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Sustainability, Volume 15, Issue 21 (November-1 2023) – 493 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The paper addresses two issues. The first is plastic waste. Most plastic waste has high energy value, so it could be used to produce synthetic fuel. The second is the prediction of cavitation development and erosion in a common-rail diesel injector. Pyrolytic oils from waste HDPE and LDPE polyethylene were obtained using thermal and catalytic pyrolysis. The properties of the oils were noted in the ANSYS FLUENT software and used to study the cavitation and erosion phenomena inside an injection nozzle hole. The obtained pyrolytic oils have lower density, surface tension and viscosity compared to conventional diesel. The occurrence of cavitation is advanced when pyrolytic oils are used, and the length of cavitation structures is greater. The area of cavitation erosion prediction is shifted closer to the nozzle exit. View this paper
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21 pages, 8043 KiB  
Article
Study on the Stress Evolution and Strengthening Support Timing of the Retracement Channel under the Super-Thick Nappe
by Ruojun Zhu, Xizhan Yue, Yudong Gao, Xuesheng Liu, Xuebin Li, Chengcheng Xie and Kun Wang
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15677; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115677 - 06 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 860
Abstract
The superposition effect of the advanced support pressure of the working face in the final mining stage and the lateral support stress of the roadway is a key factor affecting the stability of the retracement channel. To study the stress evolution of the [...] Read more.
The superposition effect of the advanced support pressure of the working face in the final mining stage and the lateral support stress of the roadway is a key factor affecting the stability of the retracement channel. To study the stress evolution of the retracement channel under the super-thick nappe and the timing of strengthening support, this paper takes the mining of the 360808 working face in Xinji No. 1 Mine as the engineering background, analyzes the occurrence conditions of the working face and the measured rock pressure law, and constructs a roof structure model of the retreat area. The UDEC discrete element numerical simulation software was used to analyze the evolution characteristics of concentrated stress and the failure law of surrounding rock around the retracement channel under gradual excavation conditions. Based on the relationship between the position of the main roof fracture and the stability of the surrounding rock of the retracement channel, the instability mechanism of the surrounding rock of the retracement channel was revealed. A mechanical model of the surrounding rock of the retracement channel under the condition of a gradient coal pillar was established, and the energy criterion K for the instability of the surrounding rock was obtained. The method of adding anchor cables to strengthen the support of the surrounding rock of the retracement channel was proposed. The results indicate that the accumulation of energy in the surrounding rock of the retracement channel is greater than the internal consumption of energy, which is the direct reason for the instability of the surrounding rock of the retracement channel. The time to strengthen the support of the roof is when the working face is 15 m away from the retracement channel. According to the analysis of on-site monitoring results, the roof convergence and the two-sides convergence before and after strengthening the support were reduced by 90 mm and 140 mm, respectively. Under the strengthening of support, the slope of the retracement channel in the 360808 working face is slight, without roof fall, and the surrounding rock of the channel is effectively controlled, which is of great significance for ensuring the safe application of the retracement channel. It has reference value for the safety production of surrounding mines and is conducive to promoting the sustainable development of local resource-based society and economy. Full article
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22 pages, 1171 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Aspects of Startups among Generation Z—Motivations and Uncertainties among Students in Higher Educations
by Árpád Papp-Váry, Diána Pacsi and Zoltán Szabó
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15676; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115676 - 06 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1283
Abstract
While technology is developing rapidly, natural resources are being exploited with more and more factories. Global environmental problems draw attention to the issue of sustainability as a warning sign. In this situation, encouraging the development of green innovative technologies and supporting green startups [...] Read more.
While technology is developing rapidly, natural resources are being exploited with more and more factories. Global environmental problems draw attention to the issue of sustainability as a warning sign. In this situation, encouraging the development of green innovative technologies and supporting green startups has become particularly important. Sustainable development is an important goal for every country, and it means a global competitive advantage if the given country supports the spread of green technologies. It is therefore the responsibility of leading politicians to create an enabling economic environment to encourage young people to become conscious, green-minded entrepreneurs. In this study, we delve into the driving factors compelling young individuals to venture into entrepreneurship. This exploration combines both quantitative and qualitative research methods. A cohort of 280 Hungarian university students participated in an online questionnaire survey as part of the quantitative segment, while the qualitative research component involved scrutinizing young people’s perspectives on enterprises and startups through focus group discussions. The research aims to unveil the motivations and primary concerns of Z-generation university students when contemplating entrepreneurship, as well as their perspectives on the significance of sustainability in this context. The outcomes of this study could serve as a catalyst for the establishment of more environmentally-conscious and sustainable businesses and startups. Full article
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17 pages, 2018 KiB  
Article
The Association between Meteorological Drought and the State of the Groundwater Level in Bursa, Turkey
by Babak Vaheddoost, Babak Mohammadi and Mir Jafar Sadegh Safari
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15675; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115675 - 06 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 721
Abstract
This study addressed the intricate interplay between meteorological droughts and groundwater level fluctuations in the vicinity of Mount Uludag in Bursa, Turkey. To achieve this, an exhaustive analysis encompassing monthly precipitation records and groundwater level data sourced from three meteorological stations and eight [...] Read more.
This study addressed the intricate interplay between meteorological droughts and groundwater level fluctuations in the vicinity of Mount Uludag in Bursa, Turkey. To achieve this, an exhaustive analysis encompassing monthly precipitation records and groundwater level data sourced from three meteorological stations and eight groundwater observation points spanning the period from 2007 to 2018 was performed. Subsequently, this study employed the Standard Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standard Groundwater Level (SGL) metrics, meticulously calculating the temporal extents of drought events for each respective time series. Following this, a judicious application of both the Thiessen and Support Vector Machine (SVM) methodologies was undertaken to ascertain the optimal groundwater observation wells and their corresponding SGL durations, aligning them with SPI durations tied to the selected meteorological stations. The SVM technique, in particular, excelled in the identification of the most pertinent observation wells. Additionally, the Elman Neural Network (ENN) and its optimized version through the Firefly Algorithm (ENN-FA), demonstrated their prowess in accurately predicting SPI durations based on SGL durations. The results were favorable, as evidenced by the commendable performance metrics of the Normalized Root Mean Square Error (NRMSE), the Nash–Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE), the product of the coefficient of determination and the slope of the regression line (bR2), and the Kling–Gupta Efficiency (KGE). Consequently, the favorable simulation results were construed as evidence supporting the presence of a discernible association between SGL and the duration of the SPI. As we substantiate the concordance between the temporal extent of meteorological droughts and the perturbations in groundwater levels, this unmistakably underscores the fact that the historical fluctuations in groundwater levels within the region were predominantly attributable to climatic influences, rather than being instigated by anthropogenic activities. Nevertheless, it is imperative to underscore that this revelation should not be misconstrued as an endorsement of future heedless exploitation of groundwater resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drought and Sustainable Water Management)
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14 pages, 296 KiB  
Article
Dependency and Elderly Care: The Cost of the Long-Term Care System in the Context of the SDGs
by Belén Díaz Díaz, Rebeca García-Ramos, Carlos López Gutiérrez and Andrea Pérez
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15674; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115674 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 688
Abstract
The rapid ageing of populations around the world is creating complex challenges for national governments. The establishment of sustainable and equitable long-term care systems for old and dependent people is one of the main issues of social policy in developed countries. The aim [...] Read more.
