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Sustainability, Volume 16, Issue 8 (April-2 2024) – 410 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This paper introduces a methodological framework for assessing and balancing sustainability impacts across different aspects of future forestry scenarios in managed forests in Sweden. The method involves indicators for climate change, biodiversity, and social and economic impacts. The indicators were normalized using reference scenarios and target values. This method was applied across three future forestry scenarios spanning 100 years in two counties in southern and northern Sweden. The results highlight the need to assess indicator performance in forestry across diverse regions of the country and tailoring the assessments of individual forest owners to their local conditions. The methodology requires continuous refinement and can be used as a basis for disclosing the environmental performance of a product based on raw forest materials. View this paper
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29 pages, 4368 KiB  
Article
The Mathematical Modeling, Diffusivity, Energy, and Enviro-Economic Analysis (MD3E) of an Automatic Solar Dryer for Drying Date Fruits
by Khaled A. Metwally, Awad Ali Tayoush Oraiath, I. M. Elzein, Tamer M. El-Messery, Claude Nyambe, Mohamed Metwally Mahmoud, Mohamed Anwer Abdeen, Ahmad A. Telba, Usama Khaled, Abderrahmane Beroual and Abdallah Elshawadfy Elwakeel
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3506; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083506 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 875
Abstract
Date fruit drying is a process that consumes a significant amount of energy due to the long duration required for drying. To better understand how moisture flows through the fruit during drying and to speed up this process, drying studies must be conducted [...] Read more.
Date fruit drying is a process that consumes a significant amount of energy due to the long duration required for drying. To better understand how moisture flows through the fruit during drying and to speed up this process, drying studies must be conducted in conjunction with mathematical modeling, energy analysis, and environmental economic analysis. In this study, twelve thin-layer mathematical models were designed utilizing experimental data for three different date fruit varieties (Sakkoti, Malkabii, and Gondaila) and two solar drying systems (automated solar dryer and open-air dryer). These models were then validated using statistical analysis. The drying period for the date fruit varieties varied between 9 and 10 days for the automated solar dryer and 14 to 15 days for open-air drying. The moisture diffusivity coefficient values, determined using Fick’s second law of diffusion model, ranged from 7.14 × 10−12 m2/s to 2.17 × 10−11 m2/s. Among the twelve thin-layer mathematical models, we chose the best thin drying model based on a higher R2 and lower χ2 and RMSE. The Two-term and Modified Page III models delivered the best moisture ratio projections for date fruit dried in an open-air dryer. For date fruit dried in an automated solar dryer, the Two-term Exponential, Newton (Lewis), Approximation diffusion or Diffusion Method, and Two-term Exponential modeling provided the best moisture ratio projections. The energy and environmental study found that the particular amount of energy used varied from 17.936 to 22.746 kWh/kg, the energy payback time was 7.54 to 7.71 years, and the net CO2 mitigation throughout the lifespan ranged from 8.55 to 8.80 tons. Furthermore, economic research showed that the automated solar dryer’s payback period would be 2.476 years. Full article
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20 pages, 2382 KiB  
Review
Green Horizons: Navigating the Future of Agriculture through Sustainable Practices
by Dicle Dönmez, Musab A. Isak, Tolga İzgü and Özhan Şimşek
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3505; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083505 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1044
Abstract
Sustainable agriculture seeks to balance human nutritional needs with the preservation of environmental quality and the economic viability of agricultural systems. Principles of resource conservation, economic resilience, social equity, and competitiveness underpin this approach. Despite its potential to address crucial issues like food [...] Read more.
Sustainable agriculture seeks to balance human nutritional needs with the preservation of environmental quality and the economic viability of agricultural systems. Principles of resource conservation, economic resilience, social equity, and competitiveness underpin this approach. Despite its potential to address crucial issues like food security, energy sustainability, and environmental stewardship, sustainable agriculture faces challenges. These include the scalability of its practices, potential economic constraints in the short term, and the need for significant shifts in policy and consumer behavior. A more explicit definition could encapsulate sustainable agriculture as integrating innovative practices that are environmentally benign, economically feasible, and socially equitable. This encompasses practices that reduce water scarcity, combat soil degradation, and address climate change impacts—crucial steps toward a robust and future-proof agricultural system. By acknowledging these challenges and specifying issues like water scarcity, soil health, and climate change, this abstract presents a balanced view of sustainable agriculture’s role in a sustainable future, highlighting its necessity and the urgent need for integrated efforts to overcome its implementation barriers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)
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16 pages, 3086 KiB  
Article
Managing Uncertainty in Urban Road Traffic Emissions Associated with Vehicle Fleet Composition: From the Perspective of Spatiotemporal Sampling Coverage
by Yufeng Cai, Xuelan Zeng, Weichi Li, Song He, Zedong Feng and Zihang Tan
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3504; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083504 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 529
Abstract
With pronounced differences in emission factors among vehicle types and marked spatiotemporal heterogeneity of vehicle fleet composition, extrapolating fleet composition from insufficient sample hour periods and road segments will introduce significant uncertainty in calculating regional daily road traffic emissions. We proposed a framework [...] Read more.
With pronounced differences in emission factors among vehicle types and marked spatiotemporal heterogeneity of vehicle fleet composition, extrapolating fleet composition from insufficient sample hour periods and road segments will introduce significant uncertainty in calculating regional daily road traffic emissions. We proposed a framework to manage uncertainty in urban road traffic emissions associated with vehicle fleet composition from the perspective of spatiotemporal sampling coverage. Initially, the respective relationships of the temporal and spatial sampling coverages of fleet composition with the resulting regional daily road traffic emission uncertainties were determined, using the core area of a typical small and medium-sized city in China with the widely-used International Vehicle Emissions (IVE) model as example. Subsequently, function models were developed to explore the determination of the spatiotemporal sampling coverage of fleet composition. These results of emission uncertainties and function models implied that gases with larger emission factor discrepancies between vehicle types, such as NOx, required greater spatiotemporal sampling coverage than gases with smaller discrepancies, such as CO2, under the same uncertainties target. Therefore, sampling efforts should be prioritized for gases with larger emission factor discrepancies. Additionally, increasing sampling coverage in one dimension (either spatial or temporal) can reduce the minimum required coverage in the other dimension. To further reduce uncertainty, enhancing both spatial and temporal sampling coverage of the fleet composition is more effective than enhancing one type of coverage alone. The framework and results proposed in this work can reduce the uncertainty of emissions calculations caused by insufficient sampling coverage and contribute to more accurate transport emission reduction policy formulation. Full article
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15 pages, 599 KiB  
Article
How Can We Remove Psychological Entrepreneurship Barriers on Entrepreneurship Intention for Health Organizations in the Future?
by Bülent Akkaya, Catalin Popescu and Sema Üstgörül
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3503; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083503 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 466
Abstract
Entrepreneurial orientation significantly influences business financial performance, particularly in global markets, making it pivotal across economies. Developed nations provide a conducive environment for entrepreneurship, supported by educational systems and skill development programs. Conversely, in developing countries, cultural and social disparities create unique challenges, [...] Read more.
