The use of biomass to produce renewable energy is one of the forms that can be used to reduce the impact of energy production. Like any other energy resource, there are limitations for biomass use, and it must compete not only with fossil fuels but also with other renewable energy sources such as solar or wind energy. Combustion is currently the most efficient and widely used waste-to-energy process, in the areas where direct use of biomass is possible, without the need to make large transfers of raw material. Many industrial facilities can use agricultural or forestry waste, straw, chips, bagasse, etc. in their thermal systems without making major transformations or adjustments in the feeding to the ovens, making this waste an attractive and cost-effective option in terms of availability, access, and costs. In spite of the facilities and benefits, the environmental reasons (emission of gases and particulate material) are decisive for its use for energy purpose. This paper describes a valorization of residues from forest industry to generate energy, using a case study.
The exploitation of gold ore deposits is highly dependent on efficient mineral processing methods, although actual perspectives based on life-cycle assessment introduce difficulties that were unforeseen in a very recent past. Cyanidation is the most applied gold processing method, but the potential environmental problems derived from the usage of cyanide as leaching reagent led to a demand for alternative methods. Ammoniacal thiosulfate leaching is one of the most important alternatives to cyanidation. In this article, some experimental studies carried out in order to assess the feasibility of thiosulfate as a leaching agent for the ore from the unexploited Portuguese gold mine of Castromil. It became clear that the process depends on the concentrations of ammonia, thiosulfate and copper. Based on this fact, a few leaching tests were performed in order to assess the best reagent prescription, and also the effects of different combination of these concentrations. Higher thiosulfate concentrations cause the decrease of gold dissolution. Lower concentrations of ammonia require higher thiosulfate concentrations, and higher ammonia concentrations require lower thiosulfate concentrations. The addition of copper increases the gold dissolution ratio. Subsequently, some alternative operatory conditions were tested such as variations in temperature and in the solid/liquid ratio as well as the application of a pre-treatment before the leaching stage. Finally, thiosulfate leaching was compared to cyanidation. Thiosulfate leaching showed to be an important alternative, although a pre-treatment is required to increase the yield of the gold dissolution.
Hurling a successful Construction and Demolition Waste (C&DW) recycling operation around the globe is a challenge today, predominantly because secondary materials markets are yet to be integrated. Reducing, Reusing and recycling of (C&DW) have been employed over the years, and various techniques have been investigated. However, the economic and environmental viability of its application seems limited. This paper discusses the costs and benefits in using secondary materials and focus on investigating reuse and recycling process for five major types of construction materials: concrete, metal, wood, cardboard/paper and plasterboard. Data obtained from demolition specialists and contractors are considered and evaluated. The research paper found that construction material recovery process fully incorporate a 3R’s principle contributing to saving energy and natural resources. This scrutiny leads to the empathy of grand challenges in construction material recovery process. Recommendations to deepen material recovery process are also discussed.
Environmental impacts of six 3D printers using various materials were compared to determine if material choice drove sustainability, or if other factors such as machine type, machine size, or machine utilization dominate. Cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessments were performed, comparing a commercial-scale FDM machine printing in ABS plastic, a desktop FDM machine printing in ABS, a desktop FDM machine printing in PET and PLA plastics, a polyjet machine printing in its proprietary polymer, an SLA machine printing in its polymer, and an inkjet machine hacked to print in salt and dextrose. All scenarios were scored using ReCiPe Endpoint H methodology to combine multiple impact categories, comparing environmental impacts per part made for several scenarios per machine. Results showed that most printers’ ecological impacts were dominated by electricity use, not materials, and the changes in electricity use due to different plastics was not significant compared to variation from one machine to another. Variation in machine idle time determined impacts per part most strongly. However, material impacts were quite important for the inkjet printer hacked to print in salt: In its optimal scenario, it had up to 1/38th the impacts coreper part as the worst-performing machine in the same scenario. If salt parts were infused with epoxy to make them more physically robust, then much of this advantage disappeared, and material impacts actually dominated or equaled electricity use. Future studies should also measure DMLS and SLS processes / materials.