Special Issue "Processes in Enterprises and Circular Economy concerning Conventional Energy and Renewable Energy"

A special issue of Processes (ISSN 2227-9717). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Piotr F. Borowski
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Institute of Mechanical Engineering, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, 02-787 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: management and strategic management; power plants; sustainable development; eco-innovations; eco-efficiency; nexus water–energy–food; CO2 emission reduction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The processes in modern enterprises understood as structured activities designed for production, i.e., to transform all inputs into the final product, should take into account the principles of sustainable development and synergy. Enterprises should pay attention to the design of processes, taking into account new technologies that will not have a negative impact on the environment.

The changes taking place in the world are forcing enterprises to undertake innovative activities, which should be eco-friendly and effective, i.e., eco-innovative and eco-efficient. To achieve such effects, companies should also manage processes, i.e., design and implement processes that also take into account the circular economy.

This Special Issue on “Processes in Enterprises and Circular Economy Concerning Conventional Energy and Renewable Energy” aims to curate novel advances in the development and application of new technology, innovative solutions (processes, products) for enterprises operating in the new economy.

The subject of this Special Issue includes aspects of the following:

  • Emissions and the reduction of CO2 emissions for vehicles, in particular taking into account methods of powering electric or hybrid vehicles (energy from hard coal, energy from RES) in the energy balance.
  • Trends in transport biofuels and alternative fuels
  • Human energy use in the life cycle (LCA)
  • Energy consumption of food production processes, in particular, the processes of bio and eco products

Dr. Piotr F. Borowski
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. Processes 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 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.

Keywords

  • Eco-innovation
  • eco-efficiency
  • renewable energy sources
  • biomass
  • conventional energy
  • production processes
  • circular economy
  • management of enterprises

