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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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14 pages, 2825 KiB  
Article
A Desktop Assessment of Ozone Micro-Nanobubble Technology for Algae and PFAS Removal from Surface Water Bodies Using Open-Source Water Quality Data
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 668; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020668 - 12 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1132
Abstract
Ozone is an excellent oxidant and helps in breaking down both organic and inorganic compounds; this effect is further enhanced when it decomposes into hydroxyl radicals. Several studies confirm the good performance of ozonation and micro-nanobubble technology in eradicating algae and per- and [...] Read more.
Ozone is an excellent oxidant and helps in breaking down both organic and inorganic compounds; this effect is further enhanced when it decomposes into hydroxyl radicals. Several studies confirm the good performance of ozonation and micro-nanobubble technology in eradicating algae and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. However, very little is known about the application of ozone micro-nanobubble technology in small-scale treatment; hence, this research aims to assess the potential of this technology. A survey was performed to obtain the water quality parameters of some selected water bodies via relevant open-source databases. The water quality was compared against the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines to identify those that did not meet the criteria and it was identified that 18% of the surface water bodies were below the recommended guidelines. The identified water sources were then used for the treatment simulation, which applies the literature-reported % removal of water quality parameters to predict the effectiveness of ozone micro-nanobubble technology for the selected water sources in this study. Furthermore, the time (dose) that is needed for the treatment using this technology was estimated based on the surface area of the water bodies. The scalability study was conducted to assess how many water bodies could be treated within a day using a 50 m3/h flow rate, which yielded a value of 27%. It was concluded that ozone micro-nanobubble technology can treat algae and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances in surface waters as part of their treatment process by reducing treatment frequency and environmental impacts. By observing the benefits of ozone micro-nanobubble technology, there is a considerable chance that the surface water bodies in the City of Salisbury and, therefore, other small-scale water treatment plants, will be healthier after undergoing this process. This study demonstrated the advantages of applying open-source water quality data as a quick approximation of the evaluation of new treatment techniques, which will help engineers to better predict the performance of the designed field trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digitalization and Its Application of Sustainable Development)
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18 pages, 913 KiB  
Article
The Role of Market Insights in Shaping Sustainable Mobility in Fast Developing Countries: The Case of Vietnam
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 651; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020651 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 978
Abstract
Individual mobility represents one of the main contributors of air quality degradation in urban areas, with detrimental social and environmental impacts as well as economic loss. Mobility policies hence represent a key public instrument to curb congestion, pollution and health-related problems. In order [...] Read more.
Individual mobility represents one of the main contributors of air quality degradation in urban areas, with detrimental social and environmental impacts as well as economic loss. Mobility policies hence represent a key public instrument to curb congestion, pollution and health-related problems. In order to be effective, they need to rely on an adequate knowledge of demand, in terms of commuters’ attitudes, habit strength and perceived priorities. While most studies on the determinants of modal choice are rooted in Western countries or in developed economies little evidence is available for fast-developing countries, whose urban areas suffer from severe congestion and bad air quality. We test a comprehensive model to predict mobility behaviors in Vietnam, by means of an empirical investigation, with data from 898 participants (N = 898) collected via an online self-administered questionnaire. We discuss the implications for policy of the research findings, which provide an informational background representing a necessary prerequisite for the implementation of sound policies for the shift to more sustainable paradigms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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19 pages, 3779 KiB  
Article
Urban Revitalization in Small Cities across the Atlantic Ocean
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020639 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 513
Abstract
City centers and riverfronts across the Atlantic Ocean have undergone substantial transformation over the last two decades. This paper analyzes walk-only precincts and waterfront revitalization in two pairwise cases (PCs) of small city exemplars on two continents in locations at about the same [...] Read more.
City centers and riverfronts across the Atlantic Ocean have undergone substantial transformation over the last two decades. This paper analyzes walk-only precincts and waterfront revitalization in two pairwise cases (PCs) of small city exemplars on two continents in locations at about the same latitude but separated by the Atlantic Ocean. The argument is twofold. First, to be fully effective, city center revitalization interventions need to be coordinated with appropriate institutional programs to create collaborative management opportunities among multiple civic and business agents. Second, multiple cultural offerings, environmental amenities, and pro-active leadership positionalities have contributed positively to the evolution of waterfront community economic redevelopment opportunities in riverfront locations. The methods involved multiple site visits to cities of various sizes on the Iberian Peninsula and the Northeast of the United States at different times during the last twenty years, extensive literature reviews and syntheses, data analyses, assessment of policy priorities, and interviews with employees in various economic sectors, business owners, residents, elected officials, planning professionals, and community leaders. Two of the main conclusions are that, to be fully effective, the public space interventions on the Iberian Peninsula had to be coordinated with appropriate regulatory and institutional programs to generate collaborations with multiple civic and business agents and that the Northeastern cities have attempted to revitalize their riverfronts by conserving water-based and urban historic assets and amenities from further erosion due to downpours and floods as well as socio-economic and cultural transformations. Full article
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15 pages, 2631 KiB  
Article
Utilization of Waste Brick Powder as a Partial Replacement of Portland Cement in Mortars
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020624 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 457
Abstract
Partially substituting Portland cement (PC) with waste brick powder (WBP) is an effective method to reduce environmental pollution. In this paper, the effects of a WBP with low pozzolanic activity on the fresh and hardened properties of blended cement with 0–40% WBP or [...] Read more.
Partially substituting Portland cement (PC) with waste brick powder (WBP) is an effective method to reduce environmental pollution. In this paper, the effects of a WBP with low pozzolanic activity on the fresh and hardened properties of blended cement with 0–40% WBP or 50% of WBP+GGBFS (by mass) were studied. Sodium sulphate (SS) (1.5 and 2.5%, related to powder mass) was used to activate the blended cement with 40% WBP or 50% WBP+GGBFS at 20 °C. Results show that the performance of blended cement is decreased with the increase in WBP content since the WBP with low pozzolanic activity mainly contributes to the dilution effect. Binary cement with 10% WBP shows a similar carbonation depth and chloride migration coefficient to PC. Ternary cement with 10% WBP and 40% GGBFS exhibits a slightly lower strength at 90 days and a lower chloride migration coefficient than PC. The SS solution increases the compressive strength at 2 days and decreases the compressive strength at 28 and 90 days. Moreover, the SS solution results in a lower carbonation depth and chloride migration coefficient, except for ternary cement with 10% WBP and 40% GGBFS, which shows a higher carbonation depth at 42 and 68 days. This paper provides a reference for the application of WBP to produce green mortars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mineral-Based Materials in Construction)
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18 pages, 1519 KiB  
Article
Future Projections of Global Plastic Pollution: Scenario Analyses and Policy Implications
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020643 - 11 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 724
Abstract
Plastic pollution has attracted the attention of the media, public, and government worldwide. Analysis of the inverted U-shaped environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) relationship between economic development and plastic pollution is crucial because economic growth is a critical driver of plastic pollution. In this [...] Read more.
Plastic pollution has attracted the attention of the media, public, and government worldwide. Analysis of the inverted U-shaped environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) relationship between economic development and plastic pollution is crucial because economic growth is a critical driver of plastic pollution. In this study, for the first time, we (i) used the stochastic impacts of regression on population, affluence, and technology (STIRPAT) model to investigate the EKC relationship; (ii) performed a comprehensive analysis of the effects of sociodemographic factors on plastic pollution; and (iii) used a panel dataset of 128 countries for empirical analyses. The STIRPAT model was used to conduct scenario analyses to explore the impacts of sociodemographic driving forces on future plastic pollution by 2050 on a national (217 countries) and global scale. The empirical results confirmed the EKC relationship and revealed that changes in population structure and urbanization could substantially affect plastic pollution. Global plastic pollution was projected to reach 66.1 MT/y by 2050 under the business-as-usual scenario. Low-income countries and sub-Saharan Africa are projected to become major contributors to plastic pollution, leading to a global trend of increasing plastic pollution. These findings will help policymakers identify targets to effectively reduce future global plastic pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pollution Prevention, Mitigation and Sustainability)
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20 pages, 2683 KiB  
Article
Valorisation of Forest and Agriculture Residual Biomass—The Application of Life Cycle Assessment to Analyse Composting, Mulching, and Energetic Valorisation Strategies
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020630 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 513
Abstract
The treatment of agricultural and forest residues (AFRs) has become an important issue nowadays, both to avoid improper management and for their enhancement. In the study area of Viseu (Portugal), the AFRs are taken to a Residual Biomass Collection Centre. These are valorised [...] Read more.
The treatment of agricultural and forest residues (AFRs) has become an important issue nowadays, both to avoid improper management and for their enhancement. In the study area of Viseu (Portugal), the AFRs are taken to a Residual Biomass Collection Centre. These are valorised in a Biomass Power Plant to produce electricity. Two further processes could be implemented to valorise this biomass: mulching and composting. This study aims to understand the best strategy to enhance this type of biomass residual considering their environmental performance. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was applied considering a cradle-to-grave approach. Different processes of all the technologies were analysed, and the data collected enabled a comparison of 11 environmental impact categories. The results show that composting is the best alternative, except for global warming and ozone layer depletion, and energy valorisation has the greatest impact on five of the considered categories. In the three processes, impacts are mainly associated with the production and shredding phases of the residual biomass, rather than the transportation stages, due to the short distances covered. In all cases, the value of the final product generates market consequences in terms of electricity and fertiliser production. In line with the aim of the study, its outcomes may provide scientific support to local decision makers in defining best practices in the management of the AFRs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biosustainability and Waste Valorization)
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23 pages, 5952 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Intra-Field Spatial Variability for Nutrient Management Zone Delineation through Geospatial Techniques and Multivariate Analysis
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020645 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 557
Abstract
This research study underscores the importance of effectively managing soil nutrients in a site-specific manner to enhance crop productivity while considering the spatial variability of the soil. The objective is to identify subfields with similar soil characteristics, referred to as management zones (MZs), [...] Read more.