The rapid ageing of populations around the world is creating complex challenges for national governments. The establishment of sustainable and equitable long-term care systems for old and dependent people is one of the main issues of social policy in developed countries. The aim of this work is to define a cost model for residential and day care centres for dependent persons in Cantabria (Spain). The cost model will make it possible to establish the theoretical cost of attending to the needs of the different types of dependent persons in the different types of care centres, and the methodology used could be extrapolated to other regions. The daily cost per user for elderly residential care is €53.72. The cost per user in elderly day centres (5 days) is 32.56 euros. In residential centres for people with disabilities, the values range between €47.41 and €75.25, depending on the category of the centre. In three categories of centres, the public price is not enough to cover the cost (physical disability, intellectual disability, mental illness—low care); therefore, the administration should reconsider their public prices for these kinds of centres if they want to really contribute to the sustainability of residential care centres. This research will have important implications for policy makers in the context of the fulfillment of the SDGs and where better support for old and disabled people and their carers, as well as fair and efficient financing of social care services, are essential to address the current and future challenges of dependency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Research on Corporate Social Responsibility)
20 pages, 1886 KiB  
Article
Searching for the Inflection Point of Travel Well-Being from the Views of Travel Characteristics Based on the Ordered Logistic Regression Model
by Hongmei Yu, Xiaofei Ye, Xingchen Yan, Tao Wang, Jun Chen and Bin Ran
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15673; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115673 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 831
Abstract
Travel well-being is the subjective feeling of satisfaction that people have while traveling. Previous research focused on its determinants and relationships with subjective well-being ignored. But no quantitative study discusses the effect of characteristics like weekly income and travel time on travel well-being. [...] Read more.
Travel well-being is the subjective feeling of satisfaction that people have while traveling. Previous research focused on its determinants and relationships with subjective well-being ignored. But no quantitative study discusses the effect of characteristics like weekly income and travel time on travel well-being. To demonstrate the quantitative inflection of travel well-being from characteristics, the relevant factors influencing travel well-being as the dependent variable are identified using Pearson correlation analysis and linear regression in this paper. To overcome the limitations of linear regression techniques, ordered logistic regression is applied to establish an analytical model of travel well-being for predicting the response probabilities for different degrees based on combinations of explanatory variables. Both the linear regression and ordered logistic regression models are calibrated by American residents’ travel datasets. The results illustrate that the ordered logistic model fits sample data better than linear regression models. Age, travel time, health status, and resting degree are significantly related to travel well-being. Older people and those who are healthier and better rested are more likely to experience higher levels of travel well-being. Additionally, increased travel time is associated with a significant decrease in travel well-being. Therefore, to enhance people’s travel feelings, policymakers and urban planners can enhance the quality of public transportation services and provide diverse transportation options, while also logically constructing transportation hubs to provide more convenient travel plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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25 pages, 8210 KiB  
Essay
A Numerical Method for Evaluating the Collapse of High-Steep Scarp Slopes Based on the Bonded Block Model–Discrete Fracture Network Model
by Zening Sun, Shili Qiu, Siquan Yan and Zaiquan Wang
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15672; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115672 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 752
Abstract
Geotechnical engineering works in deep-incised valleys or open-pit mining areas often encounter high-steep scarp slopes with a slope angle greater than 75°. This type of slope directly threatens the safety of construction personnel, so assessing their stability is essential to ensure construction safety. [...] Read more.
Geotechnical engineering works in deep-incised valleys or open-pit mining areas often encounter high-steep scarp slopes with a slope angle greater than 75°. This type of slope directly threatens the safety of construction personnel, so assessing their stability is essential to ensure construction safety. The natural geometry of high-steep scarp slopes possesses complexity in terms of geometric morphology, structural features of rock mass, and occurrence mechanisms of collapse. There is little research and less emphasis on the evaluation of the collapse risk of high-steep scarp slopes. In particular, the fracture of intact rock or rock bridges is generally ignored in the analysis of collapse processes. A bonded block model (BBM)–discrete fracture network (DFN) coupling characterization model for the high-steep scarp slope is proposed based on a high-steep scarp slope containing dominant joint sets on the left bank of the dam site of the Huangzangsi Water Conservancy Project (Qinghai Province, China). By using the model, the complex geometric forms of the surface of the high-steep scarp slope are quantified, and the fracture process of falling rock masses as well as the controlling effect of dominant joints on the collapse of the scarp slope are revealed. A strength reduction method based on the BBM–DFN model is constructed, and the safety factor of the collapse-prone scarp slope is evaluated. The research results show that (1) the BBM–DFN model can be used to describe the local collapse process; (2) the occurrence of dominant joints plays an important part in controlling the collapse process; (3) there are differences in the safety factor of the scarp slope with different coupling methods; the collapse and failure modes also differ. For safety considerations, the safety factor of the scarp slope on the left bank of the dam site area is determined to be 1.85. The research findings can be used to guide the safety assessment of high-steep scarp slopes and the formulation of both collapse risk prevention and control measures to ensure construction safety in high-steep scarp slope areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Mining Engineering in Sustainability)
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28 pages, 3827 KiB  
Article
Development and Analysis of Optimization Algorithm for Demand-Side Management Considering Optimal Generation Scheduling and Power Flow in Grid-Connected AC/DC Microgrid
by Abdulwasa Bakr Barnawi
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15671; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115671 - 06 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 831
Abstract
The world energy sector is experiencing many challenges, such as maintaining a demand–supply balance with continuous increases in demand, reliability issues, and environmental concerns. Distributed energy resources (DERs) that use renewable energy sources (RESs) have become more prevalent due to environmental challenges and [...] Read more.
