Special Issue "Biomass Energy Resources: Feedstock Quality and Bioenergy Sustainability"

A special issue of Resources (ISSN 2079-9276).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 6593

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Daniele Duca
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Università Politecnica delle Marche – Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences
Interests: biomass quality; bioenergy; biofuel; sustainability assessment; residues; biosystem engineering; life cycle assessment; standardization; circular economy; environmental impact; wood processing; food processing; renewable energy; energy conversion
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Giuseppe Toscano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy
Interests: biomass quality; bioenergy; biofuel; sustainability assessment; residues; biosystem engineering; life cycle assessment; standardization; circular economy; environmental impact; wood processing; food processing; renewable energy; energy conversion
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Renewable energies play a key role in the transition toward a world where sustainability, particularly environmental, is increasingly viewed as an unavoidable goal. In this context, dedicate and residual biomass plays a leading role in heat and power production. Due to an increased interest in sustainability and circular economy, in the last few years, more attention has been paid to the use of residual biomass which, however, is characterized by low quality and heterogeneity.

All these aspects and the consequent variety of origin and source of biomass for energy use, the different supply chain, different logistics, organizational complexity, and technological levels produce impacts on the characteristics of biofuel and their level of sustainability. These latter two aspects appear to be independent but are actually closely connected, entailing significant economic and environmental impact implications.

Biomass properties and sustainability help to define a new way of understanding the quality of biofuels. This change of perspective implies a decisive role for policy decision, development of technical regulations and, in general, in the operational choices of biomass supply chain stakeholders. Thus, a research effort is required to exploit the available biomass materials, especially less traditional ones, through the development of innovative production processes and measurement systems, to produce sustainable biofuels and bioenergy.

In this perspective, this Special Issue aims to collect research articles or comprehensive reviews focused on the abovementioned contents.

Subjects welcomed are listed below:

- Sustainability assessment of bioenergy production chains;

- Evaluation of biomass feedstock and effect on biofuel quality;

- Investigation of biomass properties and biofuel production;

- Innovative processes for the energy valorization of residual biomass materials;

- Innovative systems for biomass quality assessment.

In general terms, considerations and observations concerning the effects of biomass quality on bioenergy sustainability will be appreciated.

Prof. Dr. Daniele Duca
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Toscano
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Resources 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

  • Bioenergy
  • Biofuel
  • Sustainability assessment
  • Biomass quality
  • Biomass residues
  • Biofuel standardization
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Renewable energy
  • Environmental impact

