Special Issue "Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Eui-Chan Jeon
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Climate and Environment, Sejong University, Seoul 05006, Korea
Interests: PM 2.5 secondary source; fine particulate matters; climate change; greenhouse gases
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Hana Kim

Guest Editor
Sejong University, Korea
Interests: energy and climate policy; input–output analysis; governance structure of environmental policies
Dr. Donghun Lee

Guest Editor
University of Seoul, Korea
Interests: waste management; waste-to-energy; circular economy
Dr. William Latham

Guest Editor
University of Delaware, US
Interests: economic impacts of environmental policies; economic development and environmental policies
Dr. Manu Mathai

Guest Editor
Azim Premji University, India
Interests: sustainability in planning and practice; nuclear power; renewable energy; green economy
Dr. Chacrit Sitdhiwej

Guest Editor
Thammasat University, Thailand
Interests: energy law and policy; public administration; environmental law and policy

Special Issue Information

The limitations of a linear economy have been observed. The representative example is climate change. The dichotomy that separate environment from economy and treat environment as inputs for economic activities or sites for waste disposal cannot be sustained anymore. A circular economy is an imperative and new paradigm for us to pursue. This Special Issue aims to collect up-to-date research articles that explore and examine sustainable energy and waste policies from a more comprehensive perspective. This Special Issue will incorporate research articles that examine current energy and waste policies, qualitatively and quantitatively (e.g., life-cycle-assessment, energy modeling, etc.).

Dr. Eui-Chan Jeon
Dr. Hana Kim
Dr. Donghun Lee
Dr. William Latham
Dr. Manu Mathai
Dr. Chacrit Sitdhiwej
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 papers will be 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 1800 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

