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Special Issue "Biomass for Sustainability: Resource, Technology Conversion and Energy Management"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 9625

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Luis M. López-Ochoa
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Guest Editor
TENECO Research Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of La Rioja, Calle San José de Calasanz, 31, Logroño, 26004 La Rioja, Spain
Interests: nearly zero-energy buildings; building sector; biomass; bioenergy; rural development
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. José P. Paredes-Sánchez
E-Mail
Guest Editor
School of Mining, Energy and Materials Engineering of Oviedo, Department of Energy, University of Oviedo, 33004 Principado de Asturias, Spain
Interests: biomass; bioenergy; energy systems; energy performance; fossil-fuel-based industry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The decarbonization of all sectors is essential in addressing the global challenge of climate change. Bioenergy can contribute to replacing our current dependence on fossil fuels and offers significant possibilities in many conventional and advanced applications from power to heating and cooling installations. Energy systems in the building and industrial sectors can convert biomass to other usable forms of energy and improve energy performance. Moreover, bioenergy sustainability means energy can be continued or prolonged for an extended period of time.

Further research is needed in order to develop better green energy production methods and new procedures to evaluate and valorize biomass in a circular economy context. Some of the most critical bottlenecks to increase the use of bioenergy are energy conversion and management from resource to final energy. The countries where this source is strengthened can achieve security of energy supply and energy independence. In addition, biomass boilers and biomass district heating systems are interesting options to achieve nearly zero-energy buildings, contributing the needed biomass harvesting to rural development and to improve resource planning and distribution.

The focus of this Special Issue will be to publish a comprehensive overview and in-depth technical research papers addressing recent progress in biomass-based systems and innovative applications. Therefore, this Special Issue will cover but is not limited to the following topics:

• Approach of energy application of biomass in power systems, especially in combined heat and power systems;

• Bioenergy simulation using available or newly developed advanced systems;

• Development and application of biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels;

• Implementation of biorefineries and new bioenergy systems;

• Achievement of nearly zero-energy buildings using bioenergy;

• Biomass for sustainable rural development;

• Research of bioenergy implementation by thermal systems.

Original papers related to the above topics, including case studies, methodologies, applied developments, and the current state of emerging technologies in this field, are highly encouraged. The breadth of coverage ranges from innovative technologies and systems to the economic, environmental, and energy impact of the use of this energy source.

Assoc. Prof. Luis M. López-Ochoa
Assist. Prof. José P. Paredes-Sánchez
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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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

  • biomass
  • bioenergy
  • biofuel
  • thermal system
  • power system
  • energy management
  • rural development