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
The Effect of Brush Plate Structure and Operating Parameters on the Energy Consumption of Electrolytic Cells
Processes 2021, 9(12), 2186; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr9122186 - 03 Dec 2021
Viewed by 394
Abstract
The nickel powder brush plate is a core component of the direct contact between the cleaning machine and cathode plate of an electrolyzer, and its movement in the electrolytic cell will affect the energy consumption of the electrolyzer. In order to optimize the [...] Read more.
The nickel powder brush plate is a core component of the direct contact between the cleaning machine and cathode plate of an electrolyzer, and its movement in the electrolytic cell will affect the energy consumption of the electrolyzer. In order to optimize the structure of the brush plate, a cleaning trolley brush plate was taken as the research object, a mathematical model of its electrolyzer was established, and the reliability was subsequently verified. The influence of the structural and operating parameters of the brush plate on the energy consumption of the electrolytic cell was studied. The research results show that additional energy consumption is the lowest in the process of cleaning a return grooved brush plate. Brush plates with a large slotting area have less impact on the energy consumption of the electrolyzer. The slotting method, where the anodes are arranged directly opposite each other and relatively concentrated, can be adapted to render a more uniform current density distribution on the anode surface, with lower energy consumption and less variation in voltage and current. With the increasing number of slots from one to three, the current density distribution on the anode surface became more uniform, with a reduction in the variation range of the slot voltage and current in the branch where the cathode plate was cleaned and a decreased energy consumption. With the linear increase in brush cleaning speed, the impact time of the brush plate on the electrolyzer decreased nonlinearly, and as the extent of this decrease gradually diminished, the additional energy consumption showed the same trend. These research results were then used as a basis for optimizing the existing commonly used empirical C-brush plates. Following optimization, the current density distribution on the anode surface was found to be more uniform, the variation amplitude of tank voltage was reduced by 34%, the current drop amplitude of the branch circuit where the brushed cathode plate was located was reduced by 39%, the impact time on the current field of the electrolytic tank was reduced by 40%, and the additional energy consumption was reduced by 50.9%. These results can be served as a reference for further theoretical research related to brush plates. Full article
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Article
Implementation of Technical and Technological Progress in Dairy Production
Processes 2021, 9(12), 2103; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr9122103 - 23 Nov 2021
Viewed by 257
Abstract
The involvement of people and technical devices is a characteristic feature of technological processes in agriculture. Human access to modernized and more efficient technical equipment determines the differentiation of the proportions of the contributions of human labor and technical equipment to the implementation [...] Read more.
The involvement of people and technical devices is a characteristic feature of technological processes in agriculture. Human access to modernized and more efficient technical equipment determines the differentiation of the proportions of the contributions of human labor and technical equipment to the implementation of production technology on farms. Taking into account the data on manual and machine work inputs, the methodology of determining the technological index level (TL) was presented. The aim of the present study was to present the scope of use of the technological index level to assess the effects of technological progress in the dairy production system, with particular emphasis on cow milking. For the value range of the technological index level (0–100%), changes in the milkman’s work efficiency were presented based on research carried out on farms equipped with milking equipment at different levels of technical advancement. Moreover, the course of changes in electricity and water consumption per liter of milk was determined in association with the technological index level. The issue of simultaneous implementation of various forms of progress was developed based on the example of milking cows with a milking robot. Five categories (ranges) of cows’ milk yield were distinguished and compared with the current yields of cows in the European Union. On this basis, a discussion was initiated on the factors that facilitate and limit the implementation of technical and technological progress in dairy production. Full article
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Article
Investigating the Impact of Economic Uncertainty on Optimal Sizing of Grid-Independent Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems
Processes 2021, 9(8), 1468; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr9081468 - 23 Aug 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
One of the many barriers to decarbonization and decentralization of the energy sector in developing countries is the economic uncertainty. As such, this study scrutinizes economics of three grid-independent hybrid renewable-based systems proposed to co-generate electricity and heat for a small-scale load. Accordingly, [...] Read more.
One of the many barriers to decarbonization and decentralization of the energy sector in developing countries is the economic uncertainty. As such, this study scrutinizes economics of three grid-independent hybrid renewable-based systems proposed to co-generate electricity and heat for a small-scale load. Accordingly, the under-study systems are simulated and optimized with the aid of HOMER Pro software. Here, a 20-year average value of discount and inflation rates is deemed a benchmark case. The techno-economic-environmental and reliability results suggest a standalone solar/wind/electrolyzer/hydrogen-based fuel cell integrated with a hydrogen-based boiler system is the best alternative. Moreover, to ascertain the impact of economic uncertainty on optimal unit sizing of the nominated model, the fluctuations of the nominal discount rate and inflation, respectively, constitute within the range of 15–20% and 10–26%. The findings of economic uncertainty analysis imply that total net present cost (TNPC) fluctuates around the benchmark value symmetrically between $478,704 and $814,905. Levelized energy cost varies from an amount 69% less than the benchmark value up to two-fold of that. Furthermore, photovoltaic (PV) optimal size starts from a value 23% less than the benchmark case and rises up to 55% more. The corresponding figures for wind turbine (WT) are, respectively, 21% and 29%. Eventually, several practical policies are introduced to cope with economic uncertainty. Full article
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Article
Techno-Economic Assessment of a Grid-Independent Hybrid Power Plant for Co-Supplying a Remote Micro-Community with Electricity and Hydrogen
Processes 2021, 9(8), 1375; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr9081375 - 06 Aug 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 650
Abstract
This study investigates the techno-economic feasibility of an off-grid integrated solar/wind/hydrokinetic plant to co-generate electricity and hydrogen for a remote micro-community. In addition to the techno-economic viability assessment of the proposed system via HOMER (hybrid optimization of multiple energy resources), a sensitivity analysis [...] Read more.
This study investigates the techno-economic feasibility of an off-grid integrated solar/wind/hydrokinetic plant to co-generate electricity and hydrogen for a remote micro-community. In addition to the techno-economic viability assessment of the proposed system via HOMER (hybrid optimization of multiple energy resources), a sensitivity analysis is conducted to ascertain the impact of ±10% fluctuations in wind speed, solar radiation, temperature, and water velocity on annual electric production, unmet electricity load, LCOE (levelized cost of electricity), and NPC (net present cost). For this, a far-off village with 15 households is selected as the case study. The results reveal that the NPC, LCOE, and LCOH (levelized cost of hydrogen) of the system are equal to $333,074, 0.1155 $/kWh, and 4.59 $/kg, respectively. Technical analysis indicates that the PV system with the rated capacity of 40 kW accounts for 43.7% of total electricity generation. This portion for the wind turbine and the hydrokinetic turbine with nominal capacities of 10 kW and 20 kW equates to 23.6% and 32.6%, respectively. Finally, the results of sensitivity assessment show that among the four variables only a +10% fluctuation in water velocity causes a 20% decline in NPC and LCOE. Full article
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Article
Simulation Tests of a Cow Milking Machine—Analysis of Design Parameters
Processes 2021, 9(8), 1358; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr9081358 - 02 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 362
Abstract
The objective of this paper was to create a mathematical model of vacuum drops in a form that enables the testing of the impact of design parameters of a milking cluster on the values of vacuum drops in the claw. Simulation tests of [...] Read more.
The objective of this paper was to create a mathematical model of vacuum drops in a form that enables the testing of the impact of design parameters of a milking cluster on the values of vacuum drops in the claw. Simulation tests of the milking cluster were conducted, with the use of a simplified model of vacuum drops in the form of a fourth-degree polynomial. Sensitivity analysis and a simulation of a model with a simplified structure of vacuum drops in the claw were carried out. As a result, the impact of the milking machine’s design parameters on the milking process could be analysed. The results showed that a change in the local loss and linear drag coefficient in the long milk duct will have a lower impact on vacuum drops if a smaller flux of inlet air, a higher head of the air/liquid mix, and a higher diameter of the long milk tube are used. Full article
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Article
The Topic of the Ideal Dairy Farm Can Inspire How to Assess Knowledge about Dairy Production Processes: A Case Study with Students and Their Contributions
Processes 2021, 9(8), 1357; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr9081357 - 02 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 554
Abstract
The dairy farm and on-farm production processes are the subject of numerous evaluations. These are not only evaluations of the economic efficiency of milk production. Opinions expressed by various social groups are also an important contribution to improving the approach to milk production [...] Read more.
The dairy farm and on-farm production processes are the subject of numerous evaluations. These are not only evaluations of the economic efficiency of milk production. Opinions expressed by various social groups are also an important contribution to improving the approach to milk production on the farm. As a result of such opinions, a vision of an ideal dairy farm may be formed. The aim of the study was to develop the thematic area of an ideal dairy farm in the opinion of two groups of students who were learning remotely (in the distance learning system) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first group consisted of six Erasmus+ students. The second group consisted of 70 full-time Polish students. As part of their homework, the students answered three questions about the ideal dairy farm. Students had 4 weeks to do their homework. Erasmus+ students’ homework was used to propose a ranking method for assessing the answers to three questions by the students themselves. Homework of Polish students was used to analyze the frequency of using certain keywords. Polish students, in their homework on the ideal dairy farm, mainly used the basic concepts related to dairy production. Unfortunately, a very small number of students used terms that represent a responsible approach to dairy production, including ethical aspects, freedom, sustainability, animal pain, antibiotics, and organic milk production. In conclusion, it was indicated that the curriculum should be structured in such a way as to raise students’ awareness of dairy production and its current challenges. Full article
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Article
Production of Electricity and Heat from Biomass Wastes Using a Converted Aircraft Turbine AI-20
Processes 2021, 9(2), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr9020364 - 16 Feb 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1275
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of biomass micronization on energy production using a converted aircraft turbine AI-20. The test system was constructed in such a way to ensure continuous operation for a given period of time and was [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of biomass micronization on energy production using a converted aircraft turbine AI-20. The test system was constructed in such a way to ensure continuous operation for a given period of time and was equipped in a chopper, a flail mill, and a micronizer. The turbine had the ability to produce energy from solid biomass and as well conventional fuels. The most energy was obtained from absolutely dry sunflower husk (17.27 MJ/kg) and the least from Poplar (7.82 MJ/kg). Miscanthus, wheat straw, and hay (approximately 17 MJ/kg) showed high values of energy production. In addition, the thermal decomposition of wheat straw at 350 and 450 °C was studied using the Py-GC/MS technique in a helium atmosphere to determine the gaseous compounds formed during biomass gasification under anaerobic conditions. The results obtained indicate the formation of compounds classified as phenols (vanillin, hydroxymethylfurfural). Full article
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Review

