A comprehensive exergoeconomic performance analysis of a municipal solid waste digestion plant integrated with a biogas genset was conducted throughout this study in order to highlight its bottlenecks for further improvements. Exergoeconomic performance parameters of each component of the plant were determined by solving exergy and cost balance equations based on Specific Exergy Costing (SPECO) approach. The analysis was conducted to reveal the cost structure of the plant based on actual operating information and economic data. The exergy unitary cost of two main products of the plant, i.e., bioelectricity and biofertilizer were determined at 26.27 and 2.27 USD/GJ, respectively. The genset showed the highest overall cost rate (101.27 USD/h) followed by digester (68.41 USD/h). Furthermore, the net bioelectricity amounted to 67.81% of the overall cost rate of the products, while this value was 32.19% for both liquid and dewatered digestates. According to the results obtained, efforts should mainly focus on enhancing the efficiency of the genset in order to boost the overall performance of the system exergoeconomically. In addition, minimizing the investment-related cost of the digester could also substantially enhance the exergoeconomic performance of the plant.
Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is one of the most attractive tools employed nowadays by environmental policy-makers as well as business decision-makers to ensure environmentally sustainable production/consumption of various goods/services. LCA is a systematic, rigorous, and standardized approach aimed at quantifying resources consumed/depleted, pollutants released, and the related environmental and health impacts through the course of consumption and production of goods/service. Algal fuels are no exception and their environmental sustainability could be well scrutinized using the LCA methodology. In line with that, this chapter is devoted to present guidelines on the technical aspects of LCA application in algal fuels while elaborating on major standards used, i.e., ISO 14040 and 14044 standards. Overall, LCA practitioners as well as technical experts dealing with algal fuels in both the public and private sectors could be the main target audience for these guidelines.
Waste-to-energy conversion presents a pivotal strategy for mitigating the energy crisis and curbing environmental pollution. Pyrolysis is a widely embraced thermochemical approach for transforming waste into valuable energy resources. This study delves into the co-pyrolysis of terrestrial biomass (potato peel) and marine biomass (Sargassum angastifolium) to optimize the quantity and quality of the resultant bio-oil and biochar. Initially, thermogravimetric analysis was conducted at varying heating rates (5, 20, and 50 °C/min) to elucidate the thermal degradation behavior of individual samples. Subsequently, comprehensive analyses employing FTIR, XRD, XRF, BET, FE-SEM, and GC-MS were employed to assess the composition and morphology of pyrolysis products. Results demonstrated an augmented bio-oil yield in mixed samples, with the highest yield of 27.1 wt% attained in a composition comprising 75% potato peel and 25% Sargassum angastifolium. As confirmed by GC-MS analysis, mixed samples exhibited reduced acidity, particularly evident in the bio-oil produced from a 75% Sargassum angastifolium blend, which exhibited approximately half the original acidity. FTIR analysis revealed key functional groups on the biochar surface, including O-H, CO, and C-O moieties. XRD and XRF analyses indicated the presence of alkali and alkaline earth metals in the biochar, while BET analysis showed a surface area ranging from 0.64 to 1.60 m2/g. The favorable characteristics of the products highlight the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of co-pyrolyzing terrestrial and marine biomass for the generation of biofuels and value-added commodities.
