Special Issue "Thermodynamics of Sustainability"

A special issue of Entropy (ISSN 1099-4300). This special issue belongs to the section "Thermodynamics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Antonio Valero Website E-Mail
Director of CIRCE Institute, Research Center for Energy Resources and Consumption, Chair of Energy Systems, University of Zaragoza, 50018 Zaragoza, Spain
Phone: +34976761863

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainability must be global, or it will not be. Our planet is a thermodynamic system, as are ecosystems, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and the crust. Natural resources are at risk of depletion, meanwhile, the waste is overwhelming. Minerals, fresh waters, fertile soils, biota and waste are also thermodynamic systems to be characterized. A Second Law vision of natural systems is largely lacking in many research fields relating to sustainability issues. In fact, entropy is used as a metaphor in ecological economics rather than as a quantitative tool. Exergy-related analyses are almost restricted to energy engineering designs and slowly rising in macroeconomic studies. As Science Europe recommends, think exergy, not energy.

The message of the Second Law is related to evolution, irreversibility, and degradation, which are central ideas for understanding sustainability. However, the Second Law is also the key to understanding and assessing efficiency and sufficiency. Efficiency in the social use of all scarce natural resources (not only energy but materials, soils and waters), and sufficiency to avoid collapse due to the nonlinear behavior of many subsystems of the Earth.

Topics such as Second Law assessment of all natural resources and waste—including fertile soils and biotic systems, exergy modelling of resource use trends, the intricacies and deficiencies of materials circularity, exergy-based indicators of planet degradation and the loss of natural capital, natural cycles and planet boundaries, thermodynamics of biodiversity and resilience, and so on, are welcomed.

The fate of humanity is not determined by the Second Law, but this law can help humanity to avoid hazardous irreversible paths of the planet evolution.

Prof. Dr. Antonio Valero
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. Entropy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1600 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

  • Planet earth as a thermodynamic system
  • Second Law efficiency and sufficiency
  • Second Law stability and collapse
  • Resilience and buffer capacity
  • Evolution and irreversibility
  • Exergy assessment of capital natural
  • Exergy assessment of energy resources
  • Exergy assessment of mineral resources
  • Exergy assessment of water resources
  • Exergy assessment of waste resources
  • Exergy assessment of fertile soil resources
  • Exergy assessment of biotic ecosystems
  • Materials circularity
  • Exergo-ecology
  • Earth reference environment
  • Planet boundaries
  • Gaia, anthropozene and thanatia

Published Papers (3 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
Thermodynamic Rarity and Recyclability of Raw Materials in the Energy Transition: The Need for an In-Spiral Economy
Entropy 2019, 21(9), 873; https://doi.org/10.3390/e21090873 - 08 Sep 2019
Abstract
This paper presents a thermodynamic vision of the depletion of mineral resources. It demonstrates how raw materials can be better assessed using exergy, based on thermodynamic rarity, which considers scarcity in the crust and energy requirements for extracting and refining minerals. An exergy [...] Read more.
This paper presents a thermodynamic vision of the depletion of mineral resources. It demonstrates how raw materials can be better assessed using exergy, based on thermodynamic rarity, which considers scarcity in the crust and energy requirements for extracting and refining minerals. An exergy analysis of the energy transition reveals that, to approach a decarbonized economy by 2050, mineral exergy must be greater than that of fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and even all renewables. This is because clean technologies require huge amounts of many different raw materials. The rapid exhaustion of mines necessitates an increase in recycling and reuse, that is, a “circular economy”. As seen in the automobile industry, society is far removed from closing even the first cycle, and absolute circularity does not exist. The Second Law dictates that, in each cycle, some quantity and quality of materials is unavoidably lost (there are no circles, but spirals). For a rigorous recyclability analysis, we elaborate the exergy indicators to be used in the assessment of the true circularity of recycling processes. We aim to strive toward an advanced economy focused on separating techniques and promoting circularity audits, an economy that inspires new solutions: an in-spiral economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics of Sustainability)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Energy Use of Flux Salt Recovery Using Bipolar Membrane Electrodialysis for a CO2 Mineralisation Process
Entropy 2019, 21(4), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/e21040395 - 12 Apr 2019
Abstract
Mineral carbonation routes have been extensively studied for almost two decades at Åbo Akademi University, focusing on the extraction of magnesium from magnesium silicates using ammonium sulfate (AS) and/or ammonium bisulfate (ABS) flux salt followed by carbonation. There is, however, a need for [...] Read more.
Mineral carbonation routes have been extensively studied for almost two decades at Åbo Akademi University, focusing on the extraction of magnesium from magnesium silicates using ammonium sulfate (AS) and/or ammonium bisulfate (ABS) flux salt followed by carbonation. There is, however, a need for proper recovery and recirculation of chemicals involved. This study focused on the separation of AS, ABS and aqueous ammonia using different setups of bipolar membrane electrodialysis using both synthetic and rock-derived solutions. Bipolar membranes offer the possibility to split water, which in turn makes it possible to regenerate chemicals like acids and bases needed in mineral carbonation without excess gas formation. Tests were run in batch, continuous, and recirculating mode, and exergy (electricity) input during the tests was calculated. The results show that separation of ions was achieved, even if the solutions obtained were still too weak for use in the downstream process to control pH. Energy demand for separating 1 kg of NH4+ varied in the range 1.7, 3.4, 302 and 340 MJ/kg NH4+, depending on setup chosen. More work must hence be done in order to make the separation more efficient, such as narrowing the cell width. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics of Sustainability)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Exergy Analyses of Low-Temperature District Heating Systems With Different Sanitary Hot-Water Boosters
Entropy 2019, 21(4), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/e21040388 - 10 Apr 2019
Abstract
This paper presents an exergy-efficiency analysis of low-temperature district heating systems (DHSs) with different sanitary hot-water (SHW) boosters. The required temperature of the sanitary hot water (SHW) was set to 50 °C. The main objective of this study was to compare the exergy [...] Read more.
This paper presents an exergy-efficiency analysis of low-temperature district heating systems (DHSs) with different sanitary hot-water (SHW) boosters. The required temperature of the sanitary hot water (SHW) was set to 50 °C. The main objective of this study was to compare the exergy efficiencies of a DHS without a booster to DHSs with three different types of boosters, i.e., electric-, gas-boiler- and heat-pump-based, during the winter and summer seasons. To achieve this, we developed a generalized model for the calculation of the exergy efficiency of a DHS with or without the booster. The results show that during the winter season, for a very low relative share of SHW production, the DHS without the booster exhibits favorable exergy efficiencies compared to the DHSs with boosters. By increasing this share, an intersection point above 45 °C for the supply temperatures, at which the higher exergy efficiency of a DHS with a booster prevails, can be identified. In the summer season the results show that a DHS without a booster at a supply temperature above 70 °C achieves lower exergy efficiencies compared to DHSs with boosters at supply temperatures above 40 °C. The results also show that ultra-low supply and return temperatures should be avoided for the DHSs with boosters, due to higher rates of entropy generation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics of Sustainability)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop