sustainability-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Climate Adaptation and Mitigation through Sustainable Energy Solutions

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021) | Viewed by 41480

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Genoa, I-16145 Genoa, Italy
Interests: climate change; mitigation; ecodesign; life cycle assessment; circular economy; sustainability

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Genoa, I-16145 Italy
Interests: Climate Change; Adaptation; Circular Economy; Environmental Label; Sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

One of the most important challenges in improving sustainability and tackling climate change at a global level is the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued two reports in 2019 expressing strong concerns about observed and predicted changes resulting from climate change and providing a scientific foundation that supports the importance of the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement and the need to ensure emissions are on track to achieve these goals. The tenth edition of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report provides the latest assessment of scientific studies on current and estimated future GHG emissions and compares these with the emission levels permissible for the world to progress on a least-cost pathway to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. According to this report, fossil CO2 emissions from energy use and industry, which dominate total GHG emissions, grew by 2.0% in 2018, reaching a record 37.5 GtCO2 per year. By 2030, emissions would need to be 25% and 55% lower than in 2018 to put the world on the least-cost pathway to limiting global warming to below 2 °C and 1.5 °C, respectively. According to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, decarbonization of the energy supply is a key requirement for limiting warming to 2 °C, while reducing energy demand through efficiency enhancements and behavioral changes, renewables, in combination with the electrification of end uses, are key mitigation strategies.

Given the important role that energy and especially the electricity sector will have to play in any low-carbon transformation, this Special Issue aims to attract works of scientific interest to deepen our understanding of these fields with different approaches. Therefore, research activities about different strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation in the energy sector are welcome. A multidisciplinary approach is foreseen in order to address this issue from the perspectives of decision makers, public bodies, business, cities, universities, and citizens, taking into account that an increasing number of countries have set net zero emission targets domestically and 65 countries and major subnational economies (e.g., the state of California and major cities worldwide) have committed to net zero emissions by 2050.

Papers selected for this Special Issue are subject to a rigorous peer-review procedure, enabling an integrated dissemination of research advancements.

Prof. Dr. Adriana Del Borghi
Prof. Dr. Michela Gallo
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 2400 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

  • carbon footprint and energy efficiency
  • climate neutral business
  • energy-related carbon emissions reduction
  • carbon capture and storage
  • renewable energy
  • decarbonization of energy supply
  • reducing energy remand
  • energy efficiency enhancement
  • behavioral changes
  • circular carbon economy
  • carbon neutrality at universities
  • climate mitigation in cities
  • energy infrastructure resilience
  • adaptation measures of the energy sector

