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Topical Collection "Environmental Assessment, Life Cycle Analysis and Sustainability"

Editors

Dr. George Banias
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Bio-Economy and Agri-Technology, Centre for Research and Technology, Hellas, Thermi, 57001 Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: environmental impact assessment; life cycle analysis; waste management and circular economy; sustainability; environmental informatics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Sotiris Patsios
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Research and Technology - Hellas (CERTH), Chemical Process and Energy Resources Institute (CPERI), Laboratory of Natural Resources and Renewable Energies (NRRE),6th km Charilaou-Thermi Rd, P.O. Box 60361, GR57001, Thermi Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: Water and Wastewater Treatment; Membrane Bioreactor Technology; Agro-Industrial Waste Valorisation; Membrane Processes; Water Reuse
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Konstantinos N. Kontogiannopoulos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, School of Chemical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: nanotechnology; natural products; drug delivery systems; pharmaceutical technology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Kleoniki Pouikli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
ERA - Academy of European Law, Metzer Allee 4, D-54295 Trier, Germany
Interests: Environmental law and policy; sustainability law; resilience; climate change and energy law

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The need to build environmental considerations into decision-making, is no longer a bold proposition, but a basic necessity. To that end, Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) plays constantly an increasing role in environmental impact assessment corresponding to the growing need of achieving the short- as well as long-term aims of sustainable development. Either as a practical toolbox or as a conceptual framework, LCA constitutes a transparent and reliable way to assess the environmental impacts of products, systems or services from cradle to grave in order to pave the way towards sustainable development. Nowadays, the transition to sustainable lifestyles, products and services is very high on the political both internationally and at EU level. Therefore, the promotion of LCA as integral part of the environmental assessment tool-kit as well as of the policy development processes strengthens the transition to harmonized methodologies among different stakeholders, enhances the evolvement of efficient methods for impact assessment and facilitates communication and exchanges on life-cycle data.

This Special Issue aspires to present a selection of original and innovative papers highlighting the most challenging aspects relating to the comprehensive integration of the life cycle thinking in business and in policy making. Problems, challenges, perspectives and opportunities with respect to the different applications of the LCA will shed light on the dynamic and forward-looking nature of this tool especially in the light of the sustainable development goals and priorities. Successful paradigms of LCA methodology application on specific case studies are also welcomed. Papers on the aforementioned, as well as other relevant topics, selected for this Special Issue will be subject to a rigorous peer-review process with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

Dr. George Banias
Dr. Sotiris Patsios
Dr. Konstantinos Kontogiannopoulos
Dr. Kleoniki Pouikli
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 collection 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

  • environmental impact assessment
  • life cycle thinking
  • environmental considerations and decision making

Published Papers (10 papers)

2022

Jump to: 2021, 2020, 2019

Article
Estimation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Petrol, Biodiesel and Battery Electric Vehicles in Malaysia Based on Life Cycle Approach
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 5783; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14105783 - 10 May 2022
Viewed by 500
Abstract
A steady rise in the ownership of vehicles in Malaysia has drawn attention to the need for more effective strategies to reduce the emissions of the road transport sector. Although the electrification of vehicles and replacing petrol with biofuel are the strategies being [...] Read more.
A steady rise in the ownership of vehicles in Malaysia has drawn attention to the need for more effective strategies to reduce the emissions of the road transport sector. Although the electrification of vehicles and replacing petrol with biofuel are the strategies being considered in Malaysia, these strategies have yet to be fully evaluated from an environmental perspective. In this study, a life cycle assessment was conducted to compare the greenhouse gas emissions of different types of transportation means (passenger cars, two-wheelers (motorbikes), and buses) with several types of powertrains (petrol, biodiesel, electricity) based on multiple lifecycle stages in Malaysia. The impact of considering land use change for the biodiesel production in the LCA was also considered in this study. It was found that the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles fueled by petrol to electric vehicles would reduce the greenhouse gas emission for passenger cars, two-wheelers, and buses. However, because the greenhouse gas emissions of biodiesel-fueled vehicles are higher than those of petrol-fueled vehicles, even without considering land use change, the results indicate that the transition from a 10% to 20% biofuel blend, which is a current strategy in Malaysia, will not result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the transport sector in Malaysia. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2022, 2020, 2019