The world energy sector is experiencing many challenges, such as maintaining a demand–supply balance with continuous increases in demand, reliability issues, and environmental concerns. Distributed energy resources (DERs) that use renewable energy sources (RESs) have become more prevalent due to environmental challenges and the depletion of fossil fuel reserves. An increased penetration of RESs in a microgrid system facilitates the establishment of a local independent system. However, these systems, due to the uncertainties of RESs, still encounter major issues, like increased operating costs or operating constraint violations, optimal power management, etc. To solve these issues, this paper proposes a stochastic programming model to minimize the total operating cost and emissions and improve the operational reliability with the help of a generalized normal distribution optimization (GNDO). A day-ahead demand response is scheduled, aiming to shift loads to enhance RES utilization efficiency. Demand-side management (DSM) with RESs is utilized, and battery energy storage systems in low-voltage and medium-voltage microgrids are shown. Mathematical formulations of each element in the microgrids were performed. Optimal and consumer-friendly solutions were found for all the cases. Environmental concerns based on the amount of harmful emissions were also analyzed. The importance of demand response is demonstrated vividly. The aim is to optimize energy consumption and achieve optimum cost of operation via DSM, considering several security constraints. A comparative analysis of operating costs, emission values, and the voltage deviation was carried out to prove and justify their potential to solve the optimal scheduling and power flow problem in AC/DC microgrids. Full article
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17 pages, 4269 KiB  
Article
The Coupling Coordination and Interaction Mechanism of Land Ecological Security and High-Quality Economic Development in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei Region
by Dongyan Guo, Dongyan Wang, Xiaoyong Zhong, Fan Yang, Yuanyuan Yang and Hansen Jia
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15670; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115670 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 806
Abstract
Land ecological security (LES) and high-quality economic development (HED) are mutually influential. China has three world-class urban agglomerations; the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region is one of them. It is an important platform for participating in international competition and cooperation. To promote regional sustainable development, [...] Read more.
Land ecological security (LES) and high-quality economic development (HED) are mutually influential. China has three world-class urban agglomerations; the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region is one of them. It is an important platform for participating in international competition and cooperation. To promote regional sustainable development, it is critical to study the coupling coordination and interaction mechanism of LES–HED subsystems over time and space in the BTH region. This study involved the construction of an aggregated index system to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the subsystems, and then investigated the coupling coordination degree (CCD) of the LES–HED subsystems from 2007 to 2018 using a CCD model. Additionally, a panel vector autoregressive (PVAR) model was applied to analyze the interactive mechanism of the LES–HED subsystems. Finally, a model of the degree of relative development was used to classify the types of regional development. The results showed that the CCD of the LES–HED subsystems in the BTH region had significant spatial and temporal differences. The spatial distribution could be characterized as low in the central area and high in the peripheral area, and the evolutionary law of CCD in the system was from lower to higher levels over time. In addition, improvements in LES promoted HED, but the impact of HED on LES was limited. The development patterns within the cities of the study area included three development types, including an slightly lagging type of LES, a slightly lagging type of HED, and a significantly lagging type of HED. Given the spatial variability of the coupled and coordinated development of LES–HED subsystems, it is necessary to implement different development strategies. This study can inform decisions promoting the coordinated development of LES–HED subsystems for sustainable regional development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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16 pages, 3282 KiB  
Article
Life Cycle Assessment of Tomato Cultivated in an Innovative Soilless System
by Maria Concetta Pedalà, Marzia Traverso, Simona Prestigiacomo, Antonio Covais and Giovanni Gugliuzza
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15669; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115669 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1282
Abstract
The main goal of this study is to present the life cycle assessment results of an innovative closed-loop production system, called an agriponic system, used for producing tomatoes. In the study, this new system is presented, as well as its related environmental impacts [...] Read more.
The main goal of this study is to present the life cycle assessment results of an innovative closed-loop production system, called an agriponic system, used for producing tomatoes. In the study, this new system is presented, as well as its related environmental impacts generated for the production of the tomatoes. A life cycle assessment (according to ISO 14040) was applied to it, from seedling purchase and planting to harvest, using a functional unit of 1 ton of cherry tomatoes produced. SimaPro 9.3.0.3 software and the Ecoinvent database were used to analyze five impact categories. Plant growth emerged as the process unit with the highest impact, particularly for the ozone depletion potential (ODP), with a value of 0.00056 kgCFC-11eq, and for photochemical oxidation (POCP), with a value of 0.0784 kgC2H4eq impact categories. Greenhouse climate management presented a significant impact to the acidification potential (AP), with a value of 1.021 kgSO2eq. Conversely, the phases of plant transplanting, harvesting, and crop disposal had positive impacts for all impact categories considered in the study, because they were very low. In conclusion, agriponic greenhouse tomato production is a sustainable process. This is due to fewer pesticides that are used, and to nutrient solution reuse. Full article
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22 pages, 1865 KiB  
Article
Digitalization and Sustainable Competitive Performance in Small–Medium Enterprises: A Moderation Mediation Model
by Ahmed Al-Omush, Munther Talal Momany, Azzam Hannoon and Muhammad Anwar
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15668; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115668 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1742
Abstract
Research on the relationship between digitalization and firm performance has grown exponentially over the past decade. However, most studies in this area have concentrated on large firms, focusing on IT capabilities in developed markets. The exploration of how digitalization drives sustainable competitive performance [...] Read more.
Research on the relationship between digitalization and firm performance has grown exponentially over the past decade. However, most studies in this area have concentrated on large firms, focusing on IT capabilities in developed markets. The exploration of how digitalization drives sustainable competitive performance in emerging SMEs remains a largely uncharted territory. Specifically, the mechanisms through which digital strategy enhances digital capability and, in turn, leads to sustainable competitive performance in manufacturing SMEs, have received limited attention. To bridge this gap and contribute to the literature, we conducted a survey involving 376 manufacturing SMEs and employed SPSS.25 and AMOS.24 for data analysis. Our results indicate that digital strategy positively influences the sustainable competitive performance of manufacturing SMEs, with this relationship being partially mediated by digital capability. Additionally, we found that digital culture plays a reinforcing role in the connection between digital strategy and digital capability. This study contributes to the literature on dynamic capability by highlighting the significance of digital strategy and digital culture as antecedents to sustainable competitive performance, with digital capability acting as an intervening variable for manufacturing SMEs. The findings show that SMEs should promote digital culture and strategies that in turn enhance their digital capability and sustainable competitive performance in the dynamic markets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Management)
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16 pages, 4426 KiB  
Article
An Assessment of the Impact of Climate Change on Asphalt Binder Selection in East China Based on the ARIMA Model
by Jiajia Sheng, Yinghao Miao and Linbing Wang
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15667; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115667 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 797
Abstract
Temperature is a key factor considered in the selection of asphalt binders for asphalt pavement construction. Currently, the asphalt binders used in some regions’ asphalt pavements are no longer suitable for anticipated climate conditions. The reasonable selection of asphalt binder is an important [...] Read more.