The huge amount of agro-wastes generated due to expanding agricultural activities can potentially cause serious environmental and human health problems. Using the biorefinery concept, all parts of agricultural plants can be converted into multiple value-added bioproducts while reducing waste generation. This approach can be viewed as an effective strategy in developing and realizing a circular bioeconomy by accomplishing the dual goals of waste mitigation and energy recovery. However, the sustainability issue of biorefineries should still be thoroughly scrutinized using comprehensive resource accounting methods such as exergy-based approaches. In light of that, this study aims to conduct a detailed exergy analysis of whole-crop safflower biorefinery consisting of six units, i.e., straw handling, biomass pretreatment, bioethanol production, wastewater treatment, oil extraction, and biodiesel production. The analysis is carried out to find the major exergy sink in the developed biorefinery and discover the bottlenecks for further performance improvements. Overall, the wastewater treatment unit exhibits to be the major exergy sink, amounting to over 70% of the total thermodynamic irreversibility of the process. The biomass pretreatment and bioethanol production units account for 12.4 and 10.3% of the total thermodynamic inefficiencies of the process, respectively. The exergy rates associated with bioethanol, biodiesel, lignin, biogas, liquid digestate, seed cake, sodium sulfate, and glycerol are determined to be 5918.5, 16516.8, 10778.9, 1741.4, 6271.5, 15755.8, 3.4, and 823.5 kW, respectively. The overall exergetic efficiency of the system stands at 72.7%, demonstrating the adequacy of the developed biorefinery from the thermodynamic perspective.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) of organic wastes is among the most promising approaches used for the simultaneous treatment of various waste streams, environment conservation, and renewable bioenergy generation (biomethane). Among the latest innovations investigated to enhance the overall performance of this process both qualitatively and quantitatively, the application of some nanoparticles (NPs) has attracted a great deal of attention. Typically, the NPs of potential benefit to the AD process could be divided into three groups: (i) zero-valent iron (ZVI) NPs, (ii) metallic and metal oxides NPs, and (iii) carbon-based NPs. The present review focuses on the latest findings reported on the application of these NPs in AD process and presents their various mechanisms of action leading to higher or lower biogas production rates. Among the NPs studies, ZVI NPs could be regarded as the most promising nanomaterials for enhancing biogas production through stabilizing the AD process as well as by stimulating the growth of beneficial microorganisms to the AD process and the enzymes involved. Future research should focus on various attributes of NPs when used as additives in biogas production, including facilitating mixing and pumping operations, enriching the population and diversity of beneficial microorganisms for AD, improving biogas release, and inducing the production and activity of AD-related enzymes. The higher volume of methane-enriched biogas would be translated into higher returns on investment and could therefore, result in further growth of the biogas production industry. Nevertheless, efforts should be devoted to decreasing the price of NPs so that the enhanced biogas and methane production (by over 90%, compared to control) would be more economically justified, facilitating the large-scale application of these compounds. In addition to economic considerations, environmental issues are also regarded as major constraints which should be addressed prior to widespread implementation of NP-augmented AD processes. More specifically, the fate of NPs augmented in AD process should be scrutinized to ensure maximal beneficial impacts while adverse environmental/health consequences are minimized.
Integrated environmental analysis using life cycle assessment for different fuel blends used in a single-cylinder diesel engine was performed to select the most eco-friendly fuel blend. More specifically, the inventory data in support of the integrated environmental analysis of water-emulsified 5% biodiesel/diesel blends (B5) containing different levels of carbon nanoparticles (i.e., 38, 75, and 150 µM) as a novel fuel nanoadditives at a fixed engine speed of 1000 rpm and four different engine loads (i.e., 25, 50, 75, and 100%) are presented. Neat diesel, B5, and B5 containing water (3 wt.%) were used as controls. Raw data related to the production and combustion of fuel blends were experimentally collected. Industrial (i.e., experiments at large scale) and laboratory (i.e., experiments at small scale) data were used for fuel blends production while experimental data obtained by engine tests were used for the combustion stage. Then raw data were processed with the IMPACT 2002+ methods by using the SimaPro software and EcoInvent database and were then converted into environmental impacts. Accordingly, six supplementary files including the inventory data on integrated environmental analysis of the different fuel blends are presented (Supplementary Files 1-6). The data could be applied for integrated environmental analysis in order to avoid subjective weighting of combustion parameters for selecting the most eco-friendly fuel blend for use in diesel engines. More specifically, by developing a single score indicator obtained through conducting integrated combustion analysis, comparison of various fuel blends is largely facilitated.
