Topical Collection "Management, Environment, Energy and Sustainability under a Circular Economy"

Editors

Prof. Elena Magaril
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Economics, Ural Federal University, Mira Str., 19, Ekaterinburg 620002, Russia
Interests: waste management; environmental sustainability; energy efficiency; environmental engineering; petroleum refining; waste processing; air pollution; fuel quality; transport sustainability; economic impact; environmental management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Elena Cristina Rada
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Insubria University of Varese, Department of Theoretical and Applied Sciences – DiSTA, Via G.B. Vico, 46, 21100, Varese, Italy
Universityof Trento, Department Engineering, Civil Environmental and Mechnical Engineering Department - DICAM, via Mesiano 77, 38123, Trento, Italy
Interests: waste management; urban mining; 4Rs; end-of-waste circular economy; CO2; economic impact; energy; renewable energy; efficiency; environmental pollution; air quality; environmental sustainability; public acceptance; safety and security
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The linear economic model, based on a sequential approach 'take-make-consume-throw away', cannot be acceptable in a society oriented to an environmental sustainability. The required change of vision comes from the concept of circular economy: here, products and their materials are valued as most as possible, reducing waste generation to a minimum. As consequence re-using, repairing and recycling grow in importance. Innovation can play a strategic role. Energy recovery from waste should become secondary compared to material recovery, assuming that an economic sustainability must be always guaranteed. What used to be managed as a waste can be turned into a resource, reducing the pressure on environment. An example of the consequences of adoption of the circular economy concept can be seen in the sector of biogas: The conventional approach for its valorisation is based on the co-generation of electricity and heat thanks to its combustion in an engine coupled with an alternator; the circular economy criteria are moving the biogas sector towards the upgrading of biogas to biomethane and the recovery of CO2 for industrial uses, from the generated off-gas. The circular economy, built on technical and social innovations, necessitates taking into account the regional priorities, and assumes, on the one hand, the increased energy and material efficiency of technological processes, including those using conventional fuels and energy, and raise in the competitiveness of alternative fuels and energy on the other hand. It is necessary to address the challenges of required optimisation for various energy and materials alternatives, and to indicate innovated solutions for industrial and transportation development. The new political and social consequences are an important aspect of the transition to a circular economy, which requires the increase in efficiency for management systems on the basis of an interdisciplinary approach. This calls for a new methodology of education for managers able to work in unstable conditions of increased risks and accelerating changes. More in general, the effects of this new vision are on company strategies, citizens’ behavior and public management. The aim of this Special Issue is to contribute to the evolution of the concept of circular economy from all the above-mentioned points of view.

Dr. Elena Cristina Rada
Prof. Dr. Elena Romenovna Magaril
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Circular Economy
  • Citizens behavior
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Efficiency
  • Energy recovery
  • Innovation
  • Management Systems
  • Recycling
  • Renewable Energy
  • Reuse
  • Sustainable Technologies
  • Waste management

Published Papers (26 papers)

2019

Jump to: 2018

Open AccessCase Report
An Analysis of Operational Efficiencies in the Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Plants of Kaohsiung Municipality (Taiwan)
Resources 2019, 8(3), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8030125 - 10 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
As the second-largest city in Taiwan, the Kaohsiung municipality has faced serious environmental loadings in recent decades. Among them, waste management is a key issue because of large amount of urban and industrial waste produced daily. In this regard, waste-to-energy (WTE) systems adopting [...] Read more.
As the second-largest city in Taiwan, the Kaohsiung municipality has faced serious environmental loadings in recent decades. Among them, waste management is a key issue because of large amount of urban and industrial waste produced daily. In this regard, waste-to-energy (WTE) systems adopting the best available control technology for air pollution is a win-win approach because it also generates electricity to mitigate the dependence on imported fossil fuels and the greenhouse gas emissions incidentally. In this work, the updated status of municipal solid waste (MSW) and WTE plants in Kaohsiung were analyzed to get the crux based on the official database. Using the operational data on the WTE plants over recent years (2003–2018), the analysis of operational efficiencies for the four WTE plants in Kaohsiung was addressed in the paper. It showed that their operational efficiencies, ranging from 0.287 to 0.568 kW-h/kg, indicated an approximate “bathtub curve” pattern. In addition, analyzing the project for revamping the Gangshan WTE plant showed a significant progress in operational efficiencies with a significant increase from 0.506 kW-h/kg in 2016 to 0.587 kW-h/kg in 2018. Finally, some recommendations on technological measures and regulatory incentives for upgrading the operational efficiencies of existing WTE plants were addressed in the work. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Promoting the Circular Economy via Waste-to-Power (WTP) in Taiwan
Resources 2019, 8(2), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8020095 - 14 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The waste management sector significantly contributes to emissions of ambient air pollutants and greenhouse gases, especially in sanitary landfills. In this regard, Taiwan is moving toward a circular economy society via resource recycling and waste-to-power (WTP) in the waste management. In the past [...] Read more.
