Special Issue "Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Francisco Manzano Agugliaro
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Mediterranean zones are characterized by a mild climate and scarce water resources that limit, for example, crop sustainability. Additionally, these areas in general tend to be highly energy dependent on fossil fuels, despite having abundant solar radiation and some wind resources. Therefore, the development of these areas causes an increase in the emission of greenhouse gases. This Special Issue aims to focus its attention on sustainability solutions specifically adapted to Mediterranean climatic conditions, both to productive sectors, such as forestry, agriculture or industry, and in consumer sectors, such as housing, for example, in terms of thermal comfort or alternative transportation in urban areas. However, we must not forget that any measure of sustainability has a legal support or even a political impulse, for this reason the cases of study in the application of legal regulations or political impulses to measures of sustainability in the Mediterranean climate are welcome. This Special Issue seeks contributions spanning a broad range of topics related, but are not limited to:

  • Energy saving
  • Thermal comfort
  • Reduction of pollution
  • Sustainable use of water resources in agriculture
  • Desalinization and wastewater
  • Sustainable use of forest resources
  • Alternative transport
  • Legal regulation of sustainability
  • Sustainability policies

I believe that this Special Issue may help the sustainability in Mediterranean climate.

Thank you for your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Francisco Manzano Agugliaro
Guest Editor

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.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Biomass as Renewable Energy: Worldwide Research Trends
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 863; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030863 - 07 Feb 2019
Cited by 18
Abstract
The world’s population continues to grow at a high rate, such that today’s population is twice that of 1960, and is projected to increase further to 9 billion by 2050. This situation has brought about a situation in which the percentage of the [...] Read more.
The world’s population continues to grow at a high rate, such that today’s population is twice that of 1960, and is projected to increase further to 9 billion by 2050. This situation has brought about a situation in which the percentage of the global energy used in cities is increasing considerably. Biomass is a resource that is present in a variety of different materials: wood, sawdust, straw, seed waste, manure, paper waste, household waste, wastewater, etc. Biomass resources have traditionally been used, and their use is becoming increasingly important due to their economic potential, as there are significant annual volumes of agricultural production, whose by-products can be used as a source of energy and are even being promoted as so-called energy crops, specifically for this purpose. The main objective of this work was to analyze the state of research and trends in biomass for renewable energy from 1978 to 2018 to help the research community understand the current situation and future trends, as well as the situation of countries in the international context, all of which provides basic information to facilitate decision-making by those responsible for scientific policy. The main countries that are investigating the subject of biomass as a renewable energy, as measured by scientific production, are the United States, followed by China, India, Germany and Italy. The most productive institutions in this field are the Chinese Academy of Sciences, followed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet and the Ministry of Education in China. This study also identifies communities based on the keywords of the publications obtained from a bibliographic search. Six communities or clusters were found. The two most important are focused on obtaining liquid fuels from biomass. Finally, based on the collaboration between countries and biomass research, eight clusters were observed. All this is centered on three countries belonging to different clusters: USA, India and the UK. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
Date Seeds (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Valorization for Boilers in the Mediterranean Climate
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 711; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030711 - 29 Jan 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
: Energy saving is a global priority, as it is helping both energy and environmental sustainability by reducing CO2 emissions. The search for new energy solutions is therefore necessary. In the Mediterranean climate, resources are generally scarce, and all energy sources need [...] Read more.
: Energy saving is a global priority, as it is helping both energy and environmental sustainability by reducing CO2 emissions. The search for new energy solutions is therefore necessary. In the Mediterranean climate, resources are generally scarce, and all energy sources need to be explored, including biomass from agricultural or industrial waste. There is a clear upward trend in date worldwide production, having doubled its world production in the last 10 years, and this trend is particularly relevant for Mediterranean climate countries, especially in North Africa and nearby countries. This study analyzes the properties associated with the date seed (Phoenix dactylifera L.) to evaluate its suitability and viability as a new biofuel. Specifically, the viability of replacing the existing gas boiler in a university building in the south of Spain with a system of biomass boilers using this biomass was analyzed as a case study. The results reveal that this biomass has HHV values very similar to those of other biomass sources, 19.121 MJ/kg. With the replacement of the gas boiler by a biomass that uses the date seed, a reduction of 95 tons of CO2 per year is obtained and an economic saving of more than 66% is achieved. In short, this work opens new perspectives for the use of this biomass of date seed in boilers and it is an efficient solution for large public buildings such as the buildings of Mediterranean climate universities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Research Topics and Scientific Collaborations in Renewable Energy Using Community Detection
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4510; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124510 - 30 Nov 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
Renewable energy is a key breakthrough to mitigate carbon emissions, to reduce global warming, and for the creation of sustainable societies. Renewable energy is a broad area that includes different technologies that are being continuously improved to increase their efficiency and reduce cost. [...] Read more.