Published Papers (10 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

14 pages, 2736 KiB  
Article
Key Performance Indicators for an Energy Community Based on Sustainable Technologies
by Giovanni Bianco, Barbara Bonvini, Stefano Bracco, Federico Delfino, Paola Laiolo and Giorgio Piazza
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 8789; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13168789 - 6 Aug 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3776
Abstract
As reported in the “Clean energy for all Europeans package” set by the EU, a sustainable transition from fossil fuels towards cleaner energy is necessary to improve the quality of life of citizens and the livability in cities. The exploitation of renewable sources, [...] Read more.
As reported in the “Clean energy for all Europeans package” set by the EU, a sustainable transition from fossil fuels towards cleaner energy is necessary to improve the quality of life of citizens and the livability in cities. The exploitation of renewable sources, the improvement of energy performance in buildings and the need for cutting-edge national energy and climate plans represent important and urgent topics to be faced in order to implement the sustainability concept in urban areas. In addition, the spread of polygeneration microgrids and the recent development of energy communities enable a massive installation of renewable power plants, high-performance small-size cogeneration units, and electrical storage systems; moreover, properly designed local energy production systems make it possible to optimize the exploitation of green energy sources and reduce both energy supply costs and emissions. In the present paper, a set of key performance indicators is introduced in order to evaluate and compare different energy communities both from a technical and environmental point of view. The proposed methodology was used in order to assess and compare two sites characterized by the presence of sustainable energy infrastructures: the Savona Campus of the University of Genoa in Italy, where a polygeneration microgrid has been in operation since 2014 and new technologies will be installed in the near future, and the SPEED2030 District, an urban area near the Campus where renewable energy power plants (solar and wind), cogeneration units fed by hydrogen and storage systems are planned to be installed. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 4494 KiB  
Article
Environmental Sustainability of Building Retrofit through Vertical Greening Systems: A Life-Cycle Approach
by Katia Perini, Fabio Magrassi, Andrea Giachetta, Luca Moreschi, Michela Gallo and Adriana Del Borghi
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4886; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094886 - 27 Apr 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3438
Abstract
Urban greening provides a wide range of ecosystem services to address the main challenges of urban areas, e.g., carbon sequestration, evapotranspiration and shade, thermal insulation, and pollution control. This study evaluates the environmental sustainability of a vertical greening system (VGS) built in 2014 [...] Read more.
Urban greening provides a wide range of ecosystem services to address the main challenges of urban areas, e.g., carbon sequestration, evapotranspiration and shade, thermal insulation, and pollution control. This study evaluates the environmental sustainability of a vertical greening system (VGS) built in 2014 in Italy, for which extensive monitoring activities were implemented. The life-cycle assessment methodology was applied to quantify the water–energy–climate nexus of the VGS for 1 m2 of the building’s wall surface. Six different scenarios were modelled according to three different end-of-life scenarios and two different useful lifetime scenarios (10 and 25 years). The environmental impact of global-warming potential and generated energy consumption during the use phase in the VGS scenarios were reduced by 56% in relation to the baseline scenario (wall without VGS), and showed improved environmental performance throughout the complete life cycle. However, the water-scarcity index (WSI) of the VGS scenarios increased by 42%. This study confirms that the installation of VGSs offers a relevant environmental benefit in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions and energy consumption; however, increased water consumption in the use phase may limit the large-scale application of VGSs. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 2321 KiB  
Article
Operating Principles, Performance and Technology Readiness Level of Reversible Solid Oxide Cells
by Fiammetta Rita Bianchi and Barbara Bosio
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4777; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094777 - 24 Apr 2021
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 4195
Abstract
The continuous increase of energy demand with the subsequent huge fossil fuel consumption is provoking dramatic environmental consequences. The main challenge of this century is to develop and promote alternative, more eco-friendly energy production routes. In this framework, Solid Oxide Cells (SOCs) are [...] Read more.
The continuous increase of energy demand with the subsequent huge fossil fuel consumption is provoking dramatic environmental consequences. The main challenge of this century is to develop and promote alternative, more eco-friendly energy production routes. In this framework, Solid Oxide Cells (SOCs) are a quite attractive technology which could satisfy the users’ energy request working in reversible operation. Two operating modes are alternated: from “Gas to Power”, when SOCs work as fuel cells fed with hydrogen-rich mixture to provide both electricity and heat, to “Power to Gas”, when SOCs work as electrolysers and energy is supplied to produce hydrogen. If solid oxide fuel cells are an already mature technology with several stationary and mobile applications, the use of solid oxide electrolyser cells and even more reversible cells are still under investigation due to their insufficient lifetime. Aiming at providing a better understanding of this new technological approach, the study presents a detailed description of cell operation in terms of electrochemical behaviour and possible degradation, highlighting which are the most commonly used performance indicators. A thermodynamic analysis of system efficiency is proposed, followed by a comparison with other available electrochemical devices in order to underline specific solid oxide cell advantages and limitations. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