Entrepreneurial orientation significantly influences business financial performance, particularly in global markets, making it pivotal across economies. Developed nations provide a conducive environment for entrepreneurship, supported by educational systems and skill development programs. Conversely, in developing countries, cultural and social disparities create unique challenges, shaping entrepreneurial intentions. Psychological barriers such as risk aversion, fear of failure, and resistance to change hinder potential entrepreneurs, particularly in health science faculties. A study conducted in Turkey aimed to explore these barriers among health science students. Data collected from 788 students revealed that psychological factors explained 72% of entrepreneurial intentions. Regression analysis confirmed the significance of risk avoidance, fear of failure, attitude towards change, and stress avoidance in shaping intentions. Despite these barriers, heightened entrepreneurial intentions among health students were associated with greater success in overcoming obstacles. The findings emphasize the importance of addressing psychological barriers in fostering innovative and entrepreneurial healthcare professionals. By understanding these dynamics, educational institutions, policymakers, and healthcare practitioners can better support the development of an entrepreneurial healthcare workforce. The intersection of healthcare and entrepreneurship presents opportunities for transformative solutions, potentially enhancing patient outcomes and advancing the healthcare sector. Despite challenges, emerging trends suggest a growing interest in leveraging innovation for positive change in healthcare, highlighting the potential for impactful contributions to the industry’s evolution. Full article
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24 pages, 3851 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Contribution of Lean Construction to Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
by Sada Hasan, Zeynep Işık and Gökhan Demirdöğen
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3502; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083502 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 736
Abstract
The construction industry is scrutinized and criticized for its impact on environmental degradation. Nowadays, while the lean construction philosophy and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to alleviate the adverse environmental effects of the construction industry, their synergies remain unclear and ambiguous. Therefore, this [...] Read more.
The construction industry is scrutinized and criticized for its impact on environmental degradation. Nowadays, while the lean construction philosophy and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to alleviate the adverse environmental effects of the construction industry, their synergies remain unclear and ambiguous. Therefore, this study aims to explore the synergies between lean construction principles and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their combined efficacy in mitigating the environmental footprint of the construction industry. In the study, a comprehensive three-step methodology, involving a literature review, focus group discussions, and quantitative Delphi technique analysis, was employed. The analysis uncovers that SDGs (ensuring clean water and sanitation, promoting clean energy, fostering economic growth and decent work, improving infrastructure and innovation, building sustainable cities and communities, promoting responsible consumption and production, conserving oceans, and preserving terrestrial ecosystems) have 63 extremely important linkages and 251 very important linkages with lean construction principles. The analysis results indicate that the synergies are categorized under economic (39%), environmental (42%), and social (19%) factors. Moreover, the strategic triad of lean principles, i.e., “Reducing non-value-adding, focusing on all processes, and continuous improvement”, emerged as key in fostering extremely important interactions. This study’s novelty lies in its integrating of Koskela’s lean principles with the 17 SDGs and 169 targets of Agenda 2030, offering strategic insights for aligning construction processes with the broader 2030 agenda for enhanced sustainability in the construction industry. The findings contribute to finding out the how lean construction principles serve the SDGs. Full article
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29 pages, 2417 KiB  
Article
Social and Spatial Inequalities during COVID-19: Evidence from France and the Need for a New Sustainable Urban and Regional Development Paradigm
by Roula Maya
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083501 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 569
Abstract
This study examines the impact of social and spatial inequalities on the spread of COVID-19 and the efficacy of lockdown measures in French regions during the third wave (22 March and 3 May 2021), with a focus on population density and poverty. It [...] Read more.
This study examines the impact of social and spatial inequalities on the spread of COVID-19 and the efficacy of lockdown measures in French regions during the third wave (22 March and 3 May 2021), with a focus on population density and poverty. It based on data from French government websites, adopting quantitative methods including the Pearson Coefficient and One-Way ANOVA. The results indicate a significant correlation between population density and COVID-19 deaths in 92 departments (R = 0.695), which is stronger than the correlation between density and infection rates (R = 0.633, p < 0.001). In the 25 most affected departments, this pattern shifts, with a weaker correlation between density and deaths (R = 0.644) compared to density/infections (R = 0.716, p < 0.001). Although insightful, these statistics do not capture regional disparities. A minor correlation between poverty and death rates was recorded in French regions. Spatial observations showed that areas exceeding the national poverty average experienced higher infection/death rates. The lockdowns were effective, leading to a reduction (51.7%) in infections. The present results showed that there is a significant need for a new social contract based on a new urban and regional paradigm focused on socio-spatial equality and Sustainable Development Goals locally and globally, a vital task for policymakers, planners, and researchers. Full article
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24 pages, 8021 KiB  
Article
The Impacts of Government Subsidies on Public Transportation Customer Complaints: A Case Study of Taichung City Bus Subsidy Policy
by Chia-Chun Yen, Weng Shih Kun Liu, Chuen-Lin Tien and Tian-Jong Hwu
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3500; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083500 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 596
Abstract
The government has implemented an operational subsidy program with the expectation that bus companies can provide better services to passengers. However, does the change in government subsidy policies affect the service levels of bus companies? This study analyzed passenger complaint data to objectively [...] Read more.
The government has implemented an operational subsidy program with the expectation that bus companies can provide better services to passengers. However, does the change in government subsidy policies affect the service levels of bus companies? This study analyzed passenger complaint data to objectively express the results of changes in bus subsidy policies. Taking Taichung City buses as an example, there was a change in transportation policies after a change in the municipal government. Under the old policy, Taichung City buses implemented a subsidy policy based on passengers (SPP), where the first eight kilometers of a route were subsidized. Later, the SPK subsidy policy, based on kilometers (SPK), extended the subsidy coverage by bus mileage to 10 km. This study collected bus passenger complaint data before and after the change in subsidy policies, within six months. A t-Test was conducted to verify if the average customer complaint types were consistent between the two policies. The results showed significant differences in six categories of customer complaints, which were then presented in GIS. Finally, we drew two main conclusions: (1) SPP policy, bus companies focus on operating in CBD; (2) SPK policy, bus companies focus on operating in suburban areas. Full article
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21 pages, 623 KiB  
Article
How Does Digital Transformation Improve Corporate Carbon Emission Reduction Performance? An Empirical Study on Data from Listed Companies in China
by Li Guo and Min Tang
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3499; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083499 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 617
Abstract
Against the backdrop of global carbon reduction, China, as the country with the highest carbon emissions, must implement carbon reduction actions more efficiently to promote the sustainable development of the global environment. Balancing their economic and environmental benefits has become an important issue [...] Read more.
