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Green Energy from Soil Remediation

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "A: Sustainable Energy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 2213

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Soil Science and Microbiology, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Plac Łódzki 3, 10-727 Olsztyn, Poland
Interests: soil microbiological diversity; soil enzymatic activity; soil quality and soil health evaluation

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Guest Editor
Department of Soil Science and Microbiology, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Plac Łódzki 3, 10-727 Olsztyn, Poland
Interests: soil remediation; phytoremediation; biomass for energy; microbiome of soil; soil and plant biodiversity; soil enzymes

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Soil Science and Microbiology, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Plac Łódzki 3, 10-727 Olsztyn, Poland
Interests: environmental science; microbiological and biochemical properties of soils; soil biochemistry; environmental microbiology; microbiome; microbial communities; soil contamination; biofuels; biomass for energy purposes
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The concept of sustainable development inherently carries paramount importance for environmental protection and the preservation of resources by establishing ecological boundaries beyond which the environment's capacity to renew its resources is threatened. Green energy is recognized as a sustainable solution to socio-economic issues related to environmental concerns and the depletion of non-renewable energy sources. It also aligns with the circular economy, which is sustainable and is recommended as a pragmatic alternative for mitigating the negative impact of a wide range of soil contaminants. These contaminants include heavy metals (such as arsenic, chromium, mercury, lead, cadmium, and zinc), petroleum products like gasoline and various oils, chlorophenols, furans, POPs, PCBs, dioxins, insecticides, pesticides, and various solvents. Green energy is not only a theoretical idea but also involves promoting renewable energy production and focusing on energy efficiency by implementing hydro, wind, and solar (PV) projects and projects centered on biomass utilization.

A sustainable strategy for soil remediation should consider using biomass not only for producing bioplastics, biomaterials, and chemicals but also for processing it into bioenergy in solid, liquid, and gaseous forms. Solid forms can include wood charcoal or biochar, liquid forms can include biodiesel, biofuels from algae, bioethanol, and other bio-oils, whereas gaseous forms can include biogas or biohydrogen. The answer lies in a new integrated strategy for phytoremediation and bioenergy, based on the supported and enhanced cultivation of energy crops on contaminated soil in accordance with the concept of sustainable development. Integrated and innovative approaches also include green microbiology, which relies on sustainable microbiological technologies. The potential of microorganisms is harnessed for producing renewable and biodegradable biofuels and the complete degradation of less or more toxic pollutants, ultimately generating clean, renewable energy.

This Special Issue aims to present the latest achievements and in-depth research in this field, focusing on all aspects of soil remediation under the pressure of a wide range of contaminants, resulting in green energy, which is crucial in the sustainable development strategy.

We look forward to receiving your submission.

Dr. Magdalena Zaborowska
Prof. Dr. Jadwiga Wyszkowska
Dr. Agata Borowik
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • soil remediation
  • xenobiotics
  • phytoremediation
  • biomass for energy
  • green microbiology
  • biofuel
  • bioenergy
  • environmental sustainability
  • green energy