Article
Development, Application and Challenges of Set Pair Analysis in Environmental Science from 1989 to 2020: A Bibliometric Review
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010153 - 24 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Set pair analysis is a new intelligent algorithm for dealing with complex uncertain problems, and it is widely used in environmental science because of its concise structure and scalability of results. However, it is still unclear about the development stage distribution of set [...] Read more.
Set pair analysis is a new intelligent algorithm for dealing with complex uncertain problems, and it is widely used in environmental science because of its concise structure and scalability of results. However, it is still unclear about the development stage distribution of set pair analysis in environmental science and the specific development and application in key areas. Therefore, based on the method of bibliometrics, this paper studies the development, application and challenges of set pair analysis in environmental science over the past 32 years (1989–2020). The analysis found that in terms of time dimension, the development process of set pair analysis is divided into three stages: the initial stage (1989–2011); the rapid development stage (2012–2015); the steady development stage (2016 to present). In terms of specific fields, this article focuses on the development and application of set pair analysis in the three fields of ecology, water resources, and atmospheric environmental science. It is found that set pair analysis is mainly used for environmental assessment, diagnosis and prediction. In particular, the development of partial connection numbers is a new research trend of set pair analysis, which plays an important role in environmental assessment, diagnosis and prediction. However, the current set pair analysis also has the shortcomings of strong subjectivity, an imperfect theoretical system, and unbalanced development at home and abroad. Only when these deficiencies are solved, can the development of set pair analysis in environmental science be further promoted. Full article
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Article
Developing Conversion Factors of LCIA Methods for Comparison of LCA Results in the Construction Sector
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9016; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169016 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 824
Abstract
The inconsistency caused by different life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods is a long-term challenge for the life cycle assessment (LCA) community. It is necessary to systematically analyze the differences caused by LCIA methods and facilitate the fair comparison of LCA results. This [...] Read more.
The inconsistency caused by different life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods is a long-term challenge for the life cycle assessment (LCA) community. It is necessary to systematically analyze the differences caused by LCIA methods and facilitate the fair comparison of LCA results. This study proposes an effective method of conversion factors (CFs) for converting the results of 8 LCIA methods for 14 impact categories and then demonstrates its application in the construction sector. Correlation analyses of the datasets of construction materials are conducted to develop CFs for the impact categories. A set of conversion cards are devised to present the CFs and the associated correlation information for the LCIA methods. It is revealed that the differences between LCIA methods are largely caused by the characterization methods, rather than due to the metrics. A comparison based only on the same metrics but ignoring the underlying LCIA mechanisms is misleading. High correlations are observed for the impact categories of climate change, acidification, eutrophication, and resource depletion. The developed CFs and conversion cards can greatly help LCA practitioners in the fair comparison of LCA results from different LCIA methods. Case studies are conducted, and verify that by applying the CFs the seemingly incomparable results from different LCIA methods become comparable. The CF method addresses the inconsistency problem of LCIA methods in a practical manner and helps improve the comparability and reliability of LCA studies in the construction sector. Suggestions are provided for the further development of LCIA conversion factors. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2022, 2021, 2019

