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Breakthroughs in Green Technology Innovations: Paving the Way to Environmental Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 5 September 2024 | Viewed by 7267

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, and Centre for Business and Economics Research (CeBER), Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: energy transition; sustainable energy consumption and economic growth nexus; environmental economics; sustainable energy economics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, and Centre for Business and Economics Research (CeBER), Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: financial economics; environmental economics; energy economics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the face of escalating global environmental challenges, such as climate change, resource depletion, and ecological degradation, it is imperative to foster breakthroughs in green technology innovations. These advancements hold the key to achieving environmental sustainability and energy efficiency goals. This Special Issue seeks to showcase pioneering research and creative solutions that address these urgent demands and inspire transformative change. By harnessing interdisciplinary perspectives, we aim to ignite a paradigm shift in the way we approach environmental issues, paving the way to a greener and more sustainable future.

The world is at a critical juncture, and the need for revolutionary green technology innovations has never been more pressing. We encourage researchers from diverse fields to contribute their original research articles, comprehensive reviews, and enlightening case studies. Through this collaborative effort, we aim to explore the advances in the knowledge and foster the development of ground-breaking solutions.

The scope of this Special Issue is broad, encompassing a wide range of topics relevant to green technology innovations, environmental sustainability, and energy efficiency. We invite contributions that delve into the latest advancements in various fields, from sustainable energy production to intelligent transportation systems, eco-friendly buildings, circular economy practices, water and wastewater treatment, sustainable agriculture, green chemistry, and policy frameworks promoting green technology adoption.

By assembling a collection of pioneering research, we seek to foster a vibrant dialogue among researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and stakeholders. The exchange of ideas, knowledge, and experiences will fuel innovation and inspire real-world applications. Our goal is not only to showcase the remarkable progress made thus far but also to spur further exploration and collaboration, leading to tangible solutions that can address the pressing environmental challenges we face today.

We invite researchers from diverse fields to contribute their original research articles, comprehensive reviews, and enlightening case studies on the following topics, but not limited to:

  1. Green technology breakthroughs for sustainable energy production:
  • Advanced solar energy technologies;
  • Innovative wind power systems and offshore energy generation;
  • Next-generation biofuels and bioenergy conversion processes;
  • Harnessing tidal and wave energy for clean power generation;
  • Energy harvesting from unconventional sources;
  • Green hydrogen technologies;
  • Energy storage.
  1. Intelligent systems for energy-efficient transportation and mobility:
  • Electric and hybrid vehicles;
  • Smart transportation infrastructure and traffic management systems;
  • Sustainable logistics and supply chain optimization;
  • Innovative public transportation solutions;
  • Shared mobility and ridesharing platforms.
  1. Eco-friendly buildings and smart urban environments:
  • Energy-efficient building designs and materials;
  • Sustainable architecture and urban planning;
  • Green infrastructure and urban biodiversity;
  • Intelligent energy management systems for buildings;
  • Integration of renewable energy in smart cities.
  1. Circular economy and waste management innovations:
  • Resource recovery from waste streams;
  • Sustainable packaging solutions;
  • Recycling and upcycling technologies;
  • Waste-to-energy conversion processes;
  • Eco-design and sustainable production practices.
  1. Water and wastewater treatment for environmental sustainability:
  • Advanced water purification technologies;
  • Sustainable desalination processes;
  • Nutrient recovery from wastewater;
  • Innovative solutions for water scarcity and pollution;
  • Water management in agriculture and industries.
  1. Sustainable agriculture and food systems:
  • Precision farming and smart agriculture technologies;
  • Organic farming and agroecology;
  • Efficient irrigation and water management in agriculture;
  • Crop improvement for climate resilience;
  • Sustainable food production and distribution.
  1. Green chemistry and sustainable materials:
  • Novel catalysts for green chemical processes;
  • Biomass-derived chemicals and bio-based polymers;
  • Sustainable materials for construction and packaging;
  • Eco-friendly alternatives to hazardous substances;
  • Life cycle assessment and sustainability in chemical manufacturing.
  1. Policy frameworks and societal transitions for green technology adoption:
  • Policy innovations for promoting green technology adoption;
  • Economic incentives and regulatory mechanisms;
  • Social acceptance and behavioral change toward sustainability;
  • Sustainable development goals and green technology integration;
  • International collaborations for global environmental challenges.
  1. Optimization of energy networks
  • Smart grid technologies;
  • Demand-side management;
  • Energy market design;
  • Energy system modeling and simulation;
  • Design of optimal policy and regulatory frameworks.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. José Alberto Fuinhas
Dr. Nuno Miguel Barateiro Gonçalves Silva
Dr. Matheus Koengkan
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

