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Technologies for a Sustainable Future: Towards Sustainable Energy Supply

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 24 October 2024 | Viewed by 5488

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
Interests: circuits; static energy conversion; non destructive testing; artificial neural networks; magnetohydrodynamics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
Interests: mechanical design; biomedical instrumentation; material characterization; applied and computational mathematics; finite element modeling; solid waste management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Very often it is taken for granted that the objectives of developing and safeguarding the ecosystem give rise to an irremediable conflict. According to this view, humanity is faced with the choice between lowering their standard of living now or waiting for the consequences of their conduct to impose this choice in the future. Much of the debate is consumed on how far away this future is, implying that in many cases future generations are not considered as bearers of rights. At the heart of this debate is the supply and use of energy.

On the other hand, energy is the theme for which a third way is emerging, compared to the two previously indicated, which consists of adopting a smart approach. This is the combination of many components, primarily innovative technologies but also the analysis of consumption, the efficiency of transformation processes, the calculation of hidden costs and the examination of the entire life cycle of the devices that transform energy, thus including both the primary energy conversion systems as much as end users. This analysis is the basis for policies that aim to combine the well-being of humanity by avoiding conflict both among populations and between generations.

This Special Issue aims to collect the state of the art of technological, political, and economic solutions for the use of energy capable of favoring what is called "development of well-being", without setting geographical or time limits. Particular attention will be devoted to the production of electricity from renewable sources, but, in general, contributions are welcome that deal with processes that improve energy efficiency, which compare the real costs of conventional conversion processes with innovative ones, which analyze the economic and which define policies for the large-scale diffusion of smart solutions, and reports of successful actions in the implementation of smart solutions.

The objective of the Special Issue is to provide information from a technological, economic, and social policy point of view useful for undertaking actions capable of promoting sustainable use of energy.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Augusto Montisci
Dr. Aiman Rashid
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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

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

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • renewables, distributed generation
  • direct conversion of energy
  • smart grids
  • social policies for sustainability
  • hidden costs of energy