Temperature is a key factor considered in the selection of asphalt binders for asphalt pavement construction. Currently, the asphalt binders used in some regions’ asphalt pavements are no longer suitable for anticipated climate conditions. The reasonable selection of asphalt binder is an important measure for asphalt pavement to adapt to climate change. This paper focuses on the potential impact of climate change on asphalt binder selection in East China in the future. This study is based on the performance grade (PG) system with SUPERPAVE specifications. It involved collecting meteorological data from 109 meteorological stations in East China from 1960 to 2019 and used the ARIMA prediction model to calculate the maximum and minimum design temperatures for road surfaces over the next 20 years. Based on the forecasted road surface temperature data, the impact of climate change on the choice of asphalt binder in East China was discussed. The research findings indicate that, validated by historical data, using the ARIMA model for future temperature prediction has proven reliability. There are some differences in different regions regarding the change in maximum and minimum pavement design temperatures. In 2019 and 2039, there are three and four high temperature grades in East China; these are PG52, PG58, and PG64 and PG52, PG58, and PG64, PG70 respectively. The dominant high temperature grade in East China will remain PG64, and a total of 23.80% of the regions in East China will experience a one-grade upward shift in high temperature grades. PG-28, PG-22, PG-16, and PG-10 are the four low temperature grades distributed in East China in both 2019 and 2039. Compared with 2019, the proportion of areas with grade PG-16 will increase from 33.86% to 34.89%, and the dominant low temperature grade in East China will remain PG-10 in 2039. In the next 20 years, low-temperature cracking issues related to asphalt pavement in some areas of East China will intensify, but the primary challenge will still be problems caused by high temperatures. Full article
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19 pages, 706 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Experienced Utility and PEEIM on the Purchase Intention of Cross-Border E-Commerce
by Huan-Ming Chuang and Chen-Chia Chuang
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15666; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115666 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 952
Abstract
Due to the rapid development of the internet, cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) is gaining popularity. With CBEC, consumers from different countries can overcome the limits of languages and currencies to buy desired products directly. However, compared to domestic e-commerce, CBEC confronts significant challenges, such [...] Read more.
Due to the rapid development of the internet, cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) is gaining popularity. With CBEC, consumers from different countries can overcome the limits of languages and currencies to buy desired products directly. However, compared to domestic e-commerce, CBEC confronts significant challenges, such as risky distribution channels, dependency on third-party logistics, customs clearance, etc. Therefore, multi-faceted efforts are needed to promote CBEC. Traditional studies probe CBEC through a logistics and operational perspective; this study bridges a research gap by stressing a human–computer interaction perspective. Under the premise that technical infrastructure keeps improving, consumers’ expectations of switching to CBEC has been an essential issue. Specifically, this study develops a theoretical model that emphasizes website cues as experienced utility and the perceived effectiveness of e-commerce institutional mechanisms (PEEIM) as decision utility to investigate their effects on the purchase intention of CBEC. This study applied Smart PLS 3.0 to verify the research model with 300 valid responses from online questionnaires. Research findings confirmed the proposed model. Practical strategies for promoting CEBC were suggested accordingly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue E-commerce and Sustainability (Second Volume))
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18 pages, 6918 KiB  
Article
Experimental Research on the Output Performance of Scroll Compressor for Micro Scale Compressed Air Energy Storage System
by Juan Fang, Yonghong Xu, Hongguang Zhang, Zhi Yang, Jifang Wan and Zhengguang Liu
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15665; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115665 - 06 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1066
Abstract
Micro compressed air energy storage systems are a research hotspot in the field of compressed air energy storage technology. Compressors and expanders are the core equipment for energy conversion, and their performance has a significant impact on the performance of the entire compressed [...] Read more.
Micro compressed air energy storage systems are a research hotspot in the field of compressed air energy storage technology. Compressors and expanders are the core equipment for energy conversion, and their performance has a significant impact on the performance of the entire compressed air energy storage system. Scroll compressors have the advantages of small size, low noise, light weight, low vibration, long service life, continuous and stable gas transmission, and reliable operation. This article builds a micro compressed air energy storage system based on a scroll compressor and studies the effects of key parameters such as speed, torque, current, and storage tank pressure on the temperature difference, pressure ratio, energy consumption, and efficiency of the scroll compressor. The experimental results indicate that the power consumption of the scroll compressor shows an increasing trend with the increase in current, torque, and gas storage tank pressure. The isentropic efficiency of a scroll compressor shows a decreasing trend with increasing current, torque, and storage tank pressure. The maximum values of power consumption and isentropic efficiency of the scroll compressor are 3427 W and 90.8%, respectively. Full article
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17 pages, 3850 KiB  
Article
An Intelligent Controller Based on Extension Theory for Batteries Charging and Discharging Control
by Kuei-Hsiang Chao and Jia-Yan Li
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15664; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115664 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 598
Abstract
The main purpose of this paper is to develop an intelligent controller for the DC-link voltage of bidirectional soft-switching converters used in the batteries with equalizing charge and discharge control. To accelerate the equalizing charge and discharge speed of batteries, the DC-link voltage [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this paper is to develop an intelligent controller for the DC-link voltage of bidirectional soft-switching converters used in the batteries with equalizing charge and discharge control. To accelerate the equalizing charge and discharge speed of batteries, the DC-link voltage controller of the bidirectional converters is designed based on extension theory. Firstly, the photovoltaic module arrays (PVMAs) are used with the intelligent maximum power point tracker (MPPT) for supplying the power to the load side. Through the bidirectional soft-switching converters, the PVMAs will be allowed to carry out the uniform charging and discharging for the storage battery in order to achieve the intended energy storage and auxiliary power supply functions. In terms of the controller design, the quantitative design techniques are utilized, by which the P-I controller parameters will be designed for the converter when attempting to achieve the same control performance at different working points. As a next step, the aforesaid parameters are used together with the extenics theory. Based on the variation in the output power of the bidirectional converter and that in the voltage of the storage battery, it allows the system to find out the intended P-I controller parameters that will be approximate to the prescribed control performance when operating under different working conditions. As a result, the P-I controller will be provided with more efficient control flexibility and control performances. Finally, actual test results demonstrated that the response time of the proposed intelligent extension controller is shortened by 3% compared to the quantitative design of the proportional–integral (P-I) controller. Based on the proposed quantitative design of an intelligent controller for uniform charging and discharging management of batteries, the sustainable utilization of renewable sources of energy can be improved. At the same time, the better economic benefit of the energy preservation system is obtained. In addition, it also prolongs the life cycle of batteries, and then enhances the reliability of the batteries. Full article
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21 pages, 2969 KiB  
Article
Collaborative Optimization Scheduling of Resilience and Economic Oriented Islanded Integrated Energy System under Low Carbon Transition
by Haotian Ma, Yang Wang and Mengyang He
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15663; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115663 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 733
Abstract
With the development of new energy sources and the increase in the installed scale of energy coupling equipment, the low-carbon transformation of the energy supply of the integrated energy system (IES) has a serious impact on the reliability of the IES supply, and [...] Read more.
