Special Issue "Application of Circular Economy Principles in Water and Wastewater Utilities"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Wastewater Treatment and Reuse".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Konstantinos P. Tsagarakis
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Guest Editor
Business and Environmental Technology Economics Lab, Department of Environmental Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, 671 00 Xanthi, Greece
Interests: circular economy; technical–economic project evaluation; environmental and energy economics; environmental and energy behavior; environmental performance of firms; quantitative methods
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Ioanna Vasiliadou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Xanthi, Greece
Interests: water and wastewater treatment; advanced bio-oxidation processes; sewage sludge management; resources and energy recovery from wastewater; soil and groundwater bioremediation; bio-electrochemical systems; mathematical modeling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Ioannis Kostakis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics and Sustainable Development, Harokopio University, El. Venizelou 70, 17671, Kallithea, Athens Greece
Interests: applied microeconomics; consumer behavior; entrepreneurship; sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Ass. Prof. Katerina Stamatelatou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
Interests: valorization of waste and biomass; biogas; fertilizer

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A lot of discussion has been initiated in the water and wastewater utility sector for enabling the transition from the traditional linear to a circular economic concept. What hinders this transition is the interdependence of the utility management to other micro and macro markets that also need to be redesigned to target the support of circular principles.

Water and wastewater treatment facilities are designed to improve water quality for specific uses or discharging into the environment. Since recycling is a prerequisite for a circular economy, any discharged or disposed byproduct management practices should be revisited to ensure that full economic value is achieved from its use.

In principle, water utilities manage urban water supply, wastewater or rainwater. Improving water quality for use or discharge in ecosystems results in several secondary materials that could eventually be used again or the production of energy if an appropriate market environment is established.

Such an environment is interdependent on other competitive resources, while any new market would face several social, legal, and administrative barriers. Considering the above, we believe that this Special Issue will be a perfect outlet for research findings regarding technical, economic, and legal drivers that water utilities should consider for the transition from a linear to a circular economy.

Prof. Konstantinos P. Tsagarakis
Dr. Ioanna Vasiliadou
Dr. Ioannis Kostakis
Assoc. Prof. Aikaterini Stamatelatou
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. Water 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

  • Advanced treatment of wastewater for recovery of recourses
  • Biological wastewater treatment for recourses and energy recovery
  • Chemical water/wastewater treatment for reduced risk in circular economy
  • Demand on treatment byproducts
  • Energy production and management
  • Energy recovery and management
  • Entrepreneurship for the treatment of secondary materials
  • Legislative barriers to byproduct use
  • Markets for secondary materials
  • Metals recovery
  • Minimization of residuals' treatment
  • Phosphorous and nitrogen recovery
  • Public awareness on byproducts and circular economy
  • Restructuring water utilities management
  • Sludge management and reuse
  • Wastewater treatment control strategies
  • Water recycling and reuse