Article
A Life Cycle Analysis Approach for the Evaluation of Municipal Solid Waste Management Practices: The Case Study of the Region of Central Macedonia, Greece
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8221; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198221 - 06 Oct 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1583
Abstract
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management has been a major problem of modern cities for many years. Thus, the development of optimal waste management strategies has been a priority for the European Commission, especially in the transition toward a circular economy. In this paper, [...] Read more.
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management has been a major problem of modern cities for many years. Thus, the development of optimal waste management strategies has been a priority for the European Commission, especially in the transition toward a circular economy. In this paper, an analysis of different MSW treatment methods that can be effectively implemented in the Region of Central Macedonia (RCM) is provided, and their comparison from an environmental point of view is performed. The assessment is based on real data indicated in the recently updated Greek National Waste Management Plan, whereas the different scenarios developed include landfilling without energy recovery, landfilling with energy recovery, recycling and secondary materials recovery, mechanical-biological treatment, bio-waste composting and anaerobic digestion with energy recovery, and incineration with energy recovery. The obtained results illustrate that efficient waste streams sorting is of vital importance for the effective implementation of an integrated waste management system toward the sustainable management of MSW. Full article
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Article
A Life Cycle Assessment of Biomass Production from Energy Crops in Crop Rotation Using Different Tillage System
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6978; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176978 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 998
Abstract
A three-year experiment was carried out in Central Greece to assess the use of different tillage practices (Conventional, Reduced, and No tillage) for seedbed preparation, in a double cropping per year rotation of irrigated and rainfed energy crops for biomass production for first- [...] Read more.
A three-year experiment was carried out in Central Greece to assess the use of different tillage practices (Conventional, Reduced, and No tillage) for seedbed preparation, in a double cropping per year rotation of irrigated and rainfed energy crops for biomass production for first- and second-generation biofuel production. A life cycle assessment (LCA) study was performed for the first year of crop rotation to evaluate the environmental impact of using different tillage practices, identifying the processes with greater influence on the overall environmental burden (hotspots) and demonstrating the potential environmental benefits from the land management change. LCA results revealed that fertilizer application and diesel fuel consumption, as well as their production stages, were the hot-spot processes for each treatment. In the present study, different tillage treatments compared using mass- and area-based functional unit (FU), revealing that reduced tillage, using strip tillage for spring crop and disc harrow for winter crops, and no tillage treatment had the best environmental performance, respectively. Comparison between the prevailing in the area monoculture cotton crop with the proposed double energy crop rotation adopting conservation tillage practices, using mass and energy value FU, showed that cotton crop had higher environmental impact. Full article
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Article
Life Cycle Assessment of Variable Rate Fertilizer Application in a Pear Orchard
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6893; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176893 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1090
Abstract
Precision Agriculture (PA) is a crop site-specific management system that aims for sustainability, adopting agricultural practices more friendly to the environment, like the variable rate application (VRA) technique. Many studies have dealt with the effectiveness of VRA to reduce nitrogen (N) fertilizer, while [...] Read more.
Precision Agriculture (PA) is a crop site-specific management system that aims for sustainability, adopting agricultural practices more friendly to the environment, like the variable rate application (VRA) technique. Many studies have dealt with the effectiveness of VRA to reduce nitrogen (N) fertilizer, while achieving increased profit and productivity. However, only limited attention was given to VRA’s environmental impact. In this study an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) based Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) performed to identify the environmental effects of N VRA on a small pear orchard, compared to the conventional uniform application. A Cradle to Gate system with a functional unit (FU) of 1 kg of pears was analyzed including high quality primary data of two productive years, including also the non-productive years, as well as all the emissions during pear growing and the supply chains of all inputs, projecting them to the lifespan of the orchard. A methodology was adopted, modelling individual years and averaging over the orchard’s lifetime. Results showed that Climate change, Water scarcity, Fossil fuels and Particulate formation were the most contributing impact categories to the overall environmental impact of the pear orchard lifespan, where climate change and particulates were largely determined by CO2, N2O, and NH3 emissions to the air from fertilizer production and application, and as CO2 from tractor use. Concerning fertilization practice, when VRA was combined with a high yield year, this resulted in significantly reduced environmental impact. LCA evaluating an alternative fertilizer management system in a Greek pear orchard revealed the environmental impact reduction potential of that system. Full article
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Article
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Proves that Manila Clam Farming (Ruditapes Philippinarum) is a Fully Sustainable Aquaculture Practice and a Carbon Sink
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5252; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135252 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1712
Abstract
Manila clam (Ruditapes philippinarum, Adams and Reeve, 1850) farming is a quantitatively important and valuable form of aquaculture production worldwide but, to our best knowledge, no life cycle assessments (LCA) have been undertaken on it. However, being a filter feeder and [...] Read more.
Manila clam (Ruditapes philippinarum, Adams and Reeve, 1850) farming is a quantitatively important and valuable form of aquaculture production worldwide but, to our best knowledge, no life cycle assessments (LCA) have been undertaken on it. However, being a filter feeder and producing a thick shell during the growing cycle, the capacity of Manila clam to remove nutrients, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous from the marine environment potentially has some positive effects on the environment. This study was performed in the Sacca di Goro lagoon, located in the southernmost part of the Po River Delta, in the northwestern Adriatic Sea. The LCA of clam farming from a cradle-to-gate perspective have been carried out, including the production stages as seed procuring, sowing, harvesting, depuration and packaging to obtain 1 ton of fresh ready-to-sell clams. The results show that area preparation, fuel combustion and plastic bags were the main contributors to the environmental impacts. The potential capability as a carbon sink of 1 ton of clams has been calculated and the effects on eutrophication reduction by fixing nitrogen and phosphorous in shells, with a net sequestration of 444.55 kg of CO2, 1.54 kg of N and 0.31 kg of P per year. Full article
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Article
Sustainability of Mussel (Mytilus Galloprovincialis) Farming in the Po River Delta, Northern Italy, Based on a Life Cycle Assessment Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3814; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093814 - 07 May 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1780
Abstract
Molluscan shellfish aquaculture is considered a “green” industry because of the limited presence of chemicals and risk of pathogens during farming in licensed areas, which provide a safe, nutritive and healthy food source. Moreover, the environmental impact of their production is lower than [...] Read more.
Molluscan shellfish aquaculture is considered a “green” industry because of the limited presence of chemicals and risk of pathogens during farming in licensed areas, which provide a safe, nutritive and healthy food source. Moreover, the environmental impact of their production is lower than all other fish animal per unit of protein. In particular, mussels’ production was the first organized mollusk aquaculture in Europe and is now one of the most extended. Italy is the second main European producer of mussels. Taking into account the relevance of the sector, Italian Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) aquaculture has been considered for a life cycle assessment (LCA), from a cradle-to-gate perspective. The mussel farms were located in the northern Adriatic Sea, close to the Po River Delta, a region traditionally vocated to bivalve aquaculture. Results have shown that the growing and harvesting phases are the most critical life cycle stages (“hotspots”) due to the production and use of boats, and the great quantity of non-recyclable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) socks used during the yearly productive cycle. Several improvement potentials have been identified and estimated by means of a sensitivity analysis. Furthermore, regarding the principal exporting countries to Italy (Spain and Chile), the transport factors in an overall sustainability assessment have been considered, in order to compare the local and global mussels supply chain. Full article
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2019