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Review
Problems of Selected Sectors of Biofuels for Transport in Poland
Processes 2021, 9(9), 1573; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr9091573 - 02 Sep 2021
Viewed by 439
Abstract
The paper discusses issues related to the sectors of biofuels for transport. Development directions of those sectors and factors limiting the growth rate thereof are analysed. At present, researchers’ attention is increasingly focused on development of the alternative fuels sector. Moreover, issues related [...] Read more.
The paper discusses issues related to the sectors of biofuels for transport. Development directions of those sectors and factors limiting the growth rate thereof are analysed. At present, researchers’ attention is increasingly focused on development of the alternative fuels sector. Moreover, issues related to waste used in the sector of alternative fuels are now among the leading undertakings of environmental engineering. The authors have analysed the potential of biofuels sectors in Poland taking into account the EU’s legislative requirements. The paper contains a discussion of the sector of esters, liquid biofuels, sector of lignocellulose, sector of liquid bio-hydrocarbons and, additionally, pays attention to the sector of electromobility as one of the most attractive and prospective sectors in terms of emission reduction. Full article
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Review
Renewable Energy Sources in Transport on the Example of Methyl Esters and Bioethanol
Processes 2020, 8(12), 1610; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8121610 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 757
Abstract
The aim of this article is to show how the situation of domestic biofuels in Poland and the alternative fuels sector is changing. On the basis of our own research and the available literature, changes in the production potential of Poland in the [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to show how the situation of domestic biofuels in Poland and the alternative fuels sector is changing. On the basis of our own research and the available literature, changes in the production potential of Poland in the field of alternative fuels/biofuels are examined. Moreover, the reasons for changes in the production structure are analyzed. The flexibility of production potential to changes in legal conditions is assessed, and the value of sectors and their future are determined. This paper discusses legal and market aspects related to selected renewable energy sources used in Polish transport. Based on a review of literature and statistical data, the production and use of methyl esters and bioethanol are characterized in detail. Analysis of legal regulations enables the presentation of targets regarding renewable energy source (RES) use in transport by 2030. The results of studies conducted in 2020 are discussed with regard to the value (attractiveness) of methyl esters, bioethanol, electromobility and liquid bio-hydrocarbons, and these are compared and contrasted with the result from earlier years since 2010. Full article