With the development of new energy sources and the increase in the installed scale of energy coupling equipment, the low-carbon transformation of the energy supply of the integrated energy system (IES) has a serious impact on the reliability of the IES supply, and there is an urgent need for a reasonable and accurate assessment and trade-off between the IES resilience and economics. In this regard, this paper models the overall optimization of the resilience and economic configuration and operation scheduling of the IES in the islanded operation mode after grid faults, proposes a two-layer optimization strategy model of resilience and economy, and solves the unit configuration, coupled output characteristics, and optimal scheduling of the islanded IES using the Markov decision-making process and forbearing stratified sequencing method, and evaluates and analyzes the resilience and cost of the various types of IES configuration schemes. Resilience and cost are also evaluated and analyzed. Finally, an example analysis is carried out in an electric-heat-cooling integrated energy system. The results show that the proposed two-tier optimization strategy model can optimize the IES configuration scheme and coordinate the scheduling of each equipment, and the overall annualized cost of the energy system decreases by CNY 45.21 thousand, or a percentage decrease of 5.24%, compared to the same configuration of the conventional strategy. The typical day toughness index improved by 7.33%, 7.56%, and 13.01% in the spring, summer, and autumn, respectively. Full article
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16 pages, 7993 KiB  
Article
Synthesis and Characterization of Na3SbS4 Solid Electrolytes via Mechanochemical and Sintered Solid-State Reactions: A Comparative Study
by Celastin Bebina Thairiyarayar, Chia-Hung Huang, Yasser Ashraf Gandomi, Chien-Te Hsieh and Wei-Ren Liu
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15662; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115662 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 961
Abstract
A sulfide-based solid electrolyte is an enticing non-organic solid-state electrolyte developed under ambient conditions. Na3SbS4, a profoundly enduring substance capable of withstanding exceedingly elevated temperatures and pressures, emerges as a focal point. Within this investigation, we employ dual distinct [...] Read more.
A sulfide-based solid electrolyte is an enticing non-organic solid-state electrolyte developed under ambient conditions. Na3SbS4, a profoundly enduring substance capable of withstanding exceedingly elevated temperatures and pressures, emerges as a focal point. Within this investigation, we employ dual distinct techniques to fabricate Na3SbS4, encompassing ball milling and the combination of ball milling with sintering procedures. A remarkable ionic conductivity of 3.1 × 10−4 S/cm at room temperature (RT), coupled with a meager activation energy of 0.21 eV, is achieved through a bifurcated process, which is attributed to the presence of tetragonal Na3SbS4 (t-NSS). Furthermore, we delve into the electrochemical performance and cyclic longevity of the Na2/3Fe1/2Mn1/2O2|t-NSS|Na system within ambient environs. It reveals 160 mAh/g initial charge and 106 mAh/g discharge capacities at 0.01 A/g current density. Furthermore, a cycle life test conducted at 0.01 A/g over 30 cycles demonstrates stable and reliable performance. The capacity retention further highlights its enduring energy storage capabilities. This study underscores the sustainable potential of Na3SbS4 as a solid-state electrolyte for advanced energy storage systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Energy Materials and Batteries Technology)
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16 pages, 4144 KiB  
Article
Study on the Spatiotemporal Evolution of the Ecological Landscape and Construction of an Ecological Network: A Case Study of Hebei Province
by Shijie Gu, Shuhuan Li, Shuai Wu, Bing Tian, Yincui Hu, Minmin Cui and Mingze Sun
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15661; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115661 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 834
Abstract
Research on the establishment of a regional ecological network can provide a scientific basis and valuable guidance for the protection of regional animals and plants, water conservation, sustainable resource utilization, and optimization of land use patterns. This study investigated the impacts of land [...] Read more.
Research on the establishment of a regional ecological network can provide a scientific basis and valuable guidance for the protection of regional animals and plants, water conservation, sustainable resource utilization, and optimization of land use patterns. This study investigated the impacts of land use changes on the ecological security pattern using morphological spatial pattern analysis (MSPA), the minimum cumulative resistance (MCR) model, and the analysis of spatiotemporal changes and fragmentation of land use types. The results indicate that from 2000 to 2020, the dominant trend in land use types was the expansion of cultivated land, grass land, and wood land. Although the proportion of cultivated land was the largest and was concentrated in the southern part of Hebei Province, the total area of cultivated land showed a decline. Landscape index calculations revealed an increase in fragmentation of the overall landscape ecological patches, while the spatial and quantitative distribution of landscape types gradually became more uniform. Furthermore, 52 patches with the highest landscape index were identified as ecological sources, mainly located in northern Hebei Province in 2020. MSPA calculations showed that elevation, slope, and land use type contributed significantly to the comprehensive resistance surface. Using the MCR model, an ecological network for Hebei Province was constructed, consisting of 114 ecological corridors and 28 ecological nodes. The ecological corridors exhibited a distribution pattern of high density in the north and low density in the south, while the ecological nodes enhanced overall ecological connectivity in the region. Based on the current ecological environment, it is recommended to increase the number of ecological corridors and ecological nodes to enhance ecosystem stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Ecological Risks and Ecosystem Services in China)
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21 pages, 2046 KiB  
Article
The Impact of E-Learning Technologies on Entrepreneurial and Sustainability Performance
by Sichu Liu, Hongyi Sun, Jiahao Zhuang and Rui Xiong
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15660; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115660 - 06 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1382
Abstract
After the pandemic, education will not go back to a 100% offline mode since the application of e-learning technologies (ELTs) cannot be avoided. Therefore, their impact should be studied for future education development. Most future entrepreneurs are attending school today. Therefore, universities need [...] Read more.
After the pandemic, education will not go back to a 100% offline mode since the application of e-learning technologies (ELTs) cannot be avoided. Therefore, their impact should be studied for future education development. Most future entrepreneurs are attending school today. Therefore, universities need to supply necessary education to encourage students to cope with future conditions and development. At the same time, due to the increasing attention being paid to the harmony between ecology and prosperity, the sustainability aspect of entrepreneurship education needs to be emphasized as well. This study investigates the impact of ELTs on entrepreneurial education performance (including personal skills, product skills, and business skills), sustainability efficacy, and their impact on sustainability awareness. Data were collected from a master’s degree class on entrepreneurship at a Hong Kong university and SmartPLS was used to analyze the data. It was found that ELTs have a significant relationship with entrepreneurial performance and sustainability efficacy. Meanwhile, sustainability efficacy also has a significant relationship with sustainability awareness. However, no significant relationship between entrepreneurial skills and sustainability awareness was identified. The results indicate that ELTs can improve students’ entrepreneurial skills and sustainability awareness, which proves the effectiveness of ELTs and provides support for their application in future entrepreneurship education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Education and Technology Development)
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18 pages, 1526 KiB  
Article
Research on Carbon Emission Characteristics and Differentiated Carbon Reduction Pathways in the Yangtze River Delta Region Based on the STIRPAT Model
by Kerong Jian, Ruyun Shi, Yixue Zhang and Zhigao Liao
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15659; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115659 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 725
Abstract
With the changes in the spatial structure of China’s economic development, urban clusters have become the primary carriers of China’s regional economy and green growth. We used annual data from 2010 to 2021 to study the carbon emission characteristics and carbon reduction pathways [...] Read more.