  • circular economy
  • waste policies
  • energy policies

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
A Conceptual Tool for the Implementation of the Circular Economy Emissions Reuse Closed Loops through Process Equipment
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3912; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113912 - 27 Oct 2018
Abstract
Nowadays industry is immersed in a transition to the Circular Economy (CE) as a way to achieve resource efficiency in production processes. However, the implementation of CE closed loops is still in an initial phase and it focuses mainly on the recycling of [...] Read more.
Nowadays industry is immersed in a transition to the Circular Economy (CE) as a way to achieve resource efficiency in production processes. However, the implementation of CE closed loops is still in an initial phase and it focuses mainly on the recycling of components of products instead of the reuse of emissions. The purpose of this study is to explore the possibility of accelerating the transition of the CE in production processes through a conceptual tool that allows the possibility of evaluating the reuse of emissions between the equipment involved in a process. The Environmental Analysis of Relations of Coexistence of the Equipment (EARC) tool is a novelty in the implementation of the CE emissions reuse closed loops at the company level. The EARC tool focuses on the identification and analysis of the equipment involved in a process and in the material inputs and emissions outputs of each of its operations with the objective of evaluating the possibility of reusing emissions among them. This paper presents a conceptual tool as the basis for the development of a redesign methodology for the reuse of emissions in production processes with the objective of reducing the consumption of resources and the generation of emissions as well as the reduction of production costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
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Open AccessArticle
Social Preferences for Small-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Power Plants in South Korea: A Choice Experiment Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3589; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103589 - 09 Oct 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the South Korean government plans to expand the installation of small-scale solar photovoltaic (SPV) power plants, which do not occupy large spaces and have a smaller environmental impact than large-scale SPV power plants. This article applies a choice [...] Read more.
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the South Korean government plans to expand the installation of small-scale solar photovoltaic (SPV) power plants, which do not occupy large spaces and have a smaller environmental impact than large-scale SPV power plants. This article applies a choice experiment to evaluate quantitatively the value given by people to the attributes of the installation of small-scale SPV power plants. To reflect the preference heterogeneity of South Korean people, a Bayesian estimation of a mixed-logit model is successfully performed. According to the results, South Korean people consider the electricity bill, the operating body, and the installation location as being more important than other attributes. The respondents prefer small-scale SPV power plants that are located in residential areas, have a large scale of installation, are operated by a private corporation and produce electricity for self-consumption. For these attributes, the South Korean people are willing to pay an additional electricity bill of South Korean won (KRW) 4286/month, KRW 3712/kW, KRW 2885/month and KRW 3731/month, respectively. The results provide meaningful implications regarding the aspects of installation on which the government should focus. In addition, the results can be utilized in policy making and decision making related to the installation of small-scale SPV power plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
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Open AccessArticle
PV Waste Management at the Crossroads of Circular Economy and Energy Transition: The Case of South Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3565; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103565 - 05 Oct 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
The South Korean government’s renewable energy deployment plan aims to increase the share of electricity generated from renewables to 20% by 2030. To reach this goal, the rate of photovoltaic (PV) installation will accelerate in the coming years. This energy transition creates a [...] Read more.
The South Korean government’s renewable energy deployment plan aims to increase the share of electricity generated from renewables to 20% by 2030. To reach this goal, the rate of photovoltaic (PV) installation will accelerate in the coming years. This energy transition creates a new challenge: PV wastes. This study estimates the amount of PV waste generated, the material composition of PV waste, and the amount of recyclable metals in South Korea by 2080 under four different scenarios (combining shape parameters of 5.3759 [regular-loss] and 3.5 [early-loss] with PV module lifespans of 25 and 30 years) using the Weibull distribution function. The annual waste generated will fluctuate over time depending on the scenario, but between 4299 and 5764 thousand tons of PV waste will have been generated by 2080. Under the early-loss/25-year lifespan scenario, annual PV waste generation will increase to exceed 130,000 tons in 2045, then decrease through 2063 before increasing once again. The fluctuation in annual PV waste generation appears stronger under regular-loss scenarios. An appropriate system for the monitoring, collection, and storage of PV waste needs to be arranged even before the volume becomes high enough for recycling to be economically viable. International cooperation could be a way to maintain the PV waste stream at an economically feasible scale. It would also be a good idea if the PV module could be designed in a way that would enable easier recycling or reuse. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
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Open AccessArticle
Uncertainty Analysis for the CH4 Emission Factor of Thermal Power Plant by Monte Carlo Simulation
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3448; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103448 - 27 Sep 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Thermal power plants are a large source of greenhouse gas emissions among energy industry facilities. Emission factors for methane and nitrous oxide depend on combustion technologies and operating conditions and vary significantly with individual thermal power plants. Due to this variability, use of [...] Read more.