The waste management sector significantly contributes to emissions of ambient air pollutants and greenhouse gases, especially in sanitary landfills. In this regard, Taiwan is moving toward a circular economy society via resource recycling and waste-to-power (WTP) in the waste management. In the past decade, the recycling rate of general waste (including recyclable waste, kitchen waste, and bulk waste) increased from 40.97% in 2008 to 60.22% in 2017. On the other hand, 24 large-scale waste incineration plants gained about 2.5 TW-h of net electricity generation, based on 6.25 million metric tons of waste incinerated in 2017. The objectives of this paper are to update the status of waste generation and its WTP in Taiwan. Based on these updated data, the preliminary benefit analysis of WTP showed annual benefits of equivalent electricity charge of around $US 3.3 × 108 (using the feed-in-tariff rate 3.8945 NTD$/kW-h; 1 $US ≈ 30 NTD$) and equivalent CO2 mitigation of about 1.4 million metric tons (using the electricity emissions factor 0.55 kg CO2 equivalent/kW-h). In order to gain environmental, energy, and economic benefits, the regulatory and technological measures for promoting WTP are briefly summarized to create another low-carbon society in Taiwan. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The LCA Methodology for Ceramic Tiles Production by Addition of MSWI BA
Resources 2019, 8(2), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8020093 - 11 May 2019
Abstract
Integrated waste management and sustainable use of natural resources are the basis of the Green Economy. In this context, the management of the Municipal Solid Waste Incineration Bottom Ashes (MSWI BA) is one of the current issues worldwide. This paper presents an application [...] Read more.
Integrated waste management and sustainable use of natural resources are the basis of the Green Economy. In this context, the management of the Municipal Solid Waste Incineration Bottom Ashes (MSWI BA) is one of the current issues worldwide. This paper presents an application of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) procedure to the industrial production of ceramic tiles using bottom ashes in the mixture together with feldspathic sands and clays. The comparison between ashes and traditional mixture showed a similar mineralogical and rheological composition. In the reported procedure the MSWI BA, after storage, were treated to separate and recover metals. The residual ashes were added to the mixture and then they followed the traditional industrial production cycle. Samples of the different materials were taken during the experimental industrial activity and leaching tests were carried out to verify the environmental compatibility of MSWI BA use to produce ceramic tiles. The results of the LCA show large environmental and energy benefits related to the proposed reuse of BA. Metal recovery and lower use of clay in traditional mixture avoids emission of substances with a negative potential impact for environment. This study provides a sustainable alternative to the MSWI BA final disposal in landfill as MSWI BA are hazardous wastes that present complicated management and high disposal costs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Concretizing Green Growth and Sustainable Business Models in the Water Sector of Jordan
Resources 2019, 8(2), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8020092 - 10 May 2019
Abstract
The green growth paradigm has gained much attention from various governments worldwide as a guiding strategy for national and sectoral growth strategies. There is, however, little knowledge on how to integrate green growth into key natural resource sectors, such as water. This paper [...] Read more.
The green growth paradigm has gained much attention from various governments worldwide as a guiding strategy for national and sectoral growth strategies. There is, however, little knowledge on how to integrate green growth into key natural resource sectors, such as water. This paper explains the origins and underlying concepts of green growth, and assesses its potential in the Jordanian water sector. Using a green growth diagnostic model, we analyze six key industries in the Jordanian water sector that can be an engine for green growth and the achievement of key sector-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition, four innovative business models are presented which exemplify the best practices and future directions of the water sector in Jordan. The results and recommendations support the strategic decision-making process of linking economic growth and sustainability, and encouraging private investments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Towards Circular Economy: Evaluation of Sewage Sludge Biogas Solutions
Resources 2019, 8(2), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8020091 - 08 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Today it is obvious that the existing linear model of the economy does not correlate with the principles of sustainable development. The circular economy model can replace the current linear economy whilst addressing the issues of environmental deterioration, social equity and long-term economic [...] Read more.
Today it is obvious that the existing linear model of the economy does not correlate with the principles of sustainable development. The circular economy model can replace the current linear economy whilst addressing the issues of environmental deterioration, social equity and long-term economic growth. In the context of effectively implementing circular economy objectives, particular importance should be attributed to wastewater treatment sludge management, due to the possibility of recovering valuable raw materials and using its energy potential. Anaerobic digestion is one of the methods of recovering energy from sewage sludge. The main goal of this study is to make a preliminary evaluation of possible sewage sludge biogas and biomethane solutions using a computation model called MCBioCH4 and compare its results with laboratory tests of sewage sludge fermentation from the northern wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) of Ekaterinburg (Russian Federation). Laboratory experiments were conducted to determine the volume and qualitative composition of biogas produced throughout anaerobic fermentation of raw materials coming from the WWTP. The specific productivity of samples ranged between 308.46 Nm3/tvs and 583.08 Nm3/tvs depending if mesophilic or thermophilic conditions were analyzed, or if the experiment was conducted with or without sludge pre-treatment. Output values from the laboratory were used as input for MCBioCH4 to calculate the flow of biogas or biomethane produced. For the case study of Ekaterinburg two possible energy conversion options were selected: B-H (biogas combustion with cogeneration of electrical and thermal energy) and M-T (biomethane to be used in transports). The results of the energy module showed a net energy content of the biogas between 6575 MWh/year and 7200 MWh/year. Both options yielded a favorable greenhouse gas (GHG) balance, meaning that avoided emissions are higher than produced emissions. The results discussion also showed that, in this case, the B-H option is preferable to the M-T option. The implementation of the biogas/biomethane energy conversion system in Ekaterinburg WWTP necessitates further investigations to clarify the remaining technical and economic aspects Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation of Circular Economy Principles in Regional Solid Municipal Waste Management: The Case of Sverdlovskaya Oblast (Russian Federation)
Resources 2019, 8(2), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8020090 - 07 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The circular economy entails the principles of rational waste management to the best advantage. Waste management in the Russian Federation is currently in a reform process, thus it is crucial to choose now the most efficient way for its development. Besides, in addition [...] Read more.