With the changes in the spatial structure of China’s economic development, urban clusters have become the primary carriers of China’s regional economy and green growth. We used annual data from 2010 to 2021 to study the carbon emission characteristics and carbon reduction pathways of 36 cities in the Yangtze River Delta region. Firstly, based on the decoupling elasticity coefficient and carbon intensity index, the researchers divided the cities in the Yangtze River Delta into six types of carbon emissions. Then, the STIRPAT model was used to regress the panel data of different carbon emission types for 11 years, analyze the driving factors of carbon emissions, and develop differentiated carbon emission reduction paths for cities with six carbon emission types. According to the results, the cities of Type I need to accelerate low-carbon technology innovation; the cities of Type II need to improve energy efficiency and strengthen low-carbon technology research and development; the cities of Type V need to suppress foreign investment in high-energy consumption and high-emission projects in the local area; the cities of Type VI need to accelerate the process of new urbanization and optimize industrial structure. However, the researchers found that the cities of Types III and IV have not yet received effective emission reduction pathways, and their emission reduction policies and measures need to be further studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Economics: Pathways towards Carbon Neutrality)
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13 pages, 7509 KiB  
Article
Influence of Some Key Parameters on the Efficiency of Flocculation–Solidification–Filter Press Combined Method for Sustainable Treatment of Waste Mud Slurry
by Chao Han, Hongping Xie, Bin Bai, Shuai Li, Rongjun Zhang and Yue Huang
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15658; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115658 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 634
Abstract
The flocculation–solidification–filter-press combined method is a new type of method for treating waste slurry that combines flocculation and chemical curing with a mechanical filter press. Among these processes, the mechanical filter-press process is key to the efficient disposal of waste engineering slurries by [...] Read more.
The flocculation–solidification–filter-press combined method is a new type of method for treating waste slurry that combines flocculation and chemical curing with a mechanical filter press. Among these processes, the mechanical filter-press process is key to the efficient disposal of waste engineering slurries by the flocculation–solidification–filter-press combined method. In the mechanical filter-press process, parameters including the initial thickness of filtration mud, the magnitude of filtration pressure, and the duration of press filtration have important impacts on the dewatering and strength after subsequent curing. In this work, a series of laboratory tests were conducted to study the influence of filter-press parameters on flocculated–solidified mud by measuring the properties of treated and cured mud. The test results showed that the initial mud bag thickness is an important factor in the mud treatment effect. As the initial mud bag thickness increases, the greater the water content of the mud at the end of the filter-press process after applying the same amount of time and the same amount of pressure, the lower the post-conservation strength will be. The increase in filtration pressure and filtration time within a certain range can reduce the water content of the mud brick after filtration and significantly improve its shear strength. In the actual process of filtering in the project, the thickness of the initial mud bag should be no more than 140 mm, the filtration pressure is about 0.35 MPa, and the filtration time is suitable for 2 min. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Oceans)
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17 pages, 688 KiB  
Article
Building Sustainable Virtual Communities of Practice: A Study of the Antecedents of Intention to Continue Participating
by Baltasar González-Anta, Isabel Pérez de la Fuente, Ana Zornoza and Virginia Orengo
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15657; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115657 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 965
Abstract
Virtual communities are essential in contemporary social and organizational domains. Their sustainability is largely propelled by members’ contributions, and yet the mechanisms for achieving significant participation remain ambiguous. Grounded in the Technology Acceptance Model, our primary objective is to identify the factors that [...] Read more.
Virtual communities are essential in contemporary social and organizational domains. Their sustainability is largely propelled by members’ contributions, and yet the mechanisms for achieving significant participation remain ambiguous. Grounded in the Technology Acceptance Model, our primary objective is to identify the factors that may predict the intention to participate in a virtual community of practice; secondly, we aim to detect the most influential predictor(s) and the best model. In this paper, we conduct a cross-sectional study with a sample of 114 virtual community participants. Our multiple and weighted regression analyses reveal that technological, personal, and motivational factors sway participation intentions. Nevertheless, a combination of specific factors, interactivity, self-efficacy, and identification, are the most closely related to participation intention. This research offers valuable insights for organizations and community promoters, enhancing member retention and interaction stimulation and thereby constructing sustainable virtual environments through effective community design and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Organizational Psychology—2nd Edition)
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21 pages, 2483 KiB  
Review
Internet of Things (IoT)-Based Teaching and Learning: Modern Trends and Open Challenges
by Ibrahim Ahmed Ghashim and Muhammad Arshad
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15656; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115656 - 06 Nov 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4020
Abstract
The effect of technology has caused many institutions to intend to change their approach to teaching and learning, resulting in the current model of teaching and learning being an active collaborative and self-directed one. The connection between education and technology has received attention [...] Read more.
The effect of technology has caused many institutions to intend to change their approach to teaching and learning, resulting in the current model of teaching and learning being an active collaborative and self-directed one. The connection between education and technology has received attention as part of educational policy and practice. Debatable topics like how to use technology in the classroom have therefore punctuated complaints about declining educational standards, unemployed learners, duplicate curricula, and archaic institutional structure. In the framework of information and communication technologies and societal growth, the Internet of Things (IoT) is asserting its vital position. Institutions may improve learning outcomes with the use of the Internet of Things by offering enhanced learning experiences, increasing operational effectiveness, and collecting real-time, actionable insight into student performance. The current state of the Internet of Educational Things (IoET) is examined from several educational perspectives in this article; a few of them are highlighted, and both of their established and potential educational benefits are discussed. Additionally, it provides in-depth discussions on current issues and problems for the IoET from a variety of approaches. The investigation performs a bibliometric analysis with VOSviewer to focus on peer-reviewed research articles published in well-known publications databases over the past eight (8) years. The findings of this study should also act as a strong incentive for universities and colleges around the world to use IoT-based teaching and learning technology for improved academic achievement. Full article
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21 pages, 5319 KiB  
Article
Drinking Water Resources Suitability Assessment Based on Pollution Index of Groundwater Using Improved Explainable Artificial Intelligence
by Sani I. Abba, Mohamed A. Yassin, Auwalu Saleh Mubarak, Syed Muzzamil Hussain Shah, Jamilu Usman, Atheer Y. Oudah, Sujay Raghavendra Naganna and Isam H. Aljundi
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15655; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115655 - 06 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1063
Abstract
The global significance of fluoride and nitrate contamination in coastal areas cannot be overstated, as these contaminants pose critical environmental and public health challenges across the world. Water quality is an essential component in sustaining environmental health. This integrated study aimed to assess [...] Read more.