22 pages, 1811 KiB  
Article
A New Perspective for Climate Change Mitigation—Introducing Carbon-Negative Hydrogen Production from Biomass with Carbon Capture and Storage (HyBECCS)
by Johannes Full, Steffen Merseburg, Robert Miehe and Alexander Sauer
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 4026; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13074026 - 5 Apr 2021
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 7060
Abstract
The greatest lever for advancing climate adaptation and mitigation is the defossilization of energy systems. A key opportunity to replace fossil fuels across sectors is the use of renewable hydrogen. In this context, the main political and social push is currently on climate [...] Read more.
The greatest lever for advancing climate adaptation and mitigation is the defossilization of energy systems. A key opportunity to replace fossil fuels across sectors is the use of renewable hydrogen. In this context, the main political and social push is currently on climate neutral hydrogen (H2) production through electrolysis using renewable electricity. Another climate neutral possibility that has recently gained importance is biohydrogen production from biogenic residual and waste materials. This paper introduces for the first time a novel concept for the production of hydrogen with net negative emissions. The derived concept combines biohydrogen production using biotechnological or thermochemical processes with carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage. Various process combinations referred to this basic approach are defined as HyBECCS (Hydrogen Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) and described in this paper. The technical principles and resulting advantages of the novel concept are systematically derived and compared with other Negative Emission Technologies (NET). These include the high concentration and purity of the CO2 to be captured compared to Direct Air Carbon Capture (DAC) and Post-combustion Carbon Capture (PCC) as well as the emission-free use of hydrogen resulting in a higher possible CO2 capture rate compared to hydrocarbon-based biofuels generated with Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technologies. Further, the role of carbon-negative hydrogen in future energy systems is analyzed, taking into account key societal and technological drivers against the background of climate adaptation and mitigation. For this purpose, taking the example of the Federal Republic of Germany, the ecological impacts are estimated, and an economic assessment is made. For the production and use of carbon-negative hydrogen, a saving potential of 8.49–17.06 MtCO2,eq/a is estimated for the year 2030 in Germany. The production costs for carbon-negative hydrogen would have to be below 4.30 € per kg in a worst-case scenario and below 10.44 € in a best-case scenario in order to be competitive in Germany, taking into account hydrogen market forecasts. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 5429 KiB  
Article
Environmental Impact and Levelised Cost of Energy Analysis of Solar Photovoltaic Systems in Selected Asia Pacific Region: A Cradle-to-Grave Approach
by Norasikin Ahmad Ludin, Nurfarhana Alyssa Ahmad Affandi, Kathleen Purvis-Roberts, Azah Ahmad, Mohd Adib Ibrahim, Kamaruzzaman Sopian and Sufian Jusoh
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010396 - 4 Jan 2021
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 6431
Abstract
Sustainability has been greatly impacted by the reality of budgets and available resources as a targeted range of carbon emission reduction greatly increases due to climate change. This study analyses the technical and economic feasibility for three types of solar photovoltaic (PV) renewable [...] Read more.
Sustainability has been greatly impacted by the reality of budgets and available resources as a targeted range of carbon emission reduction greatly increases due to climate change. This study analyses the technical and economic feasibility for three types of solar photovoltaic (PV) renewable energy (RE) systems; (i) solar stand-alone, a non-grid-connected building rooftop-mounted structure, (ii) solar rooftop, a grid-connected building rooftop-mounted structure, (iii) solar farm, a grid-connected land-mounted structure in three tropical climate regions. Technical scientific and economic tools, including life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost assessment (LCCA) with an integrated framework from a Malaysian case study were applied to similar climatic regions, Thailand, and Indonesia. The short-term, future scaled-up scenario was defined using a proxy technology and estimated data. Environmental locations for this scenario were identified, the environmental impacts were compared, and the techno-economic output were analysed. The scope of this study is cradle-to-grave. Levelised cost of energy (LCOE) was greatly affected due to PV performance degradation rate, especially the critical shading issues for large-scale installations. Despite the land use impact, increased CO2 emissions accumulate over time with regard to energy mix of the country, which requires the need for long-term procurement of both carbon and investment return. With regards to profitably, grid-connected roof-mounted systems achieve the lowest LCOE as compared to other types of installation, ranging from 0.0491 USD/kWh to 0.0605 USD/kWh under a 6% discounted rate. A simple payback (SPB) time between 7–10 years on average depends on annual power generated by the system with estimated energy payback of 0.40–0.55 years for common polycrystalline photovoltaic technology. Thus, maintaining the whole system by ensuring a low degradation rate of 0.2% over a long period of time is essential to generate benefits for both investors and the environment. Emerging technologies are progressing at an exponential rate in order to fill the gap of establishing renewable energy as an attractive business plan. Life cycle assessment is considered an excellent tool to assess the environmental impact of renewable energy. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 4818 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Assessment for the Potential Energy Production from PV Installation on Residential Buildings
by Sameh Monna, Adel Juaidi, Ramez Abdallah and Mohammed Itma
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10344; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410344 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 2624
Abstract
This paper targets the future energy sustainability and aims to estimate the potential energy production from installing photovoltaic (PV) systems on the rooftop of apartment’s residential buildings, which represent the largest building sector. Analysis of the residential building typologies was carried out to [...] Read more.
This paper targets the future energy sustainability and aims to estimate the potential energy production from installing photovoltaic (PV) systems on the rooftop of apartment’s residential buildings, which represent the largest building sector. Analysis of the residential building typologies was carried out to select the most used residential building types in terms of building roof area, number of floors, and the number of apartments on each floor. A computer simulation tool has been used to calculate the electricity production for each building type, for three different tilt angles to estimate the electricity production. Tilt angle, spacing between the arrays, the building shape, shading from PV arrays, and other roof elements were analyzed for optimum and maximum electricity production. The electricity production for each household has been compared to typical household electricity consumption and its future consumption in 2030. The results show that installing PV systems on residential buildings can speed the transition to renewable energy and energy sustainability. The electricity production for building types with 2–4 residential units can surplus their estimated future consumption. Building types with 4–8 residential units can produce their electricity consumption in 2030. Building types of 12–24 residential units can produce more than half of their 2030 future consumption. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 7821 KiB  
Article
Water-Energy Nexus: A Pathway of Reaching the Zero Net Carbon in Wastewater Treatment Plants
by Beatriz Del Río-Gamero, Alejandro Ramos-Martín, Noemi Melián-Martel and Sebastián Pérez-Báez
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9377; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229377 - 11 Nov 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3087
Abstract
The water-energy nexus, together with the need for sustainable management of these interconnected resources, has attracted growing attention from the scientific community. This paper focuses on this nexus from the point of view of the energy that is required by wastewater treatment plants, [...] Read more.
The water-energy nexus, together with the need for sustainable management of these interconnected resources, has attracted growing attention from the scientific community. This paper focuses on this nexus from the point of view of the energy that is required by wastewater treatment plants, which are intensive energy consumers and major emitters of greenhouse gases. The main objective of the study is to investigate the possible use of a wastewater plant’s internal chemical, potential, and kinetic energy, and the addition of external renewable technologies with a view to achieving clean energy consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For this purpose, an analysis is made of the feasibility of introducing alternative technologies—anaerobic digestion, hydraulic turbines, wind turbines, and photovoltaic modules— to meet the plant’s energy needs. The plant chosen as case study (Jinamar plant, Canary Islands, Spain) has an energy consumption of 2956 MWh/year, but the employed methodological framework is suitable for other plants in locations where the renewable energy potential has previously been analyzed. The results show that a renewable energy production of 3396 MWh/year can be obtained, more than enough to meet plant consumption, but also confirm the need for an energy storage system, due to seasonal variability in energy resource availability. In terms of climate change mitigation, the emission of 2754 tons/year of greenhouse gases is avoided. In addition, the economic viability of the proposed system is also confirmed. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