Other

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Case Report
Innovative Processes in Managing an Enterprise from the Energy and Food Sector in the Era of Industry 4.0
Processes 2021, 9(2), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr9020381 - 19 Feb 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2041
Abstract
The paper analyzes issues related to production processes in learning organizations using innovative solutions based on the Industry 4.0 paradigm. This study was realized by surveys and observation of companies operating in the energy and food sectors. These are sectors that in recent [...] Read more.
The paper analyzes issues related to production processes in learning organizations using innovative solutions based on the Industry 4.0 paradigm. This study was realized by surveys and observation of companies operating in the energy and food sectors. These are sectors that in recent years have started to intensively implement innovative solutions and are undergoing a transformation towards an intelligent (digital) enterprise, which uses virtual reality, supported by effectively controlling the non-player characters (NPCs). The presented examples can be inspiration for chief executive officer (CEOs), chief operating officers (COOs), and chief information officers (CIOs), the people managing companies for investment in innovative solutions. The implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions, as well as new machines design according state-of-the-art achievements of mechanical engineering rules, will allow companies to implement new products, achieve better results (e.g., more products with lower production cost), increase operational efficiency (e.g., lower energy and water consumption), and meet environmental requirements (e.g., reduce CO2 emission, introduce zero-emission energy production). Full article
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