Special Issue "Biomaterials and Biofuels: Small Environmental Footprint"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Akram Zamani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Resource Recovery and Building Technology, University of Boras, Boras, Sweden
Interests: Biopolymers; biocomposites; bioplastics; renewable textiles; fungi; chitin; chitosan; bacterial cellulose; fermentation
Prof. Dr. Satinder Kaur Brar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, Lassonde School of Engineering, York University, North York, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada
Interests: value-addition of wastes, including municipal and industrial wastes into various bioproducts, namely biopesticides, biocontrol agents, enzymes, biohydrogen, bio-butanol, platform chemicals; fate of emerging contaminants in wastewater treatment plants and their removal; follow-up of mechanisms of degradation; green analytical chemistry; enzymatic degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons and endocrine disrupting compounds
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

At present, we are facing serious challenges worldwide due to the unlimited manufacture of fossil-based products such as fuels, plastics, and chemicals. The replacement of a fraction of these products with biological alternatives is among the best solutions for the present environmental concerns. Generally, microbial products obtained through fermentation are responsible for a small environmental footprint. By contrast, production costs are often big. Therefore, there is a big opportunity for the introduction and expansion of innovative strategies to improve the economy of the fermentation processes. The application of low-cost substrates such as waste material and side streams, new pretreatment strategies, and employment of new microorganisms with a better fermentation performance are some examples of the proposed solutions. On the other hand, the hydrophilic nature of most of the biopolymers and their weak aging/durability limit their applications compared to synthetic plastics. Therefore, research is ongoing in order to improve the characteristics of biopolymers and bioplastics.

This Special Issue aims at establishing a platform to discuss state-of-the-art research and progress as well as future perspectives of value-added products through fermentation. High-quality original research and review articles within the topics of this issue are warmly invited.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

1.  Biofuels from waste streams by fermentation;

2. Biopolymers and bioplastics by fermentation.

Dr. Akram Zamani
Prof. Dr. Satinder Kaur Brar
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. 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 2000 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 (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Valorization of Wheat Byproducts for the Co-Production of Packaging Material and Enzymes
Energies 2020, 13(6), 1300; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13061300 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 789
Abstract
Waste management systems are overloaded with huge streams of plastic, a large part of this being originated from packaging. Additionally, the production of wheat, one of the most cultivated crops in the world, generates low-value lignocellulosic materials, which are mostly discarded. In this [...] Read more.
Waste management systems are overloaded with huge streams of plastic, a large part of this being originated from packaging. Additionally, the production of wheat, one of the most cultivated crops in the world, generates low-value lignocellulosic materials, which are mostly discarded. In this study, the wheat lignocellulosic byproducts straw and bran were used for the co-production of enzymes and bio-based materials with possible application as packaging via the compression molding method. The mechanical properties of the films were studied based on the effects of the removal of lignin by alkali and biological pretreatment, the growth of filamentous fungi, the size of the particles, and the enzyme recovery. Generally, the straw films were stiffer than the bran ones, but the highest Young’s modulus was obtained for the biologically pretreated bran (1074 MPa). The addition of a step to recover the fungal cellulases produced during the cultivation had no statistical effect on the mechanical properties of the films. Moreover, alkali and biological pretreatments improved the anaerobic biodegradability of the straw films. Thus, the wheat bran and straw can be used for the co-production of enzymes, materials, and biogas, potentially changing how wheat and packaging wastes are managed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomaterials and Biofuels: Small Environmental Footprint)
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Article
Biocomposite Fabrication from Enzymatically Treated Nanocellulosic Fibers and Recycled Polylactic Acid
Energies 2020, 13(4), 1003; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13041003 - 24 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 797
Abstract
Recycled polylactic acid (PLAr) was reinforced with treated nanocellulosic hemp fibers for biocomposite fabrication. Cellulosic fibers were extracted from hemp fibers chemically and treated enzymatically. Treated nanocellulosic fibers (NCF) were analyzed by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy. Biocomposite fabrication [...] Read more.
Recycled polylactic acid (PLAr) was reinforced with treated nanocellulosic hemp fibers for biocomposite fabrication. Cellulosic fibers were extracted from hemp fibers chemically and treated enzymatically. Treated nanocellulosic fibers (NCF) were analyzed by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy. Biocomposite fabrication was done with PLAr and three concentrations of treated NCF (0.1%, 0.25%, and 1% (v/v)) and then studied for thermal stability and mechanical properties. Increased thermal stability was observed with increasing NCF concentrations. The highest value for Young’s modulus was for PLAr + 0.25% (v/v) NCF (250.28 ± 5.47 MPa), which was significantly increased compared to PLAr (p = 0.022). There was a significant decrease in the tensile stress at break point for PLAr + 0.25% (v/v) NCF and PLAr + 1% (v/v) NCF as compared to control (p = 0.006 and 0.002, respectively). No significant difference was observed between treatments for tensile stress at yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomaterials and Biofuels: Small Environmental Footprint)
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Review

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Review
Production of Biodiesel from Castor Oil: A Review
Energies 2020, 13(10), 2467; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13102467 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1124
Abstract
An attractive alternative to the use of fossil fuels is biodiesel, which can be obtained from a variety of feedstock through different transesterification systems such as ultrasound, microwave, biological, chemical, among others. The efficient and cost-effective biodiesel production depends on several parameters such [...] Read more.
An attractive alternative to the use of fossil fuels is biodiesel, which can be obtained from a variety of feedstock through different transesterification systems such as ultrasound, microwave, biological, chemical, among others. The efficient and cost-effective biodiesel production depends on several parameters such as free fatty acid content in the feedstock, transesterification reaction efficiency, alcohol:oil ratio, catalysts type, and several parameters during the production process. However, biodiesel production from vegetable oils is under development, causing the final price of biodiesel to be higher than diesel derived from petroleum. An alternative to decrease the production costs will be the use of economical feedstocks and simple production processes. Castor oil is an excellent raw material in terms of price and quality, but especially this non-edible vegetable oil does not have any issues or compromise food security. Recently, the use of castor oil has attracted attention for producing and optimizing biodiesel production, due to high content of ricinoleic fatty acid and the possibility to esterify with only methanol, which assures low production costs. Additionally, biodiesel from castor oil has different advantages over conventional diesel. Some of them are biodegradable, non-toxic, renewable, they can be used alone, low greenhouse gas emission, among others. This review discusses and analyzes different transesterification processes, technologies, as well as different technical aspects during biodiesel production using castor oil as a feedstock. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomaterials and Biofuels: Small Environmental Footprint)
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