Editor’s Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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15 pages, 3716 KiB  
Article
Study of Mid-Pressure Ar Radiofrequency Plasma Used in Plasma-Enhanced Atomic Layer Deposition of α-Al2O3
by Carl-Thomas Piller, Jüri Raud, Lauri Aarik, Indrek Jõgi, Rasmus Talviste and Jaan Aarik
Processes 2024, 12(3), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030612 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 444
Abstract
This study investigated the characteristics of radiofrequency, middle-pressure argon plasma used in the atomic layer deposition (ALD) of Al2O3 films. Based on the electrical characteristics—the current, voltage, and phase shift between them—and the stability of the plasma plume, the optimum [...] Read more.
This study investigated the characteristics of radiofrequency, middle-pressure argon plasma used in the atomic layer deposition (ALD) of Al2O3 films. Based on the electrical characteristics—the current, voltage, and phase shift between them—and the stability of the plasma plume, the optimum plasma power, allowing reliable switching on of the plasma for any step of an ALD cycle, was determined. Spectral measurements were performed to determine the gas temperature and reactive species that could be important in the ALD process. The density of metastable argon atoms was estimated using tunable laser absorption spectroscopy. It was concluded that plasma heating of substrates did not affect film growth. The crystallization-enhancing effect of plasma observed in these experiments was due to the action of OH radicals produced in the plasma. Full article
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19 pages, 9865 KiB  
Article
Research on an Optimal Maintenance and Inventory Model Based on Carbon Tax Policy
by Wei-Jen Chen, Chi-Jie Lu, Pei-Ti Hsu and Chih-Te Yang
Processes 2024, 12(3), 599; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030599 - 17 Mar 2024
Viewed by 549
Abstract
The equipment in a factory will gradually deteriorate during production, leading to the production of defective products. Without appropriate maintenance, the defect rate will increase over time. Consequently, the production cost will rise, the inventory quality will be affected, the profit will decrease, [...] Read more.
The equipment in a factory will gradually deteriorate during production, leading to the production of defective products. Without appropriate maintenance, the defect rate will increase over time. Consequently, the production cost will rise, the inventory quality will be affected, the profit will decrease, and the risk of carbon emissions will increase, leading to more customer complaints and damaging the corporate image. In addition to focusing on preventive maintenance to ensure the quality of products, companies should also take carbon emissions into consideration. Furthermore, the frequency of maintenance must be carefully considered, as both carbon emissions and maintenance costs will increase if the frequency is too high; conversely, if the maintenance frequency is too low or non-existent, the defect rate may increase cumulatively, or production may be suspended due to equipment failure. Therefore, this research explores preventive maintenance and inventory management issues within an imperfect production system and develops an extended economic production quantity model that incorporates defective products as well as taking carbon tax and preventive maintenance into consideration. The main purpose is to determine the optimal maintenance frequency, production, and replenishment cycle length, so as to maximize the total profit under the carbon tax policy. This study demonstrates a computing process with relatively impractical product data based on the actual business situation of a disposable diaper manufacturer. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis is implemented to the model parameters in the proposed model. The managemental insights are illustrated based on the results of theoretical analysis to provide a reference to policy makers during decision making, hence, to secure the sustainability and green transitions of corporates. The results of this study not only help to reduce environmental impact but can also improve the competitiveness and sustainable development of enterprises. Full article
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16 pages, 2604 KiB  
Article
Comparing Quality and Functional Properties of Protein Isolates from Soybean Cakes: Effect of De-Oiling Technologies
by Giulia Cestonaro, Rodrigo Gonzalez-Ortega, Antonella L. Grosso, Ksenia Morozova, Giovanna Ferrentino, Matteo Scampicchio and Enrico Costanzo
Processes 2024, 12(3), 600; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030600 - 17 Mar 2024
Viewed by 602
Abstract
Driven by growing concerns about food supply and the environment, research on alternative protein sources has become increasingly important. In this context, de-oiled seed cakes, particularly soybean cakes, have emerged as a promising option. However, the conventional methods, such as organic solvent extraction, [...] Read more.
Driven by growing concerns about food supply and the environment, research on alternative protein sources has become increasingly important. In this context, de-oiled seed cakes, particularly soybean cakes, have emerged as a promising option. However, the conventional methods, such as organic solvent extraction, from which these cakes are obtained present several limitations. This study aims to evaluate the efficiency of supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) as an alternative method for de-oiling soybean seeds and obtaining related protein isolates. By using SFE for de-oiling, it was possible to achieve 19% more protein isolates from soybean cakes than the conventional de-oiling method using hexane. Moreover, protein isolates from the SFE de-oiled cake reported significantly improved (p < 0.05) emulsifying abilities and water absorption capacity. Gel electrophoresis and differential scanning calorimetry indicated the presence of a higher concentration of proteins in their native state in the SFE de-oiled flour. Finally, results from the sulfhydryl group content, surface hydrophobicity, and protein dispersibility index also supported these conclusions. The SFE process produced de-oiled soybean cakes with superior functional characteristics and lower environmental impact. Thus, this study provided important information for the food industry to develop more sustainable and healthier production methods. Full article
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29 pages, 5584 KiB  
Article
Point Source Capture of Methane Using Ionic Liquids in Packed Bed Absorbers/Strippers: Experimental and Modelling
by Hamid Reza Rahimpour, Jafar Zanganeh and Behdad Moghtaderi
Processes 2024, 12(3), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030596 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 384
Abstract
Fugitive methane emissions from the mining industry, particularly so-called ventilation air methane (VAM) emissions, are considered among the largest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. VAM emissions not only contribute to the global warming but also pose a significant hazard to mining safety [...] Read more.
Fugitive methane emissions from the mining industry, particularly so-called ventilation air methane (VAM) emissions, are considered among the largest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. VAM emissions not only contribute to the global warming but also pose a significant hazard to mining safety due to the risk of accidental fires and explosions. This research presents a novel approach that investigates the capture of CH4 in a controlled environment using 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium bis (trifluoromethylsulfonyl) imide [BMIM][TF2N] ionic liquid (IL), which is an environmentally friendly solvent. The experimental and modelling results confirm that CH4 absorption in [BMIM][TF2N], in a packed column, can be a promising technique for capturing CH4 from point sources, particularly the outlet streams of ventilation shafts in underground coal mines, which typically accounts for <1% v/v of the flow. This study assessed the effectiveness of CH4 removal in a packed bed column by testing various factors such as absorption temperature, liquid and gas flow rates, flow pattern, packing size, desorption temperature, and desorption pressure. According to the optimisation results, the following parameters can be used to achieve a CH4 removal efficiency of 23.8%: a gas flow rate of 0.1 L/min, a liquid flow rate of 0.5 L/min, a packing diameter of 6 mm, and absorption and desorption temperatures of 303 K and 403.15 K, respectively. Additionally, the experimental results indicated that ILs could concentrate CH4 in the simulated VAM stream by approximately 4 fold. It is important to note that the efficiency of CH4 removal was determined to be 3.5-fold higher compared to that of N2. Consequently, even though the VAM stream primarily contains N2, the IL used in the same stream shows a notably superior capacity for removing CH4 compared to N2. Furthermore, CH4 absorption with [BMIM][TF2N] is based on physical interactions, leading to reduced energy requirements for regeneration. These findings validate the method’s effectiveness in mitigating CH4 emissions within the mining sector and enabling the concentration of VAM through a secure and energy-efficient procedure. Full article
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17 pages, 2055 KiB  
Article
Development of Thin-Layer Chromatography–Densitometric Procedure for Qualitative and Quantitative Analyses and Stability Studies of Cefazolin
by Joanna Żandarek, Małgorzata Starek and Monika Dąbrowska
Processes 2024, 12(3), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030591 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Cefazolin is a first-generation cephalosporin used to treat severe infections of the respiratory tract, urinary tract, skin, and soft tissues. This study presents the optimal conditions for the determination of cefazolin by thin-layer chromatography with densitometric detection. A chloroform–methanol–glacial acetic acid mixture (6:4:0.5, [...] Read more.
Cefazolin is a first-generation cephalosporin used to treat severe infections of the respiratory tract, urinary tract, skin, and soft tissues. This study presents the optimal conditions for the determination of cefazolin by thin-layer chromatography with densitometric detection. A chloroform–methanol–glacial acetic acid mixture (6:4:0.5, v/v/v) was selected as the mobile phase, while TLC silica gel 60F254 plates were used as the stationary phase. Next, the developed procedure was validated in accordance with ICH guidelines. The obtained results showed that the method is selective, precise, and accurate in a linearity range of 0.04–1.00 µg/spot (r > 0.99). Subsequently, qualitative and quantitative analyses of formulations containing cefazolin were performed. It was found that the amount of antibiotic is highly consistent with the content declared by manufacturers. The suitability of the developed method for stability testing under varying environmental conditions was also verified. It was found that under the tested conditions, the degradation process follows first-order kinetics. The lowest stability was registered in an alkaline environment and in the presence of an oxidizing agent, and the highest stability was recorded in water, and these results were confirmed by the calculated kinetic parameters. The developed method can be used in qualitative and quantitative analyses and stability studies of the analyzed antibiotic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biological Processes and Systems)
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19 pages, 5485 KiB  
Article
Seeking Optimal Extraction Method for Augmenting Hibiscus sabdariffa Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity
by Athanasia Kourelatou, Theodoros Chatzimitakos, Vassilis Athanasiadis, Konstantina Kotsou, Ioannis Makrygiannis, Eleni Bozinou and Stavros I. Lalas
Processes 2024, 12(3), 581; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030581 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 538
Abstract
The dried flowers of Hibiscus sabdariffa (HS), available worldwide, have various applications in both non-medicinal and medicinal fields. The growing global interest in the health benefits of HS is linked to its potential prevention or management of non-communicable diseases. The aim of this [...] Read more.
The dried flowers of Hibiscus sabdariffa (HS), available worldwide, have various applications in both non-medicinal and medicinal fields. The growing global interest in the health benefits of HS is linked to its potential prevention or management of non-communicable diseases. The aim of this research was to find the optimal extraction method that ensures the maximum yield of multiple beneficial bioactive components, such as polyphenols, anthocyanins, vitamin C, β-carotene, antioxidant activity, free radical scavenging activity DPPH and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP). To this end, stirring, pulsed electric field, and ultrasound-assisted extraction were evaluated, either alone or in combination. Under optimized extraction conditions, the obtained extract exhibited an elevated total polyphenol content (37.82 mg of gallic acid equivalents/g dry weight (dw)), total anthocyanin content (610.42 μg of cyanidin equivalents/g dw), total carotenoids content (921.84 μg of β-carotene equivalents/g dw), and ascorbic acid content (507.44 mg/100 g dw). Remarkably, the extracts exhibited strong antioxidant properties (487.51 μmol of ascorbic acid equivalents (AAE)/g dw and 243.42 μmol AAE/g dw as evidenced by FRAP and DPPH assays, respectively). This research advances the parameters that should be employed to produce the optimal and nutritionally enhanced HS flower extracts, that can be used in the commercial sector. Full article
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21 pages, 2411 KiB  
Article
Physico-Chemical Characterization of Encapsulated Fennel Essential Oil under the Influence of Spray-Drying Conditions
by Maja Repajić, Ivona Elez Garofulić, Nina Marčac Duraković, Marta Balun, Karla Cegledi, Ena Cegledi, Erika Dobroslavić and Verica Dragović-Uzelac
Processes 2024, 12(3), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030577 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 462
Abstract
In this study, fennel essential oil (EO) was spray-dried, varying the wall material type (two-component blends of maltodextrin (MD), β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) and gum arabic (GA)), the wall material ratio (1:1, 1:3 and 3:1) and the drying temperature (120, 160 and 200 °C). A [...] Read more.
