related metrics presents an opportunity to trigger policy learning, action, and cooperation to bring cities closer to sustainable development.
The special session is part of an itinerant networking program within the EU COST Action PHOENIX CA19123 H2020, a European research framework among the topics of sustainable urban development and environment protection with a key focus on bio-electrochemical systems (BES).
BES are cost-effective biotechnologies that could be used as bio-remediator, biosensor and bioreactor. BESs are exploited in multiple fields, here we focus on Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) as bio-electrochemical converters for rendering organic waste, polluted soils, and water, into a useful resource that is transformed in energy and nutrients. Such technologies rely on the microbial metabolism for reduction of organic content as well as electricity generation as well as being used as electrolyzers. Such systems have the capability to work symbiotically with their surrounding environment, combining decontamination with electrical usage thus practically facilitating an eco-circular concept. Although MFCs – of all types of BES – is the only type that generates (as opposed to consume) electricity, this is currently less than what would be required by conventional power consumer electronics. Recent advances in the field of low power electronics enable the exploitation of these sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies, bringing the “power gap” for direct use and improving their capability to work as energy harvester, feeding network of sensors or acting as a sensor themselves.
Decontamination of polluted soils and water represents the natural field of application of such systems, the integration of biotechnologies in the urban context represents a priority for appropriate rational urban planning and minimum environmental impact.
This session will be focused on:
Papers focused on the aforementioned aspects, possibly integrated and applied to any context (marginal lands, wastewaters, degraded urban landscape, etc.) are welcome.
The need to increase the sustainability and energy efficiency of buildings has led to the development and implementation of innovative buildings design criteria and standards with special attention to the integration of renewable energies, use of innovative HVAC systems and implementation of new building envelope technologies, together with the use of integrated approaches for the sustainable design of buildings and communities toward the decarbonization of our economies.
The goal of this special session is to present new research results, case studies and practices aimed at reducing the energy demand of residential, commercial, public, and industrial buildings, by also decreasing the related environmental impact and improving the occupants’ comfort and well-being. The special session is dedicated to the following topics:
Sustainable process manufacturing (chemical, petrochemical, pulp&paper, food, beverage, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, etc.) is expected to use minimum resources while minimizing environmental impact and keeping costs to society at an acceptable level. In this context, the availability of energy-efficient and environmental-friendly process equipment, process control approaches and maintenance practices is of primary importance. Applications of methods and tools to support engineering decisions, such as mass-balance, thermodynamic and environmental-impact analyses, process integration techniques, advanced simulation methods and optimization techniques, is also a key issue to highlight the importance of choosing the best options. This Special Session is focused on research advances, case studies and practices to improve energy and resource efficiency of process industries, and to reduce their environmental impacts through applications of innovative process equipment, process control strategies and maintenance approaches. The themes of this special session include, but are not limited to: design and operation of process equipment to facilitate sustainable performance of process plants, process control approaches to enhance energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact, as well as maintenance solutions to safeguard safe and efficient operation of process systems.
Plant-assisted bioremediation (PABR) technology is currently getting popular as an environmental-friendly and sustainable strategy in comparison with traditional thermal and physico-chemical approaches. It has been successfully applied to multi-contaminated soil and water ecosystems. This session will focus on PABR case studies at lab and field scales for recovering soil from various contaminants such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), heavy metals, oil-products, emerging contaminants (e.g. pharmaceuticals, microplastics) alone or in chemical mixtures. Different treatments such as the use of soil amendments (e.g. compost, biochar, etc.), biosurfactants, nanomaterials (e.g. Nano-TiO2, -Fe3O4, NZVI, etc.), will be assessed as useful strategies for enhancing the efficiency of PABR technology. Particular attention will be focused on the characterization of soil microbial communities in the rhizosphere and the chemical dialogue between plant root and microorganisms (e.g. root exudates), in order to evaluate the new achievements and further research needs in the study of plant-microorganism’s interactions, which play a key role in promoting PABR technology.
Moreover, the potential of converting PABR biomass for energy use will be also considered. Different conversion solutions can be applied on PABR biomass such as combustion, gasification, torrefaction and pyrolysis aiming at producing biofuel (liquids or gaseous) to be used in transport or in (co-)generation power plant. Specific actions should be considered for separating and possibly reusing the extracted contaminants, in an attempt to enforce complete circularity. Finally, the sustainable PABR technology capabilities in restoring contaminated areas and providing energy will be discussed in the light of the recent EU GREEN DEAL actions, which aim to transform EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy.
The session will host multidisciplinary works with both biological, microbiological and energy production aspects. Researches with holistic and circularity approaches, involved in the different steps of PABR, are welcome.