Against the backdrop of global carbon reduction, China, as the country with the highest carbon emissions, must implement carbon reduction actions more efficiently to promote the sustainable development of the global environment. Balancing their economic and environmental benefits has become an important issue for corporations, as they are crucial entities in the final implementation of carbon reduction efforts. This study selects the data of listed companies in China from 2012 to 2022 and develops a two-way fixed-effects model to verify the effect of digital transformation on corporate carbon reduction performance. The study found that digital transformation can positively promote corporate carbon reduction performance and shows heterogeneity under different conditions. Green technology innovation plays a mediating role in the relationship between digital transformation and corporate carbon reduction performance. Furthermore, environmental subsidies play a positive moderating role in the relationship between digital transformation and green technology innovation, constituting a moderated mediation model. Meanwhile, tax reduction incentives play a positive moderating role in the relationship between digital transformation and promoting corporate carbon reduction performance. This study provides empirical suggestions for balancing economic and environmental benefits for 5323 Chinese listed companies and global corporations from both internal and external perspectives, emphasizing the potential for digital transformation to drive both commercial success and environmental stewardship in the pursuit of sustainable development goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Business Model Innovation and Corporate Sustainability)
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17 pages, 1313 KiB  
Article
Intelligent Wearable Technologies for Workforce Safety in Built Environment Projects in South Africa
by Lerato Aghimien, Ntebo Ngcobo and Douglas Aghimien
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3498; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083498 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 535
Abstract
In a quest for the safe and sustainable delivery of built environment projects in South Africa, this study explored intelligent wearable technologies (IWTs). A post-positivism philosophical stance was adopted by surveying 165 built environment experts. The technology–organisation–environment (T–O–E) framework was also employed in [...] Read more.
In a quest for the safe and sustainable delivery of built environment projects in South Africa, this study explored intelligent wearable technologies (IWTs). A post-positivism philosophical stance was adopted by surveying 165 built environment experts. The technology–organisation–environment (T–O–E) framework was also employed in understanding the critical factors influencing the use of IWTs in the study area. Data analyses used mean scores, the Kruskal–Wallis H-test, confirmatory factor analysis, and structural equation modelling (SEM) with appropriate model fit indices. It was found that, albeit at a slow pace, IWTs such as smart safety vests embedded with indoor GPS/sensors, smartwatches, and smart safety helmets are gradually gaining popularity within the South African built environment. SEM revealed that while all the assessed T–O–E factors are important to the increased use of IWTs within the study area, the environment- and technology-related factors will significantly impact how individuals and organisations use these beneficial wearable technologies. This study contributes to the existing discourse on intelligent technologies for the safety of the built environment workforce from the South African perspective, where such studies have received less attention. Full article
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22 pages, 1546 KiB  
Article
Personality-Traits Taxonomy and Operational and Environmental Performance: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Small and Medium Scale Manufacturing Enterprises
by Chinyerem Grace Adeniji, Odunayo Paul Salau, Opeyemi Olunike Joel, Oluwakemi Oluwafunmilayo Onayemi and Oluwakemi Rebecca Alake
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3497; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083497 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 540
Abstract
This research aimed to assess the operational and environmental performance of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria in relation to their adoption of personality-traits taxonomy (i.e., conscientiousness, openness to experience, extraversion, neuroticism or emotional resilience and agreeableness). The survey-based study involved the [...] Read more.
This research aimed to assess the operational and environmental performance of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria in relation to their adoption of personality-traits taxonomy (i.e., conscientiousness, openness to experience, extraversion, neuroticism or emotional resilience and agreeableness). The survey-based study involved the entire population of SME operators in South West Nigeria, totaling 1842 individuals (i.e., entrepreneurs). Through the use of stratified random-selection methods, a sample size of 420 was chosen. Data was collected, and both structural and measurement models were used to assess it. The results of the study demonstrate that personality traits have a significant influence on how successful SMEs function. The results also demonstrate that personality traits have a positive impact on SMEs’ environmental performance. These findings suggest that sustaining operational and environmental performance may be accomplished by resource allocation, promoting diversity and inclusion, and employing trustworthy assessment methods. To enhance both their overall operational performance and their environmental performance in particular, the study advises SME operators in Nigeria to undertake proper management of personality traits for sustainability. The paper recommends for greater research on this subject and emphasises the necessity of understanding how personality factors impact operational and environmental performance in Nigerian SMEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Management Strategies and Practices)
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20 pages, 1000 KiB  
Article
Can Civilized City Construction Promote Enterprise Green Innovation?
by Xuwei Tang, Qi Zhang, Chunxin Li, Haitao Zhang and Haiyun Xu
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3496; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083496 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 451
Abstract
The existing research shows that when facing the trade-off between economic benefits and green innovation, enterprises often prioritize economic gains, and how to promote enterprise green innovation (EGI) has become a pressing issue that needs to be solved at this stage. Against this [...] Read more.
The existing research shows that when facing the trade-off between economic benefits and green innovation, enterprises often prioritize economic gains, and how to promote enterprise green innovation (EGI) has become a pressing issue that needs to be solved at this stage. Against this backdrop, China’s Civilized City Construction (CCC) policy, which emphasizes the coordinated development of economic, political, ecological, and spiritual civilization, places higher demands on enterprise environmental behaviors. This creates an opportune moment to investigate the relationship between urban governance policies and EGI. In this study, we employ a Difference-in-Differences (DID) model to examine whether the CCC policy can promote EGI and reveal its underlying mechanisms. The research findings indicate that CCC significantly promotes EGI. The policy improves EGI levels by strengthening regional environmental regulations and increasing environmental subsidy levels. This finding provides lessons for advancing enterprise sustainability strategies and new perspectives for global urban governance policy formulation and implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Planning and Environmental Assessment)
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22 pages, 321 KiB  
Article
Can the Top Management Team’s Environmental Attention Promote Corporate Green Innovation?
by Ying Wang and Yiyang Liu
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3495; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083495 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 513
Abstract
Enterprise green innovation (GI) is the micro foundation for coping with the challenges of the ecological environment and achieving sustainable development. The top management team’s environmental attention (TMTEA) is crucial for guiding environmental strategy and resource investment and promoting enterprise transformation towards sustainable [...] Read more.