Human livelihood highly depends on applying different sources of energy whose utilization is associated with air pollution. On the other hand, air pollution may be associated with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) development. Unlike other environmental causes of cancer (e.g., irradiation), air pollution cannot efficiently be controlled by geographical borders, regulations, and policies. The unavoidable exposure to air pollution can modify cancer incidence and mortality. GBM treatment with chemotherapy or even its surgical removal has proven insufficient (100% recurrence rate; patient's survival mean of 15 months; 90% fatality within five years) due to glioma infiltrative and migratory capacities. Given the barrage of attention and research investments currently plowed into next-generation cancer therapy, oncolytic viruses are perhaps the most vigorously pursued. Provision of an insight into the current state of the research and future direction is essential for stimulating new ideas with the potentials of filling research gaps. This review manuscript aims to overview types of brain cancer, their burden, and different causative agents. It also describes why air pollution is becoming a concerning factor. The different opinions on the association of air pollution with brain cancer are reviewed. It tries to address the significant controversy in this field by hypothesizing the air-pollution-brain-cancer association via inflammation and atopic conditions. The last section of this review deals with the oncolytic viruses, which have been used in, or are still under clinical trials for GBM treatment. Engineered adenoviruses (i.e., DNX-2401, DNX-2440, CRAd8-S-pk7 loaded Neural stem cells), herpes simplex virus type 1 (i.e., HSV-1 C134, HSV-1 rQNestin34.5v.2, HSV-1 G207, HSV-1 M032), measles virus (i.e., MV-CEA), parvovirus (i.e., ParvOryx), poliovirus (i.e., Poliovirus PVSRIPO), reovirus (i.e., pelareorep), moloney murine leukemia virus (i.e., Toca 511 vector), and vaccinia virus (i.e., vaccinia virus TG6002) as possible life-changing alleviations for GBM have been discussed. To the best of our knowledge, this review is the first review that comprehensively discusses both (i) the negative/positive association of air pollution with GBM; and (ii) the application of oncolytic viruses for GBM, including the most recent advances and clinical trials. It is also the first review that addresses the controversies over air pollution and brain cancer association. We believe that the article will significantly appeal to a broad readership of virologists, oncologists, neurologists, environmentalists, and those who work in the field of (bio)energy. Policymakers may also use it to establish better health policies and regulations about air pollution and (bio)fuels exploration, production, and consumption.
Appropriate bioprocessing of lignocellulosic materials into ethanol could address the world's insatiable appetite for energy while mitigating greenhouse gases. Bioethanol is an ideal gasoline extender and is widely used in many countries in blended form with gasoline at specific ratios to improve fuel characteristics and engine performance. Although the bioethanol production industry has long been operational, finding a suitable microbial agent for the efficient conversion of lignocelluloses is still an active field of study. Among available microbial candidates, engineered bacteria may be promising ethanol producers while may show other desired traits such as thermophilic nature and high ethanol tolerance. This review provides the current knowledge on the introduction, overexpression, and deletion of the genes that have been performed in bacterial hosts to achieve higher ethanol yield, production rate and titer, and tolerance. The constraints and possible solutions and economic feasibility of the processes utilizing such engineered strains are also discussed.
Waste cooking oil (WCO) is a hazardous waste generated at staggering values globally. WCO disposal into various ecosystems, including soil and water, could result in severe environmental consequences. On the other hand, mismanagement of this hazardous waste could also be translated into the loss of resources given its energy content. Hence, finding cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative pathways for simultaneous management and valorization of WCO, such as conversion into biodiesel, has been widely sought. Due to its low toxicity, high biodegradability, renewability, and the possibility of direct use in diesel engines, biodiesel is a promising alternative to mineral diesel. However, the conventional homogeneous or heterogeneous catalysts used in the biodiesel production process, i.e., transesterification, are generally toxic and derived from non-renewable resources. Therefore, to boost the sustainability features of the process, the development of catalysts derived from renewable waste-oriented resources is of significant importance. In light of the above, the present work aims to review and critically discuss the hazardous WCO application for bioenergy production. Moreover, various waste-oriented catalysts used to valorize this waste are presented and discussed.