Contemporary global interconnected crises of epidemics, economy, environment, society and institutions are getting more complex than ever, which requires urgent measures based on knowledge. This session is devoted to brainstorming for new educational, scientific and technological approaches including circular economy and supply chains, sustainable consumption and production as well as new approaches in education for sustainable development. The session should also reflect the legacy of Professor Ivo Šlaus on the occasion of his birthday with respect to all above-mentioned topics. Special emphasis will be given to advances in applications of physics, nanotechnologies and quantum technologies in sustainable development, and the social impact of these activities. The session is organized in cooperation with the World Academy of Art & Science, Club of Rome - European Research Centre and National Associations, and European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production Society.
The growing demand for energy and associated environmental issues are crucial global challenges that have been attracting increasing attention from a diverse range of academic, industrial, government and policy stakeholders. Clean energy technologies and systems can tackle these important challenges and support sustainable development and growth. This special session focuses on research advances, case studies and practices to improve clean energy supply and energy efficiency in a variety of applications, which covers methods, processes, components, and systems for the high-efficiency and low-emission collection, recovery, utilisation, conversion and storage of energy for heating, cooling and power provision, with emphasis on innovative technologies and renewables exploitation including solar, wind, geothermal and biomass, amongst other. The themes of this special session include, but are not limited to the following topics:
The sea represents a huge resource for renewable energy (Blue Energy - BE). BE is the energy which can be harnessed from the ocean or the marine wind and it is comprised of five main types according to the origin of the extracted power, namely marine (offshore) wind, surface waves, tides/currents, and thermal and salinity gradients. Although the growth of offshore renewable energy technologies has so far been relatively slow compared to those onshore, it is anticipated that in the future BE will substantially contribute to the energy demands of coastal and insular areas, at the same time protecting and conserving the marine environment.
The Blue Growth Strategy proposed by the Commission in 2014 emphasized that harnessing the economic potential of BE in a sustainable manner represents a key policy area for the EU, which requires the involvement of the widest possible range of stakeholders in order to optimize capacity building and to achieve the necessary critical mass. The BE sector was, in fact, indicated as one of five developing areas in the ‘blue economy’ that could drive the creation high-quality jobs and pave the way for a new breed of science-trained professionals, enhancing eco-efficient value creation all along the value and supply chain. Moreover, exploiting this indigenous resource would help reduce the EU dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation, and enhance energy security. In particular, islands and remote coastal regions can especially benefit from BE development, as it would provide a viable alternative to expensive and heavily polluting fossil fuelled plants, and contribute to their energy self-sufficiency.
The exploitation of Blue Energy clearly opens new frontiers in the maritime sector, by creating synergies with long established traditional activities, yet opening the door to knowledge-driven innovation. It offers the opportunity to pool costs and boost several connected economic sectors. Some examples of synergic activities that are welcome in this Special Session include: BE Studies and technology design; Estimation of BE exploitable resources; Marine environment assessments for BE exploitation; Evaluation of synergies with aquaculture and/or fisheries; BE exploitation in the naval sector; Energy production from Algae; Design and management of multipurpose offshore platforms; Socio-economic assessment of BE exploitation.
Based on the considerable success at several previous SDEWES conferences and due to the high demand, it has been decided to organise this session again in 2021, this time for the 16th SDEWES conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The focus of the session is in line with the most recent research developments. The topics within the interests of this special session are the integration of energy, water and waste to secondary resources towards Smart Cities, Smart Industry and Smart Agriculture which can be a powerful tool to boost the sustainability in civic, industrial, agriculture and other activities. Due to the immense importance of knowledge dissemination and transfer, presentations are also invited into the field of knowledge management and especially knowledge transfer. The research scope to be considered include smart cities, industrial processes and sites supply chain networks, municipalities and cities, regions and economies.
1) The main topics
• The minimisation of energy resource use and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
Industry and regional economies require a considerable and continuous supply of energy delivered from natural resources – principally fossil fuels. The sectors of energy use are diverse – including industry, agriculture, transportation, residential and commercial activities. The growing human population and it's growing nutritional needs result in the continuous growth of energy demands, accompanied by equivalent pollution effects – including climatic, as well as health issues. It has become increasingly important to ensure the processing industries take advantage of recent developments in energy and resource efficiency and the use of non-traditional energy sources.
Although industry requires abundant supplies of energy to meet production targets, it is not the only sector of the world economy that is increasing its energy demands. The particular characteristics of these other sectors make optimising for energy efficiency and cost reduction more difficult than in traditional processing industries, such as oil refining, where continuous mass production concentrated in a few locations offers an obvious potential for large energy savings. In contrast, for example, agricultural production and food processing are distributed over large areas, and these activities are not continuous but structured in seasonal campaigns, limited to specific time periods, so the design of efficient energy systems to meet such demands is more problematic than in traditional, steady-state industries.