Enterprise green innovation (GI) is the micro foundation for coping with the challenges of the ecological environment and achieving sustainable development. The top management team’s environmental attention (TMTEA) is crucial for guiding environmental strategy and resource investment and promoting enterprise transformation towards sustainable development and GI. Drawing on an attention-based view (ABV) and lifecycle theory, this study analyzes data from 1722 listed companies in China (2010–2021) to examine TMTEA’s impact on corporate GI and its regulatory mechanisms. The results show the following: (1) TMTEA promotes enterprise GI, particularly in the growth and decline stages. (2) Government environmental attention negatively moderates TMTEA’s influence on corporate GI. (3) Compensation and equity incentives positively moderate the TMTEA–GI relationship. These insights enrich executive attention and GI literature, aiding decision-makers and enterprises in formulating effective GI strategies. Limitations include reliance on Chinese-listed company data, potentially limiting generalizability, and the need for qualitative research to deepen understanding of management processes and governance mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Low Carbon Economy and Sustainable Development)
20 pages, 6198 KiB  
Article
Carbonation of Recycled Concrete Aggregates for New Concrete and Concrete Fines to Make Cement-Free Hollow Blocks
by Jef Bergmans, Hadi Kazemi Kamyab, Debabrata Ghosh, Peter Van Mierloo, Hilde Carens and Peter Nielsen
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3494; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083494 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 596
Abstract
Mineral carbonation provides a way to increase the recycling of concrete waste in added-value products, and contributes to the principles of the circular economy. At present, most concrete waste is still downcycled. The high water absorption of recycled concrete aggregates, among other factors, [...] Read more.
Mineral carbonation provides a way to increase the recycling of concrete waste in added-value products, and contributes to the principles of the circular economy. At present, most concrete waste is still downcycled. The high water absorption of recycled concrete aggregates, among other factors, impedes their recycling in the concrete industry. The quality of coarse recycled concrete aggregates (RCA) can, however, be enhanced by carbonation. Even when starting with high-grade RCA obtained from a selective demolition process, the carbonation process can decrease the water absorption of the RCA to as low as 3.0%. Concrete with a 50% replacement rate of carbonated RCA can be produced without a significant compressive strength reduction. The research further shows that carbonation can be performed at atmospheric pressure and low CO2 concentrations (e.g., 10%). The recycled concrete fines (RCF, 0–4 mm) in combination with 25% stainless steel slag were used to make zero-cement hollow blocks (39 × 19 × 9 cm) by carbonation curing without using any hydraulic binder. The hollow blocks have a compressive strength of 15.4 MPa at the lab scale. Both technologies were demonstrated on a pilot scale. In both processes, CO2 is immobilized in the resulting construction product. The developed production processes use less primary raw materials and cause less greenhouse-gas emissions than the production of traditional concrete products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mineral-Based Materials in Construction)
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16 pages, 3550 KiB  
Article
Deformation Mechanism of Underlying Sandy Soil Induced by Subway Traffic Vibrations
by Jinbo Sun, Dingding He, Ke Sun and Liang Gong
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3493; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083493 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 450
Abstract
The safety of the geotechnical environment around subways is vitally important for their sustainability. Ground settlement is a very common threat to the safe operation of subways and is related to subway traffic vibrations. Taking Nanjing subway line 10 as an example, field [...] Read more.
The safety of the geotechnical environment around subways is vitally important for their sustainability. Ground settlement is a very common threat to the safe operation of subways and is related to subway traffic vibrations. Taking Nanjing subway line 10 as an example, field tests, discrete element simulations, and a grey relational analysis are carried out to study the deformation mechanism of the underlying sandy soil induced by vibrations. The results show that the vibration load of Nanjing subway Line 10 is mainly concentrated in the vertical direction. The particles’ coordination number below the subway increases under the vibration load, while the coordination number on the side of the tunnel decreases, which may cause a shear dilatancy effect. Among the five microscopic indexes, the local porosity and the coordination number are closely related to the deformation. Although the deformation of the underlying sandy soil is quite small under the subway traffic load, it will accumulate under frequent loading and then lead to urban engineering geological disasters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Environmental Geology and Engineering)
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19 pages, 30402 KiB  
Article
Preliminary Investigation of the Remnants of Low-Latitude Glacial Activity on the Southeastern Margin of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau
by Yiwen Pan, Shitao Zhang, Jianping Chen, Cheng Zhang and Shuangshuang Wu
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3492; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083492 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 435
Abstract
The formation of Quaternary glaciers represented a pivotal event in the climatic and geological history of the Tibetan Plateau. However, due to the scarcity of direct evidence for low-latitude glaciation, the timing and extent of late Quaternary glaciation on the Tibetan Plateau remain [...] Read more.
The formation of Quaternary glaciers represented a pivotal event in the climatic and geological history of the Tibetan Plateau. However, due to the scarcity of direct evidence for low-latitude glaciation, the timing and extent of late Quaternary glaciation on the Tibetan Plateau remain controversial. This study focuses on the Liangwang Mountains, which are located in the southeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau and has a maximum elevation of 2820 m, as the subject of investigation. Through a comprehensive application of glacial landform analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM)-based micromorphology analysis of quartz sand, and spore-pollen data analysis, we uncovered evident signs of glacial activity in this region during the Quaternary period. Our research identified typical glacial landforms such as cirques, U-shaped valleys, fluted moraines, and terminal moraines. Additionally, spore-pollen analysis revealed a high frequency of fir pollen, indicating cold climatic conditions during that time. Furthermore, the micromorphology analysis of quartz sand further corroborated the glacial origin of these deposits. Based on these combined findings, our study confirms that the Liangwang Mountains experienced glaciation during the Quaternary period, making them glacial relics at the lowest latitude currently known in mainland China. This discovery provides a valuable reference for understanding the paleoclimate and glacial history of the Tibetan Plateau and its surrounding regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoheritage and Sustainable Development of Geotourism)
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22 pages, 3754 KiB  
Article
Research on the Spatiotemporal Characteristics of the Coupling Coordination Relationship of the Energy–Food–Water System in the Xinjiang Subregion
by Jing Gao and Jian Xu
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3491; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083491 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 453
Abstract
In the Xinjiang region, the sustainable management of water resources, energy, and food is crucial for regional development. This study establishes a coupling evaluation index for energy–food–water (EFW) systems from the perspectives of supply, consumption, and efficiency. Using an integrated EFM-CDD-RDD-CCDM approach, an [...] Read more.