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Eco-Efficiency Assessment of Control Actions in Wastewater Treatment Plants
Water 2021, 13(5), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050612 - 26 Feb 2021
Viewed by 403
Abstract
This work explores the possibilities of improving the eco-efficiency of Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) introducing a plant-wide perspective in the formulation of the control strategy. Eco-efficiency goals are contemplated in the analysis of the appropriateness of control actions, considering the seasonal effects of [...] Read more.
This work explores the possibilities of improving the eco-efficiency of Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) introducing a plant-wide perspective in the formulation of the control strategy. Eco-efficiency goals are contemplated in the analysis of the appropriateness of control actions, considering the seasonal effects of temperature into the decision-making process. Plant-wide control strategy handles are the operation variables of the activated sludge process, the volume of the primary clarifier, and the temperature of the anaerobic digester. Performance is evaluated in terms of energy use, biogas production, effluent quality, emissions to air and soil, considering annual and bimestrial average values of indicators to capture seasonal effect of temperature. The result is a set of possible solutions, obtained from a multi-objective decision-making procedure, consisting on a sequence of control actions applied at different temporal windows that improve the eco-efficiency indicators of the plant. The results obtained when applying the different solutions make evident how the application of plant-wide control strategies is useful to improve performance indicators that represent individual goals, leading to trade-off solutions that describe WWTPs’ eco-efficiency. Full article
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Article
Utilization of Biomass Derived from Cyanobacteria-Based Agro-Industrial Wastewater Treatment and Raisin Residue Extract for Bioethanol Production
Water 2021, 13(4), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040486 - 13 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 684
Abstract
Biofuels produced from photosynthetic microorganisms such as microalgae and cyanobacteria could potentially replace fossil fuels as they offer several advantages over fuels produced from lignocellulosic biomass. In this study, energy production potential in the form of bioethanol was examined using different biomasses derived [...] Read more.
Biofuels produced from photosynthetic microorganisms such as microalgae and cyanobacteria could potentially replace fossil fuels as they offer several advantages over fuels produced from lignocellulosic biomass. In this study, energy production potential in the form of bioethanol was examined using different biomasses derived from the growth of a cyanobacteria-based microbial consortium on a chemical medium and on agro-industrial wastewaters (i.e., dairy wastewater, winery wastewater and mixed winery–raisin effluent) supplemented with a raisin residue extract. The possibility of recovering fermentable sugars from a microbial biomass dominated by the filamentous cyanobacterium Leptolynbgya sp. was demonstrated. Of the different acid hydrolysis conditions tested, the best results were obtained with sulfuric acid 2.5 N for 120 min using dried biomass from dairy wastewater and mixed winery–raisin wastewaters. After optimizing sugar release from the microbial biomass by applying acid hydrolysis, alcoholic fermentation was performed using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Raisin residue extract was added to the treated biomass broth in all experiments to enhance ethanol production. Results showed that up to 85.9% of the theoretical ethanol yield was achieved, indicating the potential use of cyanobacteria-based biomass in combination with a raisin residue extract as feedstock for bioethanol production. Full article
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Article
Integrated Aquaculture Recirculation System (IARS) Supported by Solar Energy as a Circular Economy Alternative for Resilient Communities in Arid/Semi-Arid Zones in Southern South America: A Case Study in the Camarones Town
Water 2020, 12(12), 3469; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123469 - 10 Dec 2020
Viewed by 674
Abstract
In this work, the cultivation of river shrimp was implemented through intensive use of solar radiation for the sustainable development of the Camarones, a village in Chile. An aquaculture production plant was built under water recirculation to produce 8000 k of river shrimp [...] Read more.
In this work, the cultivation of river shrimp was implemented through intensive use of solar radiation for the sustainable development of the Camarones, a village in Chile. An aquaculture production plant was built under water recirculation to produce 8000 k of river shrimp and rainbow trout per year, in a 25:75 ratio, respectively. This was developed taking into account (1) the concept of how to help resilient communities, considering the principles of the circular economy; (2) that the cultivation of these species will use solar water treatment technology to reduce arsenic content present in the natural waters of the Camarones River; and (3) how to add value to the residues obtained from the production plant for better agriculture and to have water to preserve the ecosystem. In addition, this initiative will rely on solar energy and radiation to produce electrical energy and a photochemical reaction to remove arsenic from the water. This work complies with 10 of the 11 principles of the Circular Economy, making it a potential alternative for all areas of the world that have similar characteristics. Full article
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Article
A Framework for Sustainable Planning and Decision-Making on Resource Recovery from Wastewater: Showcase for São Paulo Megacity