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Direct Improvement in the Combustion Chamber and the Radiant Surface to Reduce the Emission of Particles in Biomass Cooking Stoves Used in Araucanía, Chile
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7205; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137205 - 27 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 840
Abstract
Solid particle emissions from burning wood in three internal combustion biomass cooking stoves commonly used in southern Chile were compared. Each stove was used to show differences in sealing systems, combustion chamber shape, and heating surfaces in order to optimize biomass combustion and [...] Read more.
Solid particle emissions from burning wood in three internal combustion biomass cooking stoves commonly used in southern Chile were compared. Each stove was used to show differences in sealing systems, combustion chamber shape, and heating surfaces in order to optimize biomass combustion and the energy produced at a low manufacturing cost. The influence of cooking stove design along with particle and gas emissions that resulted from the biomass combustion within the cooking stove was investigated in this study. Levels of diverse atmospheric contaminants, such as particulate matter, emission factor, NOx, CO2, and CO, and the temperature of the flue gases were determined with the Ch-28 method and UNE-EN 12815. The average emission of particulate matter was significantly reduced by modifying the geometry of the combustion chamber and heating surface of each stove, resulting in 5 g/h particle emissions in conventional equipment and 2 g/h in the improved equipment. In relation to gas emissions, there was a 25% maximum decrease in NOx gases and 35% in CO after modifying the heating surface of each stove. This background supports the evidence of technological improvement with high environmental impact and low economic cost for local manufacturers. Full article
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Article
Analysis of District Heating and Cooling Energy Systems in Spain: Resources, Technology and Management
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5442; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105442 - 13 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 913
Abstract
District heating and cooling (DHC) systems play an important role under the new European Union (EU) energy transition strategy. Thermal energy networks are helping to stimulate the development of alternative technologies based on a broad range of renewable energy sources. The present study [...] Read more.
District heating and cooling (DHC) systems play an important role under the new European Union (EU) energy transition strategy. Thermal energy networks are helping to stimulate the development of alternative technologies based on a broad range of renewable energy sources. The present study analysed the current situation of DHC systems in Spain and provides an overview of the challenges and future opportunities that their use will entail. Its objective is to assess thermal energy conversion and management from a holistic perspective, including a study of existing energy infrastructures. The focus of this study lies on Spain given the country’s abundance of natural resources such as renewable energy sources including solar energy, biomass and geothermal energy, among others, as well as its strategic location on the map of the EU. Based on the analysis of the three factors for energy conversion in a district heating system, namely resources, technology, and management, the methodology provided an assessment of the different factors involved in running a DHC system. The results show an estimated total production for DHC networks of 1448 MWth, of which 72% is supplied purely by renewable energy sources. Full article
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Article
Determination of the Optimal Operative Conditions for the Torrefaction of Olive Waste Biomass
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6411; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166411 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 853
Abstract
The need for new energy sources and the problems associated with waste in the agroforestry industry are an opportunity for the recovery of this waste. For the use of this agricultural waste as energy, different pretreatments, such as torrefaction, can be carried out. [...] Read more.
The need for new energy sources and the problems associated with waste in the agroforestry industry are an opportunity for the recovery of this waste. For the use of this agricultural waste as energy, different pretreatments, such as torrefaction, can be carried out. Torrefaction is a thermochemical treatment involving energetic densification of biomass at temperatures ranging from 200 to 300 °C under an inert and anaerobic environment. This study developed a numerical model to evaluate the effect of temperature and residence time of torrefaction on biomass from olive tree waste to determine optimum operative conditions for the process. Four temperatures and four residence times, in the operation range of the process, were tested to determine the weight loss and the higher heating values (HHVs) of the torrefied sample. From these data, a numerical model was developed to infer the complete behavior of the process in the temperature range between 200 and 300 °C and in the residence time range of a few minutes to 2 h. The HHV of the torrefied sample increased at a temperature between 200 and 275 °C. However, from 275 to 300 °C, there was an HHV decrease. The effect of the residence time depended on the torrefaction temperature. At low temperatures, there were no statistically significant differences, although an increase of HHV was detected under 120 min. However, at 250 °C this effect was reversed, and statistically significant differences were not observed between 30 and 120 min. Overall, the increase of temperature in the torrefaction process reduces the residence time needed to achieve the maximum HHV. As a result, the optimum conditions of torrefaction for this biomass were, approximately, 275 °C and 30 min of residence time. This reaction yielded an optimum 5830 cal/g HHV. Full article
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Article
Bioenergy for a Cleaner Future: A Case Study of Sustainable Biogas Supply Chain in the Malaysian Energy Sector
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3213; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083213 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1381
Abstract
A life cycle assessment (LCA)-based environmental sustainability evaluation conceptual framework of biogas production has been proposed to improve the sustainability of biogas supply chains. The conceptual framework developed in this study can be used as a guideline for the related stakeholders and decision [...] Read more.
A life cycle assessment (LCA)-based environmental sustainability evaluation conceptual framework of biogas production has been proposed to improve the sustainability of biogas supply chains. The conceptual framework developed in this study can be used as a guideline for the related stakeholders and decision makers to improve the quality and enhance the sustainability of biogas production in Malaysia as well as promoting biogas as a clean, reliable and secure energy. A case study on an LCA analysis of a zero waste discharge treatment process has been conducted. In the zero discharge treatment system, biogas can be produced with a maximum water recycle and reuse. It was indicated that the biogas production and zero discharge treatment of a palm oil mill effluent were environmentally sustainable as the system utilized organic waste to produce bioenergy and achieved zero discharge. However, there were other aspects that should be taken into consideration, particularly regarding the sources of electricity and upstream activity, to ensure the sustainability of the system holistically. Full article
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Article
Energy Utilization of Algae Biomass Waste Enteromorpha Resulting in Green Tide in China: Pyrolysis Kinetic Parameters Estimation Based on Shuffled Complex Evolution
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 2086; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12052086 - 08 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1041
Abstract
Enteromorpha is a species of algae biomass that is spread widely and has resulted in green tides in China in recent years. It was urgent to explore an appropriate method for taking advantage of the ocean waste as an energy supply in the [...] Read more.
Enteromorpha is a species of algae biomass that is spread widely and has resulted in green tides in China in recent years. It was urgent to explore an appropriate method for taking advantage of the ocean waste as an energy supply in the current sustainable development. Pyrolysis, as the first step of thermochemical conversion in energy utilization, was given attention in order to study its behavior based on thermogravimetric experiments over a wide heating-rate range from 5 to 60 K/min. The whole pyrolysis process was divided into three stages: water evaporation, the main components decomposition, and carbonate decomposition. To estimate the detailed kinetic parameters (activation energy, the pre-exponential factor, and reaction order etc.), the Kissinger method was used to establish the original kinetic parameters at different stages and provide the parameter search range for the next heuristic algorithm, and then the Shuffled Complex Evolution optimization algorithm was coupled and first applied to the algae biomass pyrolysis. Eventually, the predicted results of mass loss rate based on the optimized kinetic parameters agreed well with the thermogravimetric experimental data, with the R2 value being up to 0.92 for all the heating rates. Full article
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Review