Improper healthcare waste (HCW) management poses significant risks to the environment, human health, and socio-economic sustainability due to the infectious and hazardous nature of HCW. This research aims at rendering a comprehensive landscape of the body of research on HCW management by (i) mapping the scientific development of HCW research, (ii) identifying the prominent HCW research themes and trends, and (iii) providing a research agenda for HCW management towards a circular economy (CE) transition and sustainable environment. The analysis revealed four dominant HCW research themes: (1) HCW minimization, sustainable management, and policy-making; (2) HCW incineration and its associated environmental impacts; (3) hazardous HCW management practices; and (4) HCW handling and occupational safety and training. The results showed that the healthcare industry, despite its potential to contribute to the CE transition, has been overlooked in the CE discourse due to the single-use mindset of the healthcare industry in the wake of the infectious, toxic, and hazardous nature of HCW streams. The findings shed light on the HCW management domain by uncovering the current status of HCW research, highlighting the existing gaps and challenges, and providing potential avenues for further research towards a CE transition in the healthcare industry and HCW management.
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization identified SARS-CoV-2 as a public health emergency of global concern. Accordingly, the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), including medical face masks, has sharply risen compared with 2019. The new situation has led to a sharp increase in energy demand and the environmental impacts associated with these product systems. Hence, the pandemic's effects on the environmental consequences of various PPE types, such as medical face masks, should be assessed. In light of that, the current study aimed to identify the environmental hot-spots of medical face mask production and consumption by using life cycle assessment (LCA) and tried to provide solutions to mitigate the adverse impacts. Based on the results obtained, in 2020, medical face masks production using fossil-based plastics causes the loss of 2.03 × 103 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs); 1.63 × 108 PDF*m2*yr damage to ecosystem quality; the climate-damaging release of 2.13 × 109 kg CO2eq; and 5.65 × 1010 MJ damage to resources. Besides, annual medical face mask production results in 5.88 × 104 TJ demand for exergy. On the other hand, if used makes are not appropriately handled, they can lead to 4.99 × 105 Pt/yr additional damage to the environment in 2020 as determined by the EDIP 2003. Replacement of fossil-based plastics with bio-based plastics, at rates ranging from 10 to 100%, could mitigate the product's total yearly environmental damage by 4-43%, respectively. Our study calls attention to the environmental sustainability of PPE used to prevent virus transmission in the current and future pandemics.
A new cutting-edge lignocellulose fractionation technology for the co-production of glucose, native-like lignin, and furfural was introduced using mannitol (MT)-assisted p-toluenesulfonic acid/pentanol pretreatment, as an eco-friendly process. The addition of optimized 5% MT in pretreatment enhanced the delignification rate by 29% and enlarged the surface area and biomass porosity by 1.07-1.80 folds. This increased the glucose yield by 45% (from 65.34 to 94.54%) after enzymatic hydrolysis relative to those without MT. The extracted lignin in the organic phase of pretreatment exhibited β-O-4 bonds (61.54/100 Ar) properties of native cellulosic enzyme lignin. Lignin characterization and molecular docking analyses revealed that the hydroxyl tails of MT were incorporated with lignin and formed etherified lignin, which preserved high lignin integrity. The solubilized hemicellulose (96%) in the liquid phase of pretreatment was converted into furfural with a yield of 83.99%. The MT-assisted pretreatment could contribute to a waste-free biorefinery pathway toward a circular bioeconomy.
The world has been grappling with the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year. Various sectors have been affected by COVID-19 and its consequences. The waste management system is one of the sectors affected by such unpredictable pandemics. The experience of COVID-19 proved that adaptability to such pandemics and the post-pandemic era had become a necessity in waste management systems and this requires an accurate understanding of the challenges that have been arising. The accurate information and data from most countries severely affected by the pandemic are not still available to identify the key challenges during and post-COVID-19. The documented evidence from literature has been collected, and the attempt has been made to summarize the rising challenges and the lessons learned. This review covers all raised challenges concerning the various aspects of the waste management system from generation to final disposal (i.e., generation, storage, collection, transportation, processing, and burial of waste). The necessities and opportunities are recognized for increasing flexibility and adaptability in waste management systems. The four basic pillars are enumerated to adapt the waste management system to the COVID-19 pandemic and post-COVID-19 conditions. Striving to support and implement a circular economy is one of its basic strategies.