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

22 pages, 1854 KiB  
Article
Soil Enzyme Response and Calorific Value of Zea mays Used for the Phytoremediation of Soils Contaminated with Diesel Oil
by Agata Borowik, Jadwiga Wyszkowska, Magdalena Zaborowska and Jan Kucharski
Energies 2024, 17(11), 2552; https://doi.org/10.3390/en17112552 - 24 May 2024
Viewed by 161
Abstract
Ensuring a stable and cost-effective energy supply is a major challenge for the International Energy Agency (IEA). Additionally, the effectiveness of vermiculite and dolomite in mitigating the adverse effects of diesel oil, a petroleum-derived product, on plant growth and development, and on the [...] Read more.
Ensuring a stable and cost-effective energy supply is a major challenge for the International Energy Agency (IEA). Additionally, the effectiveness of vermiculite and dolomite in mitigating the adverse effects of diesel oil, a petroleum-derived product, on plant growth and development, and on the biochemical activity of the soil, were assessed. Therefore, an attempt was made in the study to determine the energy properties of Zea mays, which is suitable for cultivation in contaminated areas. For these purposes, several parameters were analyzed in its biomass, including calorific value (Q), heating value (Hv), energy yield (Yep), ash content, and the presence of carbon (C), hydrogen (H), sulfur (S), nitrogen (N), and oxygen (O). Biochemical activity was measured through the evaluation of soil enzymes serving as indicators for the carbon (dehydrogenases, catalase, β-glucosidase), nitrogen (urease), sulfur (arylsulfatase), and phosphorus (acid and alkaline phosphatase) cycles. The plant greenness index was also determined. It has been demonstrated that diesel oil does not alter the calorific value of Zea mays biomass but significantly reduces the biomass quantity and destabilizes the biochemical properties of the soil. Zea mays contained an average of 6.84% ash, 49.88% C, 5.65% H, 0.17% S, 2.90% N, and 34.57% O. The calorific value of Zea mays ranged from 15.02 to 15.54 MJ kg−1 d.m. of plants, and the heating value ranged from 18.25 to 19.21 MJ kg−1 d.m. of plants. The biomass obtained from contaminated soil is recommended for energy purposes. The sorbents used—vermiculite and dolomite—proved to be less effective in the remediation of soil contaminated with diesel oil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Energy from Soil Remediation)
16 pages, 741 KiB  
Article
Jerusalem Artichoke: Energy Balance in Annual and Perennial Cropping Systems—A Case Study in North-Eastern Poland
by Krzysztof Józef Jankowski and Bożena Bogucka
Energies 2024, 17(11), 2511; https://doi.org/10.3390/en17112511 - 23 May 2024
Viewed by 158
Abstract
This article presents the results of a three-year experiment (2018–2020) conducted at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Bałcyny (north-eastern Poland) with the aim of determining Jerusalem artichoke (JA) yields and the energy balance of biomass production in (i) a perennial cropping system (only [...] Read more.
This article presents the results of a three-year experiment (2018–2020) conducted at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Bałcyny (north-eastern Poland) with the aim of determining Jerusalem artichoke (JA) yields and the energy balance of biomass production in (i) a perennial cropping system (only aerial biomass was harvested each year) and (ii) an annual cropping system (both aerial biomass and tubers were harvested each year). When JA was grown as a perennial crop, the demand for energy reached 25.2 GJ ha−1 in the year of plantation establishment and 12.3–13.4 GJ ha−1 in the second and third year of production. The energy inputs associated with the annual cropping system were determined in the range of 31.4–37.1 GJ ha−1. Biomass yields were twice as high in the annual than in the perennial cropping system (20.98 vs. 10.30 Mg DM ha−1). Tuber yield accounted for 46% of the total yield. The energy output of JA biomass was 1.8 times higher in the annual than in the perennial cropping system (275.4 vs. 157.3 GJ ha−1). The average energy gain in JA cultivation ranged from 140 (perennial crop) to 241 GJ ha−1 (annual crop). The energy efficiency ratio of JA biomass production reached 7.7–13.3 in the perennial cropping system, and it was 20% lower in the annual cropping system. These results imply that when JA was grown as an annual crop, an increase in energy inputs associated with plantation establishment (tillage and planting) and the harvest and transport of tubers was not fully compensated by the energy output of tubers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Energy from Soil Remediation)
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19 pages, 1554 KiB  
Article
Effects of Humic Acids on Calorific Value and Chemical Composition of Maize Biomass in Iron-Contaminated Soil Phytostabilisation
by Mirosław Wyszkowski and Natalia Kordala
Energies 2024, 17(7), 1691; https://doi.org/10.3390/en17071691 - 2 Apr 2024
Viewed by 582
Abstract
An interesting feedstock for energy purposes is plant biomass due to its renewability, widespread availability and relatively low cost. One plant with a high and versatile use potential is maize. Plants used for energy production can be grown in polluted areas, e.g., with [...] Read more.