The global significance of fluoride and nitrate contamination in coastal areas cannot be overstated, as these contaminants pose critical environmental and public health challenges across the world. Water quality is an essential component in sustaining environmental health. This integrated study aimed to assess indexical and spatial water quality, potential contamination sources, and health risks associated with groundwater resources in Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia. Groundwater samples were tested using standard methods. The physiochemical results indicated overall groundwater pollution. This study addresses the critical issue of drinking water resource suitability assessment by introducing an innovative approach based on the pollution index of groundwater (PIG). Focusing on the eastern region of Saudi Arabia, where water resource management is of paramount importance, we employed advanced machine learning (ML) models to forecast groundwater suitability using several combinations (C1 = EC + Na + Mg + Cl, C2 = TDS + TA + HCO3 + K + Ca, and C3 = SO4 + pH + NO3 + F + Turb). Six ML models, including random forest (RF), decision trees (DT), XgBoost, CatBoost, linear regression, and support vector machines (SVM), were utilized to predict groundwater quality. These models, based on several performance criteria (MAPE, MAE, MSE, and DC), offer valuable insights into the complex relationships governing groundwater pollution with an accuracy of more than 90%. To enhance the transparency and interpretability of the ML models, we incorporated the local interpretable model-agnostic explanation method, SHapley Additive exPlanations (SHAP). SHAP allows us to interpret the prediction-making process of otherwise opaque black-box models. We believe that the integration of ML models and SHAP-based explainability offers a promising avenue for sustainable water resource management in Saudi Arabia and can serve as a model for addressing similar challenges worldwide. By bridging the gap between complex data-driven predictions and actionable insights, this study contributes to the advancement of environmental stewardship and water security in the region. Full article
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41 pages, 7022 KiB  
Systematic Review
Towards Sustainable Roads: A Systematic Review of Triple-Bottom-Line-Based Assessment Methods
by Pamela Del Rosario and Marzia Traverso
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15654; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115654 - 06 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1344
Abstract
This review summarizes the methods and approaches for quantifying the sustainability performance of roads based on the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) concept. Furthermore, research gaps and challenges in the sustainability assessment of roads are identified. While prior studies explored the environmental and economic [...] Read more.
This review summarizes the methods and approaches for quantifying the sustainability performance of roads based on the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) concept. Furthermore, research gaps and challenges in the sustainability assessment of roads are identified. While prior studies explored the environmental and economic dimensions, no comprehensive overview of holistic sustainability assessment of roads exists. A systematic literature review (SLR) was conducted to identify relevant studies. Two assessment approaches were identified: (1) life-cycle-based approaches and (2) sustainability rating systems (SRS). Most of the reviewed studies applied life-cycle-based methods, such as Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment or a combination of Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Costing, and selected social indicators. Heterogeneity in functional units was observed, with most studies opting for a dimension-based instead of a function-based reference. There was high variability regarding the life cycle stages, indicators, and impact assessment methods. Concerning the interpretation methods, most studies calculated a sustainability index or applied Multi-Criteria Decision-Making methods. The SRS presented a similar structure with different levels of aggregation. Furthermore, aspects such as planning, leadership, innovation, and construction activities were addressed. The results of this SLR contribute to expanding the knowledge regarding road sustainability and provide insight into common frameworks, guidelines, and best practices for the sustainability assessment of roads and pavements. Full article
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26 pages, 22428 KiB  
Article
Satellite-Based Optimization and Planning of Urban Ventilation Corridors for a Healthy Microclimate Environment
by Deming Gong, Xiaoyan Dai and Liguo Zhou
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15653; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115653 - 06 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 805
Abstract
Urban ventilation corridors (UVCs) have the potential to effectively mitigate urban heat islands and air pollution. Shanghai, a densely populated city located in eastern China, is among the hottest cities in the country and requires urgent measures in order to enhance its ventilation [...] Read more.
Urban ventilation corridors (UVCs) have the potential to effectively mitigate urban heat islands and air pollution. Shanghai, a densely populated city located in eastern China, is among the hottest cities in the country and requires urgent measures in order to enhance its ventilation system. This study introduces a novel approach that integrates land surface temperature retrieval, PM2.5 concentration retrieval, and wind field simulation to design UVCs at the city level. Through remote sensing data inversion of land surface temperature (LST) and PM2.5 concentration, the study identifies the action spaces and compensation spaces for UVCs. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, coupled with the multilayer urban scheme Building Effect Parameterization (BEP) model, is employed to numerically simulate and analyze the wind field. Based on the identification of thirty high-temperature zones and high PM2.5 concentration zones as action spaces, and twenty-two low-temperature zones and low PM2.5 concentration zones as compensation spaces in Shanghai, the study constructs seven first-class ventilation corridors and nine secondary ventilation corridors according to local circulation patterns. Unlike previous UVC research, this study assesses the cleanliness of cold air, which is a common oversight in UVC planning. Ignoring the assessment of cold air cleanliness can result in less effective UVCs in improving urban air quality and even exacerbate air pollution in the central city. Therefore, this study serves as a crucial contribution by rectifying this significant deficiency. It not only provides a fresh perspective and methodology for urban-scale ventilation corridor planning but also contributes to enhancing the urban microclimate by mitigating the effects of urban heat islands and reducing air pollution, ultimately creating a livable and comfortable environment for urban residents. Full article
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16 pages, 692 KiB  
Article
Examining the Impact of Internationalization and Competitive Advantages on Enterprise Performance in Taiwan’s Computer Numerical Control Machine Industry
by Hsing-Kuo Liao, Chin-Wen Liao, Cheng-Chi Chen and Tzu-Wen Chen
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15652; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115652 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1381
Abstract
An enterprise must have good operating performance to operate continuously. A good company itself must have a good management team and a large enough market to operate. Taiwan is located in East Asia, and has neighboring countries, such as Japan, South Korea, and [...] Read more.
An enterprise must have good operating performance to operate continuously. A good company itself must have a good management team and a large enough market to operate. Taiwan is located in East Asia, and has neighboring countries, such as Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Taiwan’s machine tools industry cannot be developed on a large scale due to the geographical environment and land area restrictions. Enterprises are constrained by the external environment, which includes economic cycles, raw materials supply, user demand, and other factors that influence their performance. This is the primary challenge currently faced by Taiwan’s CNC industry. According to relevant research, companies can utilize various strategic models to identify operational shortcomings from the perspective of their employees, in order to enhance business performance. Therefore, Taiwan’s machine tool industry has to be extended to a larger scale. In the international market, only by exporting products and, then, taking full advantage of higher-quality capabilities, can we create good corporate performance. Therefore, internationalization is an important factor for Taiwan’s companies to improve their operating performance. This article uses Taiwan’s machine tools industry to explore the impact of factors, such as international perspectives and competitive advantages, on operating performance; this study selects 62 companies as a sample, the period is 2022. and analyzes the data type using class regression. The empirical results show that in the initial stage of internationalization, internationalization and competitive advantages help companies improve their operating performance. The industrial environment has a positive regulatory effect on internationalization and enterprise performance. However, when the company reaches the stage of internationalization, its operating performance begins to decline. Therefore, companies must recognize their own operating capabilities and create a more favorable operating performance under internationalized strategies. The important factor is that only through continuous innovation can companies gain an advantage in their long-term operations. With the advent of the era of Industry 4.0, industry knowledge is highly intensive and competition within the international environment is fierce. Companies should plan for a long-term competitive advantage to improve enterprise performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable, Resilient and Smart Manufacturing Systems)
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10 pages, 2267 KiB  
Communication
Cryogenic Comminution of Subsea Cables and Flowlines: A Pathway for Circular Recycling of End-of-Life Offshore Infrastructure
by Ibukun Oluwoye and Arun Mathew
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15651; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115651 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1252
Abstract
Hundreds of thousands of kilometers of communication and power (umbilical) cables and flowlines lie undersea worldwide. Most of these offshore cables and flowlines have reached or will soon be nearing the end of their service life, prompting the need for a viable recycling [...] Read more.