Large amounts of agricultural waste, especially marine product waste, are produced annually. These wastes can be used to produce compounds with high-added value. Chitosan is one such valuable product that can be obtained from crustacean wastes. Various biological activities of chitosan and its derivatives, especially antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anticancer properties, have been confirmed by many studies. The unique characteristics of chitosan, especially chitosan nanocarriers, have led to the expansion of using chitosan in various sectors, especially in biomedical sciences and food industries. On the other hand, essential oils, known as volatile and aromatic compounds of plants, have attracted the attention of researchers in recent years. Like chitosan, essential oils have various biological activities, including antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anticancer. In recent years, one of the ways to improve the biological properties of chitosan is to use essential oils encapsulated in chitosan nanocarriers. Among the various biological activities of chitosan nanocarriers containing essential oils, most studies conducted in recent years have been in the field of antimicrobial activity. It was documented that the antimicrobial activity was increased by reducing the size of chitosan particles in the nanoscale. In addition, the antimicrobial activity was intensified when essential oils were in the structure of chitosan nanoparticles. Essential oils can increase the antimicrobial activity of chitosan nanoparticles with synergistic effects. Using essential oils in the structure of chitosan nanocarriers can also improve the other biological properties (antioxidant and anticancer activities) of chitosan and increase the application fields of chitosan. Of course, using essential oils in chitosan nanocarriers for commercial use requires more studies, including stability during storage and effectiveness in real environments. This review aims to overview recent studies on the biological effects of essential oils encapsulated in chitosan nanocarriers, with notes on their biological mechanisms.
Air pollutants are increasingly emitted into the atmosphere because of the high dependency of humans on fossil-derived fuels. Wind speed and direction assisted high dispersibility and uncontrolled nature of air pollution across geo-/demographical borders, making it one of the major global concerns. Besides climate change, air pollution has been found to be associated with various diseases, such as cancer. Lung cancer, which is the world's most common type of cancer, has been found to be associated with traffic-related air pollution. Research and political efforts have been taken to explore green/renewable energy sources. However, these efforts at the current intensity cannot cope with the increasing need for fossil fuels. More specifically, political tensions such as the Russian-Ukraine war, economic tension (e.g., China-USA economic tensions), and other issues (e.g., pandemic, higher inflation rate, and poverty) significantly hindered phasing out fossil fuels. In this context, an increasing global population will be exposed to traffic-related air pollution, which justifies the current uptrend in the number of lung cancer patients. To combat this health burden, novel treatments with higher efficiency and specificity must be designed. One of the potential "life changer" options is microRNA (miRNA)-based therapy to target the expression of oncogenic genes. That said, this review discusses the association of traffic-related air pollution with lung cancer, the changes in indigenous miRNAs in the body during lung cancer, and the current status of miRNA therapeutics for lung cancer treatment. We believe that the article will significantly appeal to a broad readership of oncologists, environmentalists, and those who work in the field of (bio)energy. It may also gain the policymakers' attention to establish better health policies and regulations about air pollution, for example, by promoting (bio)fuel exploration, production, and consumption.
Mucilages are natural compounds consisting mainly of polysaccharides with complex chemical structures. Mucilages also contain uronic acids, proteins, lipids, and bioactive compounds. Because of their unique properties, mucilages are used in various industries, including food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Typically, commercial gums are composed only of polysaccharides, which increase their hydrophilicity and surface tension, reducing their emulsifying ability. As a result of the presence of proteins in combination with polysaccharides, mucilages possess unique emulsifying properties due to their ability to reduce surface tension. In recent years, various studies have been conducted on using mucilages as emulsifiers in classical and Pickering emulsions because of their unique emulsifying feature. Studies have shown that some mucilages, such as yellow mustard, mutamba, and flaxseed mucilages, have a higher emulsifying capacity than commercial gums. A synergistic effect has also been shown in some mucilages, such as Dioscorea opposita mucilage when combined with commercial gums. This review article investigates whether mucilages can be used as emulsifiers and what factors affect their emulsifying properties. A discussion of the challenges and prospects of using mucilages as emulsifiers is also presented in this review.
