The COVID-19 pandemic and its countermeasures radically affected the energy sector. Within a matter of days, whole countries were into lockdown causing the largest energy impact of the last decades. This study explores the pandemic and its effects on the isolated power systems of Cape Verde, a small island-based developing state in Africa. Historical data from 2013 to 2021 is combined with ARIMA-based forecasting to estimate a COVID-free scenario. The results show how the country’s electricity demand suffered a 10% drop distributed among the islands proportionally to GDP per capita. The energy mix was unaffected, but the lower demand motivated 6% less emissions. The reliability of the system improved with respect previous years, but the transmission losses increased by 5% due to energy theft caused by the severe economic crisis suffered in the archipelago. In that sense, the impact on revenue and energy sector workers was quite limited. Furthermore, we also studied the effects of the pandemic in other energy related sectors such as water desalination and transport. The recovery started in the third quarter of 2020 as marked by the increased electricity demand, but also with the rapid growth of passengers and goods in the transport sector.
Sustainability has become a broad societal goal, aiming to ensure that human beings coexist safely and harmoniously with nature over a longer time. The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy is coming to an end. The development and merits of sustainable energy supply, advanced technology, and economic features have received significant attention over the last few decades. However, significant gaps still exist with respect to how to design, construct, and implement hybrid and optimal energy systems with the lowest investment and cost. Since 2002, the Sustainable Development of Energy, Water, and Environment Systems (SDEWES) conferences have become a significant meeting venue for researchers to introduce, discuss, share, and disseminate novel concepts and ideas. This paper presents an overview of published articles in the Special Issues (SIs) dedicated by the series SDEWES conferences, especially those published in Energies recommended by the 16th SDEWES Conference, which was held on 10–15 October 2021 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. This SI in Energies focused on four main topics, including the application of renewable bioenergy, component enhancement in renewable systems, sustainable development for buildings and economic analysis and evaluation for sustainability. The collected papers provide insight into the topics related to recent advances in improving sustainable efficiency, including studies on waste-to-wealth techniques, utilization of hybrid bioenergy systems, heat exchangers and other components for performance enhancement, energy supply and demand analysis, low-temperature DHC systems, techno-economic assessment, and environmental evaluation.
Many consequences of climate change undermine the stability of global food systems, decreasing food security and diet quality, and exposing vulnerable populations to multiple forms of malnutrition. The emergence of pandemics such as Covid-19 exacerbate the situation and make interactions even more complex. Climate change impacts food systems at different levels, including changes in soil fertility and crop yield, composition, and bioavailability of nutrients in foods, pest resistance, and risk of malnutrition. Sustainable and resilient food systems, coupled with climate-smart agriculture, are needed to ensure sustainable diets that are adequately diverse, nutritious, and better aligned with contextual ecosystem functions and environmental conservation. Robust tools and indicators are urgently needed to measure the reciprocal food systems-climate change interaction, that is further complicated by pandemics, and how it impacts human health.
Abstract Aviation has been identified as one of the crucial hard-to-abate sectors, as long-range aviation in particular will continue to depend on liquid fuels for the foreseeable future. The sector was also one of the fastest growing emitters of fossil CO2 emissions until 2019 but experienced sharply reduced demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, making future demand outlooks more uncertain. While past studies have looked at the variation in future aviation demands due to variations in demographics, income levels, and pricing policies, an exploration of potentially more sustainable demand futures does not yet exist. Here we use an open-source model with a detailed representation of country-level aviation demand per international/domestic and business/leisure segments to analyze a range of scenarios based on a consistent and comprehensive interpretation of the qualitative narratives related to behavioural aspects as well as the socioeconomic data from different shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs). Our results show a potential stabilization of global aviation demand at roughly twice the 2019 level in an SSP1 scenario, a weakened growth for an SSP2 scenario, while an SSP5 scenario projects an aviation future virtually unaffected by the COVID-19 shock, resulting in continued high growth rates. Further results show that without specific interventions that change the past demand growth patterns, the aviation sector could grow to levels that are very challenging to defossilize in a sustainable manner. Therefore, policies aiming at less frequent flying seem to be an important component of long-term decarbonisation strategies, and decisions regarding airport extensions should carefully assess the risk of stranded infrastructure.
In the current context characterized by turbulent market conditions and the increasing relevance of sustainability requirements, reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMSs) offer great potentialities for supply chains and networks. While plenty of contributions have addressed RMSs from a technological and system-specific perspective since the mid-1990s, the research interest for the strategic potentialities of RMSs at the supply chain level is recent and mainly related to building supply chains’ resilience and sustainability. Despite the interest, methods to support supply chains to strategically exploit RMSs are still missing, while being highly needed. In this paper, a method—consisting of an index to assess machines reusability and a mixed integer programming (MIP) algorithm—is provided to support the identification of reusable and reconfigurable machine candidates at the early stage of the strategic network design. The overall method allows machines to be compared based on their reusability and geographical locations. The application of the method, as well as an example referring to the production of emergency devices during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported. The theoretical and practical implications of the study are also discussed, and, among others, strategic parameters related to machines have been identified and elaborated as enablers of supply chain reconfigurability; the proposed method supports practitioners in improving supply chain resilience and sustainability. The method also encourages practitioners towards the development and adoption of reconfigurable machines. Finally, this study also has social impacts for local communities and stimulates customer-centric collaboration among companies belonging to similar industries and sectors.
