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Special Issue "Advances in Biomass Valorization Approaches for the Circular Economy"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Resources and Sustainable Utilization".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2023 | Viewed by 3095

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Oseweuba Valentine Okoro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
BioMatter Unit, École Polytechnique de Bruxelles, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 50-CP 165/61, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Interests: biorefinery; process simulation; waste valorization; biomaterials for biomedical applications; circular economy
Dr. Andrew Amenaghawon
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
Interests: valorization of waste biomass materials for valuable products such as biofuels, organic acids, adsorbents, heterogeneous catalysts, and composite materials
Dr. Amin Shavandi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
BioMatter Unit, École Polytechnique de Bruxelles, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 50-CP 165/61, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Interests: biomaterials; 3D bioprinting; biomatter; wound healing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Lei Nie
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Life Sciences, Xinyang Normal University, Xinyang 464000, China
Interests: biopolymers; hydrogels; biomass; nanoparticles; bioprinting; drug delivery; tissue engineering
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is now a consensus in the scientific community that anthropogenic activities are responsible for the existing challenges of natural resource depletion, global warming, and climate change. In an attempt to circumvent these aforementioned challenges, the scientific community has suggested that the global reliance on fossil resources be reduced. This is because the utilization of fossil resources exacerbates the depletion of limited non-renewable resources, leading to the associated generation of greenhouse gas emissions and significant pollution issues they are when poorly managed.  In this regard, this Special Issue seeks to explore recent “Advances in biomass valorization approaches for the circular economy” with an emphasis on:

  • Fundamental studies on biorefineries that facilitate the production of bioenergy, biochemicals, and biomaterials (i.e., adsorbents) for industrial and biomedical applications, reagents, and biotherapeutics from biomass;
  • Implementation of sustainable and economic biomass valorization techniques;
  • Environmental burden of biomass valorization strategies;
  • Research that explores potential feedstock materials (i.e., lignin) for the production of high value, niche products (i.e., aromatics) are welcome in particular.

This Special Issue will explore novel developments and trends in biomass valorization technologies. We are interested in receiving manuscripts that integrate chemical/process/(bio) engineering research with experimental (i.e., adsorbent production, biodiesel production, etc.) and theoretical studies (i.e., techno-economic assessment, optimization studies, life cycle analysis, etc.) for publication in this important Special Issue of Sustainability.

Dr. Oseweuba Valentine Okoro
Dr. Andrew Amenaghawon
Dr. Amin Shavandi
Dr. Lei Nie
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 2200 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

  • waste valorisation
  • biorefineries
  • biochemicals
  • biofuels
  • sustainability
  • biomaterials
  • chemical engineering
  • bioengineering
  • environmental impacts