In the Xinjiang region, the sustainable management of water resources, energy, and food is crucial for regional development. This study establishes a coupling evaluation index for energy–food–water (EFW) systems from the perspectives of supply, consumption, and efficiency. Using an integrated EFM-CDD-RDD-CCDM approach, an assessment of the coupling and coordination levels of the EFW systems in 14 cities within Xinjiang was conducted for the period of 2004 to 2020. Additionally, the method of obstacle degree identification was utilized to determine the main barriers affecting the EFW systems. Key findings included the following. (1) In terms of individual system coordination indices, the water resource systems exhibited overall higher coordination (ranging from 0.30 to 0.72) with comparatively minor spatial variability, while the energy (from 0.18 to 0.81) and food (from 0.12 to 0.83) systems showed greater temporal and spatial fluctuations. From 2004 to 2020, improvements were observed in the coordination of food and water resource systems, whereas a decline was noted in the coordination of the energy subsystem. (2) Prior to 2011, the coupling of food–water and energy–food systems showed an upward trend, whereas the energy–water coupling decreased annually by 2.62%, further highlighting the tensions between energy development and water resource constraints in Xinjiang. (3) The comprehensive coupling coordination index of the Xinjiang EFW systems ranged between 0.59 and 0.80; between 2004 and 2020, there was an oscillatory increase. From 2004 to 2016, the coupling and coordination degree across the municipalities generally improved, with the regions on the western side and southern slope of the Tianshan Mountains, the Altai Mountains, and the northwestern edge of the Junggar Basin exhibiting the highest levels, followed by the three prefectures in southern Xinjiang. (4) The EFW obstacle degree posed by the food systems in Xinjiang and its divisions showed a decreasing trend from 2004 to 2020, with the energy system identified as the main factor affecting the coupling and coordination degrees of the EFW systems (increasing by 44% to 52%). Therefore, it is imperative to accelerate the energy transition and optimization in the lead energy development and production areas of Xinjiang. This research provides a scientific basis for Xinjiang’s sustainable development strategies and highlights potential directions for the future optimization of resource management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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20 pages, 13837 KiB  
Article
A Case Study in Natural Fibre Material (Luffa Sponge) Development Using E2-Material-Driven Design
by Chao Li, Luzhen Wang and Le Zhang
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3490; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083490 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 553
Abstract
To unleash the emotional potential of natural fibre materials in sustainable development and utilisation, this paper presents a material-driven design method with emotional and ecological indicators (E2-MDD). The method offers product-level solutions for the sustainable development of natural materials. The method [...] Read more.
To unleash the emotional potential of natural fibre materials in sustainable development and utilisation, this paper presents a material-driven design method with emotional and ecological indicators (E2-MDD). The method offers product-level solutions for the sustainable development of natural materials. The method involves several steps, such as screening the main material quality, capturing the user emotion vision, deconstructing the E2 vision pattern, and deducting the product design concept. The method was tested on luffa sponge samples, seen as one kind of traditional fibre resource, which resulted in four differentiated schemes, which were evaluated using the E2-MDD ring radar column score chart. The study identified three key emotional qualities for natural fibre materials: associativity, uniqueness, and biophilicity. The results show that product concepts closer to the natural material’s original form scored higher, while the inclusion of non-natural materials had a negative impact on the evaluations. This study also found that E2-MDD could strengthen the emotional and ecological connection between people and products, further indicating that material and design can establish a link between environmental friendliness and emotional experience. Lastly, the paper suggests future development areas for the E2-MDD method, including focusing on users, ecology, and business. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Materials)
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26 pages, 14045 KiB  
Article
Experimental and Analytical Study on Recycled Aggregate RC Columns: Short and Slender Loaded Axially and Eccentrically
by Bakhtyar Nassih Najar, Mereen Hassan Fahmi Rasheed and Bahman Omar Taha
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3489; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083489 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 521
Abstract
To protect the environment and preserve natural resources, it is crucial to use recycled aggregate (RA) in construction. The recycled coarse aggregate reinforced concrete columns with the addition of steel fiber evaluated under concentric and eccentric loadings for short and slender columns were [...] Read more.
To protect the environment and preserve natural resources, it is crucial to use recycled aggregate (RA) in construction. The recycled coarse aggregate reinforced concrete columns with the addition of steel fiber evaluated under concentric and eccentric loadings for short and slender columns were examined experimentally and analytically in this research. Twenty-four column specimens were built for this study to examine the impact of steel fiber, recycled aggregate, slenderness, and eccentricity on the behavior of reinforced concrete columns. This research examined the failure mode, maximum load-carrying capacity, strain in the concrete, strain in the reinforcement, and ductility. Based on the results, it can be concluded that employing recycled concrete aggregate is a potential approach to meet design codes. The addition of 1% steel fiber effectively prevents concrete from crushing and spalling. Steel fiber, however, improved the columns’ ductility and strength. The results showed the maximum load-carrying capacity of the specimens and the results of using ACI-318 code equations agreed very well. Furthermore, a model is proposed for columns with both natural and recycled aggregate and which accounts for the eccentricity and slenderness to forecast the load-carrying capacity. The outcomes demonstrated that the design principles were met well. Plots of load–moment interaction diagrams for short and slender columns made with the ACI-318 method are compared to the findings of the experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
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27 pages, 881 KiB  
Systematic Review
Ethics of Manufacturing and Supplying Bottled Water: A Systematic Review
by Jorge Alejandro Silva
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3488; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083488 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 890
Abstract
Bottled water is one of the most consumed healthy beverages in the world. At a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3%, bottled water sales may surpass USD 500 billion by 2030. While this indicates how popular bottled water is among consumers, it [...] Read more.