Hundreds of thousands of kilometers of communication and power (umbilical) cables and flowlines lie undersea worldwide. Most of these offshore cables and flowlines have reached or will soon be nearing the end of their service life, prompting the need for a viable recycling approach to recover some valuable material, e.g., copper. However, separation into constituent materials has proven very challenging due to the highly robust design of the composite cables (and flowlines) to withstand service conditions and the tough external plastic sheaths that protect against seawater corrosion. This study aims at promoting sustainable practices in the offshore energy sector. Here, we summarize the findings of the cryogenic comminution of subsea cables and flowlines for an effective separation and recovery of component materials. Heat transfer analyses of complex multilayer flowlines and umbilicals were conducted to evaluate the time required for these structures to reach their respective critical brittle-transition temperatures. Subsequently, the time was used as a guide to crush the flowline and umbilical cables under cryogenic conditions. The results show that the flowlines and umbilical cables will reach the brittle-transition temperature after approximately 1000s (i.e., 17 min) of submergence in liquid nitrogen (LN). Comminution of the materials at temperatures near the brittle-transition temperature was proven relatively efficient compared to room-temperature processing. The present evaluation of heat transfer and lab-scale crushing will afford accurate process modelling and design of a pilot cryogenic comminution of decommissioned subsea cables and flowlines, enabling the sustainable recovery of valuable materials that can provide a new stream of waste-to-wealth economy. Full article
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18 pages, 738 KiB  
Article
Unpacking Psychological Antecedents of Low-Carbon Behavior: What Differentiates Champions, Skeptics, Talkers and Walkers across Young Adults?
by Djula Borozan and Sanja Pfeifer
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15650; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115650 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 739
Abstract
This study explores low-carbon behavior (LCB), considering a number of psychological predictors deemed important according to the theory of planned behavior and the norm-activation model. Four distinct clusters were identified by conducting a cluster analysis of data collected from an online survey of [...] Read more.
This study explores low-carbon behavior (LCB), considering a number of psychological predictors deemed important according to the theory of planned behavior and the norm-activation model. Four distinct clusters were identified by conducting a cluster analysis of data collected from an online survey of young people in Croatia in 2022, revealing both consistent and inconsistent patterns of LCB. The study highlights the complexity of factors influencing LCB and utilizes a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis to identify specific configurations of psychological variables that contribute to high and not-high levels of LCB within each cluster. The results validate the significance of established psychological determinants in explaining variations in low-carbon intentions and behaviors among young people, challenging the assumption of intention as the single best determinant of LCB and underscoring the presence of multiple causal complexities and equifinalities. Furthermore, the study demonstrates the asymmetric effects of different psychological conditions on high and not-high levels of LCB, suggesting that consistent and inconsistent LCBs cannot simply be viewed as opposite poles of the same continuum and that a variety of pathways can be explored to enhance carbon reduction activities. Full article
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21 pages, 8704 KiB  
Article
A Scientometric Analysis of Payments for Ecosystem Services Research: Mapping Global Trends and Directions
by Changsu Song, Yuqing Liu, Longqing Liu, Chaofan Xian and Xuan Wang
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15649; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115649 - 06 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1167
Abstract
Payment for ecosystem services (PES) is an innovative economic intervention to mitigate the decline of ecosystem services and biodiversity; it plays a key role in harmonizing protection and development. Based on numerous PES practices worldwide, PES has emerged as a research hotspot in [...] Read more.
Payment for ecosystem services (PES) is an innovative economic intervention to mitigate the decline of ecosystem services and biodiversity; it plays a key role in harmonizing protection and development. Based on numerous PES practices worldwide, PES has emerged as a research hotspot in the field of sustainability. This paper presents a comprehensive scientometric analysis of PES academic publications between 1987 and 2022. The study aims to characterize the intellectual landscape of PES by identifying and visualizing the evolution of the collaboration network, the co-citation network, and emerging research trends. The findings reveal a rapid increase in publications of this field, indicating its growing importance as an interdisciplinary research subject. In particular, PES has gained significant attention from numerous researchers since 2007. Environmental sciences and ecology (50.77%) have been the core subjects, followed by business economics (11.04%) and biodiversity conservation (9.58%). Engineering (3.52%) and water resources (3.40%) have emerged as new fields in recent years. Notably, productive authors and institutions in this domain are primarily located in the United States, China, and the United Kingdom. However, fewer stable collaborations were found between China and European countries. Regarding the keywords, the most popular keywords of this topic were “ecosystem service” (1423), “conservation” (1324), and “biodiversity” (1029). By synthesizing the literature, this paper identifies pressing topics related to the effectiveness of PES, including the evaluation of effectiveness, efficiency assessment, and equity. Through an in-depth analysis, this paper elucidates global trends and directions in PES research. It is important to create a fair and efficient market that boosts the motivation and initiative of society to engage in PES initiatives, to increase investment in comprehensive PES projects, which helps improve the efficiency of fund utilization, especially concerning climate change mitigation. It is proposed to integrate natural sciences and social sciences to comprehensively assess the effectiveness of climate-friendly PES, which contributes to the sustainable development of PES research and application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Environment and Low-Carbon Cities)
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19 pages, 1068 KiB  
Article
High-Speed Railway Network, City Heterogeneity, and City Innovation
by Kunlun Zhao and Wenxing Li
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15648; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115648 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 760
Abstract
The emergence of the time–space contraction effect from the high-speed railway (HSR) network in China has been beneficial in breaking down regional divisions, thus facilitating the circulation of resources and optimizing resource distribution and production efficiency. However, research has not adequately addressed the [...] Read more.
The emergence of the time–space contraction effect from the high-speed railway (HSR) network in China has been beneficial in breaking down regional divisions, thus facilitating the circulation of resources and optimizing resource distribution and production efficiency. However, research has not adequately addressed the city disparities of the HSR network and their effects on city innovation. Through the heterogeneity perspective of ‘New’ new economic geography, this study employs the 2008–2019 panel data at the city level in China and builds a spatial Durbin model based on continuous spatial difference in differences to investigate the mechanism of the HSR network on city innovation and to analyze its agglomeration and diffusion effect of innovative factors under different city sizes and spatial perspectives. This study revealed that the HSR network could significantly increase the innovation of local cities and neighboring cities, yet there is a certain threshold of city size that affects city innovation. Large cities covered by HSRs can take advantage of gathering talent, financial capital, and industry from nearby regions, thus constructing a new spatial pattern of innovative development. This study also found that the innovation accelerative effect gradually decreases as the distance from the city covered by HSRs increases and completely disappears at the distance of 400 km. Therefore, it is necessary to optimize the HSR network and increase the mobility and agglomeration of innovative elements between cities, thus deepening the collaboration between cities through differentiated strategies. This will enhance the spatial spillover effect of innovation, thus ultimately achieving a balanced spatial pattern of city innovation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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