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
There is evidence to suggest that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may hamper our achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Here, we use non-human primates as a case study to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on the ability to achieve biodiversity conservation and management sustainability targets. We collected data through a survey of members of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group from January to March 2022. Of the 93 experts that responded to our survey, we found that 39% had not been able to visit any of their field sites since March 2020, 54% said they had less funding available for their primate-related work, and only one out of ten said they had managed to achieve at least 76–100% of their planned primate-related work since March 2020. Six out of ten respondents (61%) felt that primate conservation efforts in protected areas were worse than before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and one-third (33%) felt hunting was happening more frequently than before. This study provides evidence of the impacts of COVID-19 on progress towards achieving the SDGs, and provides practical lessons learned for biodiversity conservation efforts moving forward.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the supply chains of traditional fossil fuels. According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) from 2020, oil-refining activity fell by more than the IEA had anticipated. It was also assumed that the demand in 2021 would likely be 2.6 million bpd below the 2019 levels. However, renewable markets have shown strong resilience during the crisis. It was determined that renewables are on track to meet 80% of the growth in electricity demand over the next 10 years and that sustainable energy will act as the primary source of electricity production instead of coal. On the other hand, the report also emphasized that measures for reducing environmental pollution and CO2 emissions are still insufficient and that significant current investments should be further expanded. The Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems (SDEWES) conference series is dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge on methods, policies and technologies for improving the sustainability of development by decoupling growth from the use of natural resources. The 15th SDEWES conference was held online from 1–5 September 2020; more than 300 reports with 7 special sections were organized on the virtual conference platform. This paper presents the major achievements of the recommended papers in the Special Issue of Energies. Additionally, related studies connected to the above papers published in the SDEWES series are also introduced, including the four main research fields of energy saving and emission reduction, renewable energy applications, the development of district heating systems, and the economic assessment of sustainable energy.
Pro-environmental behavior, a form of prosocial behavior that ultimately benefits all humanity, is essential for addressing climate change. This review presents pro-environmental behavior in a social dilemma framework describing how non-aligned interests in nested groups (e.g. smaller groups with interests opposing the interests of a superordinate group entailing the smaller groups) and unequal opportunities (e.g. differential access to resources) constitute barriers to pro-environmental behavior. We then summarize recent literature on three ways in which these barriers could be addressed. Specifically, we review how individual and conflicting interests might be overcome and benefits for the collective can be achieved by (1) collective action and global identities, (2) applying insights from another global crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and (3) a shift to research methods that consider the nested structure of and unequal opportunities within global crises as well as high-impact actions. Taken together, these approaches might foster one form of prosociality, pro-environmental behavior, that is desperately needed in the pursuit of sustainability.
Today's manufacturing is based on ample fossil fuel sources, large and centralized plants, and high waste intensity. Climate change, aging infrastructure, dwindling resources, increasing population, changing geopolitical landscape, and the COVID-19 pandemic have laid bare the frailties of the current global supply chain. While there is still place for centralized production, geographic variation in renewable energy sources and sustainable feedstocks calls for a flexible approach towards smaller-scale and more decentralized production. With the pressing need for decarbonization of power generation and the chemical value chain, flexible manufacturing will play a major role in redefining the energy-chemistry nexus. Intensification and modularization are identified as the key enablers for such a transition. A sample case study based on valorization of hydrogen sulfide extracted from sour gas is presented to demonstrate the potential economic favorability of modular chemical process intensification. Our work shows that a net profit of US$97 million can be achieved over a five-year operational period when compared to a conventional process. A complementary evaluation of green solvents is also provided to further improve the sustainability of the proposed solution.
De Guzman, Keshia R; Snoswell, Centaine L; Giles, Chantelle M; Smith, Anthony C; Haydon, Helen H;
De Guzman, Keshia R; Snoswell, Centaine L; Giles, Chantelle M; Smith, Anthony C; Haydon, Helen H;
BACKGROUND: Primary care providers have been rapidly transitioning from in-person to telehealth care during the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. There is an opportunity for new research in a rapidly evolving area, where evidence for telehealth services in primary care in the Australian setting remains limited.AIM: To explore general practitioner (GP) perceptions on providing telehealth (telephone and video consultation) services in primary care in Australia.DESIGN & SETTING: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews to gain an understanding of GP perceptions on telehealth use in Australia.METHOD: GPs across Australia were purposively sampled. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, recorded, and transcribed verbatim for analysis. Transcripts were analysed using inductive thematic analysis to identify initial codes, which were then organised into themes.RESULTS: Fourteen GPs were interviewed. Two major themes that described GP perceptions of telehealth were: (1) existence of business and financial pressures in general practice; and (2) providing quality of care in Australia. These two themes interacted with four minor themes: (3) consumer-led care; (4) COVID-19 as a driver for telehealth reimbursement and adoption; (5) refining logistical processes; and (6) GP experiences shape telehealth use.CONCLUSION: This study found that multiple considerations influenced GP choice of in-person, videoconference, or telephone consultation mode. For telehealth to be used routinely within primary care settings, evidence that supports the delivery of higher quality care to patients through telehealth and sustainable funding models will be required.