In recent years there has been increased interest in the development of renewable, non-carbon-based energy sources to counter the increasing threat of greenhouse gas emissions and subsequent climatic change. These sources are characterised by spatial distribution and variations as well as temporal variations with diverse dynamics. This imposes the logistics challenge of diminishing energy returns with increasing transportation distances. Additional dynamic effects arise from the often-significant fluctuations and in the prices of oil and gas, strengthening the interest in securing alternative resource supplies from renewables. There have been already impressive scientific results on designing combined energy systems that include both industrial and residential buildings toward the end of producing a symbiotic system.
• Water efficiency, reuse, wastewater minimisation
Another significant issue is water – both as raw material and effluent. Freshwater is widely used in various industries. It is also frequently used in the heating and cooling utility systems (e.g., steam production, cooling water) and as a mass separating agent for various mass transfer operations (e.g., washing, extraction). Strict requirements for product quality and associated safety issues in manufacturing contribute to large amounts of high-quality water being consumed by the industry. In addition, large amounts of aqueous waste streams are released from the industrial processes, often proportional to the freshwater intake. Stringent environmental regulations, coupled with a growing human population that seeks improved quality of life, have led to increased demand for quality water. These developments have increased the need for improved water management and wastewater minimisation. Adopting techniques to minimise water usage can effectively reduce both the demand for freshwater and the amount of effluents generated by the industry. In addition to this environmental benefit, efficient water management reduces the costs of acquiring freshwater and treating effluents.
• Integration of residual and by-products as secondary resources for a circular economy
The transformation needs of residual and by-products (e.g. municipal solid waste, agriculture waste, industrial non-hazardous waste, hazardous waste, e-waste even increasing with introducing the smartness, construction and demolition waste) increases with the urbanisation and population growth. It is a critical part in closing the loop to support the transition from a linear to a circular economy. The waste of a process could be a resource to another process. The utilisation of residual and by-products as resources scale down the demand for extraction of new resources and avert the impacts created along the processing chain. Integrated secondary resources management could minimise the waste generation which is a loss of resource, disposal cost and environmental cost.
Carbon capture and storage/ sequestration offer to bridge the gaps to the ideal circular economy, as mitigating alone are not sufficient. The feasibility and potential of various negative emissions technologies such as direct air capture, enhanced weathering, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and afforestation/deforestations are worth for research attention. This is especially the biochar, commonly viewed as a by-product of pyrolysis, which can be utilised as the energy source and soil carbon sequestration. However, the cyclical systems should have the characteristic that the environmental impacts of the circular economy are work toward sustainability.
Supply chain optimisation or management plays a significant role in utilising residual and by-products as secondary resources. Other than the cost incurs, and burdening footprints created along the transformation process, collection and transportation tend to lower the feasibility of the utilisation. The waste from the cities as well as the by-products of industry and agriculture activities have to be converted to secondary raw materials and utilised as close as possible at a resource. Supply chain optimisation could contribute to the sustainability of residual and by-products utilisation.
2) Cross-cutting issues
There are two crucial issues running through the mentioned topics. One is the quantification of environmental performance, and the other is knowledge management and transfer. The smart concept utilises information and communication (ICT) technologies to supply information for efficient management. ICT sector also involves in resources and energy consumption as well as waste generated, which are rising as the sector expands. Comprehensive data (real-time control, big data) will not alone lead to efficient management. It enables or facilitates improvement through data availability and transparency for optimisation. Proper planning and management as well as process integration play the primary role in achieving the smart concept, secure the utilities and resources supply, and towards low carbon emission transition. An appropriate quantification of environmental performance is vital to ensure the processes are towards sustainability and to prevent the shift of footprints.
• Environmental performance
The environmental performance of a process or activity can be assessed in various ways. The most prominent concepts used for this have been footprints – quantifying the impact of pollutant emissions; natural/ecological capital – measuring in a combined way the fresh resources and service capacities of a system (e.g. a region); eco-cost, eco-benefit and eco-profit – a scheme for quantification of the possible actions for improving the environmental performance of a process or activity. The emissions have to evaluated and impacts on a global basis, which gives rise to virtual footprints – accounting for these impacts from the consumer perspective as opposed to the goods producer perspective.
• Knowledge management and transfer
Another critical issue is knowledge management and transfer. The currently dominating societal system, or pattern, of knowledge management, is to document the research and demonstration outcomes in scientific articles and books. While the scientific articles can be viewed as “work in progress” or the current cutting edge of the knowledge development in the relevant areas, books are intended as a kind of summaries useful for learning and everyday reference. The case studies and implementation examples can be embedded within the methodology papers or be developed standalone.