This research study underscores the importance of effectively managing soil nutrients in a site-specific manner to enhance crop productivity while considering the spatial variability of the soil. The objective is to identify subfields with similar soil characteristics, referred to as management zones (MZs), to promote sustainable land utilization. This study was conducted in two central pivot fields located in Southern Idaho, USA, where barley and sugar beets were grown. Soil samples were collected from each field in a grid pattern and analyzed for various chemical properties. These properties included soil pH, organic matter, cation exchange capacity, excess lime, electrical conductivity, total inorganic nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, copper, and boron. Descriptive statistics and normality assessments were performed, and the coefficient of variation was calculated to assess the heterogeneity of soil properties, revealing significant variability. To determine the spatial variability of soil properties, ordinary kriging was used revealing diverse spatial patterns for each location and soil variable examined with moderate to strong spatial dependence. To develop the MZs, a combination of principal component analysis and fuzzy k-means clustering was utilized, and specific parameters that represented the overall variability of soil properties in each field were identified. Based on the identified parameters, two clusters were created in each field. The first management zone (MZ1) exhibited lower values of soil pH, excess lime content, and electrical conductivity compared to the MZ2. Consequently, higher crop productivity was observed in MZ1 in both fields. The biomass yields of barley and sugar beets in MZ1 surpassed those in MZ2. This study highlights the effectiveness of the methodology employed to delineate MZs, which can be instrumental in precise soil nutrient management and maximizing crop productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil Conservation and Sustainability)
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15 pages, 2792 KiB  
Article
Impact of Autonomous Vehicles on Traffic Flow in Rural and Urban Areas Using a Traffic Flow Simulator
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 658; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020658 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 569
Abstract
Autonomous vehicles have the potential to significantly improve modes of transportation, and many businesses and research facilities are developing such systems. Although there are studies on the social implementation of autonomous vehicles, these studies are based on limited conditions such as predetermined driving [...] Read more.
Autonomous vehicles have the potential to significantly improve modes of transportation, and many businesses and research facilities are developing such systems. Although there are studies on the social implementation of autonomous vehicles, these studies are based on limited conditions such as predetermined driving environments. Therefore, in this study, we target urban areas and rural areas, and we simulate a behavioral algorithm for autonomous vehicles being developed and owned by Kanazawa University. In this study, a traffic flow simulation system (Aimsun) was constructed to reproduce the current situation of traffic flow in the city during normal times, using data from a person-trip survey conducted by the local government. In addition, we varied the mixing rate of automated vehicles and evaluated its effect on the delay time between ODs. We assume the gradual replacement of existing vehicles by autonomous vehicles on actual road networks and for realistic traffic volumes, and we investigate their impact on traffic flow. We vary the mixing rate of autonomous vehicles into actual traffic environments, and we measure the delay in the origin-destination (OD) interval to evaluate the impact of autonomous vehicles on traffic flow. The results obtained show that as the mixing rate of autonomous vehicles increases, the delay between OD intervals increases. Then, once the mixing rate exceeds a certain value, the delay between OD intervals gradually decreased. The delay time for all vehicles slightly increases as the mixing rate of autonomous vehicles increased from 10 to 45%. When the mixing rate increased from 45 to 50%, the delay time for all vehicles decreased notably, and when the mixing rate was 50 to 100%, it remained constant. Analytical results showed that when socially implementing autonomous vehicles, their mixing rate impacts the traffic flow; thus, there is a need to determine appropriate distribution scenarios and areas for implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autonomous Vehicles and Sustainable Transportation)
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17 pages, 1301 KiB  
Article
Italian Entertainment Professionals’ Sustainable Employability: What Factors to Consider? A Network Analysis
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020663 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 526
Abstract
Sustainable employability (SE) refers to a worker’s extensive set of capabilities to make a valuable and healthy contribution over time. Due to the high fragmentation and precariousness of their working conditions, entertainment professionals’ SE is at risk. Methods: By considering valuable work, health, [...] Read more.
Sustainable employability (SE) refers to a worker’s extensive set of capabilities to make a valuable and healthy contribution over time. Due to the high fragmentation and precariousness of their working conditions, entertainment professionals’ SE is at risk. Methods: By considering valuable work, health, productivity, and long-term perspective capabilities as expressing entertainment professionals’ SE, this study explored the unique pattern of associations among entertainment professionals’ SE, conversion factors at personal (i.e., intrinsic motivation) and contextual levels (i.e., work–health balance external support and health climate, SE policies and social policies), and SE outcomes (i.e., life and job satisfaction and task performance), descriptive and network analyses were conducted in a sample of 123 Italian entertainment professionals. Results: Italian entertainment professionals’ SE was associated with factors at all levels of conversion. Conversion factors at the organizational level (i.e., SE policies and social policies) had a higher predictability (i.e., practical potential) in the SE network, compared to factors at the personal level (i.e., intrinsic motivation). Conclusion. This study added empirical evidence to SE models based on the capability approach, by showing the central role of contextual factors in the development of an extensive set of entertainment professionals’ capabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Career Development and Organizational Psychology)
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21 pages, 1426 KiB  
Article
Assessing Forest Conservation for Finland: An ARDL-Based Evaluation
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020612 - 10 Jan 2024
Viewed by 702
Abstract
Deforestation is a central topic in the ongoing environmental degradation stemming from global economic expansion and population growth. This study delved into the effects of electricity production from renewable sources, GDP per capita, and urbanization on forest area growth in Finland during the [...] Read more.
Deforestation is a central topic in the ongoing environmental degradation stemming from global economic expansion and population growth. This study delved into the effects of electricity production from renewable sources, GDP per capita, and urbanization on forest area growth in Finland during the over-three-decade research period, 1990–2022, using an Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) model. Both the ARDL bounds test and the Bayer–Hanck cointegration tests proved the existence of a long-term cointegrating relationship between the variables, and the constructed error correction model (ECM) evaluated short-term relationships. The results showed that: (i) forest area growth is positively connected with electricity production from renewable sources and urbanization; (ii) forest area growth is negatively connected with economic growth; (iii) in the short run, forest area growth is positively connected with all regressors. The utilized ARDL-ECM model, characterized by its robustness and appropriateness, validated the time-series dynamics. The obtained results were scrutinized, and their policy implications were thoroughly examined. Additionally, recommendations are provided to ensure the sustainability and success of forest conservation efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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12 pages, 5274 KiB  
Article
The High-Resolution Calibration of the Topographic Wetness Index Using PAZ Satellite Radar Data to Determine the Optimal Positions for the Placement of Smart Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in Urban Environments
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 598; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020598 - 10 Jan 2024
Viewed by 465
Abstract
This study addresses the growing interest in utilizing remote sensing tools for locating sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in urban environments. SuDS, recognized as Nature-based Solutions (NbS), play a crucial role in enhancing urban resilience against climate change. This study focuses on the calibration [...] Read more.
This study addresses the growing interest in utilizing remote sensing tools for locating sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in urban environments. SuDS, recognized as Nature-based Solutions (NbS), play a crucial role in enhancing urban resilience against climate change. This study focuses on the calibration process required to establish a correlation between the Topographic Wetness Index (TWI), derived from high-precision digital elevation models (DEMs), and soil moisture (SM) data obtained from satellite imaging. This calibration serves as a method to optimize the placement of sustainable urban drainage system vegetated techniques in urban areas. This study leveraged the exceptional resolution of PAZ satellite radar data to effectively detect variations in SM, particularly in grass-type vegetated land. The sensitivity of the X-band radar signal to moisture levels and changes in ground roughness proved valuable in tracking SM dynamics. The core of the study involved deriving the TWI from a high-resolution digital terrain model (DTM). The correlation between the TWI and SM values demonstrates robustness, with an R2 value of 0.77. These findings significantly advance the calibration of TWI values with SM measurements, enhancing their practicality in identifying areas prone to water accumulation. The study’s outcomes provide valuable insights for guiding the strategic placement of SuDS in urban environments, contributing to the effective management of water-related challenges in the face of urbanization and climate change. Full article
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16 pages, 6913 KiB  
Article
Safety Performance Assessment via Virtual Simulation of V2X Warning Triggers to Cyclists with Models Created from Real-World Testing
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 610; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020610 - 10 Jan 2024
Viewed by 530
Abstract
The overall crash statistics in the EU still show a very significant number of car–cyclist crashes. Within the Horizon 2020 project Safe-Up, countermeasures have been developed to reduce this number. One of these countermeasures involves a V2X-enhanced on-board unit for cycles, which can [...] Read more.
The overall crash statistics in the EU still show a very significant number of car–cyclist crashes. Within the Horizon 2020 project Safe-Up, countermeasures have been developed to reduce this number. One of these countermeasures involves a V2X-enhanced on-board unit for cycles, which can provide on-time warning triggers. The research assumption was based on studying the benefits of connectivity in enhancing cyclists’ safety. This study assessed the performance of this potential technology both qualitatively by analyzing volunteer feedback during physical testing and quantitatively by virtual simulations. The volunteers’ study showed positive findings on system’s safety relevance, user experience, and user acceptance. The method applied for the virtual simulation is a prospective safety performance assessment with reconstructed accident scenarios based on the GIDAS database and cyclist behavior models, obtained from physical testing. The results using a warning trigger 4 s prior to the collision showed a potential safety benefit of approximately 98%. It should be noted that this trigger time was found to be quite early in both physical testing and virtual simulation. Further research is required to evaluate the system’s performance in more complex urban scenarios, as well as to design the human–machine interaction strategies for optimal accident avoidance. Full article
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23 pages, 14337 KiB  
Article
Digital Twin of Microgrid for Predictive Power Control to Buildings
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020482 - 05 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 550
Abstract
The increased focus on sustainability in response to climate change has given rise to many new initiatives to meet the rise in building load demand. The concept of distributed energy resources (DER) and optimal control of supply to meet power demands in buildings [...] Read more.