The circular economy entails the principles of rational waste management to the best advantage. Waste management in the Russian Federation is currently in a reform process, thus it is crucial to choose now the most efficient way for its development. Besides, in addition to general government strategic aims in such a vast country such as Russia, it is very important to take into consideration specific aspects typical of its territories, which will allow determining regional areas of activities. The article analyzes current municipal solid waste management in the Russian Federation. The case study is of one of the regions (Sverdlovskaya Oblast) characterized by some typical and specific problems which illustrate the results of the first stage of reforming. The authors analyzed the existing and planned mechanisms of state regulation in the waste management sector at regional and federal levels, and scrutinized changes in legislation. The development level of the circular economy in the region was determined on the basis of the index method. The life cycle analysis (LCA)-based evaluation approach made it possible to evaluate the economic efficiency of the production and economic activities at different stages of municipal solid waste (waste paper) recycling with due regard to externalities. The research showed that despite the current substantial economic potential of the secondary resources’ (waste paper) reuse, there was a low level of development of the circular economy index. Regional factors hindering and fostering the circular economy development were identified. Recommendations for improving the quality of governance of the municipal solid waste management were formulated. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Clean Energy Sources: Insights from Russia
Resources 2019, 8(2), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8020084 - 01 May 2019
Abstract
The paper is devoted to the assessment of the prospects of implementing clean energy sources in Russia, where the current energy policy goal is to increase the role of renewable and clean energy sources. The research is based on data from the Krasnoyarsk [...] Read more.
The paper is devoted to the assessment of the prospects of implementing clean energy sources in Russia, where the current energy policy goal is to increase the role of renewable and clean energy sources. The research is based on data from the Krasnoyarsk Region as one of the largest territories but also as a representative model of Russia. The aim of the study is to identify where and which renewable energy source (solar, wind, hydro and nuclear) has the highest potential. The novelty of our research lies in its holistic nature: authors consider both geographical and technical potential for renewable energy sources development as well as prospective demand for such resources, while previous research is mostly focused on specific aspects of renewable energy development. We also consider the level of air pollution as an important factor for the development of renewable energy sources. The results of the study show that there is a strong potential for clean energy sources in the Krasnoyarsk Region. The resulting matrix identifies the potential of energy sources across all the municipal entities and also indicates whether the source of energy is primary or supplemental and where several sources may be implemented in cooperation. Full article
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Open AccessViewpoint
Concerns to Be Considered during Recycling Operations
Resources 2019, 8(2), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8020076 - 23 Apr 2019
Abstract
Recycling should in principle be the goal in all aspects of society. There are, however, limitations, as any recycling task may lead to pollution in the ground, water or air. In the most extreme case, recycling may lead to threats to human life. [...] Read more.
Recycling should in principle be the goal in all aspects of society. There are, however, limitations, as any recycling task may lead to pollution in the ground, water or air. In the most extreme case, recycling may lead to threats to human life. In this paper, we take examples from key industries where recycling can be harmful and where closed and sealed dumps should have been used, rather than the attempt to recycle such as the oil and gas industry, the construction industry and farming. Reuse, hereby defined as use for another purpose without industrial processes, will be briefly discussed. The objectives of the paper are to remind key industries about their responsibility to recycle in a manner that does not harm the environment and to promote recycling in a sustainable way. It is suggested that a recommendation to key industries be made, to carefully assess all consequences of recycling could enhance the recycling industry’s contribution to a cleaner world. The paper is intended to serve as a reminder that recycling in all industries requires careful planning and engineering to represent a valuable contribution towards a sustainable society. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rational Behavior of an Enterprise in the Energy Market in a Circular Economy
Resources 2019, 8(2), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8020073 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In order to ensure their market sustainability, it is essential for energy-intensive industrial companies to address the issues of efficient energy use. Companies that are prepared to embrace tariff hikes, structural changes in fuel and energy markets, and a shortage of energy resources [...] Read more.