  • renewable energy
  • green technology
  • eco-innovation
  • environmental sustainability
  • energy efficiency
  • circular economy
  • sustainable agriculture
  • sustainable materials

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

20 pages, 2123 KiB  
Article
Solar Powered Thermoelectric Air Conditioning for Temperature Control in Poultry Incubators
by Kumar Reddy Cheepati and Nezah Balal
Sustainability 2024, 16(11), 4832; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16114832 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 480
Abstract
Proper air conditioning is crucial for hatching, growing, and reproducing poultry chickens. The existing methods are often costly and only viable for some chicken farmers. This paper presents a novel solar-powered thermoelectric module that utilizes the Peltier effect for efficient cooling and heating [...] Read more.
Proper air conditioning is crucial for hatching, growing, and reproducing poultry chickens. The existing methods are often costly and only viable for some chicken farmers. This paper presents a novel solar-powered thermoelectric module that utilizes the Peltier effect for efficient cooling and heating in poultry incubators. The proposed system consists of a Peltier module with cool and hot junctions, powered by a solar panel through a charge controller and battery. The cool junction is located in the chicken-breeding and reproduction unit, while the hot junction is situated in the egg-incubation unit. Temperature controllers maintain the required temperatures of 35–40 °C for the egg-hatching and 10–24 °C for the chicken-growing units. The experimental results demonstrate the system’s effectiveness in maintaining the desired temperatures. This solar-powered thermoelectric air conditioning system offers advantages over traditional methods, including lower energy consumption, reduced costs, and eco-friendliness. It has the potential to benefit off-grid poultry farmers and reduce energy bills for existing chicken farms. The mathematical modeling, load calculations, and prototype results show that the proposed system is best suited for providing the required cooling and heating effects in poultry incubators. This research represents a significant step forward in temperature control for poultry incubators and could revolutionize poultry farming practices, especially in remote locations with limited electricity access. Full article
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14 pages, 5079 KiB  
Article
Use of Continuous Stirred Tank Reactors for Anaerobic Co-Digestion of Dairy and Meat Industry By-Products for Biogas Production
by Alessandro Neri, Ferdinand Hummel, Souraya Benalia, Giuseppe Zimbalatti, Wolfgang Gabauer, Ivana Mihajlovic and Bruno Bernardi
Sustainability 2024, 16(11), 4346; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16114346 - 21 May 2024
Viewed by 555
Abstract
The dairy and meat industries generate thousands of tons of organic waste and by-products each year, making them two of the least environmentally sustainable sectors. Typical waste includes not only processing by-products such as curds but also commercial products that are defective or [...] Read more.
The dairy and meat industries generate thousands of tons of organic waste and by-products each year, making them two of the least environmentally sustainable sectors. Typical waste includes not only processing by-products such as curds but also commercial products that are defective or unsaleable due to expiration or damaged packaging. This study aimed to evaluate the methanogenic potential of a mixture of 80% inedible curds and 20% expired sausages, as a substrate, using two continuously stirred tank reactors (CSTR). The reactors were fed daily with increasing doses of the 80–20% mixture and an organic loading rate ranging from 0.31 gVS/litre/day at the beginning of the trials to 7.20 gVS/litre/day toward the end. The produced biogas was continuously analysed from both quantitative and qualitative point of view. Also, the process was continuously monitored by withdrawing samples from each reactor during the whole process, to analyse their physical–chemical parameters, including pH, total solids (TS), total volatile solids (TVS), chemical oxygen demand (COD), ammonium nitrogen (NH4+-N), total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) and total volatile fatty acids (VFA). The results of this study show a promising increase in biogas production with the increase in feed. In terms of biogas production, organic waste from the dairy and meat industry shows the potential to be exploited as a substrate to produce biomethane. Indeed, in this study, biomethane cumulative production reached 410.86 NLCH4∙gTVS−1 using an 8 L capacity reactor filled up to 6 L. This makes the tested by-products usable as a renewable energy source in the future, particularly within a circular economy approach, helping to mitigate the effects of global warming and addressing sustainable development goals. Full article
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26 pages, 8471 KiB  
Article
Sharing Is Caring: Exploring Distributed Solar Photovoltaics and Local Electricity Consumption through a Renewable Energy Community
by Evandro Ferreira, Miguel Macias Sequeira and João Pedro Gouveia
Sustainability 2024, 16(7), 2777; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16072777 - 27 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1003
Abstract
Renewable Energy Communities (REC) can play a crucial role in enhancing citizen participation in the energy transition. Current European Union legislation enshrines energy communities and mandates Member States to encourage these organizations, promoting adequate conditions for their establishment. Nevertheless, uptake has been slow, [...] Read more.