This session provides a platform for the development of modern technologies for energy and water efficiency and for exchanging ideas in the field, supplemented by key contributions geared towards more efficient knowledge management. They include, besides the others, the Process Integration and optimisation methodologies and their application to improving the energy and water efficiency of mainly industrial but also nonindustrial users. An additional aim is to evaluate how these methodologies can be adapted to include the integration of waste and renewable energy sources for energy conversion and water supply/purification. The session is outlining the field of energy and water efficiency, including its scope, actors, and main features. The deals with energy and water saving techniques. An increasingly prominent issue is assessing and minimising emissions and the environmental footprints: GHG and water footprints. At previous SDEWES conferences, the session has received considerable attention. A total of 30 abstracts were submitted to the special session for the upcoming SDEWES conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Due to the high demand, it has been decided to organise this session again in 2021, this time for the SDEWES conference in Sarajevo - Bosnia and Herzegovina. The focus of the session is in line with the most recent research developments. The topics within the interests of this special session are the integration of energy, water and waste to secondary resources towards Smart Cities, Smart Industry and Smart Agriculture which can be a powerful tool to boost the sustainability in civic, industrial, agriculture and other activities. Due to the immense importance of knowledge dissemination and transfer, presentations are also invited into the field of knowledge management and especially knowledge transfer.
The twenty-first century is facing several energy and environmental worldwide problems, such as climate change, the increasing energy demand, the depletion of fossil fuels, pollution and the urgent need to mitigate the production of greenhouse gas emission. All these issues significantly affect the economic, energy and social policies of Countries around the World. In particular, in recent decades, a significant global growth in energy demand has been recorded, mainly due to the increasing needs of developing Countries.
For these reasons, many researches aimed at maximizing the exploitation of renewable energy sources and/or providing significant savings implementing suitable energy efficiency actions.
The development and diffusion of these systems have produced a series of positive effects, such as: energy diversification, reduction of polluting emissions, development of local green economies and many others. However, among the negative sides, there is the non-programmability of the energy produced by renewable systems which poses many problems for the management of energy networks. Thus, the implementation of suitable energy planning strategies is also crucial to find a balance between supply and demand.
In this context, this Special Session aims at collecting the most significant and recent studies dealing with the following topics not limited to:
EU Green Deal promotes an increasing commitment for the transition from fossil-based energy systems to the renewable-based ones. The application in each context calls for tailored technologies, modelling techniques and planning strategies especially with the intent of involving built environment, power grid and transportation. Changes are also pushed into the market, requiring modified or even new actors and subsequent role. Hence, this Special Session will mainly focus on:
Concentrated brines, generated by anthropic activities or available from natural resources, have attracted the interest of scientific and industrial communities as a novel, sustainable and still unexplored source of energy and raw materials. When such brines have anthropic origins, their re-use and valorisation is even more important as it helps minimising the potential environmental impacts arising from their disposal in receiving water bodies. Several different concepts have been proposed so far for the valorisation of brines for energy production via the so-called Salinity Gradient Power technologies, which allow for the production of electrical energy from the controlled mixing of saline streams at different concentration. On the other side, brines can be a valuable source for raw materials, many of which listed among the EU critical raw materials for their economic relevance or supply risk, such as Magnesium, Lithium and other Trace Elements. Different strategies have been proposed for the “mining” of minerals from brines, which depend on the type of brine, its composition and on the features required for the recovered material. All this is strongly connected with the new frontiers of separation technologies, process intensification, energy integration and circular economy approaches.
This special session will represent a platform to share new ideas, application examples and perspective analysis of the large potential of brines valorisation processes.
Covered topics will include:
Progresses and results of EU-H2020 project on brines valorisation will be also presented, including (yet not limited to):
- SEArcularMINE (www.searcularmine.eu);
- WATER MINING (www.watermining.eu);
- REWAISE (www.rewaise.eu);
- ZERO BRINE (www.zerobrine.eu);
Submit your abstract for archival papers by the 15th of December 2020 via http://registration.sdewes.org/dub2021. Session invitation code: sd21vbre
Prospects of using waste derived biofuels in the internal combustion engines are increasing day by day due to the limited fossil fuel reserves and their negative impacts on the environment and human health. Although, electric vehicles are future solutions for mobility; use of conventional engines will continue in heavy-duty vehicles, marine, power generation and in other application as electrification of these sectors are yet to be feasible. Biofuels are now important part of the energy mix. However, along with the challenges of producing high quality biofuels, finding sustainable waste resource is a challenge. The bio-mix concept helps to produce high quality biofuels from various resources and mix them together to meet the international standards (for example – biodiesel- biodiesel mixing). Another important aspects of the biomix fuels are novel combustion concepts for achieving high thermal efficiency and low exhaust emissions, examples are – variable compression ignition (VCR), homogeneous charged compression ignition (HCCI), reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) concepts. This special session will draw researchers working on the biofuels and their advanced combustion in the engines. The session will stimulate the discussion around these areas and will help progress R & D aspects in sustainable biofuels and combustion areas. The motivation for proposing this session has come partly from a UK-India collaboration project we are working on this research theme.