In order to ensure their market sustainability, it is essential for energy-intensive industrial companies to address the issues of efficient energy use. Companies that are prepared to embrace tariff hikes, structural changes in fuel and energy markets, and a shortage of energy resources have a wider range of options to respond to the new challenges posed by the external environment and to reduce their risks. This task becomes particularly relevant in the context of the development of the circular economy that is aimed at resource optimization, energy conservation, zero-waste manufacturing, and business models that are based on maximum operational efficiency. This study aims to develop a methodology for rational behavior of the energy consumer in the context of the circular economy. The concept of “rational behavior” is defined by the authors as the intention to make the maximum use of the advantages and potential of energy markets in order to reduce the cost of energy supply, increase the level of electrification in industrial production, and use the capabilities of their own energy business. The article describes the main principles of rational behavior that serve as the foundation for effective implementation of various strategies (that of the seller, buyer, or both) in a company. A link is shown between rational behavior and energy market potential management in a company as a mix of technological, economic, and organizational activities performed by the energy consumer in a competitive market and effective market risk management. Forms of off-grid power supply and conditions for their application in manufacturing, for example, mini-combined heat and power (CHP) plants and quadgeneration plants at large metallurgical facilities were analyzed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Financial Development and Bioenergy Consumption in the EU28 Region: Evidence from Panel Auto-Regressive Distributed Lag Bound Approach
Resources 2019, 8(1), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8010044 - 26 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper investigates the relationship between financial development and bio-energy consumption in the European Union (EU28) countries for the period from 1990 to 2013 through the panel autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach and causality analysis. The empirical results show that financial development shows [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the relationship between financial development and bio-energy consumption in the European Union (EU28) countries for the period from 1990 to 2013 through the panel autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach and causality analysis. The empirical results show that financial development shows a significant positive impact, at a 1% statistical level, on bio-energy consumption for the EU28 during the studied period. In developing countries, the financial market indicator affects bio-energy consumption outgrowth positively and significantly at a 1% statistical level. For developed countries, there is a positive influence of financial institutions and financial market indicators on bio-energy consumption growth at the 1% and 10% levels, respectively. The study concludes that there is a significant relationship between the consumption of bio-energy and financial development factors. The study provides recommendations that are useful when formulating policy related to energy consumption and the promotion of bio-energy consumption. Financial development and economic outgrowth show a significant influence on the outgrowth of bio-energy consumption at a 1% statistical level. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Bioenergy Intensity and Its Determinants in European Continental Countries: Evidence Using GMM Estimation
Resources 2019, 8(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8010043 - 26 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study contributes to the existing literature by examining bioenergy intensity and its related factors in European continental countries (ECC). Through its focus on European continental (EC), this study extends the existing literature, which mainly covers nationwide studies. The current paper aims to [...] Read more.
This study contributes to the existing literature by examining bioenergy intensity and its related factors in European continental countries (ECC). Through its focus on European continental (EC), this study extends the existing literature, which mainly covers nationwide studies. The current paper aims to investigate the variables of bioenergy intensity in the ECC during the term 2005–2013, construct its economic variables, and evaluate the volume and significance level of the impact of each variable on bioenergy intensity. To successfully achieve this analysis, a generalised method of moments estimator (GMM) was designed for ECC. The estimated models show that available bioenergy for final consumption has a positive impact on bioenergy intensity in ECC. The largest influence on bioenergy intensity was evaluated for the annual growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), followed by the investment and referral that the scale and construction of this economic variable should be taken into consideration and applied as a precious bioenergy regulation and policy instruments for developing bioenergy intensity and efficiency. Full article
Open AccessViewpoint
Potential of Renewable Energy Resources with an Emphasis on Solar Power in Iraq: An Outlook
Resources 2019, 8(1), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8010042 - 25 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study presents an outlook on the renewable energies in Iraq, and the potential for deploying concentrated solar power technologies to support power generation in Iraq. Solar energy has not been sufficiently utilized at present in Iraq. However, this energy source can play [...] Read more.
This study presents an outlook on the renewable energies in Iraq, and the potential for deploying concentrated solar power technologies to support power generation in Iraq. Solar energy has not been sufficiently utilized at present in Iraq. However, this energy source can play an important role in energy production in Iraq, as the global solar radiation ranging from 2000 kWh/m2 to a 2500 kWh/m2 annual daily average. In addition, the study presents the limited current solar energy activities in Iraq. The attempts of the Iraqi government to utilize solar energy are also presented. Two approaches for utilizing concentrated solar power have been proposed, to support existing thermal power generation, with the possibility of being implemented as standalone plants or being integrated with thermal power plants. However, the cost analysis has shown that for 50 kW concentrated solar power in Iraq, the cost is around 0.23 US cent/kWh without integration with energy storage. Additionally, notable obstacles and barriers bounding the utilization of solar energy are also discussed. Finally, this study proposes initiatives that can be adopted by the Iraqi government to support the use of renewable energy resources in general, and solar energy in particular. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Air Quality Planning and the Minimization of Negative Externalities
Resources 2019, 8(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8010015 - 10 Jan 2019
Abstract
The minimization of negative externalities is a key aspect in the development of a circular and sustainable economic model. At the local scale, especially in urban areas, externalities are generated by the adverse impacts of air pollution on human health. Local air quality [...] Read more.