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Review
The Potential Contribution of Decentralized Anaerobic Digestion towards Urban Biowaste Recovery Systems: A Scoping Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13435; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313435 - 04 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 705
Abstract
The potential contribution of decentralized approaches in implementing biowaste recovery systems has attracted interest in urban policy making and scientific research. Although the scientific literature on the topic is rapidly increasing, it is still limited and scattered. A comprehensive overview of current scientific [...] Read more.
The potential contribution of decentralized approaches in implementing biowaste recovery systems has attracted interest in urban policy making and scientific research. Although the scientific literature on the topic is rapidly increasing, it is still limited and scattered. A comprehensive overview of current scientific knowledge is thus needed to support future research on decentralized options for biowaste recovery systems. Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a mature biowaste treatment technology that recovers energy and nutrients, and can close urban resource loops. Through a scoping literature review, this paper investigated decentralized AD and its potential contribution in implementing urban biowaste recovery systems. We identified opportunities and challenges for planning of decentralized AD, and concluded that these mainly concern: (a) digestate management; (b) the potential for local circularity with product valorization in outlets such as urban agriculture; and (c) the development and application of decision support tools. The findings highlighted the need to enhance scientific evidence on the impact of decentralized AD in different urban contexts. Results from published studies were highly context-specific, making it difficult to draw general conclusions. This study can support the transition to integrated planning of AD and wider urban biowaste recovery systems. Such planning must include a comprehensive analysis of configuration approaches. Full article
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Review
Methodological Approaches to Optimising Anaerobic Digestion of Water Hyacinth for Energy Efficiency in South Africa
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6746; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126746 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1109
Abstract
Anaerobic digestion has been identified as a feasible fragment of a bioeconomy, yet numerous factors hinder the adoption of the technology in South Africa. Apart from its energy recovery, other nonmarket advantages support the technology. Though it may be challenging to have a [...] Read more.
Anaerobic digestion has been identified as a feasible fragment of a bioeconomy, yet numerous factors hinder the adoption of the technology in South Africa. Apart from its energy recovery, other nonmarket advantages support the technology. Though it may be challenging to have a price tag, they provide clear added worth for such investments. With a growing energy demand and global energy transitions, there is a need to sustainably commercialise the biogas industry in South Africa. Most studies are at laboratory scale and under specific conditions, which invariably create gaps in using their data for commercialising the biogas technology. The key to recognising these gaps depends on knowing the crucial technical phases that have the utmost outcome on the economics of biogas production. This study is a meta-analysis of the optimisation of anaerobic digestion through methodological approaches aimed at enhancing the production of biogas. This review, therefore, argues that regulating the fundamental operational parameters, understanding the microbial community’s interactions, and modelling the anaerobic processes are vital indicators for improving the process stability and methane yield for the commercialisation of the technology. It further argues that South Africa can exploit water hyacinth as a substrate for a self-sufficient biogas production system in a bid to mitigate the invasive alien plants. Full article
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Review
Recycling Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste: Systematic Literature Review and Bibliometric Analysis of Research Trends
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4798; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114798 - 11 Jun 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 1871
Abstract
The organic fraction is usually the predominant fraction in municipal solid waste, so its recycling is a potential alternative to disposal in landfill sites, as well as helping to reach targets included in the European Circular Economy Package. The existing body of knowledge [...] Read more.
The organic fraction is usually the predominant fraction in municipal solid waste, so its recycling is a potential alternative to disposal in landfill sites, as well as helping to reach targets included in the European Circular Economy Package. The existing body of knowledge in this research field is very large, so a comprehensive review of the existing scientific literature has been considered of interest to provide researchers and professionals with a detailed understanding of the status quo and predict the dynamic directions of this field. A systematic literature review and bibliometric analysis have been performed to provide objective criteria for evaluating the work carried out by researchers and a macroscopic overview of the existing body of knowledge in this field. The analysis of 452 scientific articles published from 1980 to 2019 has shown that the application of composting technologies is relevant, especially since 2014, when policies aimed at reducing emissions to the atmosphere were increased and focused on the use of this waste fraction to produce biogas. Nevertheless, the scientific field is still evolving to impose a model of a circular economy; in fact, emerging studies are being conducted on the production of biomethane, contributing to the decarbonised energy system. Full article
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