as a cement replacement in mortars, in an attempt to minimize the loss of strength and durability, and maximize the amount of materials replaced. The dry density, water accessible porosity, water absorption by immersion, capillary absorption coefficient, ultrasonic pulse velocity and both compressive and flexural strengths were studied in the mortars. Furthermore, a statistical analysis of the obtained results and a greenhouse gases assessment were also performed. In view of the results obtained, glass powder of 38 microns allows up to 30% of the cement to be replaced, due to the filler effect combined with its pozzolanic activity. Moreover, it has been observed that glass powder size is one of the factors with the greatest influence among the properties of porosity, absorption and capillarity. On the other hand, in the mechanical properties, this factor does not contribute significantly more than the amount of glass powder. Finally, the greenhouse gasses analysis shows that the incorporation of glass powder reduces the CO2 emissions associated with mortar up to 29.47%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Review and Mapping of Parameters for the Early Stage Design of Adaptive Building Technologies through Life Cycle Assessment Tools
Energies 2019, 12(9), 1729; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12091729 - 07 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Adaptive Building Technologies have opened up a growing field of architectural research aimed at improving the overall building performance, ensuring comfort while reducing operational energy consumption. Focusing on flexibility over short timeframes, these new technologies are however rarely designed within the broader frame [...] Read more.
Adaptive Building Technologies have opened up a growing field of architectural research aimed at improving the overall building performance, ensuring comfort while reducing operational energy consumption. Focusing on flexibility over short timeframes, these new technologies are however rarely designed within the broader frame of sustainability over their entire lifecycle. How sustainable these zero energy technologies really are is yet to be established. The purpose of the research is to develop a flexible easy-to-use Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool to support creative innovation and sustainable design choices in the early concept and design stages of Adaptive Building Technologies. This paper reports on the results of the first step of the research, providing a mapping in terms of structure and contents of the parameters involved in the design of these technologies. Addressed from a holistic point of view, the elements of the system were defined though a qualitative approach: relevant parameters were collected through document analysis, reviewing the state-of-the-art technology through online databases as ScienceDirect, Scopus, MDPI, ResearchGate, and organized according to hierarchy and relevance in the different life cycle stages. As a result, the paper identifies (1) relevant parameters defining the design of Adaptive Building Technologies; (2) materials, processes and concepts specific to the design of these technologies, as compared to conventional building technologies; (3) issues and knowledge gaps to enable successive research phases; (4) specific actions in each life cycle stage for designers and producers to optimize the design of the technology. The mapping graphically and hierarchically organizes the elements of the system within a flexible structure to be implemented and integrated over time, as the technology evolves, to support parametric design and enable alternative design concepts to arise within a cradle-to-cradle perspective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
On the Assessment of the 2030 Power Sector Transition in Spain
Energies 2019, 12(7), 1369; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12071369 - 09 Apr 2019
Abstract
Recently, the European Union has recognized that more ambitious plans in reducing emissions are needed in order to comply with the target 1.5–2° warming limit for this century. Along this line, the main objective of this paper is to study the evolution of [...] Read more.
Recently, the European Union has recognized that more ambitious plans in reducing emissions are needed in order to comply with the target 1.5–2° warming limit for this century. Along this line, the main objective of this paper is to study the evolution of the power sector in Spain, taking into account the Paris Agreement and the further European Union Directives. In particular, we have studied the substitution by renewable energies of all coal power plants before 2030. For this study, we have applied linear programming techniques to optimize the deployment of the additional wind and solar resources. If, in addition to the substitution of coal power plants, we also consider the expected increase in demand for the period 2019–2030, we find that the present park of renewables should be increased by a factor of about 115%. We have also statistically analyzed the amount of surpluses and shortages in energy, assuming that the demand curve would have a daily shape similar to the present one. As a result, we have found that additional storage capabilities of around 55 GWh for 11 h would be needed in order not to waste more than 25% surplus energy by curtailment. As for backup, we propose in a first step to use the overwhelming amount of gas combined cycle units which are available. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Adaptive Setpoint Temperatures Using Weather Stations
Energies 2019, 12(7), 1197; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12071197 - 27 Mar 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
Reducing both the energy consumption and CO2 emissions of buildings is nowadays one of the main objectives of society. The use of heating and cooling equipment is among the main causes of energy consumption. Therefore, reducing their consumption guarantees such a goal. [...] Read more.
Reducing both the energy consumption and CO2 emissions of buildings is nowadays one of the main objectives of society. The use of heating and cooling equipment is among the main causes of energy consumption. Therefore, reducing their consumption guarantees such a goal. In this context, the use of adaptive setpoint temperatures allows such energy consumption to be significantly decreased. However, having reliable data from an external temperature probe is not always possible due to various factors. This research studies the estimation of such temperatures without using external temperature probes. For this purpose, a methodology which consists of collecting data from 10 weather stations of Galicia is carried out, and prediction models (multivariable linear regression (MLR) and multilayer perceptron (MLP)) are applied based on two approaches: (1) using both the setpoint temperature and the mean daily external temperature from the previous day; and (2) using the mean daily external temperature from the previous 7 days. Both prediction models provide adequate performances for approach 1, obtaining accurate results between 1 month (MLR) and 5 months (MLP). However, for approach 2, only the MLP obtained accurate results from the 6th month. This research ensures the continuity of using adaptive setpoint temperatures even in case of possible measurement errors or failures of the external temperature probes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Does Reduction of Material and Energy Consumption Affect to Innovation Efficiency? The Case of Manufacturing Industry in South Korea
Energies 2019, 12(6), 1178; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12061178 - 26 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
“Reduction of material and energy consumption” (RMEC) exists as a major objective of innovation and it is proved to affect positively to innovation performance from previous literature. Though innovation should be measured in efficiency rather than performance itself, however, the relationship between material [...] Read more.