The minimization of negative externalities is a key aspect in the development of a circular and sustainable economic model. At the local scale, especially in urban areas, externalities are generated by the adverse impacts of air pollution on human health. Local air quality policies and plans often lack of considerations and instruments for the quantification and evaluation of external health costs. Support for decision-makers is needed, in particular during the implementation stage of air quality plans. Modelling tools based on the impact pathway approach can provide such support. In this paper, the implementation of health impacts and externalities analysis in air quality planning is evaluated. The state of the art in European member states is reported, considering whether and how health effects have been included in the planning schemes. The air quality plan of the Piemonte region in Italy is then considered. A case study is analyzed to evaluate a plan action, i.e., the development of the district heating system in the city of Turin. The DIATI (Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Ambiente, del Territorio e delle Infrastrutture) Dispersion and Externalities Model (DIDEM model) is applied to detect the scenario with the highest external cost reduction. This methodology results are extensible and adaptable to other actions and measures, as well as other local policies in Europe. The use of health externalities should be encouraged and integrated into the present methodology supporting air quality planning. Efforts should be addressed to quantify and minimize the overall uncertainty of the process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Benefit Analysis and Regulatory Actions for Imported Palm Kernel Shell as an Environment-Friendly Energy Source in Taiwan
Resources 2019, 8(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8010008 - 01 Jan 2019
Abstract
In response to the lack of locally natural sources and the environmental concerns about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, using a wide variety of biomass residues as energy sources has attracted much attention in the past two decades. The purpose of the case study [...] Read more.
In response to the lack of locally natural sources and the environmental concerns about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, using a wide variety of biomass residues as energy sources has attracted much attention in the past two decades. The purpose of the case study was to examine the energy use of imported palm kernel shell (PKS) in Taiwan, which has generated superheated steam for the end users in the industrial sector. In this work, characterizing the thermochemical properties of imported PKS (including proximate analysis, elemental analysis and calorific value) was first conducted by the standard test methods. Based on the statistics of imported PKS and the method developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the preliminary benefit analysis of PKS-to-energy was further addressed in the paper to verify its equivalent GHG emission mitigation. The results showed the annual benefit of equivalent GHG mitigation of about 78,647 metric tons (using annual imported PKS of 60,000 metric tons on an average). In addition, the economic benefit for purchasing PKS in the industrial boilers can gain the cost-down at approximately NT$60,000,000 (US$2,000,000) in comparison with that of fuel oil. Furthermore, the regulatory measures for upgrading PKS-to-energy and countermeasures for controlling air pollutant emissions from PKS-to-energy facilities were briefly summarized to create another circular economy. Finally, some technological recommendations have been addressed to upgrade the added values of imported PKS in Taiwan. Full article
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2018

Jump to: 2019

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Risk Assessment in a Materials Recycling Facility: Perspectives for Reducing Operational Issues
Resources 2018, 7(4), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7040085 - 10 Dec 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Mechanical separation of light packaging waste is a useful practice for improving the quality of the recyclable waste flows and its exploitation in a frame of the circular economy. Materials Recovery Facilities can treat from 3000 to 5000 tons per year of light [...] Read more.
Mechanical separation of light packaging waste is a useful practice for improving the quality of the recyclable waste flows and its exploitation in a frame of the circular economy. Materials Recovery Facilities can treat from 3000 to 5000 tons per year of light packaging waste. Concerning the plastic content, this is divided in four flows: PET, HDPE, other plastics, and waste rejects. The last two are generally used for energy recovery. For improving the quality of the recyclable plastic waste, a manual separation is required for reducing the impurities detectable in the final products. However, this practice could enhance the risk at work of the operators, which should be constantly monitored. This article explores the main differences of a manual separation and of a mechanical separation, assessing the costs and the health risk for the workers. The analysis started from the situation in an Italian Materials Recovery Facility, generalizing the context; a future scenario with the application of a mechanical separation is theoretically introduced. The main results obtained suggest that the manual separation plant improves the quality of the material, though increasing the risk of the operators due to the possible contact with sharp waste, sanitary danger, and risk of injuries for the mismanagement of machines, among others. The mechanical separation can be considered a real advantage from an economic point of view, since the operating costs are lower and the investment could be recovered in around 10 years, in an Italian-like context. On balance, on the one hand, the article provides indications for the private sector for improving the management of a Materials Recovery Facility, while, on the other hand, it detects the main pros and cons of both methodologies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Stakeholder Management: An Approach in CCS Projects
Resources 2018, 7(4), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7040083 - 09 Dec 2018
Abstract
Currently, a prime position in the global emission mitigation and power transformation system is taken up by CCS technology (carbon capture and storage), proven by the successful realization of a number of CCS projects around the world, not only for CO2 storage, [...] Read more.