In this study, fennel essential oil (EO) was spray-dried, varying the wall material type (two-component blends of maltodextrin (MD), β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) and gum arabic (GA)), the wall material ratio (1:1, 1:3 and 3:1) and the drying temperature (120, 160 and 200 °C). A total of 27 powders were analyzed for their moisture content, solubility, hygroscopicity, bulk density and particle size, while powder recovery and oil retention were determined in terms of encapsulation efficiency. The morphology and chemical composition of the powder obtained under optimal conditions were additionally analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The results showed that all of the powders had generally good properties, exhibiting a low moisture content, high powder recovery and high oil retention. A 1:3 MD:GA mixture and a drying temperature of 200 °C were found to be optimal for the spray-drying of fennel EO, producing a powder with a low moisture content (3.25%) and high solubility (56.10%), while achieving a high powder recovery (72.66%) and oil retention (72.11%). The chemical profiles of the initial and encapsulated fennel EO showed quantitative differences without qualitative changes, with an average 24.2% decrease in the volatiles in the encapsulated EO. Finally, spray-drying proved to be a successful tool for the stabilization of fennel EO, at the same time expanding the possibilities for its further use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biological Processes and Systems)
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23 pages, 8545 KiB  
Article
Life Cycle Assessment of Aviation Fuel Production from Steel-Industry Off-Gas
by Lin Guo, Xiao Wang, Weili Yang and Jing Lv
Processes 2024, 12(3), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030579 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 668
Abstract
The steel industry in China, the world’s largest, contributes to about 15% of the nation’s total carbon emissions. Instead of direct combustion, the technology of converting off-gas from the steel industry into liquid fuels not only enhances the added value of this byproduct [...] Read more.
The steel industry in China, the world’s largest, contributes to about 15% of the nation’s total carbon emissions. Instead of direct combustion, the technology of converting off-gas from the steel industry into liquid fuels not only enhances the added value of this byproduct but also helps alleviate carbon emissions. This study, for the first time, integrates the specific circumstances of China to evaluate the carbon emissions of Ethanol to Jet (ETJ) and Fischer–Tropsch to Jet (FTJ) fuel technologies utilizing Basic Oxygen Furnace Gas (BOFG) and Coke Oven Gas (COG) as feedstocks. Six cases were examined using Aspen Plus (V11) for mass and energy balance: Case 1: BOFG/ETJ, Case 2: BOFG/FTJ, Case 3: COG/ETJ, Case 4: COG/FTJ, Case 5: (COG + BOFG)/ETJ, and Case 6: (COG + BOFG)/FTJ. The analysis underscores that the FTJ pathway exhibits superior carbon reduction efficiency relative to ETJ. Compared to traditional petroleum-based aviation fuels (86.65 g CO2eq/MJ), the FTJ pathways utilizing COG or COG + BOFG as feedstocks exhibit significant advantages in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, with carbon emissions of 23.60 g CO2eq/MJ and 41.48 g CO2eq/MJ, respectively, representing reductions of 72.76% and 52.13%. Furthermore, employing uncertainty analysis based on the Monte Carlo method establishes the credibility of the findings. Finally, sensitivity analysis for parameter optimization and process improvements demonstrates the significant impact of the life cycle assessment (LCA) allocation method on computational results for exhaust gas feedstocks. Given the limited coverage of lifecycle assessments for Ethanol to Jet and Fischer–Tropsch to Jet pathways in China, this study could assist policymakers in determining the development trajectory of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental and Green Processes)
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18 pages, 5910 KiB  
Article
Optimization of Giant Magnetoimpedance Effect of Amorphous Microwires by Postprocessing
by Valentina Zhukova, Paula Corte-Leon, Ahmed Talaat, Mihail Ipatov, Alfonso García-Gomez, Alvaro González, Juan Maria Blanco and Arcady Zhukov
Processes 2024, 12(3), 556; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030556 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 500
Abstract
Magnetic microwires with amorphous structures can present a unique combination of excellent magnetic softness and giant magnetoimpedance (GMI) effects together with reduced dimensions and good mechanical properties. Such unique properties make them suitable for various technological applications. The high GMI effect, observed in [...] Read more.
Magnetic microwires with amorphous structures can present a unique combination of excellent magnetic softness and giant magnetoimpedance (GMI) effects together with reduced dimensions and good mechanical properties. Such unique properties make them suitable for various technological applications. The high GMI effect, observed in as-prepared Co-rich microwires, can be further optimized by postprocessing. However, unexpected magnetic hardening and a transformation of the linear hysteresis loop into a rectangular loop with a coercivity on the order of 90 A/m were observed in several Co-rich microwires upon conventional annealing. Several routes to improve magnetic softness and GMI effect in Fe- and Co-rich magnetic microwires are provided. We observed that stress annealing could remarkably improve the magnetic softness and GMI ratio of Co-rich microwires. Thus, almost unhysteretic loops with a coercivity of 2 A/m and a magnetic anisotropy field of about 70 A/m are achieved in Co-rich microwires stress annealed at appropriate conditions. The observed change in hysteresis loops and the GMI effect is explained by stress-annealing-induced anisotropy, which is affected by the stresses applied during annealing and by the annealing temperature. While as-prepared Fe-rich amorphous microwires present a low GMI effect, appropriate postprocessing (annealing and stress annealing) allows for a remarkable GMI ratio improvement (an order of magnitude). The evaluated dependence of the maximum GMI ratio on frequency allows the identification of the optimal frequency band for the studied samples. The origin of stress-annealing-induced anisotropy and related changes in hysteresis loops and the GMI effect are discussed in terms of the relaxation of internal stresses, “back-stresses”, as well as structural anisotropy. Full article
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20 pages, 2383 KiB  
Article
Monitoring Yeast Cultures Grown on Corn Stover Hydrolysate for Lipid Production
by Afonso Fontes, Ricardo Francisco, Frederico Castelo Ferreira, Nuno Torres Faria, Susana Marques, Alberto Reis, Patrícia Moura, Rafal Lukasik, José Santos and Teresa Lopes da Silva
Processes 2024, 12(3), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030558 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 625
Abstract
Microbial oils can be used as an alternative sustainable and renewable feedstock to fossil reserves for producing lubricants and polyurethane materials. Two oleaginous yeasts were grown on non-detoxified corn stover hydrolysate supplemented with corn steep liquor and mineral medium in shake flasks. Trichosporon [...] Read more.
Microbial oils can be used as an alternative sustainable and renewable feedstock to fossil reserves for producing lubricants and polyurethane materials. Two oleaginous yeasts were grown on non-detoxified corn stover hydrolysate supplemented with corn steep liquor and mineral medium in shake flasks. Trichosporon oleaginosus DSM 11815 displayed the highest lipid production. This strain was further cultivated in a bench bioreactor, using the same culture medium, under a batch regime. Flow cytometry was used to monitor the T. oleaginosus culture using the dual staining technique (SYBR Green and PI) for cell membrane integrity detection. Values of 42.28% (w/w) and 0.06 g/Lh lipid content and lipid productivity, respectively, were recorded for T. oleaginosus cultivated in the bench bioreactor operated under a batch regime. During the cultivation, most of the yeast cells maintained their integrity. T. oleaginosus has the potential to be used as an oil microbial source for a wide range of industrial applications. In addition, it is robust in adverse conditions such as lignocellulosic hydrolysate exposure and oxygen-limiting conditions. Flow cytometry is a powerful and useful tool for monitoring yeast cultivations on lignocellulosic hydrolysates for cell count, size, granularity, and membrane integrity detection. Full article
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14 pages, 1075 KiB  
Article
Design of a Bioreactor for Aerobic Biodegradation of Biowaste Based on Insight into Its Composition and Estimated Process Parameters
by Tomislav Domanovac, Dajana Kučić Grgić, Monika Šabić Runjavec and Marija Vuković Domanovac
Processes 2024, 12(3), 545; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030545 - 10 Mar 2024
Viewed by 677
Abstract
Biowaste, which often accounts for more than 50% of municipal waste, is an environmental problem if disposed of improperly in landfills but has great potential to achieve the recycling targets set out in Directive (EU) 2018/851. Despite the knowledge in theory and practice [...] Read more.
Biowaste, which often accounts for more than 50% of municipal waste, is an environmental problem if disposed of improperly in landfills but has great potential to achieve the recycling targets set out in Directive (EU) 2018/851. Despite the knowledge in theory and practice about the processing of biowaste and the benefits of recycling, there is a lack of methodological approaches in describing the process of aerobic biodegradation in a concise and suitable way for decision makers, environmental engineers, and project designers. This paper presents how basic data on the properties of biowaste can be used, using theoretical models, to determine basic indicators of the dynamics and material balance of the process. The maximum rate of CO2 generation on the 4th day was Rm = 45.3 g/d, with the potential of available, readily biodegradable components of the biowaste sample of P = 526 g CO2/kg VS. A substrate conversion of 51.7% was achieved in the bioreactor by the 17th day of treatment. The results of this analysis, together with future analyses of sensitivity and boundary conditions of the process, are useful for rapidly sizing a biological treatment system for municipal solid waste in a given area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerobic and Anaerobic Digestion Processes of Food Waste)
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18 pages, 2486 KiB  
Article
Recovery of Strategic Metals from Waste Printed Circuit Boards with Deep Eutectic Solvents and Ionic Liquids
by Urszula Domańska, Anna Wiśniewska and Zbigniew Dąbrowski
Processes 2024, 12(3), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030530 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 579
Abstract
The recycling of metals from waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs) has been presented as a solid–liquid extraction process using two deep eutectic solvents (DESs) and four ionic liquids (ILs). The extraction and separation of Cu(II), Ag(I), and other metals, such as Al(III), Fe(II), [...] Read more.
The recycling of metals from waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs) has been presented as a solid–liquid extraction process using two deep eutectic solvents (DESs) and four ionic liquids (ILs). The extraction and separation of Cu(II), Ag(I), and other metals, such as Al(III), Fe(II), and Zn(II), from the solid WPCBs (after the physical, mechanical, and thermal pre-treatments) with different solvents are demonstrated. Two popular DESs were used to recover valuable metal ions: (1) choline chloride + malonic acid, 1:1, and (2) choline chloride + ethylene glycol, 1:2. The extraction efficiencies of DES 1 after two extraction and two stripping stages were only 15.7 wt% for Cu(II) and 17.6 wt% for Ag(I). The obtained results were compared with those obtained with four newly synthetized ILs as follows: didecyldimethylammonium propionate ([N10,10,1,1][C2H5COO]), didecylmethylammonium hydrogen sulphate ([N10,10,1,H][HSO4]), didecyldimethylammonium dihydrogen phosphate ([N10,10,1,1][H2PO4]), and tetrabutylphosphonium dihydrogen phosphate ([P4,4,4,4][H2PO4]). Various additives, such as didecyldimethyl ammonium chloride surfactant, DDACl; hydrogen peroxide, H2O2; trichloroisocyanuric acid, TCCA; and glycine or pentapotassium bis(peroxymonosulphate) bis(sulphate), PHM, were used with ILs during the extraction process. The solvent concentration, quantity of additivities, extraction temperature, pH, and solid/liquid, as well as organic/water ratios, and the selectivity and distribution ratios were described for all of the systems. The utilization of DESs and the new ILs with different additives presented in this work can serve as potential alternative extractants. This will help to compare these extractants, additives, extraction efficiency, temperature, and time of extraction with those of others with different formulas and procedures. The metal ion content in aqueous and stripped organic solutions was determined by the ICP-MS or ICP-OES methods. The obtained results all show that solvent extraction can successfully replace traditional hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical methods in new technologies for the extraction of metal ions from a secondary electronic waste, WPCBs. Full article
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20 pages, 7400 KiB  
Article
Attention-Based Two-Dimensional Dynamic-Scale Graph Autoencoder for Batch Process Monitoring
by Jinlin Zhu, Xingke Gao and Zheng Zhang
Processes 2024, 12(3), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030513 - 02 Mar 2024
Viewed by 521
Abstract
Traditional two-dimensional dynamic fault detection methods describe nonlinear dynamics by constructing a two-dimensional sliding window in the batch and time directions. However, determining the shape of a two-dimensional sliding window for different phases can be challenging. Samples in the two-dimensional sliding windows are [...] Read more.