Renewable Energy Communities (REC) can play a crucial role in enhancing citizen participation in the energy transition. Current European Union legislation enshrines energy communities and mandates Member States to encourage these organizations, promoting adequate conditions for their establishment. Nevertheless, uptake has been slow, and more research is needed to optimize the associated energy sharing. Using a Portuguese case study (REC Telheiras, Lisbon), this research aims to match local generation through four photovoltaic systems (totalizing 156.5 kWp of installed capacity) with household electricity consumption while cross evaluating the Portuguese legislation for energy sharing. The latter aim compares two scenarios: (a) current legislation (generated energy must be locally self-consumed before shared) and (b) equal share for members with a fixed coefficient. The evaluation is performed according to two indexes of self-consumption (SCI) and self-sufficiency (SSI), related to the simulation of four photovoltaic systems in public buildings, their associated consumption profiles, and an average household consumption profile of community members. The results show that, while maximizing self-consumption for the same values of generation and consumption, the number of participants is considerably lower for Scenario A (SCI = 100% is achieved with at least 491 residential members in Scenario A and 583 in Scenario B), implying that legislative changes enabling energy communities to better tailor sharing schemes may be necessary for them to become more attractive. The methods and results of this research can also be applied to other types of facilities, e.g., industrial and commercial consumers, if they are members of a REC and have smart meters in their installations. Full article
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21 pages, 4012 KiB  
Article
Quantifying the Impact of Risk on Market Volatility and Price: Evidence from the Wholesale Electricity Market in Portugal
by Negin Entezari and José Alberto Fuinhas
Sustainability 2024, 16(7), 2691; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16072691 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 632
Abstract
This research aims to identify suitable procedures for determining the size of risks to predict the tendency of electricity prices to return to their historical average or mean over time. The goal is to quantify the sensitivity of electricity prices to different types [...] Read more.
This research aims to identify suitable procedures for determining the size of risks to predict the tendency of electricity prices to return to their historical average or mean over time. The goal is to quantify the sensitivity of electricity prices to different types of shocks to mitigate price volatility risks that affect Portugal’s energy market. Hourly data from the beginning of January 2016 to December 2021 were used for the analysis. The symmetric and asymmetric GARCH model volatility, as a function of past information, help to eliminate excessive peaks in data fluctuations. The asymmetric model includes additional parameters to separately obtain the impact of positive and negative shocks on volatility. The MSGARCH model is estimated to be in two states, allowing for transitions between low- and high-volatility states. This approach effectively represents the significant impact of shocks in a high-volatility state, indicating an acknowledgment of the lasting effects of extreme events on financial markets. Furthermore, the MSGARCH model is designed to obtain the persistence of shocks during periods of elevated volatility. Accurate price forecasting aids power producers in anticipating potential price trends and allows them to adjust their operations by considering the overall stability and efficiency of the electricity market. Full article
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22 pages, 4607 KiB  
Article
Energy, Environmental, and Economic Sustainability of Saffron Cultivation: Insights from the First European (Italian) Case Study
by Andi Mehmeti, Vincenzo Candido, Kledja Canaj, Donato Castronuovo, Michele Perniola, Paola D’Antonio and Loriana Cardone
Sustainability 2024, 16(3), 1179; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16031179 - 30 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1579
Abstract
Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) stands as a valuable agricultural commodity, witnessing an increasing market inclination toward environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly products. The current literature on the environmental impact and profitability of saffron cultivation is limited, underscoring a notable gap in comprehending the [...] Read more.
Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) stands as a valuable agricultural commodity, witnessing an increasing market inclination toward environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly products. The current literature on the environmental impact and profitability of saffron cultivation is limited, underscoring a notable gap in comprehending the sustainability aspects of this crop. This study utilized a comprehensive multi-model approach to assess the sustainability of annual saffron cultivation, representing the first global detailed evaluation, conducted within a European context (Southern Italy). Energy analysis, physical and monetized life cycle assessment (LCA), and life cycle costing (LCC) were used for a cradle-to-farm gate assessment. One hectare of cultivated saffron, one saffron production yield (stigma, corm, and flower), and 1 kg of stigma yield were used as functional units. The total energy input was 65,073 MJ ha−1, being 33% direct, 67% indirect, 72% renewable, and 28% non-renewable. The majority (55%) of energy is derived from corm production. For 1 kg of saffron the energy efficiency, specific energy, and productivity were 2.98, 4.64 MJ kg−1, and 0.22 kg MJ−1, respectively, while these values dropped significantly for 1 kg of stigma. The multi-indicator LCA analysis using the ReCiPe 2016 model revealed significant contributions to various environmental impact categories. Results align with prior research, pinpointing fertilization and mechanical operations as the primary drivers of diverse environmental impacts. A noticeable carbon intensity was estimated, with a relevant contribution from corm production and human labor, aspects overlooked in previous LCA studies. Saffron cultivation maintains economic viability, with production costs at EUR 98,435 per ha−1 and a net return margin of EUR 172,680 per ha−1, bolstered by the high market price and by-product revenue. Monetization of LCA results revealed that external costs were EUR 15,509 per ha−1, being only 14% of the total cost. Investments in improving yield and resource efficiency have the potential to increase the eco-efficiency of saffron cultivation. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