Currently, a prime position in the global emission mitigation and power transformation system is taken up by CCS technology (carbon capture and storage), proven by the successful realization of a number of CCS projects around the world, not only for CO2 storage, but also for its deployment in industry. CO2-utilizing technologies are circular business models connected with the usage of emissions to provide added benefits throughout the value chain, with their value being part of a response to end the era of cheap mineral resources and materials, as well as their ability to contribute to the transition to a low carbon economy. At the same time, one of the main problems they face lies in the engagement and interaction of stakeholders, as well as public perception of these projects. The purpose of this research is to explore the main stakeholder groups in CCS projects and offer an approach for their management. The methodology of this study is based on case studies, stakeholder management tools, and a checklist method, which were adapted to the specific area of CCS projects. The results of this study amounted to the identification of stakeholder groups with interests and respective roles in CCS projects, as well as proposing a new approach for their assessment through the created checklist method. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Relationships between Causal Factors Affecting Future Carbon Dioxide Output from Thailand’s Transportation Sector under the Government’s Sustainability Policy: Expanding the SEM-VECM Model
Resources 2018, 7(4), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7040081 - 03 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
This research aims to analyze the relationships between causal factors likely to affect future CO2 emissions from the Thai transportation sector by developing the Structural Equation Modeling-Vector Autoregressive Error Correction Mechanism Model (SEM-VECM Model). This model was created to fill information gaps [...] Read more.
This research aims to analyze the relationships between causal factors likely to affect future CO2 emissions from the Thai transportation sector by developing the Structural Equation Modeling-Vector Autoregressive Error Correction Mechanism Model (SEM-VECM Model). This model was created to fill information gaps of older models. In addition, the model provides the unique feature of viable model application for different sectors in various contexts. The model revealed all exogenous variables that have direct and indirect influences over changes in CO2 emissions. The variables show a direct effect at a confidence interval of 99%, including per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ), labor growth ( Δ ln ( L ) t 1 ), urbanization rate factor ( Δ ln ( U R T ) t 1 ), industrial structure ( Δ ln ( I S ) t 1 ), energy consumption ( Δ ln ( E C ) t 1 ), foreign direct investment ( Δ ln ( F D I ) t 1 ), oil price ( Δ ln ( O P ) t 1 ), and net exports ( Δ ln ( X E ) t 1 ). In addition, it was found that every variable in the SEM-VECM model has an indirect effect on changes in CO2 emissions at a confidence interval of 99%. The SEM-VECM model has the ability to adjust to the equilibrium equivalent to 39%. However, it also helps to identify the degree of direct effect that each causal factor has on the others. Specifically, labor growth ( Δ ln ( L ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ) and energy consumption ( Δ ln ( E C ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%, while urbanization rate ( Δ ln ( U R T ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ), labor growth ( Δ ln ( L ) t 1 ), and net exports ( Δ ln ( X E ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%. Furthermore, industrial structure ( Δ ln ( I S ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%, whereas energy consumption ( Δ ln ( E C ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%. Foreign direct investment ( Δ ln ( F D I ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%, while oil price ( Δ ln ( O P ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on industrial structure ( Δ ln ( I S ) t 1 ), energy consumption ( Δ ln ( E C ) t 1 ), and net exports ( Δ ln ( X E ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%. Lastly, net exports ( Δ ln ( X E ) t 1 ) had a direct effect on per capita GDP ( Δ ln ( GDP ) t 1 ) at a confidence interval of 99%. The model eliminates the problem of heteroskedasticity, multicollinearity, and autocorrelation. In addition, it was found that the model is white noise. When the SEM-VECM Model was used for 30-year forecasting (2018–2047), it projected that CO2 emissions would increase steadily by 67.04% (2047/2018) or 123.90 Mt CO2 Eq. by 2047. The performance of the SEM-VECM Model was assessed and produced a mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) of 1.21% and root mean square error (RMSE) of 1.02%. When comparing the performance value with the values of other, older models, the SEM-VECM Model was found to be more effective and useful for future research and policy planning for Thailand’s sustainability goals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Developing Adequate Communication of Waste Footprints of Products for a Circular Economy—A Stakeholder Consultation
Resources 2018, 7(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7040078 - 26 Nov 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Relatively few consumers are conscious of the waste generated in the course of producing the goods that they consume, although most are aware of the amount of waste they dispose of. This article reports on a small-scale survey (N = 28) among stakeholders [...] Read more.
Relatively few consumers are conscious of the waste generated in the course of producing the goods that they consume, although most are aware of the amount of waste they dispose of. This article reports on a small-scale survey (N = 28) among stakeholders aimed at developing adequate communication of preconsumer waste footprints of consumer goods in the context of the circular economy. Life cycle assessment (LCA) practitioners and consumers assessed five methodological details of an approach for calculating and communicating a product waste footprint (PWF). Most of the respondents expressed that the guidelines described in the proposed PWF methodology are good enough for the purposes of differentiating waste and byproducts, and defining which material flow shall be accounted for. Some LCA practitioners declared that the proposed streamlined method may not be adequate for conveying the environmental significance of waste types. The respondents also expressed that the PWF concept would be primarily useful and/or needed for consumers and government, and in the contexts of improving environmental awareness of consumers, environmental policy making, visualizing waste flows in a circular economy, and improving resource efficiency in industry, and less useful/needed in a business-to-business context. The PWF has been successfully used by diverse stakeholder groups in Sweden mostly to promote sustainable production and consumption across society. A notable example is the ‘invisible waste’ (#invisiblewaste) campaign of the Swedish Waste Management Association (Avfall Sverige). The concerns of the LCA experts have therefore not held true. The symbolic power and parsimony of the PWF concept appears to be effective in sensitizing consumers towards waste issues so that circular economy strategies beyond recycling are possible to be fully realized. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Simulations and Laboratory Tests for Assessing Phosphorus Recovery Efficiency from Sewage Sludge
Resources 2018, 7(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7030054 - 31 Aug 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Phosphorus is a potential environmental pollutant, which could lead to the eutrophication of water bodies. For this reason, wastewater treatment plants worldwide are often designed and operated to eliminate phosphorous from effluents, at substantial cost. At the same time, phosphorus is an essential [...] Read more.