Traditional two-dimensional dynamic fault detection methods describe nonlinear dynamics by constructing a two-dimensional sliding window in the batch and time directions. However, determining the shape of a two-dimensional sliding window for different phases can be challenging. Samples in the two-dimensional sliding windows are assigned equal importance before being utilized for feature engineering and statistical control. This will inevitably lead to redundancy in the input, complicating fault detection. This paper proposes a novel method named attention-based two-dimensional dynamic-scale graph autoencoder (2D-ADSGAE). Firstly, a new approach is introduced to construct a graph based on a predefined sliding window, taking into account the differences in importance and redundancy. Secondly, to address the training difficulties and adapt to the inherent heterogeneity typically present in the dynamics of a batch across both its time and batch directions, we devise a method to determine the shape of the sliding window using the Pearson correlation coefficient and a high-density gridding policy. The method is advantageous in determining the shape of the sliding windows at different phases, extracting nonlinear dynamics from batch process data, and reducing redundant information in the sliding windows. Two case studies demonstrate the superiority of 2D-ADSGAE. Full article
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14 pages, 4070 KiB  
Article
The Reversible Transformation of a Vesicular Aggregate in Response to a pH Oscillation
by Moeka Shimada, Risa Someya, Yasunao Okamoto, Daigo Yamamoto and Akihisa Shioi
Processes 2024, 12(3), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030514 - 02 Mar 2024
Viewed by 574
Abstract
The transformation of amphiphilic molecular assemblies in response to chemical oscillations is fundamental in biological systems. The reversible transformation of a vesicular aggregate (VA) in response to a pH oscillation is presented in this study. A VA composed of the cationic surfactant didodecyldimethylammonium [...] Read more.
The transformation of amphiphilic molecular assemblies in response to chemical oscillations is fundamental in biological systems. The reversible transformation of a vesicular aggregate (VA) in response to a pH oscillation is presented in this study. A VA composed of the cationic surfactant didodecyldimethylammonium bromide is transformed using a pH oscillation ranging between 3 and 7. When the VA attains a stable structure at extreme pH values, the transformation reaches the irreversible stage. However, the addition of a phosphate buffer to the VA suspension changes the pH oscillation pattern from being rectangular to triangular and decreases the oscillation amplitude, successfully achieving the reversible transformation of the VA. Maintaining the non-equilibrium (transient) structures throughout the transformation and not falling into the equilibrium state with a varying pH are essential for the reversible transformation. This may be common and essential for dynamics in biological cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-equilibrium Processes and Structure Formation)
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17 pages, 10930 KiB  
Article
Polyelectrolyte Platforms with Copper Nanoparticles as a Multifunctional System Aimed at Healing Process Support
by Agata Lipko, Anna Grzeczkowicz, Magdalena Antosiak-Iwańska, Marcin Strawski, Monika Drabik, Angelika Kwiatkowska, Ewa Godlewska and Ludomira H. Granicka
Processes 2024, 12(3), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030512 - 01 Mar 2024
Viewed by 645
Abstract
(1) Purpose: The aim of the study was to develop a nanocomposite with copper nanoparticles constituting a bacteriostatic surface to maintain human lung cell function. (2) Methods: A polyelectrolyte layer coating that incorporated copper nanoparticles was designed. As a bacteriostatic factor, copper nanoparticles [...] Read more.
(1) Purpose: The aim of the study was to develop a nanocomposite with copper nanoparticles constituting a bacteriostatic surface to maintain human lung cell function. (2) Methods: A polyelectrolyte layer coating that incorporated copper nanoparticles was designed. As a bacteriostatic factor, copper nanoparticles were applied as a colloidal solution of copper nanoparticles (ColloidCuNPs) and a solution of copper nanoparticles (CuNPs). The influence of the polyelectrolytes on selected Gram (+) and Gram (−) strains was examined. The function and morphology of the human adenocarcinoma A549 cell line, comprising human epithelial lung cells cultured in the presence of nanocomposite layer coatings, were evaluated. We applied fluorescence and scanning electron microscopies, as well as flow cytometry, for these studies. Furthermore, the layer coating material was characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX). (3) Results: It was observed that the polyelectrolytes polyethyleneimine (PEI) and poly-L-lysine (PLL) did not induce proliferation of the E. coli strain. However, they did induce the proliferation of the S. aureus strain. Due to the effectiveness of the CuNPs against the E. coli strain, CuNPs were selected for further research. The designed coatings of proper NPs shared the sustained function of human lung cells within 10 days of culture. The AFM and EDX characterization confirmed the presence of copper in the layer coating nanomaterial. The presence of CuNPs in polyethyleneimine-based nanocomposite deepened the bacteriostatic effect on E. coli compared with PEI alone. Meanwhile, incorporating CuNPs in PLL allowed A549 cell maintenance but did not exert a bacteriostatic influence on the examined strain. (4) Conclusions: The platform based on polyelectrolytes, incorporated with copper nanoparticles, that ensures the growth and appropriate morphology of the human lung epithelial cells, might be considered an element of a system for medical devices used to maintain the function of human lung cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Materials Processes)
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18 pages, 16189 KiB  
Article
Design and Sensitivity Analysis of Mechanically Actuated Digital Radial Piston Pumps
by Keith Pate, James R. Marschand, Farid Breidi, Tawfiq Salem and John Lumkes
Processes 2024, 12(3), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030504 - 29 Feb 2024
Viewed by 652
Abstract
One major challenge in fluid power is the improvement and optimization of the efficiency of mobile hydraulic systems. Conventional fluid power systems often exhibit relatively low overall efficiencies caused by inefficiencies in the various components, such as a prime mover, variable displacement pump, [...] Read more.
One major challenge in fluid power is the improvement and optimization of the efficiency of mobile hydraulic systems. Conventional fluid power systems often exhibit relatively low overall efficiencies caused by inefficiencies in the various components, such as a prime mover, variable displacement pump, valves, fittings, hoses, and actuators. While each component contributes to the losses in the overall system, the pump converts the mechanical shaft energy from the prime mover to energy transmitted hydraulically and is one of the most crucial components impacting overall system efficiency. Using on/off technologies, new pump architectures have enabled the opportunity to increase the efficiency over conventional designs using positive sealing valves in place of conventional port plate designs. This work proposes, investigates, and assesses the development and optimization of a digital variable displacement pump using a novel cam actuation technique on radial piston pumps. The novelty of this work is the development and parameter optimization of a mechanically actuated digital radial piston pump that can achieve high efficiencies from minimum to maximum displacement compared to common conventional variable displacement pump technologies. In this study, a sensitivity analysis is conducted to study the parameters of the system to optimize the pump. The parameters assessed in this study include: the valve bore size, cam transition and compression angles, piston diameter, and dead volume in the pumping chamber. The simulation results show that after optimizing the parameters of the system, the pump in design could reach a maximum efficiency of approximately 93% and was capable of upholding efficiencies above 80% between 30–100% displacement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Optimization Method of Pumps)
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11 pages, 4514 KiB  
Article
Enzymatic Pretreatment of Slaughterhouse Wastewater: Application of Whole Lipolytic Cells of Rhizopus oryzae Produced from Residual Vegetable Oil
by Willian S. M. Reis, Heitor B. S. Bento, Ana K. F. Carvalho and Ernandes B. Pereira
Processes 2024, 12(3), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030500 - 28 Feb 2024
Viewed by 552
Abstract
This study assessed the application of whole lipolytic cells in the pretreatment of slaughterhouse wastewater to reduce its lipid content. The fungal biomass of Rhizopus oryzae was evaluated in the hydrolysis of slaughterhouse wastewater containing high lipid concentrations, focusing on the biomass’s concentration [...] Read more.
This study assessed the application of whole lipolytic cells in the pretreatment of slaughterhouse wastewater to reduce its lipid content. The fungal biomass of Rhizopus oryzae was evaluated in the hydrolysis of slaughterhouse wastewater containing high lipid concentrations, focusing on the biomass’s concentration and the effect of using an emulsifier and surfactant. The use of the whole-cells lipase of Rhizopus oryzae grown in a residual vegetable oil medium proved effective in the hydrolysis of slaughterhouse wastewater, generating concentrations of free fatty acids (FFA) ranging from 40.36 to 90.14 mM. The action of lipase in the hydrolysis of slaughterhouse residues indicated its effectiveness in pretreating lipid-rich liquid residues, potentially boosting the microbiota of this anaerobic treatment. The results showed that lipase activity without surfactant exhibited a similar performance to that of Triton X-100 in the hydrolysis of liquid residues. However, the combination of lipase and surfactant could represent a promising strategy to optimize free fatty acid production from slaughterhouse residues, strengthening anaerobic treatment processes and potentially enhancing the overall efficiency of waste management systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enzyme Production Using Industrial and Agricultural By-Products)
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17 pages, 3359 KiB  
Review
Drugs in Cyclodextrin in Liposomes: How a Suitable Formulation of an Active Substance Can Improve Its Efficiency?
by Gaspard Levet, Serhii Krykun, Benedetta Cornelio, Serena Pilato, Samanta Moffa, Antonella Fontana, Géraldine Gouhier and François Estour
Processes 2024, 12(3), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030478 - 27 Feb 2024
Viewed by 631
Abstract
The design of new drug delivery systems has been widely sought after. The stability, solubility, and difficulty of targeting active sites for new drugs have always been challenging and remain one of the major drawbacks to the efficiency of certain drugs. Liposomes are [...] Read more.
The design of new drug delivery systems has been widely sought after. The stability, solubility, and difficulty of targeting active sites for new drugs have always been challenging and remain one of the major drawbacks to the efficiency of certain drugs. Liposomes are phospholipid vesicles enclosing one or more aqueous compartments. Depending on its properties, a drug is embedded in the lipid bilayer or the aqueous medium. Thus, liposomes can act as drug carriers for both lipo- and hydrophilic compounds. New strategies such as “drug-in-cyclodextrin-in liposomes” (DCLs) have been developed as safe and effective carriers for exploiting the inclusion properties of water-soluble cyclodextrins known to form host–guest complexes with lipophilic molecules. Once inclusion complexes are formed, they can be inserted into a liposome aqueous core in order to stabilize it and better control the drug release. Our review will provide an update on the use of DCLs in the field of drug delivery for various kinds of active compounds. While previous reviews focused on the interesting advantages of using this method, such as enhancing the solubility and stability of a drug or controlling and improving drug release, the authors intend to highlight the impact of these nanocarriers on the pharmacokinetic and/or pharmacodynamic properties of drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmaceutical Processes)
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13 pages, 2934 KiB  
Article
In Situ Formation of Titanium Diboride/Magnesium Titanate Composites by Magnesiothermic-Based Combustion Synthesis
by Chun-Liang Yeh and Chen Chen
Processes 2024, 12(3), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030459 - 24 Feb 2024
Viewed by 379
Abstract
In situ formation of TiB2–Mg2TiO4 composites was investigated by combustion synthesis involving the solid-state reaction of Ti with boron and magnesiothermic reduction of B2O3. Certain amounts of MgO and TiO2 were added to [...] Read more.