36 pages, 3662 KiB  
Review
Advancement of Abiotic Stresses for Microalgal Lipid Production and Its Bioprospecting into Sustainable Biofuels
by Rahul Prasad Singh, Priya Yadav, Indrajeet Kumar, Manoj Kumar Solanki, Rajib Roychowdhury, Ajay Kumar and Rajan Kumar Gupta
Sustainability 2023, 15(18), 13678; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151813678 - 13 Sep 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2066
Abstract
The world is currently facing global energy crises and escalating environmental pollution, which are caused by the extensive exploitation of conventional energy sources. The limited availability of conventional energy sources has opened the door to the search for alternative energy sources. In this [...] Read more.
The world is currently facing global energy crises and escalating environmental pollution, which are caused by the extensive exploitation of conventional energy sources. The limited availability of conventional energy sources has opened the door to the search for alternative energy sources. In this regard, microalgae have emerged as a promising substitute for conventional energy sources due to their high photosynthetic rate, high carbohydrate and lipid content, efficient CO2 fixation capacity, and ability to thrive in adverse environments. The research and development of microalgal-based biofuel as a clean and sustainable alternative energy source has been ongoing for many years, but it has not yet been widely adopted commercially. However, it is currently gaining greater attention due to the integrated biorefinery concept. This study provides an in-depth review of recent advances in microalgae cultivation techniques and explores methods for increasing lipid production by manipulating environmental factors. Furthermore, our discussions have covered high lipid content microalgal species, harvesting methods, biorefinery concepts, process optimizing software tools, and the accumulation of triglycerides in lipid droplets. The study additionally explores the influence of abiotic stresses on the response of biosynthetic genes involved in lipid synthesis and metabolism. In conclusion, algae-based biofuels offer a viable alternative to traditional fuels for meeting the growing demand for energy. Full article
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