related metrics presents an opportunity to trigger policy learning, action, and cooperation to bring cities closer to sustainable development.
"Then I say the Earth belongs to each generation during its course, fully and in its right no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its existence"
Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789
"If there are to be problems, may they come during my life-time so that I can resolve them and give my children the chance of a good life."
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
Buckminster Fuller, philosopher, futurist and global thinker (1895 - 1983)
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 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 of 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 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 working 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 as 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. The ICT sector is also involved in resources and energy consumption as well as waste generalisation, which is 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, securing 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 be 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 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 outlines the field of energy and water efficiency, including its scope, actors, and main features. It 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 45 papers were submitted to the special session for the 16th SDEWES conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Due to the high demand, it has been decided to organise this session again in 2022, this time for the SDEWES conference in Vlore, Albania. 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.