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  • Open access
  • 39 Reads
Electricity Production from Anaerobic Digestion of Animal Slurries in a Farm Scale Plants
Published: 31 October 2014 by MDPI AG in The 4th World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife
Currently, in Italy, more than 1200 agricultural biogas plants are running, mainly in the northern regions. At the end of 2012, 1.65% of the Italian electric consumption was produced from agricultural biogas plants. The public incentives framework for electricity production from biogas has been updated by the D.M. of 6 July 2012: the highest value is granted to AD plants with electrical power < 300 kW and mainly fed with by-products. Specific economic bonuses are provided for heat valorisation and nitrogen reduction in the digestate.Nevertheless, with regard to agricultural AD plants, remarkable environmental impacts could be due to biomass production as well as to digestate management. On the other hand, benefits could arise from electricity and heat generation from renewable sources and mineral fertilisation substitution.The aim of this study is to assess the environmental profile of electricity production from four different AD plant mainly fed with animal slurry and electrical power lower than 300 kW. Using LCA method, the environmental performance of electricity production from biogas has been evaluated using 1 kWh of electricity as functional unit.All processes involved as well as the processes avoided by the biogas production system (e.g. electricity and thermal energy production) were included in the system boundaries and therefore evaluated. The most critical stages (environmental hotspots) were identified and discussed; mitigation strategies of the environmental burdens where evaluated too. Moreover, the outcomes of the environmental assessment were compared with the environmental impact related to the Italian electricity mix.The achieved results show that the electricity produced from the AD plant has better environmental performances than electricity produced from fossil fuels in particular for impact categories such as global warming and fossil depletion. Moreover, the recovery and the valorisation of surplus heat reduces significantly the environmental burdens. Definitely, livestock slurries are a good feedstock for AD plants from an environmental point of view thanks to credits provided by a suitable waste management as well as to the absence of environmental burdens related to their production. The logistic aspects of the biomass supply must be carefully evaluated because the transportation of the feedstock over long distances can offset the environmental benefits due to the replacement of energy generation from fossil fuels.
  • Open access
  • 9 Reads
A Rapid Review of Sustainable Health Interventions: Results Synthesised from the PUBMED Database in 2014
Published: 31 October 2014 by MDPI AG in The 4th World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Engineering and Science
Accommodation for both humans and animals could have impacted on bothoccupants and environments at the same time. Consequently, sustainable housing with asystematic life-cycle assessment has been one of the research focuses in the recent decadeswith an aim to lessen negative impacts on natural environments and to optimise occupanthealth and wellbeing. Following this context, it was aimed to carry out a systematic reviewto synthesise existing literature published until September 2014 on sustainable housingexamples from two largest research databases covering health and development research.There were 10 research articles found in the PUBMED database and other 8 researcharticles additionally found in the ScienceDirect database. Sustainable housing examplesmainly came from Americas and Europe while a few were from Africa and Australia. Nosound studies were found from Asia. The research quality of these studies was from low tomedium only. Research into sustainable housing examples for either humans or animals isstill limited and research methodology was not robust enough to give clear indications onthe promotion of sustainability in different housing environments. Collaborations betweenepidemiologists and engineers to employ real-life housing examples and to conduct rigorousresearch and follow-ups are therefore suggested.
  • Open access
  • 22 Reads
Cassava Processing and the Environmental Effect
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is a very important food crop that is capable of providing food security. Cassava roots can be converted through processing into enough food. Processing cassava roots to other useful products normally provides assistance to farmers' efforts in reducing hunger and poverty for millions of families within urban and rural areas. Machine application for cassava roots processing has helped greatly to add value, leading to profit making and provision of food. Aside from improving farmers' income, value addition to the harvested roots addresses unemployment and turning around the fortunes of farmers within a given community.Most developing countries depend on natural resources for their energy need. The farmer at the village level depends on the sun for drying of cassava products. They obtain firewood from forests and use fossil fuel from petroleum to power the tractor and small internal combustion engine (ICE). Graters are used to disintegrate roots into mash.  A typical cassava grater consists of a wooden drum rotor of about 250 to 300 mm in diameter, covered with a perforated tin sheet and is usually powered by an electric motor or diesel/petrol engine. This saves time and is less injurious to operators. In traditional operations, fermentation and pressing (de-watering) are done in one operation. Fermentation and pressing take a long time. The common practice with mechanical presses is to use either hydraulic jacks or a bolt screw and plate ram to apply pressure to woven polyethylene sacks that contain the grated cassava mash. Gari frying and flour drying are complex procedures, which depends on the skill of the operator. The inability to control the temperature; exposure of the operator to heat and smoke from the fire; and steam from the wet cassava mash, have been major setbacks in mechanising the traditional frying of gari. Sometimes cassava roots are fermented in streams and ponds, polluting upstream of drinking water points. This paper is concerned about the effect of these activities on the environment. Waste water from cassava processing, if released directly into the environment before proper treatment, could be a source of pollution. In many areas where traditional processing is practised, waste water is normally discharged