Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Application of Zeolite Membranes to Dehydrate a Bio-Ethanol Solution Produced by High-Temperature Fermentation
Fuels 2021, 2(4), 533-545; https://doi.org/10.3390/fuels2040031 - 03 Dec 2021
Viewed by 919
Abstract
The combination of high-temperature fermentation and membrane separation has the potential to realize a simple on-site process to produce concentrated bioethanol. The performance of dehydration membranes in separating bioethanol was investigated in this study. Three types of zeolite membranes, LTA, MFI, and MOR, [...] Read more.
The combination of high-temperature fermentation and membrane separation has the potential to realize a simple on-site process to produce concentrated bioethanol. The performance of dehydration membranes in separating bioethanol was investigated in this study. Three types of zeolite membranes, LTA, MFI, and MOR, were synthesized. Their dehydration ability was compared using a bioethanol solution produced by high-temperature fermentation followed by vacuum distillation. The LTA zeolite membranes deformed and became amorphous while treating the distillate. On the contrary, no significant changes were observed in the MFI and MOR zeolite membranes analyzed by X-ray diffraction after treating the distillate. However, the flux declined when the membranes were in contact with the distillate (pH = 3.8). Neutralizing the distillate to pH 6.6 with sodium hydroxide did not prevent the flux decline. Even though flux decreased by about 20–30%, the MOR membrane showed quite high water-selectivity, with a water concentration of over 99.9% in the permeate, suggesting the feasibility of its application to concentrate bioethanol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Conversion to Biofuels)
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Article
Biogas Production from Organic Wastes: Integrating Concepts of Circular Economy
Fuels 2021, 2(2), 144-167; https://doi.org/10.3390/fuels2020009 - 29 Apr 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2105
Abstract
Anaerobic digestion is traditionally used for treating organic materials. This allows the valorization of biogas and recycling of nutrients thanks to the land application of digestates. However, although this technology offers a multitude of advantages, it is still far from playing a relevant [...] Read more.
Anaerobic digestion is traditionally used for treating organic materials. This allows the valorization of biogas and recycling of nutrients thanks to the land application of digestates. However, although this technology offers a multitude of advantages, it is still far from playing a relevant role in the energy market and from having significant participation in decarbonizing the economy. Biogas can be submitted to upgrading processes to reach methane content close to that of natural gas and therefore be compatible with many of its industrial applications. However, the high installation and operating costs of these treatment plants are the main constraints for the application of this technology in many countries. There is an urgent need of increasing reactor productivity, biogas yields, and operating at greater throughput without compromising digestion stability. Working at organic solid contents greater than 20% and enhancing hydrolysis and biogas yields to allow retention times to be around 15 days would lead to a significant decrease in reactor volume and therefore in initial capital investments. Anaerobic digestion should be considered as one of the key components in a new economy model characterized by an increase in the degree of circularity. The present manuscript reviews the digestion process analyzing the main parameters associated with digestion performance. The novelty of this manuscript is based on the link established between operating reactor conditions, optimizing treatment capacity, and reducing operating costs that would lead to unlocking the potential of biogas to promote bioenergy production, sustainable agronomic practices, and the integration of this technology into the energy grid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Fuels)
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Review

Review
Organic Waste Gasification: A Selective Review
Fuels 2021, 2(4), 556-650; https://doi.org/10.3390/fuels2040033 - 07 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2079
Abstract
This review considers the selective studies on environmentally friendly, combustion-free, allothermal, atmospheric-pressure, noncatalytic, direct H2O/CO2 gasification of organic feedstocks like biomass, sewage sludge wastes (SSW) and municipal solid wastes (MSW) to demonstrate the pros and cons of the approaches and [...] Read more.
This review considers the selective studies on environmentally friendly, combustion-free, allothermal, atmospheric-pressure, noncatalytic, direct H2O/CO2 gasification of organic feedstocks like biomass, sewage sludge wastes (SSW) and municipal solid wastes (MSW) to demonstrate the pros and cons of the approaches and provide future perspectives. The environmental friendliness of H2O/CO2 gasification is well known as it is accompanied by considerably less harmful emissions into the environment as compared to O2/air gasification. Comparative analysis of the various gasification technologies includes low-temperature H2O/CO2 gasification at temperatures up to 1000 °C, high-temperature plasma- and solar-assisted H2O/CO2 gasification at temperatures above 1200 °C, and an innovative gasification technology applying ultra-superheated steam (USS) with temperatures above 2000 °C obtained by pulsed or continuous gaseous detonations. Analysis shows that in terms of such characteristics as the carbon conversion efficiency (CCE), tar and char content, and the content of harmful by-products the plasma and detonation USS gasification technologies are most promising. However, as compared with plasma gasification, detonation USS gasification does not need enormous electric power with unnecessary and energy-consuming gas–plasma transition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Fuels)
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