Chitosan is one of the valuable products obtained from crustacean waste. The unique characteristics of chitosan (antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory) have increased its application in various sectors. Besides unique biological properties, chitosan or chitosan-based compounds can stabilize emulsions. Nevertheless, studies have shown that chitosan cannot be used as an efficient stabilizer because of its high hydrophilicity. Hence, this review aims to provide an overview of recent studies dealing with improving the emulsifying properties of chitosan. In general, two different approaches have been reported to improve the emulsifying properties of chitosan. The first approach tries to improve the stabilization property of chitosan by modifying its structure. The second one uses compounds such as polysaccharides, proteins, surfactants, essential oils, and polyphenols with more wettability and emulsifying properties than chitosan's particles in combination with chitosan to create complex particles. The tendency to use chitosan-based particles to stabilize Pickering emulsions has recently increased. For this reason, more studies have been conducted in recent years to improve the stabilizing properties of chitosan-based particles, especially using the electrostatic interaction method. In the electrostatic interaction method, numerous research has been conducted on using proteins and polysaccharides to increase the stabilizing property of chitosan.
Chitosan, an amino polysaccharide mostly derived from crustaceans, has been recently highlighted for its biological activities that depend on its molecular weight (MW), degree of deacetylation (DD), and acetylation pattern (AP). More importantly, for some advanced biomaterials, the homogeneity of the chitosan structure is an important factor in determining its biological activity. Here we review emerging enzymes and cell factories, respectively, for in vitro and in vivo preparation of chitosan oligosaccharides (COSs), focusing on advances in the analysis of the AP and structural modification of chitosan to tune its functions. By 'mapping' current knowledge on chitosan's in vitro and in vivo activity with its MW and AP, this work could pave the way for future studies in the field.
The livestock industry needs to use crop straws that are highly digestible to improve feed productivity and reduce ruminal methane emissions. Hence, this study aimed to use the ozonation and pelleting processes to enhance the digestibility and reduce the ruminal methane emissions of wheat straw enriched with two nitrogen sources (i.e., urea and heat-processed broiler litter). Various analyses were conducted on the pellets, including digestibility indicators, mechanical properties, surface chemistry functionalization, chemical-spectral-structural features, and energy requirements. For comparison, loose forms of the samples were also analyzed. The nitrogen-enriched ozonated wheat straw pellets had 43.06 % lower lignin, 28.30 % higher gas production for 24 h, 12.28 % higher metabolizable energy, 13.78 % higher in vitro organic matter digestibility for 24 h, and 28.81 % higher short-chain fatty acid content than the nitrogen-enriched loose sample. The reduction of methane emissions by rumen microorganisms of nitrogen-enriched wheat straw by ozonation, pelleting, and ozonation-pelleting totaled 89.15 %, 23.35 %, and 66.98 %, respectively. The ozonation process resulted in a 64 % increase in the particle density, a 5.5-time increase in the tensile strength, and a 75 % increase in the crushing energy of nitrogen-enriched wheat straw. In addition, ozone treatment could also reduce the specific and thermal energy consumption required in the pelleting process by 15.10 % and 7.61 %, respectively.
Life cycle assessment was used to evaluate the environmental impacts of phytoplanktonic biofuels as possible sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. Three scenarios were examined for converting planktonic biomass into higher-value commodities and energy streams using the alga Scenedesmus sp. and the cyanobacterium Arthrospira sp. as the species of interest. The first scenario (Sc-1) involved the production of biodiesel and glycerol from the planktonic biomass. In the second scenario (Sc-2), biodiesel and glycerol were generated from the planktonic biomass, and biogas was produced from the residual biomass. The process also involved using a catalyst derived from snail shells for biodiesel production. The third scenario (Sc-3) was similar to Sc-2 but converted CO2 from the biogas upgrading to methanol, which was then used in synthesizing biodiesel. The results indicated that Sc-2 and Sc-3 had a reduced potential (up to 60 % less) for damaging human health compared to Sc-1. Sc-2 and Sc-3 had up to 61 % less environmental impact than Sc-1. Sc-2 and Sc-3 reduced the total cumulative exergy demand by up to 44 % compared to Sc-1. In conclusion, producing chemicals and utilities within the biorefinery could significantly improve environmental sustainability, reduce waste, and diversify revenue streams.