Thermal power plants are a large source of greenhouse gas emissions among energy industry facilities. Emission factors for methane and nitrous oxide depend on combustion technologies and operating conditions and vary significantly with individual thermal power plants. Due to this variability, use of average emission factors for these gases will introduce relatively large uncertainties. This study determined the CH4 emission factors of thermal power plants currently in operation in Korea by conducting field investigations according to fuel type and type of combustion technique. Through use of the Monte Carlo simulation, the uncertainty range for the CH4 emission factor was determined. The estimation showed, at the 95% confidence level, that the uncertainty range for CH4 emission factor from a tangential firing boiler using bituminous coal was −46.6% to +145.2%. The range for the opposed wall-firing boiler was −25.3% to +70.9%. The range for the tangential firing boiler using fuel oil was −39.0% to 93.5%, that from the opposed wall-firing boiler was −47.7% to +201.1%, and that from the internal combustion engine boiler was −38.7% to +106.1%. Finally, the uncertainty range for the CH4 emission factor from the combined cycle boiler using LNG was −90% to +326%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
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Open AccessArticle
Hybrid Input-Output Analysis of Embodied Carbon and Construction Cost Differences between New-Build and Refurbished Projects
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3229; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093229 - 10 Sep 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Refurbishing buildings helps reduce waste, and limiting the amount of embodied carbon in buildings helps minimize the damaging impacts of climate change through lower CO2 emissions. The analysis of embodied carbon is based on the concept of life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA [...] Read more.
Refurbishing buildings helps reduce waste, and limiting the amount of embodied carbon in buildings helps minimize the damaging impacts of climate change through lower CO2 emissions. The analysis of embodied carbon is based on the concept of life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA is a systematic tool to evaluate the environmental impacts of a product, technology, or service through all stages of its life cycle. This study investigates the embodied carbon footprint of both new-build and refurbished buildings to determine the embodied carbon profile and its relationship to both embodied energy and construction cost. It recognizes that changes in the fuel mix for electricity generation play an important role in embodied carbon impacts in different countries. The empirical findings for Hong Kong suggest that mean embodied carbon for refurbished buildings is 33–39% lower than new-build projects, and the cost for refurbished buildings is 22–50% lower than new-build projects (per square meter of floor area). Embodied carbon ranges from 645–1059 kgCO2e/m2 for new-build and 294–655 kgCO2e/m2 for refurbished projects, which is in keeping with other studies outside Hong Kong. However, values of embodied carbon and cost for refurbished projects in this study have a higher coefficient of variation than their new-build counterparts. It is argued that it is preferable to estimate embodied energy and then convert to embodied carbon (rather than estimate embodied carbon directly), as carbon is both time and location specific. A very strong linear relationship is also observed between embodied energy and construction cost that can be used to predict the former, given the latter. This study provides a framework whereby comparisons can be made between new-build and refurbished projects on the basis of embodied carbon and related construction cost differentials into the future, helping to make informed decisions about which strategy to pursue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
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Open AccessArticle
Feasibility of Eco-Friendly Binary and Ternary Blended Binders Made of Fly-Ash and Oil-Refinery Spent Catalyst in Ready-Mixed Concrete Production
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3136; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093136 - 03 Sep 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Large-scale recycling of new industrial wastes or by-products in concrete has become a crucial issue for construction materials sustainability, with impact in the three pillars (environmental, social and economic), while still maintaining satisfactory, or improved, concrete performance. The main goal of the paper [...] Read more.
Large-scale recycling of new industrial wastes or by-products in concrete has become a crucial issue for construction materials sustainability, with impact in the three pillars (environmental, social and economic), while still maintaining satisfactory, or improved, concrete performance. The main goal of the paper is to evaluate the technological feasibility of the partial, or total, replacement of fly-ashes (FA), widely used in ready-mixed concrete production, with spent equilibrium catalyst (ECat) from the oil-refinery industry. Three different concrete mixtures with binary binder blends of FA (33.3% by mass, used as reference) and of ECat (16.7% and 33.3%), as well as a concrete mixture with a ternary binder blend with FA and ECat (16.7%, of each) were tested regarding their mechanical properties and durability. Generically, in comparison with commercial concrete (i) 16.7% ECat binary blended concrete revealed improved mechanical strength and durability; (ii): ternary FA-ECat blended binder concrete presented similar properties; and (iii) 33% ECat binary blended concrete has a lower performance. The engineering performance of all ECat concretes meet both the international standards and the reference durability indicators available in the scientific literature. Thus, ECat can be a constant supply for ready-mixed eco-concretes production, promoting synergetic waste recycling across industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
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Open AccessArticle
Fossil Carbon Fraction and Measuring Cycle for Sewage Sludge Waste Incineration
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2790; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082790 - 07 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this study, the fossil carbon contents of the two facilities were analyzed using 10 or more samples for each facility from June 2013 to March 2015. In addition, the optimal measurement period was calculated from the analyzed fossil carbon contents using a [...] Read more.