Phosphorus is a potential environmental pollutant, which could lead to the eutrophication of water bodies. For this reason, wastewater treatment plants worldwide are often designed and operated to eliminate phosphorous from effluents, at substantial cost. At the same time, phosphorus is an essential nutrient for agriculture and, consequently, human life. Data seem to suggest that the world will run out of phosphorus by around 2300, in the best case scenario, although even shorter estimates exist. This situation evokes the need for more efficient phosphorus recovery technologies, in order to meet current water quality requirements and—at the same time—critical future phosphorous needs. Chemical precipitation is the main process for achieving a phosphorus-containing mineral suitable for reuse as a fertilizer, where Struvite is an example of such a product. In this study chemical equilibrium of struvite precipitation was simulated using US Geological Survey (USGS)’ PHREEQC model, and results were compared to laboratory precipitation tests to evaluate struvite recovery efficiency under various conditions. pH had the most significant effect on the results and P recovery of >90% was achieved at pH = 9.5. Simulations indicated that struvite precipitation is affected by the presence of Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP) and calcite in the final product of the process. The model showed great potential for predicting equilibrium conditions, and could be very helpful for future optimization of the process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Good Practices and Actions for Sustainable Municipal Solid Waste Management in the Tourist Sector
Resources 2018, 7(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7030051 - 13 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
This paper deals with waste management in the tourism sector, specifically in the agro-tourism structures. Two regions of Romania and Italy have been considered as case studies in order to promote good practices and actions for sustainable municipal solid waste management. Specific criteria [...] Read more.
This paper deals with waste management in the tourism sector, specifically in the agro-tourism structures. Two regions of Romania and Italy have been considered as case studies in order to promote good practices and actions for sustainable municipal solid waste management. Specific criteria to adopt for the sustainable consumption of beverages and food and for the sustainable use of packaging of various types have been analyzed and suggested. The adoption of an indicator at the level of the single tourist structure has been proposed to help self-analysis that is aimed at setting the priorities of intervention for improving its environmental sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ecological Criteria for Comparing Linear and Circular Economies
Resources 2018, 7(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7030048 - 08 Aug 2018
Cited by 13
Abstract
In the present article, the main principles of the circular economy are outlined in contradistinction with the existing and traditional linear economic model. An econometric model describing the influence of the linear economy on the environment is presented. The environment is characterized by [...] Read more.
In the present article, the main principles of the circular economy are outlined in contradistinction with the existing and traditional linear economic model. An econometric model describing the influence of the linear economy on the environment is presented. The environment is characterized by seven key processes: change in global temperature; emissions of greenhouse gases from industry to the environment; emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture to the environment; CO2 emissions into the environment; depletion of fresh water supplies; reduction of forest cover; and economic damage from climatological disasters. The model describing the impact of the traditional linear economy on the environment consists of seven interdependent econometric equations, each comprising an autoregressive distributed lag (ADL)-model. The proposed econometric model is used to analyze the environmental effects of the present linear economy. Methodological provisions for a transformational transition of the traditional linear economic model to the closed-loop systems, which also permit the impact of the closed-loop systems on the environment to be analyzed, are set out. Seven ecological indicators are proposed as criteria for comparing the traditional linear economy and the closed-loop systems. The manuscript presents a new approach for the determination of ecological criteria for comparing linear and circular economies. The results of the study could be interesting to address circular processes, which can be used as a criterion to establish ecological management according to the status of natural resources. Full article
Open AccessArticle
An Algorithm of Management Decision-Making Regarding the Feasibility of Investing in Geological Studies of Forecasted Hydrocarbon Resources
Resources 2018, 7(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7030047 - 08 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Currently, under the conditions of increasing depletion of hydrocarbon reserves in Russia, it is necessary to consider the resource potential of poorly-researched oil and gas objects as a factor for ensuring the sustainable development of the oil and gas complex, in the context [...] Read more.