The increased focus on sustainability in response to climate change has given rise to many new initiatives to meet the rise in building load demand. The concept of distributed energy resources (DER) and optimal control of supply to meet power demands in buildings have resulted in growing interest to adopt microgrids for a precinct or a university campus. In this paper, a model for an actual physical microgrid has been constructed in OPAL-RT for real-time simulation studies. The load demands for SIT@NYP campus and its weather data are collected to serve as input to run on the digital twin model of DERs of the microgrid. The dynamic response of the microgrid model in response to fluctuations in power generation due to intermittent solar PV generation and load demands are examined via real-time simulation studies and compared with the response of the physical assets. It is observed that the simulation results match closely to the performance of the actual physical asset. As such, the developed microgrid model offers plug-and-play capability, which will allow power providers to better plan for on-site deployment of renewable energy sources and energy storage to match the expected building energy demand. Full article
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17 pages, 11267 KiB  
Article
Measurements of Electromagnetic Radiation Propagation through Biomaterial Samples Based on Harvest Residues
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 499; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020499 - 05 Jan 2024
Viewed by 506
Abstract
The aim of this research was to determine the efficiency of electromagnetic (EM) radiation absorbers based on biomaterials from harvest residues (soybean straw, wheat straw, and clover straw) for the additional protection and/or construction of residential buildings. To determine their protective properties, the [...] Read more.
The aim of this research was to determine the efficiency of electromagnetic (EM) radiation absorbers based on biomaterials from harvest residues (soybean straw, wheat straw, and clover straw) for the additional protection and/or construction of residential buildings. To determine their protective properties, the transmission parameter S21 was measured through harvest residues in the frequency range from 300 MHz to 5 GHz. Important parameters of the tested samples included sample type, sample thickness, and humidity. The measurement results showed that the transmission parameters decreased with an increase in the sample thickness, moisture, and frequency. Regarding this type of substrate, soybean straw showed the lowest values of parameter S21 for all measurements except for the case of the highest amount of moisture (34.48%), for which clover straw showed the lowest value of the transmission parameter. The greatest reduction in the S21 transmission parameter was 43.80 dB for a soybean sample of 300 mm thickness at a frequency of 4.93 GHz. These tests were performed on samples that were not additionally structured (additives, pressing, additional shredding, etc.), so it was possible to optimize their structure and conduct further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Multidisciplinary Approach to Sustainability)
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19 pages, 5416 KiB  
Article
School Bus Lighting Effectiveness and Improvements: Results from a Driving Experiment
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020501 - 05 Jan 2024
Viewed by 474
Abstract
In Korea, drivers should come to a complete halt and proceed cautiously when encountering a school bus displaying its red warning lights and other safety features, a requirement that is often disregarded in practice. The reason for this might stem from a lack [...] Read more.
In Korea, drivers should come to a complete halt and proceed cautiously when encountering a school bus displaying its red warning lights and other safety features, a requirement that is often disregarded in practice. The reason for this might stem from a lack of awareness about the law, and we set out to investigate whether an innovative lighting system employing road projections or VMS could encourage compliance. We found that while 63% of drivers in surveys indicated they would correctly stop when approaching a stopped school bus, in driving experiments, we found that only 18% of drivers did. Our study also uncovered a knowledge gap, with just 53% to 60% of respondents correctly answering basic about the purpose of existing lighting and laws related to school buses. With on-road experiments, when we introduced road projection systems for enhanced non-connected vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, we found that understanding would increase and compliance could increase by up to 77% (from surveys) and 93% (in road tests); these findings underscore the potential of road projections or potentially VMS as effective V2V tools for enhancing road safety in proximity to school buses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Emerging Technologies and Sustainable Road Safety)
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16 pages, 2813 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Cleaning Services in Civil Environments: Microbiological and Life Cycle Analysis Comparing Conventional and Sustainable Methods
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020487 - 05 Jan 2024
Viewed by 597
Abstract
In response to the growing global concern for environmental sustainability, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study was conducted to evaluate the environmental benefits of the “Formula Servizi” GREEN protocol compared to a conventional cleaning protocol, as mandated by the updated Criteria for Environmental [...] Read more.
In response to the growing global concern for environmental sustainability, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study was conducted to evaluate the environmental benefits of the “Formula Servizi” GREEN protocol compared to a conventional cleaning protocol, as mandated by the updated Criteria for Environmental Sustainability (CAM—Criteri Ambientali Minimi) for cleaning services. The CAM, effective on 19 June 2021, requires companies to demonstrate the environmental advantages of their cleaning protocols over traditional methods. This study aligns with the new CAM guidelines and employs UNI EN ISO 14040–14044 technical standards for a comprehensive comparative analysis. The study highlights the significance of maintaining hygiene to ensure safety in various contexts, emphasizing the importance of environmental sampling and monitoring to prevent contamination and infection transmission. Despite the complexity and expenses associated with microbiological monitoring, this research affirms its crucial role in validating cleaning procedures, particularly in healthcare facilities, food service areas, and industrial settings. The findings reveal that both the “Traditional” and “GREEN” cleaning protocols demonstrate satisfactory effectiveness in controlling microbiological contamination according to established guidelines. Moreover, the LCA results indicate that the “GREEN” protocol, while exhibiting higher water consumption and wastewater treatment, showcases a strategic use of more sustainable cleaning and laundry detergents. Despite the increased water usage in certain phases, the significantly lower environmental impact per unit of weight demonstrates the potential for optimizing both environmental sustainability and operational efficiency in future Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) endeavors. The comparative LCA further reveals that the “GREEN” protocol enables an annual avoidance of 260 g of CO2-e emissions per square meter of cleaned surface. The most significant reduction in absolute terms is associated with the use of eco-labeled detergents in the laundry system, resulting in the avoidance of 654.1 kg of CO2-e per year of service (−77% compared to traditional laundry detergents). Full article
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22 pages, 708 KiB  
Article
Promoting Sustainable Transportation: A Transtheoretical Examination of Active Transport Modes
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020472 - 05 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 743
Abstract
The use and promotion of active transportation has been scientifically proven to play a fundamental role in influencing global sustainable development goals. Despite increased recognition, there is a notable gap in understanding how to effectively transition the general population from convenience-oriented transport to [...] Read more.
The use and promotion of active transportation has been scientifically proven to play a fundamental role in influencing global sustainable development goals. Despite increased recognition, there is a notable gap in understanding how to effectively transition the general population from convenience-oriented transport to embracing active modes. The application of the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) in understanding the utilization of active transport modes is currently constrained. The first aim is to include measuring the readiness to change in the use of active transport modes to increase physical activity (PA) using a continuous measure (i.e., University of Rhode Island Change Assessment, URICA). A second aim is to determine whether the decisional balance (perception of pros and cons) and self-efficacy increase as respondents progress through the stages of change as well as with the increase in self-reported active transport use. In total, 260 university students and staff filled out an online survey containing self-reported use of active transport modes and TTM constructs. The results suggest that URICA successfully identifies five stages of change. The decision balance and self-efficacy of the behaviour increase as individuals progress through the stages. The same is also true for the use of active transport modes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavioural Approaches to Promoting Sustainable Transport Systems)
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15 pages, 1171 KiB  
Article
Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Silage Maize in Relation to Regenerative Agriculture
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020481 - 05 Jan 2024
Viewed by 671
Abstract
The demand for agricultural products is growing and is resulting in significant environmental impacts due to the overuse of fertilizers (and pesticides in some cases). There is a continued need to find sustainable methods in agricultural systems without harming the environment. Regenerative agriculture [...] Read more.
The demand for agricultural products is growing and is resulting in significant environmental impacts due to the overuse of fertilizers (and pesticides in some cases). There is a continued need to find sustainable methods in agricultural systems without harming the environment. Regenerative agriculture can be considered as one of the best methods of sustainable agriculture. The aim of this comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) study was to quantify the environmental impacts associated with the production of silage maize at different doses of fertilizers and pesticides under conventional agriculture and without the use of fertilizers and pesticides under regenerative agriculture. The input data were obtained from the experimental fields and supplemented by background process databases of Ecoinvent, World Food Live Cycle Assessment Database (WFLCD), and the French database AGRIBALYSE. The results of the study were related to six midpoint impact categories: global warming, marine eutrophication, freshwater eutrophication, freshwater ecotoxicity, marine ecotoxicity, and terrestrial ecotoxicity. Although the variant of growing silage maize without the use of fertilizers and pesticides according to the principle of regenerative agriculture showed the lowest burden on the environment, the yields of the cultivated silage maize were 43–55% lower than those of the fertilized variants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Agricultural Crop Production)
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22 pages, 3233 KiB  
Article
Let’s Do It for Real: Making the Ecosystem Service Concept Operational in Regional Planning for Climate Change Adaptation
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020483 - 05 Jan 2024
Viewed by 825
Abstract
The application of ecosystem service (ES) knowledge to planning processes and decision-making can lead to more effective climate change adaptation. Despite the increased attention given to the ES concept, its degree of integration and use in spatial planning processes are still below the [...] Read more.