In this study, the fossil carbon contents of the two facilities were analyzed using 10 or more samples for each facility from June 2013 to March 2015. In addition, the optimal measurement period was calculated from the analyzed fossil carbon contents using a statistical method. As a result of the analysis, the fossil carbon contents were found to be less than 35%, indicating that the biomass content of sewage sludge was not 100%. The fossil carbon content could be representative of using yearly period measurements value. When calculating Green house gas (GHG) emissions from waste incineration, South Korea has been calculating only Non-CO2 emissions because it regarded the CO2 emitted in GHGs from sewage sludge (SS) incineration facilities as originating from biomass. However, biomass of the sewage sludge incineration facility is not 100%, so it is necessary to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions considering the fossil carbon content. Therefore, there is a need to increase the reliability of the greenhouse gas inventory by conducting further studies (such as CO2 concentration analysis) related to the calculation of CO2 emissions for the relevant facilities (sewage sludge incinerator). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
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Open AccessArticle
The Promotion of Environmental Management in the South Korean Health Sector—Case Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2081; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062081 - 19 Jun 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Because of the comprehensiveness and urgency of environmental challenges, every stakeholder needs to be engaged in reducing environmental impacts. The healthcare sector has rarely been studied, despite its intense effects on the environment, particularly through generating various forms of hazardous waste and intensively [...] Read more.
Because of the comprehensiveness and urgency of environmental challenges, every stakeholder needs to be engaged in reducing environmental impacts. The healthcare sector has rarely been studied, despite its intense effects on the environment, particularly through generating various forms of hazardous waste and intensively consuming energy and water. Many healthcare facilities exist in South Korea, and every citizen frequently visits hospitals thanks to the convenient system. To reduce the environmental impacts of the healthcare sector, the South Korean government has implemented various policy measures aimed at promoting environmental management in that sector. This study evaluated the eco-efficiencies of 21 hospitals from 2012 to 2015 using data envelopment assessment (DEA), used the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) to analyze hospital staff members’ answers to a questionnaire asking about the relative importance and performance of individual environmental management tasks, and also identified environmental management tasks that should be prioritized by building an importance-performance analysis (IPA) matrix using those questionnaire responses. This study found that eco-efficiencies have improved during the period, and that mandatory policy measures were more effective than voluntary agreements for improving eco-efficiency. This implies that rigorous reporting and monitoring should be implemented along with any voluntary agreement. In addition, this study found that the top priorities are “establishment of vision and strategy for environmental management” and “organization of task team for environmental management and task assignment”. This shows the necessity of additional policy measures, such as training or consulting to promote the priorities. In addition to policy recommendations for diffusing environmental management in the South Korean healthcare sector, the methodological approach sheds light for researchers interested in environmental management in the healthcare sector because previous studies depended on qualitative approaches, particularly case studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
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Open AccessArticle
Designing Business Solutions for Plastic Waste Management to Enhance Circular Transitions in Kenya
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1664; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051664 - 21 May 2018
Cited by 17
Abstract
Least-developed countries face many challenges regarding their plastic waste management systems. In 2017, Kenya imposed a selective ban targeting manufacturers and consumers of plastic carrier bags. However, this selectivity does not avoid the continuous use of other plastic products. The present paper states [...] Read more.
Least-developed countries face many challenges regarding their plastic waste management systems. In 2017, Kenya imposed a selective ban targeting manufacturers and consumers of plastic carrier bags. However, this selectivity does not avoid the continuous use of other plastic products. The present paper states that circular priorities, which have been defined to advanced economies, would not be entirely valid for the rest of the world. While high-income countries face only the impacts of their own consumption, developing nations must endure the externalities of these developed economies. Thus, the focus of the least developed part of the world must not be on reducing its relatively normal (or even low) consumption, but to manage its surplus material flow. According to the employed circular evaluation methodology (CEV—Circular Economic Value), the circularity level in Kenya’s plastic material flow stands on a rather low stage with 32.72%. This result outlines the linear deficiencies of the plastic waste management system and urges the prevention of further material leakage (such as energy use). Through the Business Model Canvas (BMC) approach this study offers a holistic business solution which can improve the system’s sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
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Open AccessArticle
Family Businesses Transitioning to a Circular Economy Model: The Case of “Mercadona”
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020538 - 17 Feb 2018
Cited by 50
Abstract
Sustainability addresses environmental and social issues affecting this and future generations. When family businesses perceive that the community is disrupted, recognize an environmental problem and respond by implementing new environmental policies or regulations, the family business’s socio-emotional values press to transition to a [...] Read more.
Sustainability addresses environmental and social issues affecting this and future generations. When family businesses perceive that the community is disrupted, recognize an environmental problem and respond by implementing new environmental policies or regulations, the family business’s socio-emotional values press to transition to a more sustainable production system, such as the ‘Circular Economy.’ Drawing on the Dubin (1978) methodology—a paradigm for building models through deduction—we design a sustainable model, which shows family businesses’ responses to changes in the environment. It explains the reasons why family firms transition to the Circular Economy, based on the theory of Socio-Emotional Wealth (SEW). We check the model through the case study of the food retail leader in the Spanish market—Mercadona—which applies policies about energy, resources and waste to become a Circular Economy business model. Because of the strong family character of Mercadona, this case can be useful for the decision-making of other family businesses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
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