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 5218 KiB  
Article
Exploring Extreme Voltage Events in Hydrogen Arcs within Electric Arc Furnaces
by Mohamad Al Nasser, Nashmi Alrasheedi, Ebrahim Karimi-Sibaki, Alexander Vakhrushev, Mahmoud Ahmadein, Sabbah Ataya and Abdellah Kharicha
Sustainability 2024, 16(7), 2831; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16072831 - 28 Mar 2024
Viewed by 530
Abstract
This study highlights the potential utilization of hydrogen gas in electric arc furnaces for achieving cleaner and more sustainable steel production. The application of hydrogen offers a promising path for reducing carbon emissions, enhancing energy efficiency, and advancing the concept of “green steel”. [...] Read more.
This study highlights the potential utilization of hydrogen gas in electric arc furnaces for achieving cleaner and more sustainable steel production. The application of hydrogen offers a promising path for reducing carbon emissions, enhancing energy efficiency, and advancing the concept of “green steel”. This study employs a 2D axisymmetric induction-based model to simulate an electric arc under atmospheric pressure conditions. We conducted numerical simulations to compare compressible and incompressible models of an electric arc. The impact of compressibility on hydrogen arc characteristics such as arc velocity, temperature distribution, and voltage drop were investigated. Additionally, different applied current arcs were simulated using the compressible model. When compared to an incompressible arc, the compressible arc exhibits a higher voltage drop. This higher voltage drop is associated with lower temperatures and lower arc velocity. A rise in applied current results in an upward trend in the voltage drop and an increase in the arc radius. In addition, the increased applied current increases the probability of voltage fluctuations. The voltage fluctuations tend to become more extreme and exert more stress on the control circuit. This has an impact on emerging electric arc technologies, particularly those involving the use of hydrogen. These fluctuations affect arc stability, heat output, and the overall quality of processes. Thus, the precise prediction of voltage and the ability to stabilize the operation is critical for the successful implementation of new hydrogen technologies. Full article
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28 pages, 5881 KiB  
Article
Achieving Net Zero Condominiums through Energy Community Sharing
by Riccardo Trevisan, Mara Ladu, Emilio Ghiani and Ginevra Balletto
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2076; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052076 - 1 Mar 2024
Viewed by 794
Abstract
The European energy transition process is geared toward improving the economic viability of the energy sector through its democratization, which includes enabling citizens to generate, share, and sell energy produced by renewable sources. The current directives have led to the creation of energy [...] Read more.
The European energy transition process is geared toward improving the economic viability of the energy sector through its democratization, which includes enabling citizens to generate, share, and sell energy produced by renewable sources. The current directives have led to the creation of energy communities and collective self-consumption groups to engage and raise awareness among citizens, with the goal of achieving social, economic, and environmental benefits through shared renewable energy generation and consumption. In the near future, more and more of these initiatives are anticipated; therefore, innovative technological tools are necessary to assist their growth path. This research introduces a multi-criteria techno-economic simulation framework that enables the evaluation of several investment scenarios for various plant sizes and energy prices. The findings are useful during the investment planning phase as they help guide decision-making toward the objectives of economic, energy, and environmental sustainability. To evaluate the methodology, a case study of a collective self-consumption group located in a smart building in Italy is proposed. The results are discussed from statistical, technical, economic, and financial standpoints, demonstrating how the proposed approach can contribute to the development of collective self-consumption groups, risk hedging, and the goal of developing energy self-sufficiency based on the net-zero energy building concept. Full article
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13 pages, 6627 KiB  
Article
Carbon Nanotube Composites with Bimetallic Transition Metal Selenides as Efficient Electrocatalysts for Oxygen Evolution Reaction
by Shamas Riaz, Muhammad Shafiq Anjum, Abid Ali, Yasir Mehmood, Muhammad Ahmad, Norah Alwadai, Munawar Iqbal, Salih Akyürekli, Noor Hassan and Rizwan Shoukat
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 1953; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16051953 - 27 Feb 2024
Viewed by 688
Abstract
Hydrogen fuel is a clean and versatile energy carrier that can be used for various applications, including transportation, power generation, and industrial processes. Electrocatalytic water splitting could be the most beneficial and facile approach for producing hydrogen. In this work, transition metal selenide [...] Read more.
Hydrogen fuel is a clean and versatile energy carrier that can be used for various applications, including transportation, power generation, and industrial processes. Electrocatalytic water splitting could be the most beneficial and facile approach for producing hydrogen. In this work, transition metal selenide composites with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been investigated for electrocatalytic water splitting. The synthesis process involved the facile one-step hydrothermal growth of transition metal nanoparticles over the CNTs and acted as an efficient electrode toward electrochemical water splitting. Scanning electron microscopy and XRD patterns reveal that nanoparticles were firmly anchored on the CNTs, resulting in the formation of composites. The electrochemical measurements reveal that CNT composite with nickel–cobalt selenides (NiCo-Se/CNTs@NF) display remarkable oxygen evolution reaction (OER) activity in basic media, which is an important part of hydrogen production. It demonstrates the lowest overpotential (η10mAcm−2) of 0.560 V vs. RHE, a reduced Tafel slope of 163 mV/dec, and lower charge transfer impedance for the OER process. The multi-metallic selenide composite with CNTs demonstrating unique nanostructure and synergistic effects offers a promising platform for enhancing electrocatalytic OER performance and opens up new avenues for efficient energy conversion and storage applications. Full article
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18 pages, 4460 KiB  
Article
A Liquid Metal Alternate MHD Disk Generator
by Antoine Alemany, Arturs Brekis and Augusto Montisci
Sustainability 2023, 15(16), 12619; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151612619 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1054
Abstract
In this paper, an electrical generator is presented for the exploitation of alternating energy. Some renewable sources are directly available in such forms, such as the wave power obtainable from the sea, but most of them can be converted to alternative forms; therefore, [...] Read more.
In this paper, an electrical generator is presented for the exploitation of alternating energy. Some renewable sources are directly available in such forms, such as the wave power obtainable from the sea, but most of them can be converted to alternative forms; therefore, the proposed generator can be applied to different kinds of renewable sources. In particular, the proposed system is thought to be coupled with a thermoacoustic engine, which converts heat into mechanical vibration without using solid moving parts. This opens the proposed system to the use of most thermal sources, such as solar radiation, waste recovery, geothermic, car exhaust, and others. The object of of this present work concerns the transformation of alternating mechanical energy into electricity by using a specific type of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) disk generator. The functioning of this generator is based on the interaction between a DC magnetic field embedded in a disk structure and a conducting fluid held in an inner channel. A simplified model of the generator is presented here, and a sensitivity analysis is performed. It is shown that, under specific operating conditions, the efficiency of the system can reach 70% with a level of power of hundreds of watts. Full article
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17 pages, 1945 KiB  
Article
Optimal Design of an Inductive MHD Electric Generator
by Sara Carcangiu, Alessandra Fanni and Augusto Montisci
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16457; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416457 - 8 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1612
Abstract
In this paper, the problem of optimizing the design of an inductive Magneto-Hydro-Dynamic (MHD) electric generator is formalized as a multi-objective optimization problem where the conflicting objectives consist of maximizing the output power while minimizing the hydraulic losses and the mass of the [...] Read more.
In this paper, the problem of optimizing the design of an inductive Magneto-Hydro-Dynamic (MHD) electric generator is formalized as a multi-objective optimization problem where the conflicting objectives consist of maximizing the output power while minimizing the hydraulic losses and the mass of the apparatus. In the proposal, the working fluid is ionized with periodical pulsed discharges and the resulting neutral plasma is unbalanced by means of an intense DC electrical field. The gas is thus split into two charged streams, which induce an electromotive force into a magnetically coupled coil. The resulting generator layout does not require the use of superconducting coils and allows you to manage the issues related to the conductivity of the gas and the corrosion of the electrodes, which are typical limits of the MHD generators. A tailored multi-objective optimization algorithm, based on the Tabu Search meta-heuristics, has been implemented, which returns a set of Pareto optimal solutions from which it is possible to choose the optimal solution according to further applicative or performance constraints. Full article
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