The application of ecosystem service (ES) knowledge to planning processes and decision-making can lead to more effective climate change adaptation. Despite the increased attention given to the ES concept, its degree of integration and use in spatial planning processes are still below the expectations of those who are promoting this concept. Barriers hindering its operationalisation cover a span of aspects ranging from theoretical to procedural and methodological issues. Overall, there is a general lack of guidance on how and at what point ES knowledge should be integrated into planning processes. This study aims to promote the inclusion of ES knowledge into spatial planning practices and decision-making processes to enhance climate change adaptation. A replicable GIS-based methodology is proposed. First, the potential supply of ESs that can support climate change adaptation (ESCCAs) is defined, mapped, and quantified. Then, a need for an ESCCA supply is identified, and territorial capacities to respond to the expected climate change impacts on natural and socio-economic sectors are assessed. The methodology is applied to the Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region (Italy) as an illustrative case study. The results reveal that areas with similar geomorphological characteristics tend to respond similarly. Forest ecosystems, inland wetlands and specifically salt marshes can potentially supply a greater variety of ESCCAs. In the case study area, about 62% of the supplied ESCCAs can contribute to reducing the impacts in more than 50% of the impacted sectors. The territory of the study site generally shows good preparedness for expected impacts in most of the analysed sectors; less prepared areas are characterised by agricultural ecosystems. This reading approach based on land cover analyses can thus assist in developing policies to enhance different territorial capacities, ultimately leading to better and more sustainable decision-making. Full article
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26 pages, 5539 KiB  
Article
Stakeholder-Driven Policies and Scenarios of Land System Change and Environmental Impacts: A Case Study of Owyhee County, Idaho, United States
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010467 - 04 Jan 2024
Viewed by 598
Abstract
While stakeholder-driven approaches have been increasingly used in scenario modeling, previous studies have mostly focused on the qualitative elements, e.g., narratives and policy documents, from the stakeholders, but lack engagement of stakeholders with quantitative inputs. In this study, we conducted workshops with a [...] Read more.
While stakeholder-driven approaches have been increasingly used in scenario modeling, previous studies have mostly focused on the qualitative elements, e.g., narratives and policy documents, from the stakeholders, but lack engagement of stakeholders with quantitative inputs. In this study, we conducted workshops with a stakeholder group to integrate the participatory mapping of future policies in the simulation, and to compare the environmental impacts after including the participatory mapping. A land system change model named CLUMondo was used to simulate four scenarios, i.e., Business-As-Usual (BAU), Destroying Resources in Owyhee (DRO), Ecological Conservation (EC), and Managed Recreation (MR), in Owyhee County, Idaho, United States. The InVEST models were used to assess water yield, soil erosion, and wildlife habitat under the four scenarios. The results show that the DRO scenario would decrease shrubland and increased grassland, thus leading to less water yield, more soil erosion, and deteriorated wildlife habitat anticipated through to 2050. On the contrary, the EC and MR scenarios reverse the trend and would improve these ecosystem services over the same time horizon. The stakeholder-driven policies appear to influence the spatial distribution of the land system and ecosystem services. The results help to reach a nuanced understanding of the stakeholder-driven scenarios and highlight the importance of engaging stakeholders in scenario modeling and environmental impact analysis. Full article
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13 pages, 1757 KiB  
Article
The Optimisation of Storage Conditions for Pomegranate Juice during Its Maritime Transport
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010375 - 31 Dec 2023
Viewed by 626
Abstract
It is estimated that the transport of plant-based food may be responsible for 50% of total CO2 emissions. The situation becomes highly unfavourable when the transported cargo deteriorates. Therefore, the optimisation of storage conditions during transport is a part of the concept [...] Read more.
It is estimated that the transport of plant-based food may be responsible for 50% of total CO2 emissions. The situation becomes highly unfavourable when the transported cargo deteriorates. Therefore, the optimisation of storage conditions during transport is a part of the concept of reducing food loss and waste. Moreover, it is an essential element of sustainable development. This study aimed to compare the stability of selected quality parameters of pomegranate juice under simulated conditions imitating maritime transport. The content of polyphenols and the ability to reduce free radicals were considered the critical quality parameters of this juice. The Folin–Ciocalteu method (polyphenols content) and the Brand-Williams method (ability to reduce free radicals) were used during the study. The simulation of maritime transport conditions consisted of different juice storage conditions. The differentiation was conducted regarding temperature, type of gas that filled the packaging, and mixing related to the ship’s motions during transport. The highest quality of pomegranate juice was ensured by modifying the atmosphere with nitrogen and lowering the temperature. It is also important that mixing the juice does not reduce its quality but stabilises it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Multidisciplinary Approach to Sustainability)
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20 pages, 1713 KiB  
Review
An Advanced Driver Information System at Critical Points in the Multimodal Traffic Network
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010372 - 31 Dec 2023
Viewed by 643
Abstract
Enhancing traffic safety is one of the fundamental objectives of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), and it aligns closely with the principles of sustainable transport. Due to specific differences in infrastructure, vehicles, and users’ behavior, places where different modes of traffic intersect are recognized [...] Read more.
Enhancing traffic safety is one of the fundamental objectives of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), and it aligns closely with the principles of sustainable transport. Due to specific differences in infrastructure, vehicles, and users’ behavior, places where different modes of traffic intersect are recognized as critical points of the traffic system, making them crucial areas for the implementation of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs). The SUMPs aim to create urban mobility that is both environmentally friendly and safe for all users. The continuous development and widespread adoption of innovative ITS technologies have paved the way for a system that can provide drivers with real-time information about both immediate and potential dangers at these critical points. This paper presents a comprehensive review of prior research conducted in the field, investigating the impact of information systems on drivers’ behavior, various detection and communication solutions that can be effectively integrated into such a system, and a brief overview of the models and solutions that have been developed to warn drivers in a similar context. A review of the literature found that warning systems have a significant impact on driver behavior, which contributes to increased traffic safety. Furthermore, there are numerous solutions applicable to a multimodal environment. Yet, they mostly refer either to autonomous vehicles or require an additional unit of infrastructure for communication, which is not realistically applicable to the current state of traffic in most countries of the world. This paper proposes a system architecture framework for future research that would take advantage of widely available technologies and make the system accessible to different users in a multimodal environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Open Urban Mobility for Efficient and Sustainable Transport)
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24 pages, 13594 KiB  
Article
Enhancing the Fuel Properties of Spent Coffee Grounds through Hydrothermal Carbonization: Output Prediction and Post-Treatment Approaches
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010338 - 29 Dec 2023
Viewed by 891
Abstract
The reuse potential for the large annual production of spent coffee grounds (SCGs) is underexploited in most world regions. Hydrochars from SCGs produced via hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) have been recognized as a promising solid fuel alternative. To increase demand, optimization of the HTC [...] Read more.
The reuse potential for the large annual production of spent coffee grounds (SCGs) is underexploited in most world regions. Hydrochars from SCGs produced via hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) have been recognized as a promising solid fuel alternative. To increase demand, optimization of the HTC and two post-treatment processes, washing and agglomeration, were studied to improve hydrochar in terms of energetic properties, minimizing unwanted substances, and better handling. HTC experiments at three scales (1–18.75 L) and varying process conditions (temperature T (160–250 °C), reaction time t (1–5 h), and solid content %So (6–20%) showed that the higher heating value (HHV) can be improved by up to 46%, and most potential emissions of trace elements from combustion reduced (up to 90%). The HTC outputs (solid yield—SY, HHV, energy yield—EY) were modeled and compared to published genetic programming (GP) models. Both model types predicted the three outputs with low error (<15%) and can be used for process optimization. The efficiency of water washing depended on the HTC process temperature and type of aromatics produced. The furanic compounds were removed (69–100%; 160 °C), while only 34% of the phenolic compounds (240 °C) were washed out. Agglomeration of both wet SCG and its hydrochar is feasible; however, the finer particles of washed hydrochar (240 °C) resulted in larger-sized spherical pellets (85% > 2000–4000 µm) compared to SCGs (only 4%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agro-Industrial Residues Treatment, Recycling, and Reuse)
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15 pages, 3528 KiB  
Article
Electrochemical Recovery of Phosphorus from Simulated and Real Wastewater: Effect of Investigational Conditions on the Process Efficiency
Sustainability 2023, 15(24), 16556; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152416556 - 05 Dec 2023
Viewed by 915
Abstract
The development of recovery processes has become essential in recent years as a strategy to minimize environmental pollution while boosting circular economy and sustainable development. Due to the exponential growth in agricultural production and the increased pollution of waterbodies, the production of fertilizers [...] Read more.
The development of recovery processes has become essential in recent years as a strategy to minimize environmental pollution while boosting circular economy and sustainable development. Due to the exponential growth in agricultural production and the increased pollution of waterbodies, the production of fertilizers from recovered phosphorus has become an alternative to phosphate rock-based production. In this work, the effect of different operational parameters in the efficiency of the electrochemical recovery of phosphorus, from organic and inorganic sources, was investigated. Among the studied variables, the most significant was the electrode material utilized in the system. The use of magnesium sacrificial electrodes, as AZ31 alloys, led to phosphorus removal from solution of above 90%, allowing the recovery of both orthophosphates and organic phosphorus (glyphosate) as struvite, brucite, and other amorphous compounds. Since there is a lack in the literature about the use of magnesium electrodes in real wastewater electrochemical treatment, system efficiency was also evaluated using a sanitary landfill leachate, reaching 96% of phosphorus recovery. The specific energy consumption and faradaic efficiency of the phosphorus recovery process were also assessed. Full article
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16 pages, 1118 KiB  
Article
Simulating the Impact of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act on State-Level CO2 Emissions: An Integrated Assessment Model Approach
Sustainability 2023, 15(24), 16562; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152416562 - 05 Dec 2023
Viewed by 945
Abstract
Climate change mitigation measures are often projected to reduce anthropogenic carbon dioxide concentrations. Yet, it seems there is ample evidence suggesting that we have a limited understanding of the impacts of these measures and their combinations. For example, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) [...] Read more.