Renewable energy is a key breakthrough to mitigate carbon emissions, to reduce global warming, and for the creation of sustainable societies. Renewable energy is a broad area that includes different technologies that are being continuously improved to increase their efficiency and reduce cost. Many papers have been published in the last decades dealing with renewable energy issues, which is why it becomes important to determine the main topics of research, the main publications devoted to publishing scientific papers about renewable energy, and how researchers collaborate in this discipline. With these aims in view, this paper presents an advanced method for analysing publications about renewable energy and scientific collaboration networks in this field. This method is based on automatically obtaining bibliographic data from scientific publications through the use of the Scopus Database API Interface, which are then analysed using community detection algorithms and graph visualization software. The results obtained show that it is possible to determine the main areas of research activity as well as to identify the structures of the collaboration network in the field of renewable energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
OpenZmeter: An Efficient Low-Cost Energy Smart Meter and Power Quality Analyzer
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4038; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114038 - 04 Nov 2018
Cited by 15
Abstract
Power quality and energy consumption measurements support providers and energy users with solutions for acquiring and reporting information about the energy supply for residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. In particular, since the average number of electronic devices in homes increases year by year [...] Read more.
Power quality and energy consumption measurements support providers and energy users with solutions for acquiring and reporting information about the energy supply for residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. In particular, since the average number of electronic devices in homes increases year by year and their sensitivity is very high, it is not only important to monitor the total energy consumption, but also the quality of the power supplied. However, in practice, end-users do not have information about the energy consumption in real-time nor about the quality of the power they receive, because electric energy meters are too expensive and complex to be handled. In order to overcome these inconveniences, an innovative, open source, low-cost, precise, and reliable power and electric energy meter is presented that can be easily installed and managed by any inexperienced user at their own home in urban or rural areas. The system was validated in a real house over a period of two weeks, showing interesting results and findings which validate our proposal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
Adaptive Comfort Models Applied to Existing Dwellings in Mediterranean Climate Considering Global Warming
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3507; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103507 - 30 Sep 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Comfort analysis of existing naturally ventilated buildings located in mild climates, such as the ones in the Mediterranean zones, offer room for a reduction in the present and future energy consumption. Regarding Spain, most of the present building stock was built before energy [...] Read more.
Comfort analysis of existing naturally ventilated buildings located in mild climates, such as the ones in the Mediterranean zones, offer room for a reduction in the present and future energy consumption. Regarding Spain, most of the present building stock was built before energy standards were mandatory, let alone considerations about global warming or adaptive comfort. In this context, this research aims at assessing adaptive thermal comfort of inhabitants of extant apartments building in the South of Spain per EN 15251:2007 and ASHRAE 55-2013. The case study is statistically representative housing built in 1973. On-site monitoring of comfort conditions and computer simulations for present conditions have been carried out, clarifying the degree of adaptive comfort at present time. After that, additional simulations for 2020, 2050, and 2080 are performed to check whether this dwelling will be able to provide comfort considering a change in climate conditions. As a result, the study concludes that levels of adaptive comfort can be considered satisfactory at present time in these dwellings, but not in the future, when discomfort associated with hot conditions will be recurrent. These results provide a hint to foresee how extant dwellings, and also dwellers, should adapt to a change in environmental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Energy Based on Sunflower Seed Husk Boiler for Residential Buildings
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3407; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103407 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 15
Abstract
Buildings account for one third of the world’s energy consumption, 70% of which is devoted to heating and cooling. To increase the share of renewables in the energy consumption of buildings, it is necessary to research and promote new sources of green energy. [...] Read more.