In situ formation of TiB2–Mg2TiO4 composites was investigated by combustion synthesis involving the solid-state reaction of Ti with boron and magnesiothermic reduction of B2O3. Certain amounts of MgO and TiO2 were added to the reactant mixtures of Ti/B/Mg/B2O3 to act as the moderator of highly exothermic combustion and a portion of the precursors to form Mg2TiO4. Two combustion systems were designed to ensure that synthesis reactions were sufficiently energetic to carry on self-sustainably, that is, in the mode of self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS). Consistent with thermodynamic analyses, experimental results indicated that the increase in pre-added MgO and TiO2 decreased the combustion temperature and propagation velocity of the flame front. MgO was shown to have a stronger dilution effect on combustion exothermicity than TiO2, because the extent of magnesiothermic reduction of B2O3 was reduced in the MgO-added samples. In situ formation of the TiB2–Mg2TiO4 composite was achieved from both types of samples. It is believed that, in the course of the SHS progression, Mg2TiO4 was produced through a combination reaction between MgO and TiO2, both of which were entirely or partially generated from the metallothermic reduction of B2O3. The microstructure of the products exhibited fine TiB2 crystals in the shape of short rods and thin platelets that existed within the gaps of Mg2AlO4 grains. Both constituent phases were well distributed. A novel and efficient synthesis route, which is energy- and time-saving, for producing Mg2TiO4-containing composites was demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Ceramic Processing and Application of Ceramic Materials)
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20 pages, 5383 KiB  
Article
Application of Life Cycle Assessment to Analysis of Fibre Composite Manufacturing Technologies in Shipyards Industry
by Aleksandra Ziemińska-Stolarska, Mariia Sobulska, Monika Pietrzak and Ireneusz Zbiciński
Processes 2024, 12(3), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030461 - 24 Feb 2024
Viewed by 626
Abstract
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is used to evaluate the environmental load of fibre composite manufacturing technologies in the shipyards industry in a frame of the Fibre4Yards (Horizon 2020) project. This paper is focused on the LCA of fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) technologies used to [...] Read more.
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is used to evaluate the environmental load of fibre composite manufacturing technologies in the shipyards industry in a frame of the Fibre4Yards (Horizon 2020) project. This paper is focused on the LCA of fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) technologies used to produce all elements of the floating unit, i.e., the conventional vacuum infusion technology for the deck panel and adaptive mould process for superstructure panels, ultraviolet (UV) curved pultrusion process for the production of stiffeners, hot stamping technology for brackets, and three-dimensional (3D) printing and automatic tape placement (ATP) for pillars. Environmental impact was assessed based on standard indicators: Global Warming Potential, water consumption, and fossil resource scarcity. The results indicate that the total carbon footprint of analysed FRP technologies is mainly produced by the type of the materials applied rather than by the amount of energy consumed during the process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Materials Processes)
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14 pages, 4594 KiB  
Article
Optimization of Exergy Efficiency in a Walking Beam Reheating Furnace Based on Numerical Simulation and Entropy Generation Analysis
by Dijie Wang, Xinru Zhang, Youxin Zhu and Zeyi Jiang
Processes 2024, 12(3), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030451 - 23 Feb 2024
Viewed by 470
Abstract
An analysis of entropy generation and exergy efficiency can effectively explore the energy-saving potential of reheating furnaces. This paper simulated the combustion, flow, and heat transfer in a walking beam reheating furnace by establishing a half-furnace model. The entropy generation rate distribution of [...] Read more.
An analysis of entropy generation and exergy efficiency can effectively explore the energy-saving potential of reheating furnaces. This paper simulated the combustion, flow, and heat transfer in a walking beam reheating furnace by establishing a half-furnace model. The entropy generation rate distribution of different thermal processes was numerically calculated. The effect of slab residence time and fuel distribution in the furnace was studied to optimize exergy efficiency. The results indicated that combustion and radiative heat transfer are the primary sources of entropy generation. Irreversible losses accounted for 26.39% of the total input exergy, in which the combustion process accounted for 16.43%, and radiative heat transfer accounted for 8.47%. Reducing the residence time by 60 min decreased irreversible exergy loss by about 2.5% but increased heat dissipation and exhaust exergy loss by 5.8%. Energy saving can only be achieved when the heat exchanger’s exergy recovery efficiency exceeds 36% under different fuel supplies. Keeping the total fuel supply unchanged, increasing the fuel mass flow rate in heating-I zone while decreasing it in heating-II zone resulted in a 1.5% decrease in exergy efficiency. This study provides new insights into the energy-saving potential of reheating furnaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermal Analysis, Modeling and Simulation in Engineering Processes)
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13 pages, 438 KiB  
Article
Coke Substitution with Anthracite in Sintering Production
by Pavlina Pustejovska, Michal Sikora, Simona Jursova, Kristyna Pustejovska and Edyta Kardas
Processes 2024, 12(3), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030440 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 726
Abstract
This article summarises the possibility of replacing the coke breeze sintering fuel with an economically and ecologically more suitable fuel, anthracite. The main focus is on the possibility of replacing coke breeze with anthracite, during which, the replacement process is accelerated and the [...] Read more.
This article summarises the possibility of replacing the coke breeze sintering fuel with an economically and ecologically more suitable fuel, anthracite. The main focus is on the possibility of replacing coke breeze with anthracite, during which, the replacement process is accelerated and the other properties are also affected. The analyses performed showed that the replacement of coke breeze with different amounts of anthracite does not have a negative effect if the initial permeability of the sintering bed is the same. Full article
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14 pages, 7421 KiB  
Article
The Treatment of Natural Calcium Materials Using the Supercritical Antisolvent Method for CO2 Capture Applications
by Luís C. S. Nobre, Paula Teixeira, Carla I. C. Pinheiro, António M. F. Palavra, Mário J. F. Calvete, Carlos A. Nieto de Castro and Beatriz P. Nobre
Processes 2024, 12(3), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12030425 - 20 Feb 2024
Viewed by 598
Abstract
The potential of the supercritical antisolvent micronization (SAS) technique was evaluated for the production of CaO-based particles with a size and a physical structure that could enable high performance for CO2 capture through the calcium looping process. Two sources of calcium derivative [...] Read more.
The potential of the supercritical antisolvent micronization (SAS) technique was evaluated for the production of CaO-based particles with a size and a physical structure that could enable high performance for CO2 capture through the calcium looping process. Two sources of calcium derivative compounds were tested, waste marble powder (WMP) and dolomite. The SAS micronization of the derivate calcium acetate was carried out at 60 °C, 200 bar, a 0.5 mL min−1 flow rate of liquid solution, and 20 mg mL−1 concentration of solute, producing, with a yield of more than 70%, needle-like particles. Moreover, since dolomite presents with a mixture of calcium and magnesium carbonates, the influence of the magnesium fraction in the SAS micronization was also assessed. The micronized mixtures with lower magnesium content (higher calcium fraction) presented needle-like particles similar to WMP. On the other hand, for the higher magnesium fractions, the micronized material was similar to magnesium acetate micronization, presenting sphere-like particles. The use of the micronized material in the Ca-looping processes, considering 10 carbonation-calcination cycles under mild and realistic conditions, showed that under mild conditions, the micronized WMP improved CaO conversion. After 10 cycles the micronization, WMP presented a conversion 1.8 times greater than the unprocessed material. The micronized dolomite, under both mild and real conditions, maintained more stable conversion after 10 cycles. Full article
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13 pages, 2972 KiB  
Article
Influences of Cosolvents and Antifreeze Additives Derived from Glycerol through Esterification on Fuel Properties of Biodiesel
by Cherng-Yuan Lin and Yun-Chih Chen
Processes 2024, 12(2), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020419 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 445
Abstract
Bioglycerol is a major by-product of the biodiesel manufacturing process. Various chemical derivatives from bioglycerol would enhance its economic value. An antifreeze of glycerine acetate was chemically converted from an esterification reaction of bioglycerol with acetic acid. The photocatalyst TiO2/SO4 [...] Read more.
Bioglycerol is a major by-product of the biodiesel manufacturing process. Various chemical derivatives from bioglycerol would enhance its economic value. An antifreeze of glycerine acetate was chemically converted from an esterification reaction of bioglycerol with acetic acid. The photocatalyst TiO2/SO42− irradiated with ultraviolet light assisted the chemical conversion reaction. The molar ratio of acetic acid/bioglycerol was varied to obtain the optimum composition of the derived antifreeze product. Different cosolvents were considered to enhance the homogeneous extent between the antifreeze of glycerine acetate and biodiesel, and thus, the anti-freezing effect. The cosolvent/glycerine acetate, at various volumetric ratios from 0 to 0.25 vol.%, was blended into a commercial biodiesel. After 5 vol.% antifreeze of the glycerine acetate/cosolvent mixture of the biodiesel was added to the commercial biodiesel, the fuel properties of the biodiesel were analyzed. The effects of the cosolvent types and the blended volumetric ratio of cosolvent to the antifreeze of glycerine acetate on the fuel properties of the commercial biodiesel were analyzed to determine the optimum cosolvent type and volumetric composition of the cosolvent/glycerine acetate. The experimental results show that the antifreeze of glycerine acetate produced from the reaction of acetic acid/glycerol at a molar ratio equal to 8 under UV-light irradiation appeared to have the lowest freezing point. The UV-light irradiation on the TiO2/SO42− catalyst also caused higher triacylglycerol (TAG) and diacylglycerol (DAG) and lower monoacylglycerol (MAG) formation. In addition, the low-temperature fluidity was the most excellent when the volumetric percentage of the methanol/glycerine acetate was equal to 0.25 vol.%, at which the cold filter plugging point (CFPP) of the biodiesel was reduced from 3 °C for the neat biodiesel to −2 °C for the biodiesel blended with the mixture. In contrast, the effect of adding the antifreeze on the CFPP of the biodiesel was inferior; it was reduced from 3 °C for the neat biodiesel to 1 °C for the biodiesel when butanol cosolvent was added. The increase in the volumetric ratio of cosolvent/antifreeze increased the acid value and cetane index while it decreased the kinematic viscosity and CFPP. The heating value was observed to increase for butanol while decreasing for methanol with the increase in the volumetric ratio of cosolvent/antifreeze. In comparison to butanol, the cosolvent methanol caused a higher cetane index and acid value but a lower kinematic viscosity, heating value, and CFPP of the blended commercial biodiesel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental and Green Processes)
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28 pages, 7430 KiB  
Review
Dry Machining Techniques for Sustainability in Metal Cutting: A Review
by Shailendra Pawanr and Kapil Gupta
Processes 2024, 12(2), 417; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020417 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 773
Abstract
Dry machining has gained significant importance in the last few years due to its promising contribution towards sustainability. This review study introduces dry machining, presents its benefits, and summarizes the recent technological developments that can facilitate dry machining. It aims to provide a [...] Read more.
Dry machining has gained significant importance in the last few years due to its promising contribution towards sustainability. This review study introduces dry machining, presents its benefits, and summarizes the recent technological developments that can facilitate dry machining. It aims to provide a concise overview of the current state of the art in dry machining to promote sustainability. This article synthesizes and emphasizes the useful information from the existing literature, and summarizes the methods and tools used to implement it. It also identifies some of the major problems and challenges and their potential solutions to make dry machining more viable and efficient. It concludes with some future research directions important for the scholars and researchers to establish the field further. From this review study, the major findings are: (1) tools with textures or patterns can enhance the cutting performance of dry machining for various materials, (2) tool coating is an effective way to lower the tool cost in dry machining and can achieve the required functionality for the cutting tool without affecting its core properties, (3) Alumina-based mixed ceramic tools with SiC whiskers have better fracture toughness, thermal shock resistance, and self-crack healing properties, (4) one effective method to improve the dry cutting of engineering materials is to apply external energy sources to assist the dry machining process, (5) by using microwave sintering, cutting tools with finer microstructures and higher densities can be produced, which improve their hardness, wear resistance, and thermal stability to perform well in dry machining conditions. Full article
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25 pages, 2724 KiB  
Review
Bioenergy and Biopesticides Production in Serbia—Could Invasive Alien Species Contribute to Sustainability?
by Magdalena Pušić, Mirjana Ljubojević, Dejan Prvulović, Radenka Kolarov, Milan Tomić, Mirko Simikić, Srđan Vejnović and Tijana Narandžić
Processes 2024, 12(2), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020407 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 749
Abstract
The critical role of energy in contemporary life and the environmental challenges associated with its production imply the need for research and exploration of its novel resources. The present review paper emphasizes the continuous exploitation of non-renewable energy sources, suggesting the transition toward [...] Read more.
