Industrial production still requires a considerable and continuous supply of energy delivered from natural resources—principally in the form of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. The increase in our planet human population and its growing nutritional demands have resulted in annual increases in energy consumption. Furthermore, many nations have accelerated their development in the last 10 years, and countries with large populations (such as China and India) have seen even more significant increases in energy demands. This growing energy consumption has also resulted in unsteady climatic and environmental conditions in many areas because of increased emissions of CO2, NOx, SOx, dust, black carbon, and combustion process waste.
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 nontraditional 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 optimizing 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, noncarbon-based energy sources in order to combat the increasing threat of CO2 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. However, there have been only limited and ad hoc attempts to design a combined energy system that includes both industrial and residential buildings, and few systematic design techniques have been marshaled toward the end of producing a symbiotic system.
Another important resource is water – both as raw material and effluent. Water is widely used in various industries as raw material. 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 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).
The sustainability indicator systems for global, national and regional sustainability measurements can be based on official data, national targets and “internationally agreed commitments ” or on suggestions by analysts and scientists as proposed by UNDESA .
The LCSA methods will make it possible to take a deeper look at the effects of top-down measures on production and consumption patterns along the single product chain. LCSA models will enable ecological (LCA), economic (LCC) and social information (S-LCA) and data sets to be processed in a structured form over the whole product chain and over the value added chain. LCSA will clarify entrepreneurial responsibility over the whole product life cycle chain and help to identify weaknesses of the product and to achieve improvements. Life cycle sustainability assessment results will offer “a way of incorporating sustainable development in [bottom up] decision-making processes .”
 United Nations. Report of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: UN; 2012.
 United Nations. The Future We Want: Outcome document adopted at Rio+20. Rio de Janeiro: UN; 2012.
 Anand S, Sen A. Human Development and Economic Sustainability. World Development. 2000;28:2029-49.
 UNDESA. Prototype Global Sustainable Development Report. Online unedited edition. . New York: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development, 1 July 2014.; 2014.
 UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative. Towards a life cycle sustainability assessment. Nairobi: UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative; 2011.
Based on aims towards being “living labs,” some universities have taken or are in the process of taking a diverse set of measures to become agents of change for more sustainable campuses. These include increasing the number of LEED, HK-BEAM, Green Star, or Green Mark certified buildings on campus, renovating ship containers from nearby ports as campus buildings with innovative energy measures, installing micro-CHP units or expanding district heating networks based on high exergy efficiency co-generation or trigeneration technology, as well as heat pumps with high COP values. Others have developed systems to recover excess heat from supercomputers to heat campus buildings and carried out extensive lighting retrofit programs. Campuses have further taken bold steps to implement solar parks based on widespread PV installations as well as more pilot initiatives, including those with geothermal energy, wind energy, biogas, and hydrogen fuels. In the aspect of water, campuses have retrofit water intensive labs and increased the reuse of water on campus, including in cooling towers as make-up water. Yet other campuses have undertaken surveys to understand energy demand and transport behaviour and adopted more local food purchasing within the campus food supply chain.
This special session is structured to provide a scientific platform for invited papers from leading sustainable campuses to share case studies of their living lab projects across the dimensions of energy, water, and environment related issues. An emphasis of the session will be on the role of campuses in transitioning to future production and consumption systems. The session will conclude with a comparative analysis of campuses based on the UI Green Metric Ranking of World Universities and the comparison of campuses with other types of communities, including districts and cruisers. The synthesis of papers will provide analytical perspectives on sustainable campuses and communities.
Topics of interest of the session include, but are not limited to:
The situation regarding plastic waste has changed 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. In addition 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.
The current proposal for recycling targets of the EU states very ambitioned recycling targets – even for the mixed household waste. Besides the need for ongoing discussion in that regard, achieving any targets set depends on the system boundaries to be applied for the calculation of the recycling rate as well as what will be defined as recycling. This special session invites contributions dealing with the topics of collection and processing as well as recycling and recovery of energy from plastic waste. The aim is to discuss the future of recovery of plastic waste in Europe in view of the new EU Commission Recycling Target Proposal.
The proposed Special Session will invite contributions from both academia and industry based in the Middle East and their partners in the following topical areas:
Within the special session a variety of attempts is shown of different cities on how to contribute to a future sustainable energy system. Especially electricity supplies are demanding as in nowadays systems energy storage is negligible. Pure electricity storages are analyzed and compared to other storage options as heat storage and gas storages which could be accesses when coupling different energy sectors. The attempt of cities with their district heating infrastructure will play a major role within this special session.
But the session will not stick on the energy aspect only. It will also deal with other aspects of a smart, sustainable development of Cities, especially with questions of mobility, environment, urban planning, economy and citizen involvement. We will deal with technologies, but much more with systems and multi-disciplinary approaches.