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Biomass Energy Resources: Feedstock Quality and Bioenergy Sustainability
Resources 2022, 11(6), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11060057 - 07 Jun 2022
Viewed by 553
Abstract
The fossil fuel society is facing environmental, socio-economic, and geopolitical issues [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
European Hophornbeam Biomass for Energy Application: Influence of Different Production Processes and Heating Devices on Environmental Sustainability
Resources 2022, 11(2), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11020011 - 25 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 838
Abstract
Environmental sustainability has recently shifted towards biodiversity protection via governmental and intergovernmental initiatives (e.g., the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, MA). The life cycle assessment, the widespread method for assessing environmental sustainability, was not created to evaluate impacts on biodiversity. However, several authors recognize [...] Read more.
Environmental sustainability has recently shifted towards biodiversity protection via governmental and intergovernmental initiatives (e.g., the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, MA). The life cycle assessment, the widespread method for assessing environmental sustainability, was not created to evaluate impacts on biodiversity. However, several authors recognize its ability to estimate biodiversity loss drivers (impact indices on land use change and ecosystem). The study aims to apply LCA to the forest sector, precisely to the wood–energy chain of Hophornbeam, to cover suggestions of the MA for the biodiversity impact assessment. Six different scenarios for stove (3) and fireplace (3) wood production were analyzed, evaluating two baselines and four alternative scenarios, including sensitivity analyses related to transport distances for the raw materials. The functional unit is 1 MJ of energy. The fireplace combustion scenarios are relatively more sustainable than the stove ones are (2.95–3.21% less). The global warming potential (around 3 g CO2 eq/MJ) is consistent with current European directives on the sustainability of biofuels and scientific literature. The scenarios showed similarities regarding the impact of the categories related to MA drivers. Although biodiversity is protected by limiting forest management, some authors argue that for some species (e.g., Hophornbeam), a rational tree felling could produce biofuels, increasing biodiversity. Full article
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Article
Carbon Footprint and Feedstock Quality of a Real Biomass Power Plant Fed with Forestry and Agricultural Residues
Resources 2022, 11(2), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11020007 - 18 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 854
Abstract
Phasing out fossil fuels to renewables is currently a global priority due to the climate change threat. Advocacy for biomass use as an energy source requires assessing the quality biomass and ecological impacts of bioenergy supply chains. This study evaluated the quality of [...] Read more.
Phasing out fossil fuels to renewables is currently a global priority due to the climate change threat. Advocacy for biomass use as an energy source requires assessing the quality biomass and ecological impacts of bioenergy supply chains. This study evaluated the quality of biomass residues from orchards and silviculture transported from different Northern and Central Italy locations and the carbon footprint of a biomass power plant. The total greenhouse emissions were calculated based on primary data for 2017 according to the ISO/TS 14067. All the residue samples showed their suitability for biofuel use. Ash content was relatively low on average (3–5% d.m.), except for grapevine residues (18% d.m.). The lower heating value was within the expected range of 15–21 MJ kg−1 for plant species. The average GHG emission from the power plant was 17.4 g CO2 eq./MJ of electrical energy, with the energy conversion (38%) and transportation of biomass (34%) phases being the main impact contributors. For this study, impacts of residual agricultural residue were about half that of residues from forest management, mainly due to chipping and greater transport distance. Results show that sourcing residual biomass materials for electricity generation close to power plants significantly reduce GHG emissions compared to conventional fossil fuels. Full article
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Article
Pellet Production from Residual Biomass of Greenery Maintenance in a Small-Scale Company to Improve Sustainability
Resources 2021, 10(12), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10120122 - 03 Dec 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 966
Abstract
Replacing fossil energy sources with renewable energy sources is a key strategic action to limit environmental issues. To achieve this goal, substitution with biomass is beneficial due to its versatility in various fields. In terms of circular economy and sustainability, the possibility of [...] Read more.
Replacing fossil energy sources with renewable energy sources is a key strategic action to limit environmental issues. To achieve this goal, substitution with biomass is beneficial due to its versatility in various fields. In terms of circular economy and sustainability, the possibility of energy exploitation of residual biomass is particularly desirable in small-medium enterprises. The use of supply chain by-products can improve sustainability and create opportunities for companies. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the suitability of residual biomass of conifers and broad-leaved trees to produce quality pellets using an agri-pellet machine activated by the power take-off of a tractor. This system can be employed at the farm level. Wood biomass of four species was tested; poplar, stone pine, black locust, and oak. Wood chips samples were analyzed to determine their qualitative characteristics following the technical standard ISO 17225-4. Based on the results, different wood blends were created to produce pellets, subsequently characterized according to ISO 17225-2. The analyses carried out on wood chips and pellets were bulk density, moisture, ash content, calorific value, elemental composition, chlorine, sulfur, and heavy metals. In addition, particles size was measured only for wood chips, while the length, diameter, mechanical durability, and ash melting behaviors were determined only for pellets. Some of the analyzed mixtures show acceptable values according to the current ISO technical standards. The values related to the apparent pellet bulk density and the durability test highlight that not all the mixtures are suitable to produce quality pellets. Results also represent a good starting point for future studies. Full article
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Article
Biofuel, Bioenergy and Feed Valorization of By-Products and Residues from Hevea brasiliensis Cultivation to Enhance Sustainability
Resources 2020, 9(9), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9090114 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1333
Abstract
In the latex production chain, rubber tree seeds (Hevea brasiliensis) represent an underutilized fraction with high potentialities, which can increase the sustainability of the whole process if rightly valorized. In the present study, the quality of all the fractions obtained from [...] Read more.
In the latex production chain, rubber tree seeds (Hevea brasiliensis) represent an underutilized fraction with high potentialities, which can increase the sustainability of the whole process if rightly valorized. In the present study, the quality of all the fractions obtained from the rubber fruit were evaluated, with the aim to identify possible applications for their valorization with a circular economy perspective. Seeds from five different varieties of rubber tree were analyzed. Furthermore, a whole mass and energy balance was defined, which has allowed us to define hypothetical production scenarios. The obtained results show negligible differences among varieties. Shells and capsules have shown a composition similar to woody biomass, with high heating values (more than 16.5 MJ kg−1), low nitrogen content (below 0.5% on weight basis (w/w)) and reduced ash content (0.51% w/w and 1.90% w/w, respectively). Kernels were chemically extracted comparing two different solvents: n-hexane and ethanol. Both solvents showed similar extraction yields, i.e., 49% w/w and 46% w/w for n-hexane and ethanol, respectively. The resulting extraction flour was characterized by a high protein content (around 40% w/w) making it suitable for animal feeding. The rubber seed oil could be used in blends of different vegetable oils for biodiesel production. All this information is useful for improving the sustainability of the latex production chain and to assess the sustainability of possible bioenergy value chains. Full article
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Article
Environmental Sustainability of Heating Systems Based on Pellets Produced in Mobile and Stationary Plants from Vineyard Pruning Residues
Resources 2020, 9(8), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9080094 - 14 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1366
Abstract
The impact of heat production from vineyard pruning pellets has been evaluated in this paper. The study considers two different systems: the first one based on a mobile pelletizer (PS1) and the second one based on a stationary pellet plant (PS2). The analysis [...] Read more.
The impact of heat production from vineyard pruning pellets has been evaluated in this paper. The study considers two different systems: the first one based on a mobile pelletizer (PS1) and the second one based on a stationary pellet plant (PS2). The analysis conducted is from “cradle to grave”; the systems under analysis includes pruning harvesting, transport to storage area, pelletization (mobile system or stationary production plant), transport to consumer and combustion. The functional unit selected is 1 MJ of thermal energy produced. The impact assessment calculation methods selected are Eco-Indicator 99 (H) LCA Food V2.103/Europe EI 99 H/A with a midpoint and endpoint approach, and ReCiPe Midpoint (H) V1.10. Considering Life Cycle Assessment results, Eco-indicator shows a total impact of 4.25 and 4.07 mPt for mobile pelletizer and stationary pellet plant, respectively. Considering the three damage categories, PS1 has values of 2.4% (Human Health), 3.8% (Ecosystem Quality) and 17.3% (Resources), more impactful than PS2. Contribution analysis shows that direct emissions are the major damage contributor, followed by wood ash management. From a comparison between the baseline scenario and a scenario with an avoided product (wood ash as a standard potassium fertilizer), PS1 and PS2 with an avoided product approach are 41% and 40% less impactful than in the baseline scenarios. When testing the impact of mobile pelletizer while considering transportation as a factor, a reduction of distance for pellet has been evaluated. Reducing the distance from 100 to 10 km, the total impact of PS1 almost reaches the impact of PS2 with a difference of around 4.6% (Eco-indicator 99 method). The most impactful processes are pellet production, direct emissions and ash management, while a less impactful factor is the electricity consumption. Transportation shows the lowest impact. Considering the ReCiPe impact calculation method with a midpoint approach, the results confirm what was found with Eco-indicator 99; the PS1 shows a slightly higher impact than PS2. Full article
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