The critical role of energy in contemporary life and the environmental challenges associated with its production imply the need for research and exploration of its novel resources. The present review paper emphasizes the continuous exploitation of non-renewable energy sources, suggesting the transition toward renewable energy sources, termed ‘green energy’, as a crucial step for sustainable development. The research methodology involves a comprehensive review of articles, statistical data analysis, and examination of databases. The main focus is biomass, a valuable resource for bioenergy and biopesticide production, highlighting not only its traditional diverse sources, such as agricultural waste and industrial residues, but also non-edible invasive alien plant species. This study explores the utilization of invasive alien species in circular economy practices, considering their role in bioenergy and biopesticide production. The potential conflict between bioproduct acquisition and food sector competition is discussed, along with the need for a shift in approaching non-edible biomass sources. The paper emphasizes the untapped potential of under-explored biomass resources and the necessity for policy alignment and public awareness. Species with a significant potential for these sustainable strategies include Acer negundo L., Ailanthus altisima (Mill.) Swingle., Amorpha fruticosa L., Elaengus angustifolia L., Falopia japonica (Houtt.) Ronse Decr., Hibiscus syriacus L., Koelreuteria paniculata Laxm., Paulownia tomentosa Siebold and Zucc., Partenocissus quenquefolia (L.) Planch., Rhus typhina L., Robinia pseudoacacia L. and Thuja orientalis L. In conclusion, the paper highlights the intertwined relationship between energy, environmental sustainability, and circular economy principles, providing insights into Serbia’s efforts and potential in adopting nature-based solutions for bioenergy and biopesticides acquisition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Production and Utilization of Biofuels)
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14 pages, 2135 KiB  
Article
Utilizing Machine Learning Models with Molecular Fingerprints and Chemical Structures to Predict the Sulfate Radical Rate Constants of Water Contaminants
by Ting Tang, Dehao Song, Jinfan Chen, Zhenguo Chen, Yufan Du, Zhi Dang and Guining Lu
Processes 2024, 12(2), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020384 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 710
Abstract
Sulfate radicals are increasingly recognized for their potent oxidative capabilities, making them highly effective in degrading persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in aqueous environments. These radicals excel in breaking down complex organic molecules that are resistant to traditional treatment methods, addressing the challenges posed [...] Read more.
Sulfate radicals are increasingly recognized for their potent oxidative capabilities, making them highly effective in degrading persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in aqueous environments. These radicals excel in breaking down complex organic molecules that are resistant to traditional treatment methods, addressing the challenges posed by POPs known for their persistence, bioaccumulation, and potential health impacts. The complexity of predicting interactions between sulfate radicals and diverse organic contaminants is a notable challenge in advancing water treatment technologies. This study bridges this gap by employing a range of machine learning (ML) models, including random forest (DF), decision tree (DT), support vector machine (SVM), XGBoost (XGB), gradient boosting (GB), and Bayesian ridge regression (BR) models. Predicting performances were evaluated using R2, RMSE, and MAE, with the residual plots presented. Performances varied in their ability to manage complex relationships and large datasets. The SVM model demonstrated the best predictive performance when utilizing the Morgan fingerprint as descriptors, achieving the highest R2 and the lowest MAE value in the test set. The GB model displayed optimal performance when chemical descriptors were utilized as features. Boosting models generally exhibited superior performances when compared to single models. The most important ten features were presented via SHAP analysis. By analyzing the performance of these models, this research not only enhances our understanding of chemical reactions involving sulfate radicals, but also showcases the potential of machine learning in environmental chemistry, combining the strengths of ML with chemical kinetics in order to address the challenges of water treatment and contaminant analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Remediation of Contaminated Sites: Volume II)
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29 pages, 6810 KiB  
Article
Supercritical Direct-Methane-to-Methanol Coupled with Gas-to-Wire for Low-Emission Offshore Processing of CO2-Rich Natural Gas: Techno-Economic and Thermodynamic Analyses
by Alessandra de Carvalho Reis, Ofélia de Queiroz Fernandes Araújo and José Luiz de Medeiros
Processes 2024, 12(2), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020374 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 572
Abstract
A greater H/C ratio and energy demand are factors that boost natural gas conversion into electricity. The Brazilian offshore pre-salt basin has large reserves of CO2-rich associated gas. Selling this gas requires high-depth long-distance subsea pipelines, making gas-to-pipe costly; in particular, [...] Read more.
A greater H/C ratio and energy demand are factors that boost natural gas conversion into electricity. The Brazilian offshore pre-salt basin has large reserves of CO2-rich associated gas. Selling this gas requires high-depth long-distance subsea pipelines, making gas-to-pipe costly; in particular, gas-to-wire instead of gas-to-pipe is more practical since it is easier to transmit electricity via long subsea distances. This research proposes and investigates an innovative low-emission gas-to-wire alternative consisting of installing supercritical direct-methane-to-methanol upstream to gas-to-wire, which is embedded in an exhaust-gas recycle loop that reduces the subsequent carbon capture costs. The process exports methanol and electricity from remote offshore oil-and-gas fields with available CO2-rich natural gas, while capturing CO2. Techno-economic, thermodynamic and lost work analyses assess the alternative. Supercritical direct-methane-to-methanol is conducted in supercritical water with air. This route is chosen because supercritical water readily dissolves methanol and CO2, helping to preserve methanol via stabilization against further oxidation by gaseous air. Besides being novel, this process has intensification since it implements exhaust-gas recycle for –flue-gas reduction, CO2 abatement via post-combustion capture with aqueous monoethanolamine, CO2 dehydration with triethylene glycol and CO2 densification for enhanced oil recovery. The process is fed with 6.5 MMS m3/d of CO2-rich natural gas (CO2 > 40%mol) exporting methanol (2.2 t/h), electricity (457.1 MW) and dense CO2 for enhanced oil recovery, with an investment of 1544 MMUSD, 452 MMUSD/y in manufacturing costs and 820 MMUSD/y in revenues, reaching 1021 MMUSD net present value (50 years) and a 10 year payback time. The Second Law analysis reveals overall thermodynamic efficiency of 28%. The lost work analysis unveils the gas-combined-cycle sub-system as the major lost work sink (76% lost work share), followed by the post-combustion capture plant (14% lost work share), being the units that prominently require improvements for better economic and environmental performance. This work demonstrates that the newly proposed process is techno-economically feasible, environmentally friendly, thermodynamically efficient and competitive with the gas-to-wire processes in the literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Process Systems Simulation, Modeling, Optimization and Design)
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19 pages, 5152 KiB  
Article
Computational Fluid Dynamics Numerical Simulation on Flow Behavior of Molten Slag–Metal Mixture over a Spinning Cup
by Jun Wang, Yuhua Pan, Ming Zhao, Ping Ma, Shali Lv and Yawei Huang
Processes 2024, 12(2), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020372 - 12 Feb 2024
Viewed by 559
Abstract
Centrifugal granulation technology using a spinning cup opens a potential way to recycle steel slag that is currently difficult to reuse. The objective of this research was to study the flow characteristics of a molten slag–metal mixture that was produced during smelting reduction [...] Read more.
Centrifugal granulation technology using a spinning cup opens a potential way to recycle steel slag that is currently difficult to reuse. The objective of this research was to study the flow characteristics of a molten slag–metal mixture that was produced during smelting reduction in molten steel slag, passing over a spinning cup, so as to explore the feasibility of using centrifugal granulation technology to treat the steel slag. This was achieved by developing and implementing a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model that incorporated free-surface multiphase flow to predict the thickness of the liquid slag film at the edge of the spinning cup (slag film thickness for short), which was an important parameter for estimating the size of the slag particles resulting from centrifugal granulation of the molten slag–metal mixture. The influences of various relevant parameters, including spinning cup diameter, slag feeding rate, cup spinning speed, etc., on the slag film thickness were analyzed. Additionally, hot experiments on centrifugal granulation of a molten slag–metal mixture were conducted to verify the results of the numerical simulations. The experimental results indicated a progressive reduction in the Sauter mean diameter of the slag particles as the metallic iron content in the slag increased. Specifically, when the iron content rose from 5% to 15% at a cup spinning speed of 2500 RPM, the Sauter mean diameter decreased by 13.77%. The numerical simulation results showed that the slag film thickness had a positive relationship to the slag feeding rate but a negative relationship to the spinning cup diameter and the cup spinning speed. Furthermore, the ratio between the mean slag particle diameter and the slag film thickness decreased nearly linearly with the increase in the metallic iron content in slag, with the average ratio being approximately 4.25, and this relationship was useful for estimating the slag particle size from the slag film thickness. Therefore, the present research results can provide theoretical guidance for the industrial application of spinning cup centrifugal granulation technology to effectively treat and recycle steel slags. Full article
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16 pages, 5558 KiB  
Article
Impact of Doxycycline Addition on Activated Sludge Microflora and Microbial Communities
by Hayet Djelal, Djouza Haddouche, Megane Lebreton, Vanessa Barros, Cristian Villegas and Patrick Dabert
Processes 2024, 12(2), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020350 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 572
Abstract
Municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are exposed to high concentrations of micropollutants that can impact conventional activated sludge treatment. The consequences of this include failure to meet discharge standards and the disintegration of flocs, leading to poor sludge settleability. This lab-scale study focuses [...] Read more.
Municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are exposed to high concentrations of micropollutants that can impact conventional activated sludge treatment. The consequences of this include failure to meet discharge standards and the disintegration of flocs, leading to poor sludge settleability. This lab-scale study focuses on the influence of doxycycline, an antibiotic widely used against human and animal diseases, on protozoa, metazoa, and bacterial communities under sludge growing conditions. Doxycycline was added to the mixed liquor of a communal WWTP up to 0, 100, 200, and 400 mg of doxycycline L−1 and incubated in batch conditions for 23 days. The regular addition of nutrient and carbon sources was preformed every 2 days to prevent sludge starvation. Sludge growth, conductivity, and settleability were measured and compared to sludge microbial community structure, determined by microscopic observations and high-throughput 16S rDNA sequencing. The high doxycycline concentration negatively impacted settleability and correlated with a decrease in bacterial diversity and floc disintegration. The addition of doxycycline promoted the enrichment of Proteobacteria Brevundimonas sp., Luteibacter anthropi, and the Bacteroidetes Chryseobacterium massoliae. These species are known to be resistant to a wide spectrum of antibiotics, including tetracyclines. A study of a larger scale may be conducted based on this study’ results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental and Green Processes)
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30 pages, 1944 KiB  
Review
Pulsed Electric Field Technology for Recovery of Proteins from Waste Plant Resources and Deformed Mushrooms: A Review
by Ramya Ramaswamy, Sivaneasan Bala Krishnan and Susanna Su Jan Leong
Processes 2024, 12(2), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020342 - 06 Feb 2024
Viewed by 880
Abstract
Proteins are complex molecules, which play a vital role in our body’s function, the building of tissues, and the regulation of metabolic activity. They are crucial to children’s growth and serve as a key component in the body’s process of distributing oxygen. Proteins [...] Read more.