Jump to: 2022, 2021, 2020

Article
Implementation Barriers for a System of Environmental-Economic Accounting in Developing Countries and Its Implications for Monitoring Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6417; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226417 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2439
Abstract
The desire to include environmental information in national accounts has resulted in the construction of a system of environmental-economic accounting (SEEA). As the international statistical standard for environmental-economic accounting, the SEEA can provide valuable support for monitoring Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This study [...] Read more.
The desire to include environmental information in national accounts has resulted in the construction of a system of environmental-economic accounting (SEEA). As the international statistical standard for environmental-economic accounting, the SEEA can provide valuable support for monitoring Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This study assesses the potential use of the SEEA for monitoring SDGs. This paper shows that, in theory, the potential for this system is significant. However, based on a literature review and survey of SEEA experts, practical problems in implementing the SEEA are significant, especially in developing countries. Such issues include data availability and quality, as well as the availability of funding and human resources. Capacity development is key to establishing successful implementation of the SEEA in developing countries. For example, the World Bank’s WAVES program (Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services) has been instrumental in capacity building in developing countries, which, however, still show great variation in how they implement SEEA. Full article
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Article
Past Performance, Organizational Aspiration, and Organizational Performance: The Moderating Effect of Environmental Jolts
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4217; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154217 - 05 Aug 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1456
Abstract
Previous research has implied that past performance and organizational aspiration may have an important effect on the sustainable growth of organizational performance. Under the conditions of environmental jolts, their relationships are more complicated to discern. However, few studies have undertaken this investigation. Using [...] Read more.
Previous research has implied that past performance and organizational aspiration may have an important effect on the sustainable growth of organizational performance. Under the conditions of environmental jolts, their relationships are more complicated to discern. However, few studies have undertaken this investigation. Using data from 183 U.S. firms, this study proposes and tests a theoretical model of the relationships between past performance, organizational aspiration, and organizational performance at different environmental jolt levels. Through hierarchical regression analysis, the empirical findings suggest that low levels of environmental jolt weaken the positive relationship between organizational aspiration and organizational performance, while high levels of environmental jolt magnify the positive influence of past performance on organizational performance. Most importantly, the empirical findings reveal that at low levels of environmental jolt, past performance has no effect on organizational performance, while organizational aspiration has no effect on organizational performance when the level of environmental jolt is high. These interesting findings provide some implications for managers and enrich the theory of sustainable development. Full article
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