Bottled water is one of the most consumed healthy beverages in the world. At a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3%, bottled water sales may surpass USD 500 billion by 2030. While this indicates how popular bottled water is among consumers, it does not underscore various ethical concerns raised against the product and its business concept. The purpose of the paper is to investigate the ethics of manufacturing and supplying bottled water. It uses a systematic review of the literature through the PRISMA method to determine the major ethical concerns surrounding these topics. A total of 107 articles were identified, and 31 were subjected to further reviews and analysis. The study found that the manufacturing and supply of bottled water may be unethical if it ends in deliberate pollution and artificial scarcity. Water is an essential product that should be made available and accessible freely to support lives. The use of bottled water has benefits because pollution is removed during processing, which prevents the spread of diseases. In addition, it is practical to transport and consume it. Water bottlers, however, seek to convert water into an exclusive product for profits. This draws attention to the ethics of justice, care, and professionalism which collectively protect consumers against corporate greed and exploitation. Water bottlers contribute to significant environmental pollution and have done little to recycle or reuse plastics to minimize the potential environmental damage. More than 80% of plastic bottles end up in waste and may be washed down into the oceans where they affect the marine ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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20 pages, 2562 KiB  
Article
Quantifying the Sustainability of Football (Soccer) Pitches: A Comparison of Artificial and Natural Turf Pitches with a Focus on Microplastics and Their Environmental Impacts
by Lukas Zeilerbauer, Johannes Lindorfer, Pauline Fuchs, Melanie Knöbl, Asle Ravnås, Trygve Maldal, Eimund Gilje, Christian Paulik and Jörg Fischer
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3487; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083487 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 750
Abstract
Recently, the European Commission announced their intention to restrict intentionally added microplastics to reduce the amount emitted by 0.5 million tons per year. Findings on microplastics indicate toxic behavior for biota, yet many mechanisms remain in the dark. Microplastics also pose a challenge [...] Read more.
Recently, the European Commission announced their intention to restrict intentionally added microplastics to reduce the amount emitted by 0.5 million tons per year. Findings on microplastics indicate toxic behavior for biota, yet many mechanisms remain in the dark. Microplastics also pose a challenge in life cycle assessment as methods are actively being developed. Considering this recent decision, an anticipatory life cycle assessment was performed, comparing the impacts of natural grass pitches with artificial grass pitches using bio-based infill materials as well as polymeric ones made from recycled and virgin materials. The aim was to confirm if microplastics are in fact a considerable environmental hazard when compared to more traditional impacts. The microplastics’ impact was modeled after the MarILCA group’s work on the new midpoint of physical effects on biota. The results showed that the influence of the microplastics remains negligible when using the method provided. For most midpoint categories, the wood-based infill showed the best results, often closely tied with the infill made from recycled rubber from tires. A sensitivity analysis revealed that neither the physical effects on biota nor the greenhouse gas emissions from degradation in a marine environment are deciding factors when assessing the endpoint of ecosystem damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplastic Pollution and Impact)
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36 pages, 6218 KiB  
Article
Towards Advancing Translators’ Guidance for Organisations Tackling Innovation Challenges in Manufacturing within an Industry 5.0 Context
by Paul-Ludwig Michael Noeske, Alexandra Simperler, Welchy Leite Cavalcanti, Vinicius Carrillo Beber, Tasmin Alliott, Peter Schiffels and Gerhard Goldbeck
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3486; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083486 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 622
Abstract
Following the vision of the European Commission, organisations and workers establishing Industry 5.0 approaches aspire to more future-proof, resilient, sustainable, and human-centred European industries. In this contribution, we explore how technological innovations that contribute to a “win–win” interaction with involved stakeholders may be [...] Read more.
Following the vision of the European Commission, organisations and workers establishing Industry 5.0 approaches aspire to more future-proof, resilient, sustainable, and human-centred European industries. In this contribution, we explore how technological innovations that contribute to a “win–win” interaction with involved stakeholders may be advanced in a human-centred and transparent proceeding supported by impartial expert translators who provide information or knowledge-based guidance for decision-makers, initiators and implementers in manufacturing innovation driven by sustainability. We elaborate a stepwise procedure for agreeing on milestones and conjointly treading the path towards solving innovation challenges during a translation process. We exemplify the technological aspects of such a process using an innovation case aiming at identifying parameters for enhancements in a vacuum-bagging process applied to the manufacturing of composite parts from prepregs based on condensation-curing matrix resins made from renewable resources. In detail, we present a straightforward design of an experimental approach varying the dwelling temperature and the temperature ramps during the curing of stacked prepregs. In this way, we demonstrate that for cured composites comprising a poly(furfuryl alcohol)-based matrix, the porosity and connected mechanical properties achieved with autoclave-free curing processes sensitively depend on these process parameters. Applying the resulting data-based model is shown to support decision-making for sustainable composite manufacture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Materials, Manufacturing and Design)
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19 pages, 6930 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Urban Land Suitability under Multiple Sea Level Rise Scenarios
by Chenxin Ruan and Fang Wei
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3485; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083485 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 466
Abstract
Anticipated sea level rises from global climate change pose a significant flood risk to urban land. Evaluating urban land suitability under sea level rise scenarios is crucial for promoting sustainable development. Recent research has advanced the application of artificial intelligence and the integration [...] Read more.
Anticipated sea level rises from global climate change pose a significant flood risk to urban land. Evaluating urban land suitability under sea level rise scenarios is crucial for promoting sustainable development. Recent research has advanced the application of artificial intelligence and the integration of GIS with models, yet the impact of climate change on land suitability has often been overlooked. This study focuses on Xihu District in Hangzhou, utilizing the entropy weight and matter-element model to evaluate land suitability for urban development. The evaluation results were cross-verified with land use plans. A comprehensive analysis of potential flood risk to urban land in 2100 was conducted, considering varying degrees of sea level rise under Sustainable Development Scenario SSP1-2.6 and High-end Emission Scenario SSP5-8.5, as well as the scenario reflecting the most severe sea level rise during extreme climate events. The results indicate that more than half of the land in the study area is suitable for construction, aligning spatially with the current planned urban land. The analysis process of the matter-element model reflects the impact level of each indicator on urban land suitability, conveying information both spatially and numerically, thus enhancing accuracy. Scenario analysis reveals that approximately 10% to 20% of urban land in the study area could face flooding threats due to future sea level rises, primarily in the northern and southeastern regions. Recommendations for future land development and spatial planning strategies to address flood risk are discussed, aiming to alleviate the pressure on urban land in response to future climate change. Full article
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13 pages, 5070 KiB  
Article
Condition Information Entropy and Rough Set Method Based on Particle Swarm Optimization Applied in the Natural Quality Evaluation of Cultivated Land
by Hongmei Yu, Zhaokun Yu and Xubing Zhang
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3484; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083484 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 430
Abstract
The evaluation of the natural quality of cultivated land is crucial for preserving arable land and achieving a balance between the quantity and quality of arable land. Therefore, a timely assessment of the natural quality of cultivated land is needed to monitor its [...] Read more.