14 pages, 5494 KiB  
Article
Electrical Longboard for Everyday Urban Commuting
by Alexandru Ciocan, Cosmin Ungureanu, Alin Chitu, Elena Carcadea and George Darie
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8091; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198091 - 30 Sep 2020
Viewed by 2481
Abstract
This paper addresses the possibility of using an electric longboard in daily travel. A conventional longboard was transformed into an electric one and tested in ICSI Rm. Valcea labs. A series of tests were performed both at the laboratory level and, under normal [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the possibility of using an electric longboard in daily travel. A conventional longboard was transformed into an electric one and tested in ICSI Rm. Valcea labs. A series of tests were performed both at the laboratory level and, under normal running conditions, outdoors. Nevertheless, two possible scenarios have been taken into consideration. First, when the electric longboard is running on a flat road with a cruise speed, while the second scenario considered was that of climbing a hill with a 10% slope. The results confirmed the expectations and showed that a full charge of the batteries allows a trip over a distance of almost 50 km on a flat route having a consumption of about 10 Wh/km. However, there are some things to keep in mind when making travel distance predictions. The quality and the profile of the road, the weight of the rider, the rider position, all of these are factors which can significantly influence the predictions regarding the travel distance. Moreover, if the optimization is taken into account, several adjustments can be done in choosing the size and wheel model, whether or not to equip the skateboard with suspensions as well as a compromise between power and energy densities when choosing battery type is essential. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