“Reduction of material and energy consumption” (RMEC) exists as a major objective of innovation and it is proved to affect positively to innovation performance from previous literature. Though innovation should be measured in efficiency rather than performance itself, however, the relationship between material and energy reduction on innovation efficiency is still unanswered. In this paper, we analyzed the effect of RMEC on innovation efficiency considering both innovation inputs and outputs. We utilized data of 388 manufacturing enterprises in Korea, and performed data envelopment analysis (DEA) and tobit regression analysis. According to the result, firms show difference by industry type in terms of innovation efficiency and RMEC. Moreover, the effect of RMEC on innovation efficiency turned out to be negative. The result indicates a possibility that input used for innovation might overweigh the output yielded when firms pursue innovation for the RMEC. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Capacity Market Implementation in Poland: Analysis of a Survey on Consequences for the Electricity Market and for Energy Management
Energies 2019, 12(5), 839; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12050839 - 04 Mar 2019
Cited by 13
Abstract
The power sector is currently experiencing a dynamic transformation, resulting not only from EU directives, but also from current problems, mainly related to ensuring energy security for customers. For this reason, in Poland, it was decided that the model of electricity market operation [...] Read more.
The power sector is currently experiencing a dynamic transformation, resulting not only from EU directives, but also from current problems, mainly related to ensuring energy security for customers. For this reason, in Poland, it was decided that the model of electricity market operation needed to be changed. A dual market has been created, and a separated segment is the capacity market. This solution operates, in addition to other power mechanisms, in many European Union countries, e.g., in France, Great Britain, and Italy. The experience of these countries indicates the positive impact of the power market on various aspects of the power sector, such as legal, economic, technical and technological, social, and infrastructural aspects, mainly due to technological neutrality and open competition between power suppliers. The creation of the structure of an energy market drastically changes the rules of energy management, which requires investigations concerning the impact of those factors on the energy sector in Poland. The aim of this work is to examine the impact of the power market on the Polish power sector, and to determine the impact of individual consequences on several predefined areas. For this purpose, a questionnaire survey was used. The purpose of a detailed analysis is to develop probable scenarios for the sustainable development of the Polish energy sector. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of the Impact of Bioenergy on Sustainable Economic Development
Energies 2019, 12(4), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12040578 - 13 Feb 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
The Solow-Swan macroeconomic model reveals the fact that the marginal capital rate of the bioenergy sector, as well as the bioenergy productivity and productivity of the resources variation, having positive values of their estimated coefficients, have the capacity of stimulating the sustainable economic [...] Read more.
The Solow-Swan macroeconomic model reveals the fact that the marginal capital rate of the bioenergy sector, as well as the bioenergy productivity and productivity of the resources variation, having positive values of their estimated coefficients, have the capacity of stimulating the sustainable economic development of an emerging country, such as Romania. The economic model substantiated by the correlations between the macroeconomic indicators evaluates the convergence in relation with the European Union (EU) average. The main objective of this paper is to analyze the impact of bioenergy on sustainable economic development. The econometric analysis revealed the fact that the bioenergy productivity, the productivity of the resources and the capital productivity of the bioenergy sector have a positive and statistically significant impact on the sustainable economic development. Data was collected from The European Statistical Office and analyzed with SPSS 22 statistical software package. Quantitative methods highlight the disparities between developed and developing countries of EU in terms of bioenergy use and efficiency. Full article

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Open AccessCase Report
Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) as a Moderator for Interdisciplinary Cooperation, Reduced Emissions and Increased Safety
Energies 2019, 12(8), 1454; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12081454 - 17 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) cameras represent an interesting tool for identifying leaking components in hydrocarbon processing and transport systems. They make it possible to see exactly where a leak originates, thereby enabling efficient leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs. The present paper reports [...] Read more.
Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) cameras represent an interesting tool for identifying leaking components in hydrocarbon processing and transport systems. They make it possible to see exactly where a leak originates, thereby enabling efficient leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs. The present paper reports on an OGI test campaign initiated by the Norwegian Environmental Agency (NEA), and how this campaign stimulated cross-disciplinary cooperation at an LNG plant for better control of both fugitive hydrocarbon emissions and safety-related leaks. A surprising potentially severe leak detected in the NEA campaign triggered the introduction of in-house OGI cameras at plants and refineries, and an inter-disciplinary cooperation between specialists in the environment, technical safety and operations. Some benefits of in-house OGI cameras, as well as some concerns regarding their use are presented and discussed. The general experience is that an Ex safe, i.e., rated for safe use in a combustible hydrocarbon gas atmosphere, OGI camera, represents a very valuable tool for detecting fugitive emissions as the start point for LDAR programs. An OGI camera did, however, also turn out to be a valuable tool for fire and explosion risk management, and has led to reduced downtime after leak incidents. The concerns relate to leaks seen through the OGI camera that may look overwhelming, even with concentrations well below the ignitable limits of the released gas. Based on the LNG plant experiences, it is generally recommended that specialists in the environment, technical safety, operations and teaching fields cooperate regarding the introduction and use of OGI cameras. Suggestions for training courses are also discussed. Full article
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