Buildings account for one third of the world’s energy consumption, 70% of which is devoted to heating and cooling. To increase the share of renewables in the energy consumption of buildings, it is necessary to research and promote new sources of green energy. World production of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) was 47.34 million tons in 2016, with a harvested area of 26.20 million hectares, and the main producing countries being Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and Argentina, which produce about half of world production of sunflower seed. The sunflower husk, which represents a percentage by weight of 45%–60% of the seed depending on the sunflower variety, is widely used for the production of feed; however, its energy use is very scarce. The objectives of this study were to analyse the energy properties of sunflower husk as a solid biofuel and to carry out an energy, environmental, economic and operational analysis of a thermal installation fed with this by-product of the sunflower oil industry. The results show that this agro-industrial waste has a Higher Heating Value (HHV) of 17.844 MJ/kg, similar to that of other solid biofuels currently used. In addition, replacing a 430 kW fuel oil boiler with a biomass boiler of the same capacity fed by this biofuel can avoid the emission of 254.09 tons of CO2 per year, as well as obtain an annual energy saving of 75.47%. If we consider the production of sunflower seeds in each country and the sunflower husk were used as biofuel, this would result in a CO2 saving of more than 10 per thousand of the total emissions emitted. The results of this work contribute to the standardization of this by-product as a solid biofuel for thermal energy generation due to its potential to reduce CO2 emissions and increase energy efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
Peanut Shell for Energy: Properties and Its Potential to Respect the Environment
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3254; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093254 - 12 Sep 2018
Cited by 14
Abstract
The peanut (Arachys hypogaea) is a plant of the Fabaceae family (legumes), as are chickpeas, lentils, beans, and peas. It is originally from South America and is used mainly for culinary purposes, in confectionery products, or as a nut as well [...] Read more.
The peanut (Arachys hypogaea) is a plant of the Fabaceae family (legumes), as are chickpeas, lentils, beans, and peas. It is originally from South America and is used mainly for culinary purposes, in confectionery products, or as a nut as well as for the production of biscuits, breads, sweets, cereals, and salads. Also, due to its high percentage of fat, peanuts are used for industrialized products such as oils, flours, inks, creams, lipsticks, etc. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistical yearbook in 2016, the production of peanuts was 43,982,066 t, produced in 27,660,802 hectares. Peanuts are grown mainly in Asia, with a global production rate of 65.3%, followed by Africa with 26.2%, the Americas with 8.4%, and Oceania with 0.1%. The peanut industry is one of the main generators of agroindustrial waste (shells). This residual biomass (25–30% of the total weight) has a high energy content that is worth exploring. The main objectives of this study are, firstly, to evaluate the energy parameters of peanut shells as a possible solid biofuel applied as an energy source in residential and industrial heating installations. Secondly, different models are analysed to estimate the higher heating value (HHV) for biomass proposed by different scientists and to determine which most accurately fits the determination of this value for peanut shells. Thirdly, we evaluate the reduction in global CO2 emissions that would result from the use of peanut shells as biofuel. The obtained HHV of peanut shells (18.547 MJ/kg) is higher than other biomass sources evaluated, such as olive stones (17.884 MJ/kg) or almond shells (18.200 MJ/kg), and similar to other sources of biomass used at present for home and industrial heating applications. Different prediction models of the HHV value proposed by scientists for different types of biomass have been analysed and the one that best fits the calculation for the peanut shell has been determined. The CO2 reduction that would result from the use of peanut shells as an energy source has been evaluated in all production countries, obtaining values above 0.5 ‰ of their total emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
Adaptive Thermal Comfort Potential in Mediterranean Office Buildings: A Case Study of Torre Sevilla
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3091; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093091 - 30 Aug 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
The design and construction of buildings is currently subject to a growing set of requirements concerning sustainability and energy efficiency. This paper shows a case study of the Torre Sevilla skyscraper, located in the city of Seville (in the south of Spain), which [...] Read more.
The design and construction of buildings is currently subject to a growing set of requirements concerning sustainability and energy efficiency. This paper shows a case study of the Torre Sevilla skyscraper, located in the city of Seville (in the south of Spain), which has high-tech energy-efficient features and which uses air-conditioning systems during most of its operating hours. The analysis carried out starts from a simulation in which occupants’ thermal comfort are obtained, based on the adaptive comfort model defined in the standard EN 15251:2007. With this approach, it is possible to determine the number of hours during operation in which the building has adequate comfort conditions only with the help of the envelope and natural ventilation. Consequently, the remaining useful hours require the use of air-conditioning systems. The results show that it is possible to improve the thermal performance of the building due to its location in the Mediterranean climate. To do this, advanced mixed mode (through manual-opening or mechanically-controlled opening windows) and active air-conditioning are suggested. This experimental proposal provides a reduction of the occupation hours which require the use of air-conditioning equipment by 28.57%, reducing the air-conditioning demand and, consequently, the energy consumption of the building. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Sustainable Materials for Radiative Cooling Potential of Building Surfaces
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3049; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093049 - 28 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The main goal of this paper is to explore the radiative cooling and solar heating potential of several materials for the built environment, based on their spectrally-selective properties. A material for solar heating, should have high spectral emissivity/absorptivity in the solar radiation band [...] Read more.