An interesting feedstock for energy purposes is plant biomass due to its renewability, widespread availability and relatively low cost. One plant with a high and versatile use potential is maize. Plants used for energy production can be grown in polluted areas, e.g., with iron. The aim of the study was to determine the effect of humic acids (HAs) on the yield, calorific value and other energy parameters and chemical composition of maize biomass applied as a phytostabiliser on iron-contaminated soil. The soil was contaminated with iron at 0, 250, 500 and 750 mg kg−1. The HAs were added to the soil in the following amounts: 0, 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 g kg−1 of soil. Soil contamination with iron had relatively little effect on the heat of combustion and calorific value of biomass and very strongly reduced plant height (42%), dry matter yield (95%) and energy production of maize biomass (90%), the SPAD index at the fifth leaf unfolded stage (44%) (as opposed to the stem elongation stage), sodium, magnesium and phosphorus contents, and increased calcium, potassium and nitrogen contents of maize. The application of HAs to the soil had a positive and very large effect on both the height and biomass parameters studied, resulting in an increase in plant height (22%), dry matter yield (67%) and energy production from maize biomass (62%). Changes in the heat of combustion and calorific value of the biomass were minimal but positive. HAs contributed to a decrease in the value of the SPAD index during the stem elongation phase of maize and in the content of all macronutrients in maize biomass as a result of a reduction in the effect of iron on macronutrient content and to a significant increase in maize dry matter yield in plots with their application. The application of HAs appears to be an effective adjunct in the phytostabilisation of iron-contaminated soils by growing crops for energy purposes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Energy from Soil Remediation)
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13 pages, 1246 KiB  
Article
The Quality of Virginia Fanpetals Biomass as an Energy Source, Depending on the Type of Propagating Material and Plantation Age
by Jacek Kwiatkowski, Łukasz Graban and Mariusz Jerzy Stolarski
Energies 2024, 17(1), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/en17010218 - 31 Dec 2023
Viewed by 805
Abstract
Plant biomass is still the main raw material in the production of energy from renewable sources. Virginia fanpetals may be an alternative and complementary source of solid biomass to that obtained from forests and the wood industry. In this respect, it is important [...] Read more.
Plant biomass is still the main raw material in the production of energy from renewable sources. Virginia fanpetals may be an alternative and complementary source of solid biomass to that obtained from forests and the wood industry. In this respect, it is important to assess the variability of the qualitative characteristics of Sida biomass as a solid biofuel over a long period of use of a plantation of this species. Three types of propagating material were used to establish the plantation: seeds, root cuttings (rhizomes), and seedlings, at two sowing/planting densities. The quality of the biomass, obtained during 14 consecutive years of harvest, was tested, including the moisture content, ash content, higher heating value (HHV), lower heating value (LHV), and the carbon, hydrogen, sulfur, and nitrogen content. It was found that both thermophysical properties and elemental composition were mostly determined by the years of vegetation. An important role in this respect was played by the juvenile period of the plants’ development. The biomass obtained after 1 year of vegetation contained a larger concentration of ash, nitrogen, and sulfur and less carbon and hydrogen, which reduced its energy value. The results confirm the possibility of obtaining biomass with low moisture, which favorably places it from an energy point of view. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Energy from Soil Remediation)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Jerusalem artichoke: energy balance in annual and perennial cropping systems. A case study in north-eastern Poland
Authors: Krzysztof Józef Jankowski; Bożena Bogucka
Affiliation: Department of Agrotechnology and Agribusiness, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Oczapowskiego 8, 10-719 Olsztyn, Poland
Abstract: This article presents the results of a three-year experiment (2018–2020) conducted at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Bałcyny (north-eastern Poland) with the aim of determining Jerusalem artichoke (JA) yields and the energy balance of biomass production in (i) a perennial cropping system (only aerial biomass was harvested each year) and (ii) an annual cropping system (both aerial biomass and tubers were harvested each year). When JA was grown as a perennial crop, the demand for energy reached 25.2 GJ ha–1 in the year of plantation establishment and 12.3–13.4 GJ ha–1 in the second and third year of production. The energy inputs associated with the annual cropping system were determined in the range of 31.4–37.1 GJ ha–1. Biomass yields were twice higher in the annual than the perennial cropping system (20.98 vs. 10.30 Mg DM ha–1). Tuber yield accounted for 46% of the total yield. The energy output of JA biomass was 1.8 times higher in the annual than the perennial cropping system (275.4 vs. 157.3 GJ ha1). The average energy gain in JA cultivation ranged from 140 (perennial crop) to 241 GJ ha–1 (annual crop). The energy efficiency ratio of JA biomass production reached 7.7–13.3 in the perennial cropping system, and it was 20% lower in the annual cropping system. These results imply that when JA was grown as an annual crop, an increase in energy inputs associated with plantation establishment (tillage and planting) and the harvest and transport of tubers was not fully compensated by the energy output of tubers.

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