Proteins are complex molecules, which play a vital role in our body’s function, the building of tissues, and the regulation of metabolic activity. They are crucial to children’s growth and serve as a key component in the body’s process of distributing oxygen. Proteins fuel the body by supplying the required nutrition and energy. Currently, there is an increasing demand for proteins on large scales with no detrimental effects. The adverse health effects of animal proteins have resulted in a growing preference for plant-based proteins, which offer a healthier daily dosage. Valuable proteins can be extracted from various parts of the plant, including stems, leaves, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and roots. Notably, protein extraction from waste plant and mushroom parts minimizes the product wastage and improves the overall production to support economic sustainability. There are several protein extraction techniques available, where the replacement of non-thermal methods with thermal ones is promising nowadays due to the appreciable retainment of protein quality. Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) technology is one of the most efficient non-thermal tools used to assist with extracting these proteins at the minimum processing time and energy consumption when compared with thermal techniques. It relies on the application of a high-voltage pulse between two electrodes to treat samples inside the treatment chamber. While electrode shapes and treatment chamber designs primarily govern the electric field’s application, optimizing process parameters such as electric field strength, pulse width, number of pulses, and pulse waveshape assists in obtaining a desirable enhancement in the protein yield. The primary objective of this review is to explain the PEF-assisted protein extraction process applicable to waste plant parts and deformed mushrooms. While PEF is not a novel concept, utilizing it as a pre-extraction treatment to the aforementioned waste resources would aid in improving the production of value-added protein products economically. So far, PEF has shown immense promise in assisting with protein extraction studies, but requires further research in order to establish this area for large-scale industrial applications. Full article
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15 pages, 2972 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Single- and Two-Stage Anaerobic Digestion of Thickened Waste-Activated Sludge through FNA-Heat Pretreatment
by Salomeh Chegini and Elsayed Elbeshbishy
Processes 2024, 12(2), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020345 - 06 Feb 2024
Viewed by 536
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the effect of combined Free Nitrous Acid (FNA)-Heat (i.e., FNH) pretreatment on single- and two-stage anaerobic digestion (AD) of thickened waste-activated sludge (TWAS). Single-stage AD was conducted in batches, while two-stage AD involved acidogenic fermentation under semi-continuous flow [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the effect of combined Free Nitrous Acid (FNA)-Heat (i.e., FNH) pretreatment on single- and two-stage anaerobic digestion (AD) of thickened waste-activated sludge (TWAS). Single-stage AD was conducted in batches, while two-stage AD involved acidogenic fermentation under semi-continuous flow followed by batch methanogenesis. FNH pretreatment was applied before the acidogenic stage, using 1.4 mg HNO2-N/L FNA concentration at 25 °C, 37 °C, and 60 °C for 24 h. Among the scenarios, the most promising results were observed with two-stage AD fed with FNH-pretreated TWAS at 60 °C, showing higher COD solubilization and a reduction in volatile solids. Combined FNA-Heat pretreatment in two-stage AD yielded elevated methane production (363–415 mL CH4/g VS added) compared to single-stage digestion. Methane yields from FNA-Heat pretreated single-stage ranged from 332 to 347 mL CH4/g VS added, contrasting with 212 mL CH4/g VS added for untreated TWAS. Methane generation commenced early in both untreated and pretreated samples, attributed to soluble substrate abundance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industrial Wastewater Treatment)
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19 pages, 4293 KiB  
Article
Experimental and Theoretical Analysis of the Thermostatic Drying Process in Wetted Porous Sand Beds with Different Pore Sizes
by Weijie Su, Xiang Cao and Zilong Deng
Processes 2024, 12(2), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020337 - 04 Feb 2024
Viewed by 606
Abstract
The drying kinetics of porous media are crucial for controlling the drying process, which is a vital component in many processes. A mathematical model of the drying process in a granular bed was developed using Whitaker’s model, and its accuracy was verified through [...] Read more.
The drying kinetics of porous media are crucial for controlling the drying process, which is a vital component in many processes. A mathematical model of the drying process in a granular bed was developed using Whitaker’s model, and its accuracy was verified through experimental results. The results indicated that the three stages of porous media drying are closely linked to the heat flow to the media and the latent heat of evaporation required by the liquid water inside it. Moreover, as the influence of gravity weakens and the capillary force strengthens, specifically due to the gradual decrease in the pore size of the bed, significant differences in the drying kinetics of the bed are observed, particularly in the third stage of drying, which is most affected. The onset of saturation in the third stage of bed drying varies with the pore size of the particles, with smaller pore sizes exhibiting an earlier onset. Additionally, the temperature change in this stage demonstrates the occurrence of secondary warming as the pore size decreases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Systems)
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14 pages, 5127 KiB  
Article
Preparation of Nickel-Based Bimetallic Catalyst and Its Activation of Persulfate for Degradation of Methyl Orange
by Bo Zhang, Jiale Li, Zhizhi Xu, Xiaohong Xu and Chundu Wu
Processes 2024, 12(2), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020322 - 02 Feb 2024
Viewed by 550
Abstract
In this research, a new catalyst for activating persulfate was developed by loading iron and nickel ions onto powdered activated carbon (PAC) for treating methyl orange, and the preparation process was optimized and characterized. The efficacy of the treatment was evaluated using the [...] Read more.
In this research, a new catalyst for activating persulfate was developed by loading iron and nickel ions onto powdered activated carbon (PAC) for treating methyl orange, and the preparation process was optimized and characterized. The efficacy of the treatment was evaluated using the Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) removal rate, which reflects the impact of various process parameters, including catalyst dosage, sodium persulfate dosage, and reaction pH. Finally, the recovery and reuse performance of the catalyst were studied. The optimal conditions for preparing the activated sodium persulfate catalyst were determined to be as follows: a molar ratio of Fe3+ and Fe2+ to Ni of 4:1, a mass ratio of Fe3O4 to PAC of 1:4, a calcination temperature of 700 °C, and a calcination time of 4 h. This preparation led to an increase in surface porosity and the formation of a hollow structure within the catalyst. The active material on the surface was identified as nickel ferrite, comprising the elements C, O, Fe, and Ni. The magnetic property is beneficial to recycling. With the increase in catalyst and sodium persulfate dosage, the COD removal efficiency of the oxidation system increased first, and then, decreased. The catalyst showed good catalytic performance when the pH value was in the range of 3~11. Furthermore, Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis indicated the complete oxidation of methyl orange dye molecules in the system. This result highlights the important role of the newly developed catalyst in activating persulfate. Full article
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18 pages, 4383 KiB  
Article
Catalytic Acetone Oxidation over MnOx Catalysts: Regulating Their Crystal Structures and Surface Properties
by Bohang Cai, Fawei Lin, Xuan Guo and Yongtao Li
Processes 2024, 12(2), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020326 - 02 Feb 2024
Viewed by 488
Abstract
This study investigates the catalytic oxidation of acetone by different crystal phases of MnO2 prepared via different methods. Compared with β-MnO2 and γ-MnO2, α-MnO2 exhibited superior catalytic activity. Moreover, as replacements for traditional hydrothermal methods and air calcination, [...] Read more.
This study investigates the catalytic oxidation of acetone by different crystal phases of MnO2 prepared via different methods. Compared with β-MnO2 and γ-MnO2, α-MnO2 exhibited superior catalytic activity. Moreover, as replacements for traditional hydrothermal methods and air calcination, the use of microwave hydrothermal methods and N2 calcination significantly enhanced the catalytic performance of the MnO2 catalyst. The optimal catalyst, MnO2-WN (α-MnO2 synthesized via microwave hydrothermal method and N2 calcination), converted 100% of 100 ppm acetone below 150 °C, with the CO2 yields reaching 100%. Further, the stability of the catalyst and its potential for other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were also determined. The experimental data demonstrated that its outstanding activity primarily stemmed from the improved preparation method, enhancing the specific surface area of the catalyst, optimizing the pore structure, improving the redox performance, and generating more acidic sites and active oxygen species, thereby creating a synergistic effect. Finally, the reaction pathway of acetone oxidation on the catalyst surface has been explored. This work provides a new perspective for developing economically efficient MnOx catalysts for removing VOCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Nanoparticles: New Perspective in Catalysis)
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27 pages, 940 KiB  
Article
Detection of Multiplicative False Data Injection Cyberattacks on Process Control Systems via Randomized Control Mode Switching
by Shilpa Narasimhan, Matthew J. Ellis and Nael H. El-Farra
Processes 2024, 12(2), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020327 - 02 Feb 2024
Viewed by 533
Abstract
A fundamental problem at the intersection of process control and operations is the design of detection schemes monitoring a process for cyberattacks using operational data. Multiplicative false data injection (FDI) attacks modify operational data with a multiplicative factor and could be designed to [...] Read more.
A fundamental problem at the intersection of process control and operations is the design of detection schemes monitoring a process for cyberattacks using operational data. Multiplicative false data injection (FDI) attacks modify operational data with a multiplicative factor and could be designed to be detection evading without in-depth process knowledge. In a prior work, we presented a control mode switching strategy that enhances the detection of multiplicative FDI attacks in processes operating at steady state (when process states evolve within a small neighborhood of the steady state). Control mode switching on the attack-free process at steady-state may induce transients and generate false alarms in the detection scheme. To minimize false alarms, we subsequently developed a control mode switch-scheduling condition for processes with an invertible output matrix. In the current work, we utilize a reachable set-based detection scheme and use randomized control mode switches to augment attack detection capabilities. The detection scheme eliminates potential false alarms occurring from control mode switching, even for processes with a non-invertible output matrix, while the randomized switching helps bolster the confidentiality of the switching schedule, preventing the design of a detection-evading “smart” attack. We present two simulation examples to illustrate attack detection without false alarms, and the merits of randomized switching (compared with scheduled switching) for the detection of a smart attack. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Intelligent Control Systems in Industry 5.0)
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12 pages, 676 KiB  
Article
Microbial Electrolysis Cell Exergy Evaluation
by Valentin Nenov, Lyubka Atanasova, Hyusein Yemendzhiev and Ralitza Koleva
Processes 2024, 12(2), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020319 - 02 Feb 2024
Viewed by 520
Abstract
Bio-electrochemical systems have increasingly become the focus of research due to their potential in environmental biotechnology, particularly in the domains of waste utilization and energy recovery. A prominent method within this domain is the transformation of organic matter into hydrogen via microbial electrolysis [...] Read more.
Bio-electrochemical systems have increasingly become the focus of research due to their potential in environmental biotechnology, particularly in the domains of waste utilization and energy recovery. A prominent method within this domain is the transformation of organic matter into hydrogen via microbial electrolysis cells (MECs). This study offers a thorough analysis of MEC performance, employing exergy analysis and incorporating relevant data from the existing literature. The findings of this research indicate a relationship between process efficiency and effective electron transfer originating from biological oxidation to the cathode reaction, facilitating hydrogen generation. The assessment performed revealed that the exergy efficiency of the process varies by a wide range, depending on conditions such as substrate type and concentration, applied external voltage, and the presence of specific inhibitors. This interplay between substrate concentration, overall efficiency, and energy requirement underlines the complex dynamics of optimizing MEC performance. Our insights provide understanding of the challenges in bio-electrochemical systems, offering implications for their sustainable and efficient use in environmental biotechnology. The theoretical analysis involved assessing the utilization of glucose and glycerol, along with the evaluation of electrical energy consumption and hydrogen yield. Our results demonstrate that a higher applied voltage is associated with greater exergy efficiency. Furthermore, after comparing the use of glucose and glycerol as substrates, our study supports the preferential application of glucose for enhanced efficiency. Full article
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22 pages, 8480 KiB  
Article
Numerical Study of Hydrodynamic Cavitation Pretreatment of Food Waste: Effect of Pressure Drop on the Cavitation Behavior
by Peng Zhou, Ke Zhong and Yanbin Zhu
Processes 2024, 12(2), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020300 - 31 Jan 2024
Viewed by 592
Abstract
Hydrodynamic cavitation (HC) has a wide range of application scenarios. However, there are few studies on the HC treatment of food waste (FW). A Venturi device is designed and operated and plays a clear role in changing the characteristics of FW. The medium [...] Read more.