The evaluation of the natural quality of cultivated land is crucial for preserving arable land and achieving a balance between the quantity and quality of arable land. Therefore, a timely assessment of the natural quality of cultivated land is needed to monitor its changes. However, current methods often focus on a single specified crop, neglecting the variations that occur across different specified crops. Since the indicator weight recognition method is only suitable for a single crop, this paper proposes a novel model evaluating the natural quality of cultivated land based on the method of “hidden light–temperature index and yield ratio coefficient”. In addition, the condition information entropy and rough set method based on particle swarm optimization (CIERS-PSO) were proposed to evaluate the natural quality of cultivated land in Enshi. Firstly, condition information entropy and rough set are adopted to determine the importance of the indicator automatically. Then, particle swarm optimization (PSO) is utilized to obtain the optimal weights of the first-level and second-level indicators. Finally, the proposed model and evaluation method were adopted to evaluate the natural qualities of the cultivated land. The experimental results demonstrated that the combination of the “hidden light–temperature index and yield ratio coefficient” model and the CIERS-PSO method can automatically identify the indicator weights for the evaluation of natural quality in multi-crop cultivated land. It could obtain better evaluation accuracy even if the sample size is small. Full article
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17 pages, 1837 KiB  
Article
SustainableTransformation of Undergraduate Engineering Education in China through Sino-Australian Cooperation: A Case Study on Electro-Mechanical System
by Yufei Guo, John M. Long and Van Thanh Huynh
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3483; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083483 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 456
Abstract
China’s undergraduate engineering education is facing two significant challenges: passive learning and limited cross-cultural communication. In response, active learning methods such as project-based learning (PBL) and Sino-foreign cooperative education emerge as promising solutions. However, despite their potential, PBL’s application remains constrained, and many [...] Read more.
China’s undergraduate engineering education is facing two significant challenges: passive learning and limited cross-cultural communication. In response, active learning methods such as project-based learning (PBL) and Sino-foreign cooperative education emerge as promising solutions. However, despite their potential, PBL’s application remains constrained, and many Sino-foreign cooperative programs persist with traditional passive learning approaches. How to adeptly integrate the two, namely realizing active learning in Sino-foreign cooperative education, is the primary objective of this study. To this end, a sustainable strategy for cross-cultural transfer and the adaptation of active learning is proposed. Initially, a PBL-based active learning pedagogy is tailored for a course within a Sino-Australian cooperative undergraduate program. This approach integrates hands-on activities, teamwork, and the flipped classroom method. Moreover, to ensure implementation quality, an assessment method reliant on continuous student survey feedback is suggested. Subsequently, through the statistical analysis of students’ survey data as well as final grades, both quantitative and qualitative results affirm the efficacy of the proposed strategy. Full article
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20 pages, 616 KiB  
Article
Spatial Interaction of Local Government Debt: Evidence from China
by Ning Han, Huiyan Guo and Weitao Diao
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3482; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083482 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 476
Abstract
The amount of local government debt has an important impact on the economic and social sustainability of a country. The rapid increase in local government debt in China over the past decade and the associated risks have profound implications for financial and economic [...] Read more.
The amount of local government debt has an important impact on the economic and social sustainability of a country. The rapid increase in local government debt in China over the past decade and the associated risks have profound implications for financial and economic sustainable development. While existing research has investigated governmental strategic interactions of tax and spending, little attention has been given to the spatial interaction of local government debt. This study employs Two-Regime Spatial Lag Models to investigate the spatial interaction of the debt among China’s 332 prefectural-level local governments over the period of 2015 to 2019. The findings show significant interaction effects between neighbouring governments, both in the acquisition and utilisation of debt quotas, and the interaction during the acquisition process is higher than that during the utilisation process. In addition, the interaction between neighbouring governments within the same province is more pronounced than that between governments adjacent but located in different provinces. Furthermore, the interaction of special debt is more manifest than that of general debt. These findings pass various robustness tests. Additionally, the mechanism test shows that fiscal competition is one of the driving forces behind the observed interdependence of local governments’ debt strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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12 pages, 1270 KiB  
Article
Preliminary Tests of Tomato Plant Protection Method with Ozone Gas Fumigation Supported with Hydrogen Peroxide Solution and Its Effect on Some Fruit Parameters
by Miłosz Zardzewiały, Natalia Matłok, Tomasz Piechowiak, Bogdan Saletnik, Maciej Balawejder and Józef Gorzelany
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3481; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083481 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 500
Abstract
The aim of this research was to determine the impact of hydrogen peroxide spraying and ozone gas fumigation during the growing season of tomato plants grown under cover on the mechanical and chemical parameters of fruit harvested from these plants. Tomato plants were [...] Read more.
The aim of this research was to determine the impact of hydrogen peroxide spraying and ozone gas fumigation during the growing season of tomato plants grown under cover on the mechanical and chemical parameters of fruit harvested from these plants. Tomato plants were grown under cover in accordance with the principles of good agricultural practice in the soil and climatic conditions of southeastern Poland. During the growing season, tomato fruits were collected for testing in order to determine the impact of the applied variable factors on the modification of selected metabolic pathways of bioactive compounds. As part of the tests on the chemical properties of the fruits, the content of ascorbic acid, the total content of polyphenols, and the antioxidant potential were determined. Additionally, the influence of the tested variable factors on the mechanical properties of tomato fruits was determined. In the case of the total polyphenol content, the most beneficial effects were observed for fruits collected from plants treated with ozonation at a dose of 2 ppm for 3 min and spraying the plants with 1% hydrogen peroxide. The highest antioxidant potential was recorded for fruits of the variants ozonated with doses of 2 ppm for 1 min, 2 ppm for 1.5 min, and 2 ppm for 3 min compared to the remaining variants and controls. In turn, the vitamin C content increased significantly in the tested fruits after the ozonation of plants with a dose of 2 ppm for 1 min and ozonation with a dose of 2 ppm for 3 min combined with spraying plants with 3% hydrogen peroxide. In the case of the mechanical properties of tomato fruits, only the ozonation dose of 2 ppm for 3 min significantly improved them. Full article
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17 pages, 1245 KiB  
Article
Can the Circular Economy Demonstration Policy Enhance the Green Innovation Level? A Quasi-Natural Experiment from China
by Yongchao Wu, Xinyuan Wei, Yanan Liu and Huilong Li
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3480; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083480 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 494
Abstract
Although both circular economy and green innovation (GI) have received increasing research attention, little is known about their relationship. Based on quasi-natural experimental analysis, this study explored the impact and mechanism of the National Circular Economy Demonstration City (NCEDC) policy on GI in [...] Read more.
