related metrics presents an opportunity to trigger policy learning, action, and cooperation to bring cities closer to sustainable development.
These framework-conditions led to the situation that plastic waste was predominantly used as waste fuel in spite of the European Waste Framework Directive stipulating a higher priority to recycling compared to energy recovery.
The situation regarding plastic waste is changing now and collection systems are being optimized with regard to the recyclability of the recyclables collected. Highly sophisticated automated sorting technology has been developed during the last decade and has proven its applicability for plastic waste as well. Furthermore, a market for recycled plastics has developed and is driving an increase of material recovery. New products like bio-plastics pose new challenges for technologies suited for fossil based plastics. Research regarding the use of cracked components of waste plastics for the production of liquid fuels is on the way. On the other hand energy intensive industries have invested in process-technology and pollution control equipment allowing for an environmentally sound energy recovery from waste during the last two decades. These industries still want to use locally available – plastic rich – waste fuels. In view of recent developments in collection, processing and recycling of plastic waste the energy recovery from plastic waste becomes less attractive from an economical point of view as well.
In that context it is very important to optimize organizational procedures and technology and to find the right route of recovery for plastics in order to allow for resource recovery while minimizing the impact of plastics to the environment and preventing harm to humans due to recycling.
This special session invites contributions dealing with the topics of plastics design, collection and processing as well as recycling and recovery of energy from plastic waste. The aim is to discuss the future of plastic and the recovery of plastic waste.
Due to the high demand it has been decided to organise this session again in 2016, this time for the SEE SDEWES in Piran. The main focus of the session is on research and demonstration in the field of energy and water efficiency for improving the sustainability in industrial and other activities. Due to the immense importance of knowledge dissemination and transfer, presentations are also invited in the field of knowledge management and especially knowledge transfer.
Industrial production still requires a considerable and continuous supply of energy delivered from natural resources—principally fossil fuels. The increase in our planet human population and its growing nutritional demands result in continuous increase of energy demands. This includes the forerunners in recent economic development such as China and India. The growing energy consumption also creates the problems with greenhouse gas emissions as well as other pollution effects including toxins and particulates.
It has become increasingly important to ensure that the production and processing industries take advantage of recent developments in energy efficiency and in the use of non-traditional energy sources. The additional environmental cost is related to the amount of emitted carbon dioxide (CO2) and may take the form of a centrally imposed tax. A workable solution to this problem would be to reduce emissions and effluents by optimising energy consumption, increasing the efficiency of materials processing, and increasing also the efficiency of energy conversion and consumption.
Although industry requires large 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 optimizing 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 rather structured in seasonal campaigns. Energy demands in this sector are related to specific and limited time periods, so the design of efficient energy systems to meet this demand 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 characterized by spatial distribution and variations as well as temporal variations with diverse dynamics. More recently, the fluctuations and often large increases in the prices of oil and gas have further increased interest in employing alternative, non-carbon-based energy sources. These cost and environmental concerns have led to increases in the industrial sector efficiency of energy use, although the use of renewable energy sources in major industry has been sporadic at best. In contrast, domestic energy supply has moved more positively toward the integration of renewable energy sources; this movement includes solar heating, heat pumps, and wind turbines, as well as photovoltaic electricity generation. There have been already interesting scientific results on designing combined energy systems that include both industrial and residential buildings toward the end of producing a symbiotic system.
Another important issue is water – both as raw material and effluent. Fresh water 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 fresh water 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 minimization. Adopting techniques to minimize 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 for acquiring freshwater and treating effluents.
Another key issue is the knowledge development and management. 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.
As such, the books can be viewed as limited knowledge bases, containing summaries and interpretations of the research works by the book authors, as well as relevant references to other pieces of knowledge – books, scientific articles, patents, etc. When the content of a book gets outdated compared to new developments, frequently new editions of the same book are devised or new books are written in their stead.
However, as the number of research projects and scientific articles grows, there is an increasing chance that repetitions of certain research topics or re-discoveries of same principles and research results occur. While such a phenomenon is generally beneficial within small extent, its increasing rate would result in significant waste or misuse of resources dedicated to knowledge development and hinder knowledge exploitation.
This is where comes the need for employing sophisticated systems for knowledge management, which should enable key features for efficient knowledge development, update, tracking and transfer (including education). Some such features include: integrated research-training-update life cycle, increased interactivity and variety of the content delivery, Internet-based training and knowledge transfer, Emphasis should be put on Internet-based interactive working sessions (learning objects) in addition to written exercises. These will allow involving additional associations and senses in the training process further improving the quality and speed of e-learning.
This session provides a platform for 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, beside 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 minimizing emissions and the the environmental footprints: carbon and water footprints. The carbon footprint (CFP) is defined by the U.K. Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology as the total amount of CO2 and the other greenhouse gases emitted over the full life cycle of a process or product. IN a similar way the water footprint embodies the various water quantities used for the manufacturing and delivery of a product. For energy supply, there have been numerous studies that emphasize the “carbon neutrality” of renewable sources of energy. However, even renewable energy sources make some contribution to the overall carbon footprint, and assessment studies frequently do not account for this. The carbon footprint should also be incorporated into any product life-cycle assessment (LCA).
Further interest is in the extension of current optimization methods to smart grid problems in the presence of variable renewable energy sources integration, especially trough the demand response and other energy storages options, e.g. electric cars with smart electric charging that will allow better utilization of the existing infrastructure.
Last but not least, the provision of the ancillary services through demand response and methodologies aimed to assess of its potential with the focus on the prosumer concept and dynamic pricing.
These methods could contribute to the development of nexus-focused strategies and thereby support decision-makers in managing, shaping and governing the transition process of the green economy in the nexus sectors.
The invited papers for the 2nd SEE SDEWES Conference will focus on a similarly diverse spectrum of best practices from leading campuses and communities from around the world, with a particular focus on case studies and implications for applications in Southeast Europe. Experts from the International Energy Agency Annex 64 on “Optimised Performance of Energy Supply Systems with Exergy Principles” and related tasks will further enrich the scope of the Special Session, including on low exergy communities and net-zero districts.
Invited papers are also welcome to provide an outlook towards scaling-up the best practices for greater impact in society. In this perspective, campuses and communities may be approached as “living labs” for better sustainability in the urban context. Authors are particularly invited to relate the best practices at the campus and/or community level to improving the ranking of cities in the SDEWES City Index, which has been developed to benchmark the performance of cities in various aspects to determine the sustainability of energy, water and environment systems. Beyond vital hubs of education and research, campuses and communities can empower cities to accelerate sustainability transitions.