Climate change mitigation measures are often projected to reduce anthropogenic carbon dioxide concentrations. Yet, it seems there is ample evidence suggesting that we have a limited understanding of the impacts of these measures and their combinations. For example, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) enacted in the U.S. in 2022 contains significant provisions, such as the electric vehicle (EV) tax credits, to reduce CO2 emissions. However, the impact of such provisions is not fully understood across the U.S., particularly in the context of their interactions with other macroeconomic systems. In this paper, we employ an Integrated Assessment Model (IAM), the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), to estimate the future CO2 emissions in the U.S. GCAM is equipped to comprehensively characterize the interactions among different systems, e.g., energy, water, land use, and transportation. Thus, the use of GCAM-USA that has U.S. state-level resolution allows the projection of the impacts and consequences of major provisions in the IRA, i.e., EV tax credits and clean energy incentives. To compare the performance of these incentives and credits, a policy effectiveness index is used to evaluate the strength of the relationship between the achieved total CO2 emissions and the overarching emission reduction costs. Our results show that the EV tax credits as stipulated in the IRA can only marginally reduce carbon emissions across the U.S. In fact, it may lead to negative impacts in some states. However, simultaneously combining the incentives and tax credits improves performance and outcomes better than the sum of the individual effects of the policies. This demonstrates that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts in this decarbonization approach. Our findings provide insights for policymakers with a recommendation that combining EV tax credits with clean energy incentives magnifies the intended impact of emission reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Energy, Economic Growth and Environmental Quality Nexus)
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16 pages, 1069 KiB  
Article
The Longitudinal Effect of Digitally Administered Feedback on the Eco-Driving Behavior of Company Car Drivers
Sustainability 2023, 15(24), 16571; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152416571 - 05 Dec 2023
Viewed by 701
Abstract
In the global fight against climate change, stimulating eco-driving could contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Company car drivers are a main target in this challenge as they represent a significant market share and are typically not motivated financially to drive [...] Read more.
In the global fight against climate change, stimulating eco-driving could contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Company car drivers are a main target in this challenge as they represent a significant market share and are typically not motivated financially to drive more fuel efficiently (and thus more eco-friendly). As this target group has received little previous research attention, we examine whether digitally administered feedback and coaching systems can trigger such company car owners to drive eco-friendly. We do so by using respondents (employees of a financial services company (N = 327)) that voluntarily have a digital device (‘dongle’) installed in their company car, which monitors and records driving behavior-related variables. In a longitudinal real-life field study, we communicate eco-driving recommendations (e.g., avoid harsh braking, accelerate gently, etc.) to the respondent drivers via a digital (computer) interface. Over a 21-week time frame (one block of seven weeks before the intervention, seven weeks of intervention, and seven weeks after the intervention), we test whether eco-driving recommendations in combination with personalized, graphical ‘eco-score index evolution’ feedback increase eco-driving behavior. We also experimentally evaluate the impact of adding social comparison elements to the feedback (e.g., providing feedback on a person’s eco-driving performance compared to that of the same car brand users). Structural Equation Modeling (in MPlus 8.4) is used to analyze data. Our results show that digitally administered personal performance feedback increases eco-driving behavior both during and after the feedback intervention. However, we do not observe increased effects when social comparison information is added to the feedback. As this latter element is surprising, we conclude with a reflection on possible explanations and suggest areas for future research. We contribute to the sustainable eco-driving literature by researching an understudied group: company car drivers. More specifically, we contribute by demonstrating the effectiveness of digitally administered personal performance feedback on eco-driving for this group and by observing and reflecting on the (in)effectiveness of feedback containing social comparison information. Full article
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26 pages, 7463 KiB  
Article
Energy and Business Synergy: Leveraging Biogenic Resources from Agriculture, Waste, and Wastewater in German Rural Areas
Sustainability 2023, 15(24), 16573; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152416573 - 05 Dec 2023
Viewed by 612
Abstract
The imperative to transform current energy provisions is widely acknowledged. However, scant attention has hitherto been directed toward rural municipalities and their innate resources, notably biogenic resources. In this paper, a methodological framework is developed to interconnect resources from waste, wastewater, and agricultural [...] Read more.
The imperative to transform current energy provisions is widely acknowledged. However, scant attention has hitherto been directed toward rural municipalities and their innate resources, notably biogenic resources. In this paper, a methodological framework is developed to interconnect resources from waste, wastewater, and agricultural domains for energy utilization. This entails cataloging existing resources, delineating their potential via quantitative assessments utilizing diverse technologies, and encapsulating them in a conceptual model. The formulated models underwent iterative evaluation with engagement from diverse stakeholders. Consequently, 3 main concepts, complemented by 72 sub-concepts, were delineated, all fostering positive contributions to climate protection and providing heat supply in the rural study area. The outcomes’ replicability is underscored by the study area’s generic structure and the employed methodology. Through these inquiries, a framework for the requisite energy transition, with a pronounced emphasis on the coupling of waste, wastewater, and agriculture sectors in rural environments, is robustly analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biomass Transformation: Sustainable Development)
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19 pages, 2979 KiB  
Article
Green Chemistry in Medical Applications: Preliminary Assessment of Kuzu Starch Films with Plant-Based Antiseptics
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16541; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316541 - 04 Dec 2023
Viewed by 729
Abstract
The current state of the natural environment requires medical products, including dressings, to be manufactured in accordance with the principles of a sustainable economy. This assumption is perfectly met by dressings made of renewable materials and additionally filled with natural antiseptics. The use [...] Read more.
The current state of the natural environment requires medical products, including dressings, to be manufactured in accordance with the principles of a sustainable economy. This assumption is perfectly met by dressings made of renewable materials and additionally filled with natural antiseptics. The use of such plant compounds is consistent with the principles of green chemistry. In this work, films based on Kuzu starch with rooibos extract and chili pepper oil extract were prepared and tested. Starch foil with silver nanoparticles and foil without additives were used as a comparative material. The chemical structures (ATR-FTIR) of the materials obtained, their thermal (DSC) and mechanical properties (tensile strength, hardness), density, swelling, water vapor permeability, water solubility, and effects on bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923 and Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 were examined. The Kuzu rooibos film had the lowest antimicrobial activity. At the same time, it was the most flexible foil and was characterized by having the best water vapor permeability and water absorption capacity. The starch film with chili extract was the weakest mechanically speaking, but it significantly inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923 bacteria at a level similar to that of the film with silver nanoparticles. The preliminary tests carried out on the properties of Kuzu starch films with plant extracts from rooibos tea and chili peppers indicate that they may be suitable for further research on dressing materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Advanced Material)
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19 pages, 4057 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Groves on Aboveground Arthropod Diversity and Evolution in a Vineyard in Southern Romania
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16543; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316543 - 04 Dec 2023
Viewed by 580
Abstract
This paper investigates the biodiversity of adult arthropods in two grapevine plantations influenced by two adjacent groves over a three-year period (2020–2022) in the viticultural center of Stefănești Argeș, located in southern Romania. The study holds significant implications for introducing parasitoid/predatory insect species [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the biodiversity of adult arthropods in two grapevine plantations influenced by two adjacent groves over a three-year period (2020–2022) in the viticultural center of Stefănești Argeș, located in southern Romania. The study holds significant implications for introducing parasitoid/predatory insect species into vineyards to control grapevine pests. A total of 164 arthropod species were identified, including 27 beneficial species. Additionally, two moth species, Lobesia botrana and Sparganothis pilleriana, were identified. L. botrana was consistently observed throughout the study, while S. pilleriana was only observed in 2022. The research reveals that the location with the highest number of identified species was in a grove near a black field, with 103 species. Other areas with notable species diversity included a vineyard maintained as a black field (89 species), a grove near permanent natural grassland (88 species), and a vineyard with intervals between rows of grapevines maintained as natural permanent grassland (81 species). Introducing beneficial organisms, such as the predator Crysoperla carnea, is recommended to control grapevine moths in this ecosystem. Full article
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15 pages, 4079 KiB  
Article
A Wind Power Scenario Generation Method Based on Copula Functions and Forecast Errors
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16536; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316536 - 04 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 552
Abstract
The scenario of renewable energy generation significantly affects the probabilistic distribution system analysis. To reflect the probabilistic characteristics of actual data, this paper proposed a scenario generation method that can reflect the spatiotemporal characteristics of wind power generation and the probabilistic characteristics of [...] Read more.
The scenario of renewable energy generation significantly affects the probabilistic distribution system analysis. To reflect the probabilistic characteristics of actual data, this paper proposed a scenario generation method that can reflect the spatiotemporal characteristics of wind power generation and the probabilistic characteristics of forecast errors. The scenario generation method consists of a process of sampling random numbers and a process of inverse sampling using the cumulative distribution function. In sampling random numbers, random numbers that mimic the spatiotemporal correlation of power generation were generated using the copula function. Furthermore, the cumulative distribution functions of forecast errors according to power generation bins were used, thereby reflecting the probabilistic characteristics of forecast errors. The wind power generation scenarios in Jeju Island, generated by the proposed method, were analyzed through various indices that can assess accuracy. As a result, it was confirmed that by using the proposed scenario generation method, scenarios similar to actual data can be generated, which in turn allows for preparation of situations with a high probability of occurrence within the distribution system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management and Design of Renewable Power Systems)
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15 pages, 308 KiB  
Article
Deconstructing and Reconstructing the Theoretical Basis of the Ecological Scarcity Method
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16515; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316515 - 03 Dec 2023
Viewed by 576
Abstract
The ecological scarcity method (ESM) is a widely used system for assessing the environmental impact of pollutant emissions and resource extractions in the context of life cycle assessment (LCA). Its mathematical principles have been described in various reports, but not in scientific journals, [...] Read more.