Currently, under the conditions of increasing depletion of hydrocarbon reserves in Russia, it is necessary to consider the resource potential of poorly-researched oil and gas objects as a factor for ensuring the sustainable development of the oil and gas complex, in the context of the concept formation of rational subsoil utilization and a circular economy. The methodology of this study is based on a clear sequence of geological and economic studies of poorly-researched oil and gas objects, including four stages, such as analysis of the raw material base, assessment of the raw material potential, determination of technological development parameters, and economic evaluation. The methods of the probabilistic estimation of oil resources of the forecasted objects with regard to geological risk are outlined. Software packages “EVA—Risk Analysis” and “EVA—Economic Evaluation of Oil and Gas Field Development Projects” were used for estimation. The result of the study is the determination of the geological and economic efficiency of the development of nine hydrocarbon objects with the determination of the order of their further geological exploration, and introduction into industrial development on the example of the poorly-researched region of the Timan-Pechora oil and gas province located in the Arctic zone. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Non-Timber Forest Products in Creating Incentives for Forest Conservation: A Case Study of Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia
Resources 2018, 7(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7030041 - 01 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The fundamental issue in this study is to confirm whether or not the extraction of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) will encourage additional pro-conservation behavior from local people. This study clarifies three research questions as follows: what is the current activity of forest conservation [...] Read more.
The fundamental issue in this study is to confirm whether or not the extraction of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) will encourage additional pro-conservation behavior from local people. This study clarifies three research questions as follows: what is the current activity of forest conservation in Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary?; does the extraction of NTFPs create incentives for forest conservation?; and how much value do NTFPs have for incentives for forest conservation activities? Fieldworks were conducted in September 2015, March and April 2016, March 2017 in Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary: participatory rural appraisals, key informant interviews, and structured questionnaire interviews with 288 households were randomly selected. Though this study confirmed that extraction of NTFPs is generally seen as the most positive influenced factors for local people’s participation towards forest conservation. Additionally, this study found that the annual value of NTFPs as incentives for forest conservation was around US$0.95/ha or US$95/km2 in Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Scenario Modelling of the “Green” Economy in an Economic Space
Resources 2018, 7(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7020029 - 25 Apr 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The article utilizes the main elements of system analysis and the bases of cognitive science to analyze the concept of the “ecological and economic system”. The characteristics of the conceptual elements of the “green” economy dynamic model used in the application of cognitive [...] Read more.
The article utilizes the main elements of system analysis and the bases of cognitive science to analyze the concept of the “ecological and economic system”. The characteristics of the conceptual elements of the “green” economy dynamic model used in the application of cognitive analysis are given and their mutual influence is considered. A dynamic model of the “green” economy is developed, a general extended map and a reduced-parametric cognitive map of the development of the “green” economy in the economic space of the region are constructed. Scenario modelling of the development of the region’s “green” economy based on the intensification of the influence of one of the cognitive vertices of the model on the curve of the development of the “green” economy is carried out and described. Scenario modelling and development of cognitive maps are carried out using the software package Vensim Personal Learning Edition (PLE), which is widely applied in system analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Microwave-Assisted Extraction and Physicochemical Evaluation of Oil from Hevea brasiliensis Seeds
Resources 2018, 7(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7020028 - 19 Apr 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is exploited mainly for latex in view of its economic importance. However, one of its auxiliary products, the rubber seed, does not find any major applications, and hence, even the natural production of seeds itself remains [...] Read more.
The rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is exploited mainly for latex in view of its economic importance. However, one of its auxiliary products, the rubber seed, does not find any major applications, and hence, even the natural production of seeds itself remains underutilized. In this study, microwave-assisted Soxhlet extraction is used as a green alternative to extract the oil from seeds at a reaction time of 90 min and microwave power of 300 W. The objective of the study is to evaluate the effects of the processing conditions, including drying time, temperature, solid–solvent ratio, and extraction solvent, on the yield of rubber seed oil. Moreover, the microwave-assisted aqueous extraction (MAAE) under acidic conditions is also investigated. Based on the results, n-hexane gave the best yield at an optimized 1:20 seed–hexane ratio at 72 °C compared with the conventional Soxhlet method and the acidic MAAE. Furthermore, the chemical characteristics of the oil showed a high value of free fatty acids (% FFA) (1.15–7.61%) and an iodine value (IV) that ranges from 100–150. As a semi-drying oil, rubber seed oil (RSO) can be used as an ingredient for surface coating and in the formulation of products where the presence of unsaturation is important. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of an Innovative and Sustainable Model for Integrating River Maintenance with Energy Production from Residual Biomass
Resources 2018, 7(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7020027 - 17 Apr 2018
Abstract
This study aims to develop an innovative model for managing territory maintenance in which the productive function is linked with the protective one and that integrates environmental and economic development aspects, combining the energetic valorization with an effective territory maintenance program. The strong [...] Read more.
This study aims to develop an innovative model for managing territory maintenance in which the productive function is linked with the protective one and that integrates environmental and economic development aspects, combining the energetic valorization with an effective territory maintenance program. The strong innovation consists in the creation of an agro-energy environment chain based on the maintenance of river basins and small waterways made by single farmers or associations that will use residual biomass to produce electrical and thermal bio-energy. The maintenance activities include the control of aquatic weeds, grass cutting on river banks, and tree/bush management. If left unmanaged, they can block the flow of watercourses and increase the risk of flooding. The implementation of this virtuous model to the rivers maintenance aims to provide management and conservation means based on the territory characteristics. In fact, the new model has been applied to an existing site in the Marche region (Italy) located near a river characterized by a poor state of maintenance. A real commercial system for residual biomass exploitation was chosen, and both the technical and economic feasibility of the model implementation have been demonstrated. Full article
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