Although both circular economy and green innovation (GI) have received increasing research attention, little is known about their relationship. Based on quasi-natural experimental analysis, this study explored the impact and mechanism of the National Circular Economy Demonstration City (NCEDC) policy on GI in China and adopted a difference-in-difference (DID) model using the data of 265 cities in China from 2004 to 2018. The results show that the NCEDC policy has significantly improved the cities’ GI level, which can be achieved through industrial structure upgrading and innovation R&D investment effect, and has a stronger performance in eastern cities and lower administrative level cities. Our findings not only present novel evidence on the relationship between the circular economy and GI, but also offer valuable insights for advancing policy pilot initiatives in the field of environmental management. Full article
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18 pages, 6310 KiB  
Article
Experimental Study on the Mechanical Strength, Deformation Behavior and Infiltration Characteristics of Coral Sand
by Chenwei Lv, Haoliang Wu, Minglei Shi and Dingwen Zhang
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3479; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083479 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 512
Abstract
In this investigation, coral sand is presented as a sustainable substitute for conventional river and machine-manufactured sand. This study comprehensively investigated the macro-scale strength, deformation, and permeability characteristics of coral sand, alongside analyzing the mechanical behavior, deformation, and permeability under various conditions and [...] Read more.
In this investigation, coral sand is presented as a sustainable substitute for conventional river and machine-manufactured sand. This study comprehensively investigated the macro-scale strength, deformation, and permeability characteristics of coral sand, alongside analyzing the mechanical behavior, deformation, and permeability under various conditions and in relation to distinct particle characteristics. It revealed that coral sand primarily consists of biotite and high-Mg calcite, featuring abundant internal pore space. Its compressive properties resemble clayey soils, displaying minimal unloading rebound and predominant plastic deformation during compression. In direct shear tests, the stress–strain relationship follows an approximate hyperbola, with no pronounced strain softening. Describing particle fragmentation in the process proves challenging, making indicators like internal friction angle less applicable in engineering. Triaxial tests indicate a rapid initial bias stress increase, followed by a gradual decrease post-stress peak, suggesting a strain softening phenomenon. As surrounding pressure rises, the axial strain needed to reach peak strength also increases. The permeability coefficient of coral sand correlates linearly with pore ratio increase, represented by 10e. The complex interaction of multiple factors influences the strength, deformation, and permeability of coral sand blown fill mixes, with specimen porosity having the greatest impact. The design and construction of high-weight foundation elements in coral sand blown fill projects should consider porosity effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Sustainability and Engineering Design)
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18 pages, 1927 KiB  
Article
The Western Greece Soil Information System (WΕSIS)—A Soil Health Design Supported by the Internet of Things, Soil Databases, and Artificial Intelligence Technologies in Western Greece
by Georgios Kalantzopoulos, Panagiotis Paraskevopoulos, Georgios Domalis, Aglaia Liopa-Tsakalidi, Dimitrios E. Tsesmelis and Pantelis E. Barouchas
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3478; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083478 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1751
Abstract
Soil quality is vital for ecosystem stability, impacting human, plant, and animal health. Traditional soil quality assessments are labor-intensive and costly, making them unsuitable for smart agriculture. To overcome this, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are employed for sustainable [...] Read more.
Soil quality is vital for ecosystem stability, impacting human, plant, and animal health. Traditional soil quality assessments are labor-intensive and costly, making them unsuitable for smart agriculture. To overcome this, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are employed for sustainable agriculture, enabling real-time data collection and analysis, trend identification, and soil health optimization. The Western Greece Soil Information System (WΕSIS) offers open-access data and services for soil health and sustainability. It includes modules for soil quality indicators, sustainable fertilization management zones, soil property distribution, prediction, mapping, statistical analysis, water management, land use maps, digital soil mapping, and crop health calculation. Integrating the IoT and AI allows for real-time and remote monitoring of soil conditions, managing soil interventions adaptively and in a data-driven way, enhancing soil resources’ efficiency and sustainability, and increasing crop yield and quality. AI algorithms assist farmers and regional stakeholders in optimizing production lines, methodologies, and field practices, reducing costs and increasing profitability. This promotes a circular economy, a soil- and climate-resilient future, biodiversity protection targets, and enhanced soil fertility and productivity. The proposed IoT/AI technical architecture can underpin the development of soil health monitoring platforms, integrating data from various sources, automating data collection, and providing decision support tools. Full article
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21 pages, 7102 KiB  
Article
Vineyard Microclimatic Zoning as a Tool to Promote Sustainable Viticulture under Climate Change
by André Fonseca, José Cruz, Helder Fraga, Cristina Andrade, Joana Valente, Fernando Alves, Ana Carina Neto, Rui Flores and João A. Santos
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3477; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083477 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 621
Abstract
Understanding microclimate spatial variability is crucial for sustainable and optimised grape production within vineyard plots. By employing a combination of a microclimate model (NicheMapR) and multiple climate data sources, this study aimed to achieve microclimatic analysis in two vineyard plots, Quinta do Bomfim [...] Read more.
Understanding microclimate spatial variability is crucial for sustainable and optimised grape production within vineyard plots. By employing a combination of a microclimate model (NicheMapR) and multiple climate data sources, this study aimed to achieve microclimatic analysis in two vineyard plots, Quinta do Bomfim (northern Portugal) and Herdade do Esporão (southern Portugal). This approach provides an innovative 10 m spatial resolution for climate variables. This study incorporated local station hourly data with quantile mapping bias correction on the ERA5-land data. The microclimate model output was employed to perform bias correction on a EURO-CORDEX model ensemble. Climate extreme and bioclimatic indices specifically targeted to viticulture were calculated for each vineyard plot. The 10 m scale was analysed to identify potential shifts in temperature extremes, precipitation patterns, and other crucial climatic variables for grape cultivation within each specific plot. The significance of microclimate analyses was higher in areas with intricate topography, while in areas with smooth slopes, the variation of climatic variables was determined to be negligible. There was a projected increase in the median temperature of approximately 3.5 °C and 3.6 °C and a decrease in precipitation of approximately 98 mm and 105 mm in Quinta do Bomfim and Herdade do Esporão, respectively, when comparing a future scenario for the period 2071–2100 against the historical period (1981–2010). Hence, this study offers a comprehensive and future-oriented method for analysing microclimates in vineyard plots. By incorporating geospatial data, ERA5-land data, and the microclimate NicheMapR model, this research aimed to enhance the understanding of current microclimates and future climate scenarios for viticulturists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)
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