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Special Issue "Resource Recovery in a Circular Bio-Economy"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Assoc. Prof. G Venkatesh
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Engineering and Chemical Sciences, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
Interests: sustainability; sustainable development; industrial ecology; life-cycle analyses; life-cycle costing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The shift from abiotic to biotic resource usage and optimization of the same takes place by availing resource recovery and byproduct utilization from waste streams in a ‘circular bioeconomy’. The waste streams referred to in the focus above could have their origins in:

  1. Urban and rural systems (societies and commercial entities as points of final sale and consumption);
  2. Industrial systems (intermediate consumers of raw materials and providers of end-use products to (1) above);

The scope is restricted to biotic waste streams from (1) and (2) and does not include abiotic resources and collection and recycling of the same. This is in keeping with the Title—Resource Recovery in a Bioeconomy. One can conceive of a linear bioeconomy, or a circular bioeconomy, and in this Special Issue, we dwell on the latter and, thus, recovery of resources from waste streams in such an economy.

The purpose is to add to the knowledge that is building up rapidly in the 21st century, due to the growing awareness of resource scarcity and the urgent need for optimization of resource use, while also mitigating adverse environmental impacts. As far as situating this issue within existing literature is concerned, preference will be given to new and innovative ideas and applications (lab, pilot or commercial scale), as well as the application of sustainability analysis—environmental, economic, and social aspects. Insightful review papers encompassing findings from and critiques of publications related to resource recovery in a bioeconomy are also welcome.

Assoc. Prof. G Venkatesh
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 2000 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

  • bioeconomy
  • circular economy
  • bioplastics
  • biofuels
  • recycling
  • biohydrogen

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Polylactic Acid and Its Cellulose Based Composite as a Significant Tool for the Production of Optimized Models Modified for Additive Manufacturing
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1256; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031256 - 26 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
The application of topological optimization is currently considered one of the current trends. Because the shape of the components thus designed is the result of a design generated based on external influences acting on the model, their form can be considered almost optimal. [...] Read more.
The application of topological optimization is currently considered one of the current trends. Because the shape of the components thus designed is the result of a design generated based on external influences acting on the model, their form can be considered almost optimal. For example, the extent of material savings resulting from shortening production cycles and reducing energy requirements is significant. Due to the way models are produced by layering the material in 3D printing, this technology makes it possible to get a little closer to the models’ optimal shape, for example, to produce prototype models for the production of injection moulds. The amazing amount of plastic and composite materials that this technology brings allows for a variable change in manufactured models based on requirements or external influences. These materials also include a group of materials and composite materials that are classified as biodegradable due to their composition. This fact, combined with the possibility of achieving the most optimal shape of components, contributes to reducing the environmental burden of such oriented production. This work presents the opportunities for modifying topological optimization outputs based on operating parameters and limits of additive production equipment fused deposition modeling (FDM). It gives the possibilities of using alternative ecological materials, their direct application, and the impact on creating models with the help of this technology. The final phase represents the result of the optimization process of the subsystem mechanism and the influence of the mechanical properties of biodegradable materials on the production process and the energy intensity of production. The aim of this work is to point out the fact and possibilities of using composite materials on a natural basis and their possible impact on reducing the environmental burden. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resource Recovery in a Circular Bio-Economy)
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Article
A Comprehensive Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of the Use of Hydrochar Pellets in Combined Heat and Power Plants
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9026; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219026 - 30 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 909
Abstract
Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) has been seen as a potentially beneficial process for converting wet biomass into value-added products. It is, however, necessary to overcome the challenges associated with handling the powdered form of hydrochar—a solid product of the HTC process—by controlling the formation [...] Read more.
Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) has been seen as a potentially beneficial process for converting wet biomass into value-added products. It is, however, necessary to overcome the challenges associated with handling the powdered form of hydrochar—a solid product of the HTC process—by controlling the formation of dust and facilitating smoother transportation and distribution in a potentially wide marketplace. In this paper, the authors investigate the environmental consequences of different alternatives for using hydrochar pellets produced from mixed sludges from pulp and paper mills in Sweden, using the environmental life cycle assessment (E-LCA). Two scenarios for possible end-uses of hydrochar in combined heat and power (CHP) plants as a source of energy (heat and electricity) were assessed. In these scenarios, hydrochar pellets were assumed to be combusted in CHP plants, thereby avoiding the use of combustible solid wastes (Scenario A) and coal (Scenario B), respectively, to recover energy in the form of electricity and heat. The environmental damages to Human Health, Ecosystem Quality, Climate Change, and Resources are evaluated based on 1 tonne of dry sludge as the functional unit. The results from this analysis illustrate that Scenario B, in which hydrochar replaces coal, offers the greatest reduction in all the environmental damage characterizations, except the Resources category. The displacement of energy-based coal due to hydrochar combustion contributed most significantly to the environmental damages wrought by the system—ranging from 52% in Resources to 93% in Ecosystem Quality. Overall, the results highlight that the application of hydrochar pellets for energy recovery to offset waste- and coal-based energy sources has great environmental benefits. The favorability of sludge hydrochar over solid wastes as fuel for CHP plants may be counter-intuitive at first, since HTC is an energy-intensive process, but when accounting for the necessity of dependence on imports of wastes for instance, the hydrochar pellet may well emerge as a good option for CHPs in Sweden. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resource Recovery in a Circular Bio-Economy)
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Article
Techno-Economic and Partial Environmental Analysis of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCU/S): Case Study from Proposed Waste-Fed District-Heating Incinerator in Sweden
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 5922; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12155922 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1320
Abstract
Sweden aspires to become totally carbon dioxide-neutral by 2045. Indisputably, what is needed is not just a reduction in the emissions of CO2 (greenhouse gases in general) from the technosphere, but also a manipulated diversion of CO2 from the atmosphere to [...] Read more.
Sweden aspires to become totally carbon dioxide-neutral by 2045. Indisputably, what is needed is not just a reduction in the emissions of CO2 (greenhouse gases in general) from the technosphere, but also a manipulated diversion of CO2 from the atmosphere to ‘traps’ in the lithosphere, technosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. The case study in this paper focused on Stockholm Exergi’s proposed waste-to-energy incineration plant in Lövsta, which is keen on incorporating carbon capture and storage (CCS), but is also interested in understanding the potential of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCU/S) in helping it to achieve ‘carbon-dioxide-negativity’. Waste-to-energy incineration plants (in cases where the petro-plastics in the waste mix can be substantially reduced) are a key component of a circular bio-economy, though the circularity here pertains to recovering energy from materials which may or may not be recyclable. CCS (storage in the North Sea) was compared with CCU/S (CO2 sintered into high-quality building blocks made of recycled slag from the steel sector) from techno-economic and environmental perspectives. The comparative analysis shows, inter alia, that a hybridized approach—a combination of CCS and CCU/S—is worth investing in. CCU/S, at the time of writing, is simply a pilot project in Belgium, a possible creatively-destructive technology which may or may not usurp prominence from CCS. The authors believe that political will and support with incentives, subsidies, and tax rebates are indispensable to motivate investments in such ground-breaking technologies and moving away from the easier route of paying carbon taxes or purchasing emission rights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resource Recovery in a Circular Bio-Economy)
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