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Technoeconomic Assessment of Biopolymer Production from Crustacean Waste with the UK as a Case Study
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2280; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032280 (registering DOI) - 26 Jan 2023
Abstract
Marine pollution has increased in recent decades, largely due to the proliferation of seafood processing plants and the improper disposal of their associated waste streams. The waste streams consist mainly of shells that are composed of chitin, which is the most abundant aminopolysaccharide [...] Read more.
Marine pollution has increased in recent decades, largely due to the proliferation of seafood processing plants and the improper disposal of their associated waste streams. The waste streams consist mainly of shells that are composed of chitin, which is the most abundant aminopolysaccharide biopolymer in nature. Recognizing the value of chitin, the potential for the valorization of crustacean waste for chitin production was explored. In this regard, biogenic crab waste was subjected to chemical-only, enzymatic–chemical, and microbial treatments for chitin production. The results were employed as inputs for process simulation as a precursor to undertaking performance assessments. This study subsequently showed that the net present values (NPVs) of the chemical-only, enzyme–chemical, and microbial chitin production pathways were GBP 118.63 million, GBP 115.67 million, and GBP 132.34 million, respectively, indicating that the microbial chitin production pathway constituted the most appropriate technology for future investment. Employing a cost–benefit (CB) analysis, the CB ratios for the chemical-only, enzymatic–chemical, and microbial approaches were determined to be 7.31, 0.45, and 0.23, respectively. These results reinforced the dominant status of the microbial approach for chitin production from crab waste as the preferred valorization strategy. This study was able to provide information regarding the implications of executing alternative scenarios for crustacean waste. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass Valorization Approaches for the Circular Economy)
Article
Characterisation of Mg-Al Hydrotalcite and Surfactant-Modified Bentonite Nano Clays for the Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159501 - 03 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 628
Abstract
The presence of acid mine drainage (AMD) poses health risks to humans and other living organisms. While much research on AMD has been conducted, the absence of a widely accepted AMD treatment technology makes it an ongoing topic for further exploration. The present [...] Read more.
The presence of acid mine drainage (AMD) poses health risks to humans and other living organisms. While much research on AMD has been conducted, the absence of a widely accepted AMD treatment technology makes it an ongoing topic for further exploration. The present study explored the potential of nano-clay adsorbents for the removal of iron and manganese from AMD. The two nano-clay adsorbents used in this study were synthetic hydrotalcite (HT) and modified bentonite (MB) clays. The adsorption media were characterised before and after adsorption using X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transforms infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET), and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to explain the adsorption mechanisms. To investigate the efficiency of the clays, batch adsorption studies were carried out by varying the concentration, pH, and time. To establish the kind of adsorption mechanism that occurred, Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms were applied. It was found from characterisation results that HT and MB contained hydroxyl and carbonyl functional groups responsible for surface complexation mechanisms; XRD showed that isomorphic substitution and precipitation also occurred in adsorption using HT. The specific surface area for modified bentonite and hydrotalcite as determined by BET was 3.13 and 44.7 m2/g respectively. The XRD and the SEM results showed that HT was crystalline while MB was amorphous, probably due to the irregular stacking of the surfactant. It was observed that the adsorbent deprotonated as pH increased, resulting in an increase in metal removal. The Langmuir isotherm provided the best monolayer adsorption capacity with RL < 1 and correlation coefficients ranged from 0.95 to 0.99 for both adsorbents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass Valorization Approaches for the Circular Economy)
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Article
The Circular Economy Paradigm: Modification of Bagasse-Derived Lignin as a Precursor to Sustainable Hydrogel Production
Sustainability 2022, 14(14), 8791; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14148791 - 18 Jul 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 829
Abstract
There have been many efforts to valorise lignin to produce bio-based chemicals and advanced materials. In this study, alkaline delignification was initially employed to recover lignin from the rind, pulp, and whole bagasse fractions of Moroccan sugarcane. The lignin fractions were subsequently modified [...] Read more.
There have been many efforts to valorise lignin to produce bio-based chemicals and advanced materials. In this study, alkaline delignification was initially employed to recover lignin from the rind, pulp, and whole bagasse fractions of Moroccan sugarcane. The lignin fractions were subsequently modified via silanization and acetylation reactions. The modified lignin and raw lignin were then characterised to assess changes in their physicochemical properties via Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), solubility and thermogravimetric assessment, with both salinization and acetylation modification shown to enhance the solubility properties of the raw lignin of both polar and non-polar solvents. Preliminary investigations into the suitability of employing the modified lignin in hydrogel preparation were also undertaken. The preliminary hydrogels were developed using heating and freeze-thawing methods, while polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and epichlorohydrin (ECH) were used as the matrix and the crosslinking agents, respectively. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), rheological analysis, scanning electron microscopy, and thermal analysis were then used to characterize the different lignin–PVA hydrogels. The study showed that the swelling behaviour of the hydrogels was mainly influenced by the nature of the lignin (i.e., modified or raw), and the morphology of the hydrogel surfaces varied depending on the preparation methods. The study showed that the hydrogel based on silanized lignin and PVA had superior mechanical performance and swelling capacity compared to the acetylated lignin–PVA and raw lignin–PVA hydrogels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass Valorization Approaches for the Circular Economy)
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Article
The Dynamic Behaviour of a Binary Adsorbent in a Fixed Bed Column for the Removal of Pb2+ Ions from Contaminated Water Bodies
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7662; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137662 - 23 Jun 2022
Viewed by 632
Abstract
In the search for a technically efficient and abundant adsorbent in water treatment processes, a bio-composite adsorbent derived from agricultural wastes has been identified as a potential candidate. In this study, eggshells and sugarcane bagasse were combined in varied proportions (1:0, 1:3, 1:1, [...] Read more.
In the search for a technically efficient and abundant adsorbent in water treatment processes, a bio-composite adsorbent derived from agricultural wastes has been identified as a potential candidate. In this study, eggshells and sugarcane bagasse were combined in varied proportions (1:0, 1:3, 1:1, 3:1 and 0:1) and applied as biosorbents in a lab-scale adsorption column. The effect of bed depth (4–12 cm) of the biosorbents was investigated which enabled the prediction of breakthrough curves for the removal of Pb (II) ions. The life span of the column was extended by increasing the bed depth of the column. The binary adsorbent of 1:3 weight ratio of <75 µm particle size showcased the highest removal efficiency of 91% at a bed depth of 12 cm. The mass transfer zone (MTZ) increased with increasing bed depth with a minor portion of the bed left unused, signifying that the process was highly efficient. The Thomas model constant, KTh, decreased with increasing bed depth with the maximum amount of Pb adsorbed being 28.27 mg/g. With the Yoon–Nelson model, KYN decreased with an increase in τ as the bed height increased. In this study, a novel approach was adopted where the proposed methodology enabled the use of a bio-composite adsorbent in heavy metal removal. The findings of this research will aid in the design and optimisation of the pilot-scale operation of environmentally friendly treatment options for metal laden effluent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass Valorization Approaches for the Circular Economy)
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Review

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Review
The Industrial Potential of Fique Cultivated in Colombia
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 695; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010695 - 30 Dec 2022
Viewed by 452
Abstract
The fique plant (Furcraea sp.) is a native plant of the Andean region with a great capacity to adapt to different environmental conditions, of which only 4% of the plant is used for developing natural fibers. The comprehensive use of fique and [...] Read more.
The fique plant (Furcraea sp.) is a native plant of the Andean region with a great capacity to adapt to different environmental conditions, of which only 4% of the plant is used for developing natural fibers. The comprehensive use of fique and its by-products represents a source of opportunities for the industry and can play an important role in achieving sustainable development. The available literature suggests that fique fiber, juice, and bagasse could boost sectors such as agriculture, construction, the pharmaceutical industry, power generation, and the development of environmental solutions, among others. This review article could help researchers to understand the fique production system, introduces research experiences, and analyze the potential of recent developments for the industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass Valorization Approaches for the Circular Economy)
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