beyond the factory wall into roadside ditches or fields and allowed to flow freely, settling in shallow depressions. This will percolate into the subsoil or flow into streams. Can this type of environmental pollution be controlled? Can the foul odour lead to contamination of surface and underground water? The global weather system is threatening to spin out of control. Seasons are becoming unpredictable, farming is becoming riskier, freshwater supplies are become unreliable, and storms are raising, sea levels are threaten to take away coastal areas. Further examinations were conducted using literatures and personal observation to see if the pollution, particularly of nitrogen and phosphates (often associated with cultivations and use of mineral fertilizers) as well as carbon dioxide could be reduced or eliminated, so as to be able to sustained systems which could contribute to the reversal of global warming. From the investigation conducted fossil fuels were found to have the biggest historical and present share of polluting emissions. This contributes directly to global warming. Firewood consumption has led to severe deforestation and desertification. Cassava processing activities like any other industry have it s own share in emitting greenhouse gases that can responsible for global warming. Climate change is probably the most serious challenge that the human race has ever confronted. The level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) affect both water availability and demand, through its influence on vegetation. It is widely accepted that the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is altering the earth's radiation balance and causing the temperature to rise. Effluent water and dangerous gases produced by cassava processing centres required better handling. Attempts needed to be made to correct them were fully explained so also the use of cleaner fuel that can lower the generation of carbon dioxide in our farm machines was proposed in other to balance the resources and climate.
  • Open access
  • 16 Reads
Assessing the Environmental Pollutant Vector of Wastewaters Discharged from a Chain of Coal-Fired Power Plants Along a River
Reliable and safe operation of a coal-fired power plant is strongly linked to freshwater resources, and environmental problems related to water sources and wastewater discharge are challenges for power station operation. In this study, deals an evaluation on basis of wastewater pollutant vector is reported of the environmental impact of residual water generated and discharged in Jiu River during the thermoelectric units operation of the Rovinari, Turceni and Craiova coal-fired power plants. Wastewater pollutant vector Plane Projection is applied for assessing the water temperature evolution in the water flow lane created downstream of each power plant wastewater outlet channel. Simulation on the basis of an Electricity of France model, and testing validation of the results for thermoelectric blocks of 330 MW of these power plants, are presented.
  • Open access
  • 21 Reads
Sustainability Performance of Local vs Global Food Supply Chains: The Case of Bread Chains in Italy
Published: 31 October 2014 by MDPI AG in The 4th World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife
There is an increasing interest in the potential of local foods and short food supply chains to overcome the unsustainable practices of global/industrial food supply chains. However this opposition is being questioned together with the actual sustainability of food chains. The assessment of the sustainability performance of food chains poses several challenges because of the multiple dimensions to be considered, the different actors involved and the lack of a shared methodology for the assessment.This paper develops a comparative assessment among three wheat-to-bread chains in Italy in relation to their degree of localness and different dimensions of sustainability. Recently the gap between wheat producers, processors and consumers is gradually bridging across the EU and re-localization experiences of bread supply chains have spread. Based on a systematic literature analysis, in depth interviews and questionnaires we develop a comparative assessment on three critical attributes of sustainability for these supply chains, based on a set of selected indicators: nutritional and health properties of final products, technological innovation of the process and biodiversity preservation. This allows to shed light on synergies and tradeoffs between sustainability attributes and potential paths for sustainability improvement. This paper presents the preliminary results of the FP7 EU research project Glamur (Global and Local Food Assessment: a multidimensional performance based approach).
  • Open access
  • 8 Reads
Rainwater Harvesting: Trade-offs Between Pluvial Flood Risk Alleviation and Mains Water Resource Savings
Stormwater run-off generally refers to pluvial, i.e. rainfall related, water that does not soak into the ground at the point at which it falls. The volume and timing of stormwater run-off, specifically from roof tops is highly important to urban flood control and its capture has the potential for non-potable uses within (e.g. for WC flushing and for washing machines) and outside the home (e.g. car washing and garden watering). The former runs a risk of flash floods where local and downstream stormwater (or combined sewer) systems become overburdened in times of extreme rainfall events. The later will influence potential future urban water supplies, which is particularly important at time(s) where mains water availability is scarce (e.g. times of drought or when the national demand for water in the UK increases beyond supply capabilities) population. Rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems can benefit flood risk and water supply however their ability to do either / both is dependent on the subtleties of filling and emptying (i.e. stored water volume or spare storage capacity) which are not fully understood, particularly in peak flow events. Through the use of five years worth of daily rainfall data for Birmingham (2007 - a record breaking year for UK flooding, to 2011) these subtleties are investigated through a sensitivity type analysis of tank size, occupancy rates and technology efficiency. The results show that RWH tanks sized according to BS8515 would not have been capable of capturing rainfall that fell in peak flow events. Moreover not all yearly non-potable demands would have been met. If tanks were over-sized by a factor of 3.0 (i.e. use the larger of 15% yearly non-potable demands or rainfall) this would have been sufficient to meet all demands and eliminate roof-top run-off.