The ecological scarcity method (ESM) is a widely used system for assessing the environmental impact of pollutant emissions and resource extractions in the context of life cycle assessment (LCA). Its mathematical principles have been described in various reports, but not in scientific journals, which typically only quote the ESM or challenge the numerical values of the targets. It is, therefore, appropriate to carefully dissect the method and critically reassemble the resulting fragments. Our analysis introduces a substantial number of modifications, in terms of overall formulation, detail and interpretation, while it respects most of the existing numbers and is still applicable to the full range of pollutants and resources. It also yields the conclusion that, although the developers of ESM have tried to align the approach with the ISO 14040/14044 standards for LCA, this attempt has been less successful than foreseen. We finally conclude that the reference to ESM as a “distance-to-target” method further obscures the interpretation of the method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Products and Services)
24 pages, 5386 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Changing Socioeconomic Conditions in Europe on the Prioritisation of Risks in Travel Behaviour: A Case Study
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16518; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316518 - 03 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 721
Abstract
Pandemics, political instability, social conflict and unrest, the economic crisis resulting from changes in energy supply contracts, terrorism, and civil and international wars exert a negative impact on the lives of millions of people. These events undermine economic and social stability, and they [...] Read more.
Pandemics, political instability, social conflict and unrest, the economic crisis resulting from changes in energy supply contracts, terrorism, and civil and international wars exert a negative impact on the lives of millions of people. These events undermine economic and social stability, and they affect travel behaviour (TB). Understanding preferences in travel behaviour is essential for designing effective and sustainable transport systems. Agenda 2030 (the global sustainable development strategy) assigns a central role to mobility and transport in sustainable development and its components: economic, social, and environmental. Relevant research is scarce, which is why potential threats, including changes in socioeconomic factors that affect TB in functional urban areas (FUAs), should be identified and prioritised. The main aim of this study was to determine changes in the prioritisation of threats to TB resulting from the socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the energy crisis in Europe. The study involved an analysis of the literature, a comprehensive classification of potential threats that could impact TB, as well as an expert survey. The results of these analyses were used to develop a list of 46 factors that were grouped into six categories of key threats: social, economic, legal, infrastructural, technological/SMART, and environmental. The level of significance, similarities, and differences in the prioritisation of threats during the COVID-19 pandemic and the energy crisis after the outbreak of the military conflict in Ukraine (duration and range) were compared across 22 European countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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18 pages, 13681 KiB  
Article
Detecting Urban Sprawl through Nighttime Light Changes
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16506; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316506 - 02 Dec 2023
Viewed by 732
Abstract
Numerous cities around the world are currently experiencing surges in population growth and urban expansion, often accompanied by uncontrolled sprawl. It is widely recognized that unplanned urban development contributes to a decline in urban sustainability. In this research, our goal is to identify [...] Read more.
Numerous cities around the world are currently experiencing surges in population growth and urban expansion, often accompanied by uncontrolled sprawl. It is widely recognized that unplanned urban development contributes to a decline in urban sustainability. In this research, our goal is to identify instances of sprawl development in the Kansai region of Japan by utilizing remote sensing data. As a result, we have discovered that nighttime light data are valuable for gaining additional insights into sprawl, even when time-series land-use data and spatial population data are available. Specifically, when comparing the changes in these indices between circa 2010 and 2020, it becomes evident that these indices exhibit very weak correlations. Consequently, they can be used as independent variables for identifying urban sprawl. Each index comes with its own advantages and disadvantages in the context of urban sprawl detection. Therefore, we can conclude that a combination of multiple data sources is necessary for a comprehensive determination and detection of urban sprawl. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sprawl and Sustainable Land Use Planning)
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29 pages, 3880 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Social Recognition on Support for Climate Change Mitigation Measures
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16486; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316486 - 01 Dec 2023
Viewed by 666
Abstract
Social recognition is introduced as an explanatory factor for support for climate change mitigation measures to complement already existing research. Drawing on social identity theory, it is established that respect emanating from being part of a generation and social class increases support for [...] Read more.
Social recognition is introduced as an explanatory factor for support for climate change mitigation measures to complement already existing research. Drawing on social identity theory, it is established that respect emanating from being part of a generation and social class increases support for climate policies through positive influence on self-assessed financial situation, trust in political institutions, generalized trust, and solidarity. Considering the costs and benefits of climate policies, it is assumed that the importance of respect varies between generations and social classes. Analyses are based on data which were collected via online survey (n = 3046) in September and October 2022 that are representative of the German resident population. Results from linear regressions and structural equation modeling corroborate that the influence of social recognition varies between generations and that it operates through the suggested mechanisms. The most important of these mechanisms is the strengthening of solidarity and trust in political institutions by social recognition. Full article
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20 pages, 13368 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Hierarchical Diversity of Public Transportation Considering Connectivity and Its Implication on Regional Sustainability
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16494; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316494 - 01 Dec 2023
Viewed by 707
Abstract
Given a decreasing and aging population, there is a growing need to establish convenient public transportation systems that offer a variety of transportation modes seamlessly connected to one another. This study attempts to develop an index to assess the hierarchical diversity of public [...] Read more.
Given a decreasing and aging population, there is a growing need to establish convenient public transportation systems that offer a variety of transportation modes seamlessly connected to one another. This study attempts to develop an index to assess the hierarchical diversity of public transportation, drawing an analogy between public transportation networks and ecosystems. By considering both hierarchical (meta-physical) and physical connections among respective modes, which are aspects that have not been addressed in previous studies, this study aims to enhance the spatial resolution of the analysis units in the index. The diversity indices were applied to the northern Osaka area in Japan as the study site. The results show a correlation between the diversity index, population, and public transportation modal share. We then discuss the influence of hierarchical diversity on the sustainability of public transportation systems and regional development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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26 pages, 11271 KiB  
Article
Prospective Evaluation of the Public Transport System in the Petrosani Basin
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16481; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316481 - 01 Dec 2023
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Public transport is one of the most important functions of a city, which can have a major impact on the elements that support sustainable development: society, the environment and the economy. In order for residents and tourists of the Petrosani Basin to benefit [...] Read more.
Public transport is one of the most important functions of a city, which can have a major impact on the elements that support sustainable development: society, the environment and the economy. In order for residents and tourists of the Petrosani Basin to benefit from a predictable, systematized public transport system with well-established travel times, it is necessary to analyze some current factors and trends regarding public transport in the Petrosani Basin. This prospective study confirms that the use of the public transport system in the Petrosani Basin is decreasing, a decrease mainly associated with the lack of spatial accessibility, comfort and safety for passengers (inappropriate stations, the lack of air conditioning in means of transport, the lack of a modern fare system, the lack of means of information in the stations, etc.) but also with the change in people’s attitudes imposed by the protective measures taken as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. However, it should be noted that the public transport system in the Petrosani Basin is strongly influenced by the geographical characteristics of the Petrosani Basin, by the sharp decrease in the population (a negative natural increase and a reduction in the school population) and by the increase in the number of private cars. Full article
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22 pages, 7592 KiB  
Article
Coated Paper-Based Packaging Waste: Investigation on Sensorial Properties Affecting the Material Class Perception
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16474; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316474 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 670
Abstract
Packaging waste correct sorting hugely impacts fiber-based packaging circularity. Currently, this is more crucial than ever, also due to the increased market share of fiber-based packaging. This study evaluated the relationship between the aesthetic properties and user material sorting actions of lightweight dispersion-coated [...] Read more.
Packaging waste correct sorting hugely impacts fiber-based packaging circularity. Currently, this is more crucial than ever, also due to the increased market share of fiber-based packaging. This study evaluated the relationship between the aesthetic properties and user material sorting actions of lightweight dispersion-coated and uncoated paper substrates. Unlike previous literature, no labeling or graphics were involved in this study, focusing on the physical and aesthetic properties of both coatings and substrates. Untrained panelists participated in a multi-phase (descriptive and hedonic) analysis involving a questionnaire and antonym scales about samples’ visual and tactile properties, which were also characterized. The results highlight a remarkable panelist’s ability to assess the relative gloss and roughness. Perceived roughness and mattness statistically significantly correlated to cellulosic material identification. Moreover, material sorting into the paper recycling stream was statistically significantly regulated by sample mattness, followed by sample roughness. This work suggests that, without any graphic or textual information, the combination of substrate characteristics and coating formulation strongly impacts the packaging aesthetics, hence packaging perception as paper-based material. Consequently, the correct material identification and sorting can be encouraged by proper packaging materials selection and coating development. Full article
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14 pages, 3072 KiB  
Article
Potential Impact of Urban Land Use on Microplastic Atmospheric Deposition: A Case Study in Pristina City, Kosovo
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16464; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316464 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 619
Abstract
Microplastics (MPs) pervade various ecosystems, including urban landscapes. The aim of this study was to determine whether the presence of MPs in atmospheric deposition samples is related to land use. For this purpose, atmospheric deposition was collected from 15 to 25 March 2021 [...] Read more.