Water 2020, 12(12), 3466; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123466 - 09 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1144
Abstract
Currently, it is important to develop strategic frameworks to support the selection of sustainable resource recovery solutions. This study applies a new framework for planning, implementation, and assessment of resource recovery strategies for a full-scale wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in São Paulo megacity. [...] Read more.
Currently, it is important to develop strategic frameworks to support the selection of sustainable resource recovery solutions. This study applies a new framework for planning, implementation, and assessment of resource recovery strategies for a full-scale wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in São Paulo megacity. The framework comprises several steps based on case study-specific data and information from current literature. Data were collected from various sources: a survey with a wastewater treatment utility, national and regional databases, and review of local regulations and international literature. Treatment configuration, wastewater and by-products composition, potential demand (for water, energy, and phosphorus), stakeholder identification, and local legislation were thoroughly discussed regarding decision-making on resource recovery. Scenario analysis was used to explore suitable nutrient and energy recovery measures based on indicators. Biogas recovery and sewage sludge composting showed more favorable conditions due to similar experiences in the area and robust legislation. The proposed framework is a simplified tool, and its application can support managers to get information on resource recovery and how to plan such initiatives in easier ways to facilitate wiser decision-making, and better operation and management. The results on framework use and refinement can guide potential applications in other contexts and stimulate public policy formulation and further research. Full article
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Article
Performance of a Full-Scale Biogas Plant Operation in Greece and Its Impact on the Circular Economy
Water 2020, 12(11), 3074; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113074 - 02 Nov 2020
Viewed by 694
Abstract
Biogas plants have been started to expand recently in Greece and their positive contribution to the economy is evident. A typical case study is presented which focuses on the long-term monitoring (lasting for one year) of a 500 kW mesophilic biogas plant consisting [...] Read more.
Biogas plants have been started to expand recently in Greece and their positive contribution to the economy is evident. A typical case study is presented which focuses on the long-term monitoring (lasting for one year) of a 500 kW mesophilic biogas plant consisting of an one-stage digester. The main feedstock used was cow manure, supplemented occasionally with chicken manure, corn silage, wheat/ray silage, glycerine, cheese whey, molasses and olive mill wastewater. The mixture of the feedstocks was adjusted based on their availability, cost and biochemical methane potential. The organic loading rate (OLR) varied at 3.42 ± 0.23 kg COD m−3 day−1 (or 2.74 ± 0.18 kg VS m−3 day−1) and resulted in a stable performance in terms of specific biogas production rate (1.27 ± 0.12 m3 m−3 day−1), biogas yield (0.46 ± 0.05 m3 kg−1 VS, 55 ± 1.3% in methane) and electricity production rate (12687 ± 1140 kWh day−1). There were no problems of foaming, nor was there a need for trace metal addition. The digestate was used by the neighboring farmers who observed an improvement in their crop yield. The profit estimates per feedstock indicate that chicken manure is superior to the other feedstocks, while molasses, silages and glycerin result in less profit due to the long distance of the biogas plant from their production source. Finally, the greenhouse gas emissions due to the digestate storage in the open air seem to be minor (0.81% of the methane consumed). Full article
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Article
Optimization of H2 Production through Minimization of CO2 Emissions by Mixed Cultures of Purple Phototrophic Bacteria in Aqueous Samples
Water 2020, 12(7), 2015; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12072015 - 15 Jul 2020
Viewed by 899
Abstract
One of the current challenges in the treatment of wastewater is the recovery and/or transformation of their resources into high value-added products, such as biohydrogen. The aim of the present study was to optimize the production of hydrogen by mixed cultures of purple [...] Read more.
One of the current challenges in the treatment of wastewater is the recovery and/or transformation of their resources into high value-added products, such as biohydrogen. The aim of the present study was to optimize the production of hydrogen by mixed cultures of purple phototrophic bacteria (PPB), targeting in low CO2 emission. Batch assays were conducted using different carbon (malic, butyric, acetic acid) and nitrogen (NH4Cl, Na-glutamate, N2 gas) sources by varying the chemical oxygen demand to nitrogen ratio (COD:N 100:3 to 100:44), under infrared radiation as sole energy source. Malate-glutamate (COD:N 100:5.5) and malate-NH4-N (COD:N 100:3) fed cultures, exhibited high H2 production rates of 2.3 and 2.5 mLH2/Lh, respectively. It was observed that the use of glutamate decreased the CO2 emission by 74% (13.4 mLCO2/L) as compared to NH4-N. The H2 production efficiency achieved by organic carbon substrates in combination with glutamate, was in the order of malic (370 mLH2/L) > butyric (145 mLH2/L) > acetic acid (95 mLH2/L). These substrates entailed partitioning of reducing power into biomass at 64%, 50% and 48%, respectively, whereas reductants were derived to biohydrogen at 5.8%, 6.1% and 2.1%, respectively. These results suggest that nitrogen source and carbon dioxide emissions play an important role in the optimization of hydrogen production by PPB. Full article
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