  • Open access
  • 19 Reads
Urban Sustainability in Arid Climates: Challenges for Antofagasta, Chile
Published: 31 October 2014 by MDPI AG in The 4th World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Urban and Rural Development
Urban sustainability is one of the most important challenges for the new century. In arid climates urban development is even more sensitive to resources use and environmental pollution. In northern regions of Chile, mining industry influences urban development policies, resulting in many cases in a lack of legacy on environmental issues. In this paper the case of Antofagasta is studied, considering the following items: water usage, air and soil pollution, climate change, acoustic and light contamination. A critical revision of Antofagasta master plan shows that environmental challenges have to be considered to address sustainable development towards a family-friendly and healthy city, a place where people would like to live and work.
  • Open access
  • 12 Reads
A Note on Quality of Life of Artisanal Small-Scale Fishermen Along the Pacific Coast of Jalisco, México
Published: 31 October 2014 by MDPI AG in The 4th World Sustainability Forum session Social Aspects of Sustainability
Sustainable fishing includes how fishermen live. We describe the quality of life (QOL) and lived experiences (LE) of fishermen along the coast of Jalisco, whose average daily income is slightly above the poverty level. The relationships among income, size of catch and QOL are explored using data collected in 2012 from a sample of 83 fishermen. QOL included indicators like health, income, cost of living, family, friends, holidays, education and future perspective. The QOL index combines importance and achievement ratings scores, the results are indicative of an acceptable QOL for fishermen. The concept of LE is elaborated and interviews conducted with a sample of 13 fishermen. A graphical representation of four dimensions of LE comprising aspects of life relating to Mind, Body, Work and People for each fisherman is derived, where each person was asked on the importance and gaps between aspiration and actual situation about each dimension. We found that the most important dimension in a fisherman's life is People. The gaps identified suggest that the significant gaps that should be closed, were associated to the Mind dimension, then Work and Body, and finally People. Concerning the responsibility for closing gaps, respondents identified four options ordered by frequency: self, government, self with the help of family members, and God/ faith. An inverse moderately strong relationship between catch, marginalization and QOL score was found, while income and QOL score were directly related. In general, future and past are not better than the present. All these and LE are discussed in the sustainability context
  • Open access
  • 8 Reads
Natural and Artificial Methods of Heat Resource Regeneration in Underground Thermal Energy Storages with Borehole Heat Exchangers
Published: 03 November 2014 by MDPI AG in The 4th World Sustainability Forum session Energy Sustainability
The concept of borehole heat exchanger (BHE) field exploitation is described, along with problems with the sustainibility of heat resources in rock masses. A BHE field sometimes has problems with the stability of the heat carrier temperaturę during long-term exploitation. The main reason for this is an insufficient heat stream, with which to transfer heat by conduction in rock. Based on experiences at the Geoenergetics Laboratory (Drilling, Oil and Gas Faculty, AGH University of Science and Technology), possibilities for the regeneration of heat in rock masses are described.
  • Open access
  • 11 Reads
Missing Data, Moral Eyesores, and Marginalized People: Opposition to Needle Exchange and Harm Reduction in Drug Policy
Published: 03 November 2014 by MDPI AG in The 4th World Sustainability Forum session Sustainability of Culture and Heritage
A critical component of "sustainability" is the capacity to manage chronic social problems like addiction. Sociologists, anthropologists, historians, and other social scientists are invested in debates over substance abuse treatment. This study weds those engagements through an overview of past and current critiques of the twelve-step model, primarily Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and evaluation of the efficacy of AA vis-à-vis other addiction therapies, including inpatient rehab centers and individual "sobriety coaches," among others. Though attacked by varying interests, from for-profit recovery services to even religious skeptics, AA remains among the most successful voluntary addiction treatment programs. This paper also questions why certain groups enjoy higher rates of lasting sobriety than others, with particular attention to gender, race, religion, and compulsory-versus-voluntary participation.