Microplastics (MPs) pervade various ecosystems, including urban landscapes. The aim of this study was to determine whether the presence of MPs in atmospheric deposition samples is related to land use. For this purpose, atmospheric deposition was collected from 15 to 25 March 2021 at seven research sites in the city of Pristina (Kosovo). Each research site was characterized by different land use. Collected atmospheric deposition samples were analyzed in the laboratory, and then the filtered samples were assessed using a light microscope. The type and size of microplastics in the samples were defined and statistically analyzed. The highest number of total MPs was noted on the highway, while the lowest one was near to the park. A positive relationship was observed between the number of total MPs and the proportion of areas classified as “roads and associated areas” in the land use of the analyzed research sites. Furthermore, a negative relationship was found between the number of total MPs and the proportion of areas classified as “green urban areas”. Based on our preliminary research, it can be observed that the type of land use may have a key role in MPs’ atmospheric deposition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Multidisciplinary Approach to Sustainability)
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14 pages, 2101 KiB  
Article
The Future Role of Shared E-Scooters in Urban Mobility: Preliminary Findings from Portugal
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16467; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316467 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 611
Abstract
E-scooter sharing systems are a new mobility solution that is emerging in cities all throughout the world. Its rapid diffusion and disruptive nature have gained immediate attention from scholars, decision-makers, the public and the media (with strong arguments in favor of or against [...] Read more.
E-scooter sharing systems are a new mobility solution that is emerging in cities all throughout the world. Its rapid diffusion and disruptive nature have gained immediate attention from scholars, decision-makers, the public and the media (with strong arguments in favor of or against being put forward). To date, the scientific community has focused mostly on studying the determinants for adoption by end-users, the trip patterns, the safety, and the sustainability of such systems. This research work provides preliminary insights on the future role that these shared mobility systems can play in urban mobility. The study focuses on recent experiences in Portugal (more than a dozen cities and a dozen service providers) drawing on a literature review and an expert survey (N = 23) with local decision-makers, scholars, service providers and civic associations. The analysis provides a positive outlook on the future of shared e-scooters, observes that deployment has been taking place through waves of launch–test–withdraw/expand, and highlights which policies and actions should be prioritized so that these systems can make a truly significant contribution towards sustainable urban mobility and livable cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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22 pages, 3098 KiB  
Article
The End of Life of PV Systems: Is Europe Ready for It?
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16466; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316466 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1310
Abstract
Like other plants, every photovoltaic (PV) power plant will one day reach the end of its service life. Calculations show that 96,000 tons of PV module waste will be generated worldwide by 2030 and 86 million tons by 2050. Such large quantities of [...] Read more.
Like other plants, every photovoltaic (PV) power plant will one day reach the end of its service life. Calculations show that 96,000 tons of PV module waste will be generated worldwide by 2030 and 86 million tons by 2050. Such large quantities of waste can endanger the environment and people if they are not disposed of properly. This paper investigated how photovoltaic waste is currently handled, how this problem is legally regulated and to what extent reuse, recycling and disposal are represented. As recycling is the best option in terms of environmental protection and a circular economy, an overview of recycling technologies and recovery rates for the materials contained in the PV system is given. Currently, there are a small number of recycling plants for PV modules in Europe, but none in the Balkan countries. The main reason for this is the small amount of PV waste in these countries, which is far below the profitability threshold for the recycling of 19,000 t/year, and even below the reduced threshold of 9000 t/year. The analysis shows that only seven EU member states will exceed this threshold by 2040, and more than half of the EU member states will not even reach this threshold by 2050. For this reason, PV modules (after dismantling the aluminum frame and cables) are mostly disposed of in landfills in these countries. This is an indication that this problem should be seriously addressed in the EU. In this context, the main obstacles to the reuse and recycling of PV modules are listed, together with guidelines for their removal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Utilization and Sustainable Development)
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17 pages, 3034 KiB  
Article
Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Reusable and Disposable Distribution Packaging for Fresh Food
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16448; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316448 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1043
Abstract
In this study, a comparative life cycle assessment of three different products with reusable and single-use packaging for fresh food distribution was conducted. For the reusable packaging, one utilized a vacuum insulation panel (VIP) box made of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (r-PET), while the [...] Read more.
In this study, a comparative life cycle assessment of three different products with reusable and single-use packaging for fresh food distribution was conducted. For the reusable packaging, one utilized a vacuum insulation panel (VIP) box made of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (r-PET), while the other employed expanded polyethylene (EPE). For comparison, a disposable box made of widely used expanded polystyrene (EPS) was selected. We analyzed the environmental impacts of production, transportation, reprocessing (reused boxes), and disposal in 18 impact categories. As a result of analyzing the actual reuse of 300 rounds of fresh food, the cumulative global warming potential (GWP) values of the VIP and EPE box were 136.58 kg carbon dioxide (CO2) eq and 281.72 kg CO2 eq, respectively, 87% and 74% lower than those of the EPS box. Additionally, the GWP values were the same as those of the EPS boxes when the VIP and EPE boxes were reused 7 and 12 times, respectively. The best-case scenario was revealed when the reusable packaging with the r-PET VIP was compared with the EPE and EPS boxes. In conclusion, reusable packaging is expected to contribute to the reduction in the environmental burden and better suit global environmental requirements for sustainable food distribution and related industries. In addition, our findings can inform policy and industry decisions to promote more sustainable practices in the food industry, contributing to the advancement of sustainability in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Packaging Materials for Pharmaceutical and Food Products)
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27 pages, 6274 KiB  
Article
Application of the Decision-Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory Method to Assess Factors Influencing the Development of Cycling Infrastructure in Cities
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16421; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316421 - 29 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 605
Abstract
Sustainable development and environmental considerations have resulted in many cities around the world recognising the importance of non-motorised modes of transport. Problems related to the proper development and maintenance of cycling infrastructure have already been the subject of various studies. However, they have [...] Read more.
Sustainable development and environmental considerations have resulted in many cities around the world recognising the importance of non-motorised modes of transport. Problems related to the proper development and maintenance of cycling infrastructure have already been the subject of various studies. However, they have mainly dealt with the identification of factors influencing the development of cycle paths and the optimisation of the design of safe and comfortable cycle routes. The influence of individual factors on each other and on the development of cycling infrastructure has not been studied. The research aims of this article are to identify which factors influence the development of bicycle infrastructure, their role and interdependence, and their prioritisation. It also looks at whether there are differences between the opinions of bicycle users and experts professionally involved in the development of bicycle paths in assessing the importance of the factors indicated. As a result of the study, eight factors influencing the development of bicycle infrastructure were identified. Based on the opinions of cyclists and experts, the nature of each factor was analysed. Taking into account the complex relationships between the factors, the key factors contributing to the development of bicycle infrastructure were shown: (1) the planning of bicycle paths, taking into account the separation of individual paths and their continuity, consistency, and length; (2) legal regulations promoting cycling in terms of transportation policy; (3) the elimination of obstacles; and (4) the design of bicycle paths, taking into account the safety, space management, terrain, and attractiveness of the surroundings. The results for both groups of respondents were compared. They indicate that both groups of respondents reported the same factors as the most important, with the only differences being in the order of the importance of the factors. The academic value of this work lies in showing the usability of the underrated original version of DEMATEL methodology in the considered area for key factors. The practical significance of this paper is the provision of a rather simple, yet reliable, tool for addressing the complexity of interrelated issues that make the development of urban infrastructure a cumbersome task. Full article
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25 pages, 6172 KiB  
Article
Consumer Perception of Food Product Packaging Materials Sustainability versus Life Cycle Assessment Results: The Case of Processed Tomatoes—A Quantitative Study in Germany
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16370; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316370 - 28 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1049
Abstract
Due to increasing environmental awareness, especially among the young German population, people are increasingly striving to buy food in the most environmentally friendly way. In this context, packaging is becoming the focus of sustainability assessment, not because of its protection against food waste [...] Read more.
Due to increasing environmental awareness, especially among the young German population, people are increasingly striving to buy food in the most environmentally friendly way. In this context, packaging is becoming the focus of sustainability assessment, not because of its protection against food waste but because of the increasing amount of packaging rubbish. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of the packaging material on the environmentally friendly purchase decisions of consumers in Generations Y and Z and whether they can correctly assess the environmental impact of the different materials. For this purpose, an online choice experiment was conducted with a representative sample of 250 German consumers. The respondents could choose between products with different characteristics, such as price, packaging material, label, and origin. The results show that origin is the most important factor, followed by packaging material. With the help of a latent class analysis, the respondents were divided into three segments, which differ in whether origin or material is more important in the sustainability assessment of a product. Furthermore, a lack of knowledge about the environmental impact of specific product attributes among the respondents is evidenced, and a comparison with scientific data from product lifecycle assessments shows that they have difficulties correctly assessing the environmental impact of packaging material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Science and Engineering for Sustainability)
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14 pages, 1803 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Equivalent CO2 Emissions of the Irrigation System—A Case Study
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16240; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316240 - 23 Nov 2023
Viewed by 551
Abstract
This work aims to assess the emissions related to the useful life of the irrigation network on the campus of the University of Alicante (Spain). A life cycle assessment has been developed employing the One Click LCA software to calculate material proportion, repair [...] Read more.