The main goal of this paper is to explore the radiative cooling and solar heating potential of several materials for the built environment, based on their spectrally-selective properties. A material for solar heating, should have high spectral emissivity/absorptivity in the solar radiation band (within the wavelength range of 0.2–2 μm), and low emissivity/absorptivity at longer wavelengths. Radiative cooling applications require high spectral emissivity/absorptivity, within the atmospheric window band (8–13 μm), and a low emissivity/absorptivity in other bands. UV-Vis spectrophotometer and FTIR spectroscopy, are used to measure, the spectral absorption/emission spectra of six different types of materials. To evaluate the radiative cooling potential of the samples, the power of cooling is calculated. Heat transfer through most materials is not just a surface phenomenon, but it also needs a volumetric analysis. Therefore, a coupled radiation and conduction heat transfer analysis is used. Results are discussed for the selection of the best materials, for different applications on building surfaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Postural Load during Melon Cultivation in Mediterranean Greenhouses
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2729; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082729 - 02 Aug 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Health and safety at work directly influence the development of sustainable agriculture. In the agricultural sector, many farm workers suffer musculoskeletal disorders caused by forced posture. The objective of this research is to assess working postures during melon cultivation in Almería-type greenhouses. The [...] Read more.
Health and safety at work directly influence the development of sustainable agriculture. In the agricultural sector, many farm workers suffer musculoskeletal disorders caused by forced posture. The objective of this research is to assess working postures during melon cultivation in Almería-type greenhouses. The Ovako Working Posture Assessment System (OWAS) has been used with pictures of the tasks. The variables studied by multiple correspondence analysis were as follows: Subtask, Posture code, Back, Arms, Legs, Load, Risk, and Risk combination. The OWAS analysis showed that 47.57% of the postures were assessed as risk category 2, 14.32% as risk category 3, 0.47% as risk category 4, and the rest as risk category 1. Corrective measures should be implemented immediately, as soon as possible, or in the near future, depending on the risks detected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Review of Conventional and Innovative- Sustainable Methods for Cleaning Reflectors in Concentrating Solar Power Plants
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3937; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113937 - 29 Oct 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
The severe soiling of reflectors deployed in arid and semi arid locations decreases their reflectance and drives down the yield of the concentrating solar power (CSP) plants. To alleviate this issue, various sets of methods are available. The operation and maintenance (O&M) staff [...] Read more.
The severe soiling of reflectors deployed in arid and semi arid locations decreases their reflectance and drives down the yield of the concentrating solar power (CSP) plants. To alleviate this issue, various sets of methods are available. The operation and maintenance (O&M) staff should opt for sustainable cleaning methods that are safe and environmentally friendly. To restore high reflectance, the cleaning vehicles of CSP plants must adapt to the constraints of each technology and to the layout of reflectors in the solar field. Water based methods are currently the most commonly used in CSP plants but they are not sustainable due to water scarcity and high soiling rates. The recovery and reuse of washing water can compensate for these methods and make them a more reasonable option for mediterranean and desert environments. Dry methods, on the other hand, are gaining more attraction as they are more suitable for desert regions. Some of these methods rely on ultrasonic wave or vibration for detaching the dust bonding from the reflectors surface, while other methods, known as preventive methods, focus on reducing the soiling by modifying the reflectors surface and incorporating self cleaning features using special coatings. Since the CSP plants operators aim to achieve the highest profit by minimizing the cost of cleaning while maintaining a high reflectance, optimizing the cleaning parameters and strategies is of great interest. This work presents the conventional water-based methods that are currently used in CSP plants in addition to sustainable alternative methods for dust removal and soiling prevention. Also, the cleaning effectiveness, the environmental impacts and the economic aspects of each technology are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Mediterranean Climate)
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