Hydrodynamic cavitation (HC) has a wide range of application scenarios. However, there are few studies on the HC treatment of food waste (FW). A Venturi device is designed and operated and plays a clear role in changing the characteristics of FW. The medium viscosity is often neglected when studying cavitation behavior by numerical simulations. We use the Herschel–Bulkley model to describe the viscosity curves of artificial FW samples obtained experimentally. RANS numerical simulation is carried out with a simplified 2D axisymmetric CFD-based model considering the non-Newtonian fluid properties. A numerical simulation study is carried out for FW (TS = 10.0 wt%) at pressure drop (ΔP = 0.05–0.4 MPa). The numerical simulation results show the variation of flow characteristics, viscosity, vapor volume, turbulent viscosity ratio, cavitation number, and pressure loss coefficient. With the increase in ΔP, the flow rate in the Venturi throat increases, and the average viscosity decreases. It reduces the inhibition effect of viscosity on cavitation. The position of incipient vacuoles at the moment of cavitation is constant and unrelated to the variation of ΔP. Under the effect of increasing ΔP, the average vapor volume fraction is increased, and the cavitation effect is enhanced; the cavitation number (σ) is decreased, and the cavitation potential is improved. A larger ΔP should be selected to increase the cavitation efficiency E of the device. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental and Green Processes)
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21 pages, 2405 KiB  
Article
Apple Pomace-Derived Cationic Cellulose Nanocrystals for PFAS Removal from Contaminated Water
by Luis A. Franco, T. Dwyer Stuart, Md Shahadat Hossain, Bandaru V. Ramarao, Charlene C. VanLeuven, Mario Wriedt, Michael Satchwell and Deepak Kumar
Processes 2024, 12(2), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020297 - 30 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1332
Abstract
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are concerning contaminants due to their ubiquity, persistence, and toxicity. Conventional PFAS water treatments such as granular activated carbon are limited by low adsorption rates and capacities. Carbon-based nano-adsorbents with enhanced surface areas address these limitations but are [...] Read more.
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are concerning contaminants due to their ubiquity, persistence, and toxicity. Conventional PFAS water treatments such as granular activated carbon are limited by low adsorption rates and capacities. Carbon-based nano-adsorbents with enhanced surface areas address these limitations but are hindered by their high cost and toxicity. Cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) are promising PFAS adsorbents due to sustainable sourcing, large surface areas, and amenable surface properties. In this study, CNC was synthesized from the agro-food waste, apple pomace (APCNC), and coated with Moringa oleifera cationic protein (MOCP) aqueous extract to produce MOCP/APCNC for the removal of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) from water. APCNC and MOCP/APCNC were manufactured, characterized, and utilized in PFOA batch adsorption kinetics and equilibrium trials. APCNC was successfully produced from apple pomace (AP) and determined through characterization and comparison to commercial CNC (CCNC). APCNC and MOCP/APCNC exhibited rapid PFOA adsorption, approaching equilibrium within 15 min. MOCP coatings inverted the MOCP/CNC surface charge to cationic (−15.07 to 7.38 mV) and enhanced the PFOA adsorption rate (2.65 × 10−3 to 5.05 × 10−3 g/mg/s), capacity (47.1 to 61.1 mg/g), and robustness across varied water qualities. The sustainable sourcing of APCNC combined with a green surface coating to produce MOCP/CNC provides a highly promising environmentally friendly approach to PFAS remediation. Full article
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12 pages, 2649 KiB  
Article
Experimental Research on Deep Silicon Removal in Spent SCR Catalysts
by Weihong Wu, Li Wang, You Zhang, Zhesheng Hua, Hao Song, Shaojun Liu, Sihui Song, Dingzhen Wang and Xiang Gao
Processes 2024, 12(2), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020290 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 555
Abstract
In this research, hydrofluoric acid (HF) was used as a leaching agent to remove silicon impurities from titanium dioxide powder regenerated from a spent SCR catalyst. Further, the effects of HF concentration, liquid–solid ratio, leaching temperature, and leaching time on the leaching rate [...] Read more.
In this research, hydrofluoric acid (HF) was used as a leaching agent to remove silicon impurities from titanium dioxide powder regenerated from a spent SCR catalyst. Further, the effects of HF concentration, liquid–solid ratio, leaching temperature, and leaching time on the leaching rate of regenerated titanium dioxide powder were investigated. The results revealed that the leaching rate of silicon in alkali-leached samples could reach 99.47% under the following conditions: 4% HF concentration, a leaching temperature of 50 °C, and a liquid–solid ratio of 5:1. When compared under identical experimental conditions, the silicon leaching rate in the alkali leached sample using HF surpassed that of the spent SCR catalyst. This suggests that high-temperature alkali leaching led to the degradation of the catalyst and the glass fiber within it, rendering this process more favorable for silicon leaching. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Progress in Catalysis Technology in Clean Energy Utilization)
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26 pages, 32541 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Shear-Thinning Characteristics on Multiphase Pump Vortex Structure Evolution, Pressure Fluctuation, and Gas-Solid Distribution
by Long Chen, Yingxin Yang, Cancan Peng, Xiaodong Zhang and Yan Gong
Processes 2024, 12(2), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020284 - 27 Jan 2024
Viewed by 752
Abstract
In the current landscape of natural gas hydrate extraction, the lifting pump assumes a pivotal role as the essential equipment for conveying subsea fluidized hydrate slurry to the wellhead. The inherent shear-thinning characteristics of natural gas hydrate slurry, compounded by the complex multiphase [...] Read more.
In the current landscape of natural gas hydrate extraction, the lifting pump assumes a pivotal role as the essential equipment for conveying subsea fluidized hydrate slurry to the wellhead. The inherent shear-thinning characteristics of natural gas hydrate slurry, compounded by the complex multiphase flow conditions of the “gas-liquid-solid” system, present significant challenges to the operational efficiency and stability of the lifting pump. Consequently, this study adopts a hybrid approach, combining experimental and numerical simulations, to comparatively investigate the impact of non-Newtonian and viscous Newtonian fluids on the hydraulic performance, vortex structure evolution, and induced pressure fluctuations in a multiphase pump. Concurrently, a comparative analysis is conducted on the influence of these two fluid types on the distribution patterns of the “gas-solid” two-phase system. The research findings indicate that the apparent viscosity variations are more pronounced in the diffuser region compared to the impeller region. Under non-Newtonian fluid conditions, two separation vortices emerge at the trailing edge of the diffuser, as opposed to a single separation vortex in the viscous Newtonian fluid, with the latter exhibiting a smaller vortex structure scale. Moreover, the shear-thinning characteristics intensify the interaction between the separated vortex and the mainstream, resulting in an exacerbation of pressure fluctuations. In contrast to the viscous Newtonian fluid, the rotor–stator interaction and shear-thinning characteristics play a predominant role in pressure fluctuations, with shear-thinning attributes giving rise to low-frequency pressure fluctuations. Additionally, shear-thinning characteristics significantly influence the distribution behavior of the gas-solid two-phase flow. Full article
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15 pages, 1578 KiB  
Review
Biofilm Formation in Water Distribution Systems
by Patrícia Erdei-Tombor, Gabriella Kiskó and Andrea Taczman-Brückner
Processes 2024, 12(2), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12020280 - 27 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1242
Abstract
A biofilm is a biologically active matrix attached to the surface of cells and their extracellular products. As they are a mixture of many microorganisms, the microbiological activity of biofilms varies according to their position in the aggregate. With particular emphasis on drinking [...] Read more.
A biofilm is a biologically active matrix attached to the surface of cells and their extracellular products. As they are a mixture of many microorganisms, the microbiological activity of biofilms varies according to their position in the aggregate. With particular emphasis on drinking water distribution systems, this review focuses on the process of biofilm formation, associated bacteria, chlorine resistance of bacteria, and the predominant surface materials. We have compiled studies on the bacteria in drinking water distribution systems and their interactions with biofilm formation on different materials, and we also analysed the chlorine-resistant bacteria and their problems in the water networks. The materials used in the drinking water network are significantly affected by the disinfection method used to produce the biofilm that adheres to them. Some studies propose that the material is inconsequential, with the disinfection process being the most significant factor. Studies suggest that materials based on plastics (such as PVC and HDPE) tend to be more effective in controlling biofilm formation or removal than those based on metals (such as stainless steel), which have been found to be less effective in some instances. Chlorine-resistant strains are becoming more and more common in drinking water networks, resulting in the occurrence of diseases such as typhus and cholera. Full article
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20 pages, 12534 KiB  
Article
Effects of the PMMA Molecular Weight on the Thermal and Thermo-Oxidative Decomposition as the First Chemical Stage of Flaming Ignition
by Antonio Galgano and Colomba Di Blasi
Processes 2024, 12(1), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12010219 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 507
Abstract
The piloted and the spontaneous ignition of low and high molecular weight (LMW and HMW) polymethyl methacrylate are simulated using a one-dimensional condensed-gas phase model for constant heat fluxes in the range of 25–150 kW/m2. Purely thermal (nitrogen) and thermo-oxidative (air) [...] Read more.
The piloted and the spontaneous ignition of low and high molecular weight (LMW and HMW) polymethyl methacrylate are simulated using a one-dimensional condensed-gas phase model for constant heat fluxes in the range of 25–150 kW/m2. Purely thermal (nitrogen) and thermo-oxidative (air) decomposition is considered, described by a single and four-step kinetics for the low and high molecular weight polymer, respectively. Different optical properties are also examined. The same trends of the ignition time and other ignition parameters are always observed. Due to a more significant role of the chemical kinetics, the effects of the sample molecular weight and reaction atmosphere are higher at low heat fluxes. Times are shorter for the black HMW samples and thermo-oxidative kinetics. For piloted ignition, factors are around 2.8–1.6, whereas for thermal decomposition, they are 1.3–1.2. The corresponding figures are 1.8–1.3 and 1.3–1.1, in the same order, for the spontaneous ignition. Overall, the effects of the molecular weight are more important than those related to the reaction kinetics environment. These differences are confirmed by the comparison between predictions and measurements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Temperature Behavior of Polymers and Composites)
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16 pages, 1692 KiB  
Article
Ciprofloxacin Uptake from an Aqueous Solution via Adsorption with K2CO3-Activated Biochar Derived from Brewing Industry Bagasse
by Víctor Francisco Meseguer, Juan Francisco Ortuño, María Isabel Aguilar, Mercedes Lloréns, Ana Belén Pérez-Marín and Emmanuel Fuentes
Processes 2024, 12(1), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12010199 - 17 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 742
Abstract
Ciprofloxacin (CPX), an antibiotic considered as an emerging contaminant, needs to be removed from aquatic environments. This work investigates the adsorption of CPX on K2CO3-activated biochar (AB). The biochar was obtained via the pyrolysis of barley bagasse from the [...] Read more.
Ciprofloxacin (CPX), an antibiotic considered as an emerging contaminant, needs to be removed from aquatic environments. This work investigates the adsorption of CPX on K2CO3-activated biochar (AB). The biochar was obtained via the pyrolysis of barley bagasse from the brewing industry, and then it was activated with 2M of K2CO3. The activated biochar was characterised using FTIR spectroscopy and a pHPZC assay. Batch adsorption tests were performed to study the influence of pH and temperature on CPX sorption and to obtain kinetic and equilibrium data. The adsorption of CPX on AB was favoured by increasing the temperature from 10 °C to 55 °C, demonstrating the endothermic nature of the process. The level of CPX removal after 24 h of contact and at pH 3.5 was 82% of that obtained when equilibrium was reached. The kinetic study showed that the adsorption is well described by the Elovich and the Bangham kinetic models. The adsorption is favourable, and the best fits to the experimental equilibrium data were obtained with the Freundlich, Redlich–Peterson and Sips isotherms. In an acidic solution (pH = 3.5) and at 25 °C, the maximum CPX adsorption capacity of AB was ≈105 mg·g−1, comparable to that reported for other adsorbents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Municipal Wastewater Treatment and Removal of Micropollutants)
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18 pages, 1980 KiB  
Article
The Conversion of Pistachio and Walnut Shell Waste into Valuable Components with Subcritical Water
by Maja Čolnik, Mihael Irgolič, Amra Perva and Mojca Škerget
Processes 2024, 12(1), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12010195 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1016
Abstract
Pistachio and walnut shells accumulate in large quantities as waste during food processing and represent a promising lignocellulosic biomass for the extraction of valuable components. Subcritical water technology was used as an environmentally friendly technique to study the extraction of active ingredients and [...] Read more.
Pistachio and walnut shells accumulate in large quantities as waste during food processing and represent a promising lignocellulosic biomass for the extraction of valuable components. Subcritical water technology was used as an environmentally friendly technique to study the extraction of active ingredients and other valuable degradation products from walnut and pistachio waste. Subcritical water extraction (SWE) was carried out under different process conditions (temperature (150–300 °C) and short reaction times (15–60 min)) and compared with conventional extraction using different organic solvents (acetone, 50% acetone and ethanol). The extracts obtained from pistachio and walnut shell waste are rich in various bioactive and valuable components. The highest contents of total phenols (127.08 mg GA/g extract at 300 °C for 15 min, from walnut shells), total flavonoids (10.18 mg QU/g extract at 200 °C for 60 min, from pistachio shells), total carbohydrates (602.14 mg TCH/g extract at 200 °C for 60 min, from walnut shells) and antioxidant activity (91% at 300 °C, for 60 min, from pistachio shells) were determined when the extracts were obtained via subcritical water. High contents of total phenols (up to 86.17 mg GA/g extract) were also determined in the conventional extracts obtained with ethanol. Using the HPLC method, sugars and their valuable derivatives were determined in the extracts, with glucose, fructose, furfurals (5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) and furfural) and levulinic acid being the most abundant in the extracts obtained by subcritical water. The results show that subcritical water technology enables better exploitation of biowaste materials than conventional extraction methods with organic solvents, as it provides a higher yields of bioactive components such as phenolic compounds and thus extracts with high antioxidant activity, while at the same time producing degradation products that are valuable secondary raw materials. Full article
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11 pages, 5801 KiB  
Article
Variability in Physical Properties of Logging and Sawmill Residues for Making Wood Pellets
by Jun Sian Lee, Hamid Rezaei, Omid Gholami Banadkoki, Fahimeh Yazdan Panah and Shahab Sokhansanj
Processes 2024, 12(1), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12010181 - 13 Jan 2024
Viewed by 535
Abstract
Wood pellets are a versatile ingredient to produce bioenergy and bioproducts. Wood pellet manufacturing in Canada started as a way of using the excess sawdust from sawmilling operations. With the recent dwindling availability of sawdust and the growth in demand for wood pellets, [...] Read more.
Wood pellets are a versatile ingredient to produce bioenergy and bioproducts. Wood pellet manufacturing in Canada started as a way of using the excess sawdust from sawmilling operations. With the recent dwindling availability of sawdust and the growth in demand for wood pellets, the industry uses more non-sawdust woody biomass as feedstock. In this study, woody biomass materials received from nine wood pellet plants in British Columbia (BC) and Alberta were analyzed for their properties, especially those used for fractionating feedstock to make pellets. Half of the feedstock received at the plants was non-sawdust. Moisture contents varied from 10 to 60% wet basis, with the hog having an average of 50%. Ash contents ranged from 0.3 to 4% dry basis and were highest in the hog fraction. Bulk density varied from 50 to 450 kg/m3, with shavings having the lowest bulk density. Particle density ranged from 359 kg/m3 for infeed mix to 513 kg/m3 for sawdust. In total, 25% of particles received were larger than 25 mm. The extraneous materials (sand, dirt) in the infeed materials ranged from 0.03% to 1.2%, except for one hog sample (8.2%). Plant operators use mechanical fractionation and blending to meet the required ash content. In conclusion, further instrumental techniques to aid in fractionation should be developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Processes and Systems)
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21 pages, 7285 KiB  
Article
A Numerical Simulation Study into the Effect of Longitudinal and Transverse Pitch on Deposition of Zhundong Coal Ash on Tube Bundles
by Zipeng Guo, Jianbo Li, Yintang Liang, Xiaofei Long, Xiaofeng Lu and Dongke Zhang
Processes 2024, 12(1), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12010178 - 12 Jan 2024
Viewed by 454
Abstract
In this paper, the dynamic deposition behavior of Na-enriching Zhundong coal ash on tube bundles with varying longitudinal and transverse pitches was numerically studied. By using a modified critical viscosity model, an improved CFD deposition model has been established and key parameters, including [...] Read more.
In this paper, the dynamic deposition behavior of Na-enriching Zhundong coal ash on tube bundles with varying longitudinal and transverse pitches was numerically studied. By using a modified critical viscosity model, an improved CFD deposition model has been established and key parameters, including deposit mass and morphology, particle trajectories and impaction and sticking probabilities, as well as the heat flux distribution, have been analyzed. The results show that the ash deposited on tubes in the first row is, respectively, 1.74 and 3.80 times higher than that on the second and third rows, proving that ash deposition in the downstream is lessened. As the longitudinal pitch increased from 1.50 D to 2.50 D, deposit mass in the downstream increased two times, suggesting that an increase in longitudinal pitch would aggravate ash deposition. The effect of transverse pitch, however, with the least deposit propensity at St/D = 1.75, is non-linear due to the joint effect of adjacent tubes and walls in affecting particle trajectory. In addition, due to the non-uniform distribution of the deposit, heat flux across the tube is the smallest at the stagnation point but becomes six times higher at two sides and the leeward, which makes the thermal damage of these sides to be warranted as a practical concern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Optimization of Gas-Solid Reaction Vessels)
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15 pages, 2261 KiB  
Article
Microbiome Structure of Activated Sludge after Adaptation to Landfill Leachate Treatment in a Lab-Scale Sequencing Batch Reactor
by Mihaela Kirilova, Ivaylo Yotinov, Yovana Todorova, Nora Dinova, Stilyana Lincheva, Irina Schneider and Yana Topalova
Processes 2024, 12(1), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12010159 - 09 Jan 2024
Viewed by 963
Abstract
During adaptation to waters that are rich in xenobiotics, biological systems pass through multiple stages. The first one is related to the restructuring of communities, pronounced destruction of the structure, and multiplication of active biodegradants. The purpose of the present research was to [...] Read more.
During adaptation to waters that are rich in xenobiotics, biological systems pass through multiple stages. The first one is related to the restructuring of communities, pronounced destruction of the structure, and multiplication of active biodegradants. The purpose of the present research was to describe the microbiome restructuring that occurs during the adaptation stage in landfill leachate treatment. In a model SBR (sequencing batch reactor), a 21-day purification process of landfill leachate was simulated. Wastewater was fed in increasing concentrations. When undiluted leachate entered, the activated sludge structure disintegrated (Sludge Volume Index—4.6 mL/g). The Chemical Oxygen Demand and ammonium nitrogen concentration remained at high values in the influent (2321.11 mgO2/L and 573.20 mg/L, respectively). A significant amount of free-swimming cells was found, and the number of aerobic heterotrophs and bacteria of the genera Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter increased by up to 125 times. The Azoarcus-Thauera cluster (27%) and Pseudomonas spp. (16%) were registered as the main bacterial groups in the activated sludge. In the changed structure of the microbial community, Gammaproteobacteria, family Rhizobiaceae, class Saccharimonadia were predominantly represented. Among the suspended bacteria, Microbactericeae and Burkholderiaceae, which are known for their ability to degrade xenobiotics, were present in larger quantities. The enzymological analysis demonstrated that the ortho-pathway of cleavage of aromatic structures was active in the community. The described changes in the leachate-purifying microbial community appear to be destructive at the technological level. At the microbiological level, however, trends of initial adaptation were clearly outlined, which, if continued, could provide a highly efficient biodegradation community. Full article
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12 pages, 1069 KiB  
Article
Surface Chemistry of Cherry Stone-Derived Activated Carbon Prepared by H3PO4 Activation
by Jose M. González-Domínguez, Carmen Fernández-González, María Alexandre-Franco and Vicente Gómez-Serrano
Processes 2024, 12(1), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12010149 - 08 Jan 2024
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Abstract
The preparation of activated carbons (ACs) from cherry stones and chemical activation with H3PO4 can be controlled by the experimental variables during the impregnation step in order to obtain a tailored porous structure of the as-prepared ACs. This control not [...] Read more.
The preparation of activated carbons (ACs) from cherry stones and chemical activation with H3PO4 can be controlled by the experimental variables during the impregnation step in order to obtain a tailored porous structure of the as-prepared ACs. This control not only extends to the ACs’ texture and porosity development, but also to the chemical nature of their surface. The spectroscopic and elemental characterization of different series of ACs is presented in this study. The spectroscopic band features and assignments strongly depend on the H3PO4 concentration and/or the semi-carbonization treatments applied to the feedstock before impregnation, which ultimately influence different characteristics such as the AC hydrophilicity. Different surface chemistries arise from the different tailored impregnation solutions, showing a practical outcome for future applications of the as-prepared ACs. Full article
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17 pages, 3682 KiB  
Article
Characterizing Novel Acetogens for Production of C2–C6 Alcohols from Syngas
by Rahul Thunuguntla, Hasan K. Atiyeh, Raymond L. Huhnke and Ralph S. Tanner
Processes 2024, 12(1), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12010142 - 06 Jan 2024
Viewed by 700
Abstract
Utilizing syngas components CO, CO2, and H2 to produce fatty acids and alcohols offers a sustainable approach for biofuels and chemicals, reducing the global carbon footprint. The development of robust strains, especially for higher alcohol titers in C4 and C6 compounds, [...] Read more.
Utilizing syngas components CO, CO2, and H2 to produce fatty acids and alcohols offers a sustainable approach for biofuels and chemicals, reducing the global carbon footprint. The development of robust strains, especially for higher alcohol titers in C4 and C6 compounds, and the creation of cost-effective media are crucial. This study compared syngas fermentation capabilities of three novel strains (Clostridium carboxidivorans P20, C. ljungdahlii P14, and C. muellerianum P21) with existing strains (C. ragsdalei P11 and C. carboxidivorans P7) in three medium formulations. Fermentations in 250-mL bottles were conducted at 37 °C using H2:CO2:CO (30:30:40) using P11, P7, and corn steep liquor (CSL) media. Results showed that P11 and CSL media facilitated higher cell mass, alcohol titer, and gas conversion compared to the P7 medium. Strains P7, P14, and P20 formed 1.4- to 4-fold more total alcohols in the CSL medium in comparison with the P7 medium. Further, strain P21 produced more butanol (0.9 g/L) and hexanol (0.7 g/L) in the medium with CSL, offering cost advantages over P7 and P11 media containing yeast extract. Enhancing strain activity and selectivity in converting syngas into C4 and C6 alcohols requires further development, medium formulation improvements, and characterization, particularly for the new strain P21. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fermentation and Bioprocess Engineering Processes)
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