This work aims to assess the emissions related to the useful life of the irrigation network on the campus of the University of Alicante (Spain). A life cycle assessment has been developed employing the One Click LCA software to calculate material proportion, repair rate, energy consumption, water volume, transport, and irrigation surface. This has been used in a real pressurised irrigation network, such as the one at the University of Alicante delivering water to the grass. Two potential cases which consider the pipelines made of polyvinyl chloride (variant 1) and high-density polyethene (variant 2) have also been analysed. Energy consumption had the most influence on emissions discharges (42%), followed by materials (37%) and repairs (18%) in the current water irrigation network. Variant 1 shows higher emissions produced in network materials (47%), energy consumption (27%), and repairs (24%). Variant 2 has high emissions because of energy consumption (47%), materials manufacturing and transport (34%), and repairs (17%). It has been determined that a network of disposed polyethene pipes will reduce the total Global Warming Potential emitted into the atmosphere. Materials (127.9 Tn CO2e) and energy (145.5 Tn CO2e) are the stages where the highest Global Warming Potential is produced. Other stages that also stand out are repairs (62 Tn CO2e), construction (6.3 Tn CO2e), and transport of materials (3.5 Tn CO2e). Renewable energy sources could reduce energy consumption. Variant 2 has 11% lower emissions than the current network (variant 0), making it a workable choice for infrastructure design. Full article
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14 pages, 2900 KiB  
Article
Changes in Soil Chemistry and Soil Nutrient Stocks after 30 Years of Treated Municipal Wastewater Land Disposal: A Natural Experiment
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16230; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316230 - 23 Nov 2023
Viewed by 415
Abstract
The benefits and risks of irrigation with treated municipal wastewater (TMW) on soil quality and crop production have been largely investigated. However, there is a lack of knowledge on the effect of plant species on the interaction between soil quality and TMW. We [...] Read more.
The benefits and risks of irrigation with treated municipal wastewater (TMW) on soil quality and crop production have been largely investigated. However, there is a lack of knowledge on the effect of plant species on the interaction between soil quality and TMW. We leveraged a natural experiment investigating the effect of 30 years of TMW irrigation at a rate of 4 m y−1 (eq. 1860 kg N ha−1 y−1, and 264 kg P ha−1 y−1) on a sandy soil under pine plantation and pasture, compared with soil under New Zealand native Kunzea robusta. There was a consistent increase in soil P with irrigation under both pasture (Olsen P in topsoil 40 mg kg−1 vs. 74 mg kg−1) and pine (18 mg kg−1 vs. 87 mg kg−1), which was significant down to 2 m deep. The pH, electrical conductivity, total organic C and N, inorganic N and Na were affected by both irrigation and vegetation type. Beyond P soil accumulation, there was no evidence of soil degradation by Na or trace element accumulation. Estimations of nutrient mass balance indicated that 80% and 60% of the total applied P was lost under pine and pasture, respectively. This percentage increased to 96% and 83% for N, respectively. Although plant species had a significant effect on soil quality and N and P losses from TMW-irrigated areas, adjusting irrigation rates to levels that can be managed by plants is the only way to design sustainable TMW irrigation schemes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Waste and Recycling)
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18 pages, 7861 KiB  
Article
Stability of Steel Columns with Concrete-Filled Thin-Walled Rectangular Profiles
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16217; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316217 - 22 Nov 2023
Viewed by 632
Abstract
This paper provides a numerical and experimental analysis of global stability of axially compressed columns made of thin-walled rectangular concrete-filled steel tubes (CFSTs), with the consideration of initial geometric imperfections. The presented work introduces the theory of stability and strength of composite structural [...] Read more.
This paper provides a numerical and experimental analysis of global stability of axially compressed columns made of thin-walled rectangular concrete-filled steel tubes (CFSTs), with the consideration of initial geometric imperfections. The presented work introduces the theory of stability and strength of composite structural members subjected to axial compressive force. Moreover, a numerical calculation method for the determination of column resistance under axial load is presented, taking into account the influence of second-order effects that are considered in the European standard for the design of such members. This paper also presents the method of creating 3D models using the ABAQUS software, numerical analysis, and comparison of the obtained numerical results with experimental tests. In addition to the actual boundary and load conditions, the real properties of the used materials were also taken into account during the creation of 3D models. The actual properties of the used materials were obtained experimentally. Based on the obtained results and their comparison, several new findings and proven facts about the design and assessment of axially compressed columns made of thin-walled rectangular steel tubes filled with concrete are presented in the conclusions of the paper. Full article
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28 pages, 4580 KiB  
Article
Efficiency in the Last Mile of Autonomous Ground Vehicles with Lockers: From Conventional to Renewable Energy Transport
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16219; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316219 - 22 Nov 2023
Viewed by 701
Abstract
This research aims to compare autonomous ground vehicles with conventional and electric vans on the basis of associated vehicle costs and benefits related to their use, taking into account economic feasibility. Cost per vehicle kilometre is derived using the total cost of ownership [...] Read more.
This research aims to compare autonomous ground vehicles with conventional and electric vans on the basis of associated vehicle costs and benefits related to their use, taking into account economic feasibility. Cost per vehicle kilometre is derived using the total cost of ownership method adjusted with the inclusion of labour costs and the impact of solar panel application on fuel efficiency while travel time-related and capacity occupations and reliability benefits serve as a basis for the total possible number of parcels delivered. The results show that, under the current structural and infrastructural conditions of urban delivery, the experimental model can be potentially successful in terms of cost per kilometre (0.133/km) but not as effective in terms of the total possible number of parcels delivered. This study defines autonomous ground vehicles with lockers as an innovative last mile solution and contributes to the academic literature by investigating the concept’s efficiency competitiveness. Full article
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19 pages, 20063 KiB  
Article
Co-Design Methods for Non-Standard Multi-Storey Timber Buildings
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16178; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316178 - 21 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1192
Abstract
To meet climate change goals and respond to increased global urbanisation, the building industry needs to improve both its building technology and its design methods. Constrained urban environments and building stock extensions are challenges for standard timber construction. Co-design promises to better integrate [...] Read more.
To meet climate change goals and respond to increased global urbanisation, the building industry needs to improve both its building technology and its design methods. Constrained urban environments and building stock extensions are challenges for standard timber construction. Co-design promises to better integrate disciplines and processes, promising smaller feedback loops for design iteration and building verification. This article describes the integrated design, fabrication, and construction processes of a timber building prototype as a case study for the application of co-design methods. Emphasis is placed on the development of design and engineering methods, fabrication and construction processes, and materials and building systems. The development of the building prototype builds on previous research in robotic fabrication (including prefabrication, task distribution, and augmented reality integration), agent-based modelling (ABM) for the design and optimisation of structural components, and the systematisation of timber buildings and their components. The results presented in this article include a functional example of co-design from which best practises may be extrapolated as part of an inductive approach to design research. The prototype, with its co-designed process and resultant flat ceilings, integrated services, wide spans, and design adaptability for irregular column locations, has the potential to expand the design potential of multi-storey timber buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prefabrication and Modularized Construction)
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19 pages, 4070 KiB  
Article
Techno-Economic Study of a Distributed Renewable Power System for a British Winery
Sustainability 2023, 15(19), 14410; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151914410 - 30 Sep 2023
Viewed by 989
Abstract
This paper analyses and evaluates a design for a distributed renewable power system for a British winery. A winery in Wiltshire, England, is used for a case study. The consumption of this winery is first analysed, then potential means of generation are discussed. [...] Read more.
This paper analyses and evaluates a design for a distributed renewable power system for a British winery. A winery in Wiltshire, England, is used for a case study. The consumption of this winery is first analysed, then potential means of generation are discussed. The resulting design is a combination of 156 1.6 × 1 m2 photovoltaic panels; a 2 × 12 m2 modular anaerobic digester using winery and farm waste to produce 0.00287 kg/s of biogas; and a biogas combined heat and power generator to supply 188 MWhe and 44 MWht per year. This was analysed technically, using ECLIPSE, and economically. The design would reduce the carbon footprint of a winery by 41,100 kgCO2/year. The techno-economic performance was compared with traditional power generation means; the designed system is technically viable, and financial incentives allow it to compete economically with alternatives. The cost of the design varies more with technology price than incentives, demonstrating that as technology improves incentives will quickly no longer be required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Waste Heat Recovery and Utilization)
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19 pages, 5665 KiB  
Article
Revolutionizing Agriculture: Leveraging Hydroponic Greenhouse Wastewater for Sustainable Microalgae-Based Biostimulant Production
Sustainability 2023, 15(19), 14398; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151914398 - 30 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1415
Abstract
The current intensification in agricultural pressure has resulted in the addition of excessive amounts of nutrients. While hydroponic systems have become an agricultural tool to reduce this nutrient addition, the produced nutrient-rich drainage solution, which has a negative effect in water bodies, is [...] Read more.
The current intensification in agricultural pressure has resulted in the addition of excessive amounts of nutrients. While hydroponic systems have become an agricultural tool to reduce this nutrient addition, the produced nutrient-rich drainage solution, which has a negative effect in water bodies, is still a barrier that needs to be overcome. A promising alternative for nutrient recovery is the cultivation of microalgae, which require a significant quantity of nutrients for their growth. Furthermore, their biostimulant properties enhance the circularity and sustainability approach. This study evaluates microalgae growth with a hydroponic drainage solution and the use of the resulting biomass as a source for biostimulant. Three microalgae strains were tested (Desmodesmus sp., Chlorella vulgaris, and Scenedesmus obliquus) and grown at laboratory scale (0.5 and 2 L) with drainage wastewater taken from hydroponic tomato crops. Measures of OD750 and OD680 revealed Desmodesmus sp. as the strain with the best performance, achieving 1.4 and 1.8, respectively, in the 0.5 L assay and 1.08 and 1.3 in the 2 L assay. These results were confirmed in another assay that compared Desmodesmus sp. growth in drainage wastewater and in control media. Then, Desmodesmus sp. was tested at industrial scale. Results show the columnar PBR reached 1.8 g·L−1 compared to 1.1 g·L−1 achieved with raceways. Finally, the resulting biomass was tested in a biocatalysis process for biostimulant production, suggesting an innovative system to use microalgae biomass cultured in wastewater as a valuable product such as biostimulant. Full article
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