17 pages, 456 KiB  
Article
Use of EPD System for Designing New Building Materials: The Case Study of a Bio-Based Thermal Insulation Panel from the Pineapple Industry By-Product
by Diego Armando Arellano-Vazquez, Luca Moreschi, Adriana Del Borghi, Michela Gallo, Gustavo Islas Valverde, Miguel Mayorga Rojas, Lorena Romero-Salazar and Juan Carlos Arteaga-Arcos
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6864; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176864 - 24 Aug 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3485
Abstract
This study shows the benefits of using the environmental product declarations (EPDs), based on ISO 14025:2013, for the configuration and conceptualization of new building materials. Using a quantitative evaluation on these phases of design, it allows one to create materials with lower impacts, [...] Read more.
This study shows the benefits of using the environmental product declarations (EPDs), based on ISO 14025:2013, for the configuration and conceptualization of new building materials. Using a quantitative evaluation on these phases of design, it allows one to create materials with lower impacts, in comparison with the existing ones. In this paper, it is proposed to evaluate the potentiality of this tool in the development of a panel from pineapple by-products from agroindustry, used as a thermal insulator. The issue of environmental sustainability was pursued, employing the assessment of the environmental impacts according to characterization methods defined by the International EPD® System. By comparing the possible compositions of the materials under development, with certified environmental declarations of commercial materials, it is possible to identify and select optimal compositions decreasing up to 98.28% of impacts in acidification potential or up to 99.38% for photochemical oxidation—with respect to traditional materials—already at the design stage, where the changes on the composition or the facilities decision have fewer complications. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

12 pages, 944 KiB  
Review
The Relationship between Human Well-Being and Carbon Emissions
by Qin Li and Hongmin Chen
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 547; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020547 - 8 Jan 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3594
Abstract
Governments around the world are actively exploring strategies to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. In addition to technological progress, promoting a transformation of residents’ behaviors to a low carbon mode is also a solution. Many [...] Read more.
Governments around the world are actively exploring strategies to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. In addition to technological progress, promoting a transformation of residents’ behaviors to a low carbon mode is also a solution. Many people are concerned about how to reduce carbon emissions while ensuring human well-being. Starting from the comparative analysis of two main theories of human well-being, this paper sorted out existing well-being measurement methods from the perspectives of “top-down” and “bottom-up” and further sorted out research on the relationship between human well-being and energy carbon emissions. While “top-down” research is conducive to the layout of macro policies, “bottom-up” research can better help to promote the transformation of society to a low carbon life by estimating the energy consumption and carbon emissions contained in human needs. Current research discusses human well-being, human needs, energy use and carbon emissions, respectively, but they are not systematically integrated. Furthermore, this paper proposes a framework combining these aspects to analyze the relationship between human well-being and carbon emissions. In addition, this paper suggests future research directions. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop