Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 20

Environmental, Chemical, Ecological, Geological and Geophysical Engineering

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  • 20
    Valorization of Lignocellulosic Wastes – Evaluation of Its Toxicity When Used in Adsorption Systems

    The agriculture lignocellulosic by-products are receiving increased attention, namely in the search for filter materials that retain contaminants from water. These by-products, specifically almond and hazelnut shells are abundant in Portugal once almond and hazelnuts production is a local important activity. Hazelnut and almond shells have as main constituents lignin, cellulose and hemicelluloses, water soluble extractives and tannins. Along the adsorption of heavy metals from contaminated waters, water soluble compounds can leach from shells and have a negative impact in the environment. Usually, the chemical characterization of treated water by itself may not show environmental impact caused by the discharges when parameters obey to legal quality standards for water. Only biological systems can detect the toxic effects of the water constituents. Therefore, the evaluation of toxicity by biological tests is very important when deciding the suitability for safe water discharge or for irrigation applications.

    The main purpose of the present work was to assess the potential impacts of waters after been treated for heavy metal removal by hazelnut and almond shells adsorption systems, with short term acute toxicity tests.

    To conduct the study, water at pH 6 with 25 mg.L-1 of lead, was treated with 10 g of shell per litre of wastewater, for 24 hours. This procedure was followed for each bark. Afterwards the water was collected for toxicological assays; namely bacterial resistance, seed germination, Lemna minor L. test and plant grow. The effect in isolated bacteria strains was determined by disc diffusion method and the germination index of seed was evaluated using lettuce, with temperature and humidity germination control for 7 days. For aquatic higher organism, Lemnas were used with 4 days contact time with shell solutions, in controlled light and temperature. For terrestrial higher plants, biomass production was evaluated after 14 days of tomato germination had occurred in soil, with controlled humidity, light and temperature.

    Toxicity tests of water treated with shells revealed in some extent effects in the tested organisms, with the test assays showing a close behaviour as the control, leading to the conclusion that its further utilization may not be considered to create a serious risk to the environment.

    Genetic Programming: Principles, Applications and Opportunities for Hydrological Modelling

    Hydrological modelling plays a crucial role in the planning and management of water resources, most especially in water stressed regions where the need to effectively manage the available water resources is of critical importance. However, due to the complex, nonlinear and dynamic behaviour of hydro-climatic interactions, achieving reliable modelling of water resource systems and accurate projection of hydrological parameters are extremely challenging. Although a significant number of modelling techniques (process-based and data-driven) have been developed and adopted in that regard, the field of hydrological modelling is still considered as one that has sluggishly progressed over the past decades. This is majorly as a result of the identification of some degree of uncertainty in the methodologies and results of techniques adopted. In recent times, evolutionary computation (EC) techniques have been developed and introduced in response to the search for efficient and reliable means of providing accurate solutions to hydrological related problems. This paper presents a comprehensive review of the underlying principles, methodological needs and applications of a promising evolutionary computation modelling technique – genetic programming (GP). It examines the specific characteristics of the technique which makes it suitable to solving hydrological modelling problems. It discusses the opportunities inherent in the application of GP in water related-studies such as rainfall estimation, rainfall-runoff modelling, streamflow forecasting, sediment transport modelling, water quality modelling and groundwater modelling among others. Furthermore, the means by which such opportunities could be harnessed in the near future are discussed. In all, a case for total embracement of GP and its variants in hydrological modelling studies is made so as to put in place strategies that would translate into achieving meaningful progress as it relates to modelling of water resource systems, and also positively influence decision-making by relevant stakeholders.

    Investigation on the Stability of Rock Slopes Subjected to Tension Cracks via Limit Analysis

    Based on the kinematic approach of limit analysis, a full set of upper bound solutions for the stability of homogeneous rock slopes subjected to tension cracks are obtained. The generalized Hoek-Brown failure criterion is employed to describe the non-linear strength envelope of rocks. In this paper, critical failure mechanisms are determined for cracks of known depth but unspecified location, cracks of known location but unknown depth, and cracks of unspecified location and depth. It is shown that there is a nearly up to 50% drop in terms of the stability factors for the rock slopes intersected by a tension crack compared with intact ones. Tables and charts of solutions in dimensionless forms are presented for ease of use by practitioners.

    Effect of Windrow Management on Ammonia and Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Swine Manure Composting

    In the era of sustainability, utilization of livestock wastes as soil amendment to provide micronutrients for crops is very economical and sustainable. It is well understood that livestock wastes are comparable, if not better, nutrient sources for crops as chemical fertilizers. However, the large concentrated volumes of animal manure produced from livestock operations and the limited amount of available nearby agricultural land areas necessitated the need for volume reduction of these animal wastes. Composting of these animal manures is a viable option for biomass and pathogenic reduction in the environment. Nevertheless, composting also increases the potential loss of available nutrients for crop production as well as unwanted emission of anthropogenic air pollutants due to the loss of ammonia and other compounds via volatilization. In this study, we examine the emission of ammonia and nitrous oxide from swine manure windrows to evaluate the benefit of biomass reduction in conjunction with the potential loss of available nutrients. The feedstock for the windrows was obtained from swine farm in Kentucky where swine manure was mixed with wood shaving as absorbent material. Static flux chambers along with photoacoustic gas analyzer were used to monitor ammonia and nitrous oxide concentrations during the composting process. The results show that ammonia and nitrous oxide fluxes were quite high during the initial composting process and after the turning of each compost pile. Over the period of roughly three months of composting, the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) decreased by about 90%. Although composting of animal waste is quite beneficial for biomass reduction, composting may not be economically feasible from an agronomical point of view due to time, nutrient loss (N loss), and potential environmental pollution (ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions). Therefore, additional studies are needed to assess and validate the economics and environmental impact of animal (swine) manure composting (e.g., crop yield or impact on climate change).

    Studies and Full Scale Tests for the Development of a Ravine Filling with a Depth of about 12.00m

    In compaction works, the most often used codes and standards are those for road embankments and refer to a maximum filling height of 3.00m. When filling a height greater than 3.00m, such codes are no longer valid and thus their application may lead to technical difficulties in the process of compaction and to the achievement of a sufficient degree of compaction. For this reason, in the case of controlled fillings with heights greater than 3.00m it is necessary to formulate and apply a number of special techniques, which can be determined by performing a full scale test. This paper presents the results of the studies and full scale tests conducted for the stabilization of a ravine with vertical banks and a depth of about 12.00m. The fillings will support a heavy traffic road connecting the two parts of a village in Vaslui County, Romania. After analyzing two comparative intervention solutions, the variant of a controlled filling bordered by a monolith concrete retaining wall was chosen. The results obtained by the authors highlighted the need to insert a geogrid reinforcement at every 2.00m for creating a 12.00m thick compacted fill.

    Soil Mass Loss Reduction during Rainfalls by Reinforcing the Slopes with the Surficial Confinement

    Soil confinement systems serve as effective solutions to any erosion control project. Various confinements systems, namely triangular, circular and rectangular with the size of 50, 100, and 150 mm, and with a depth of 10 mm, were embedded in soil samples at slope angle of 60°. The observed soil mass losses for the confined soil systems were much smaller than those from unconfined system. As a result, the size of confinement and rainfall intensity have a direct effect on the soil mass loss. The triangular and rectangular confinement systems showed the lowest and highest soil loss masses, respectively. The slopes also failed much faster in the unconfined system than in the confined slope.

    Evaluation of the Environmental Risk from the Co-Deposition of Waste Rock Material and Fly Ash

    The lignite-fired power plants in the Western Macedonia Lignite Center produce more than 8106 t of fly ash per year. Approximately 90% of this quantity is used for restoration-reclamation of exhausted open-cast lignite mines and slope stabilization of the overburden. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the environmental behavior of the mixture of waste rock and fly ash that is being used in the external deposition site of the South Field lignite mine. For this reason, a borehole was made within the site and 86 samples were taken and subjected to chemical analyses and leaching tests. The results showed very limited leaching of trace elements and heavy metals from this mixture. Moreover, when compared to the limit values set for waste acceptable in inert waste landfills, only few excesses were observed, indicating only minor risk for groundwater pollution. However, due to the complexity of both the leaching process and the contaminant pathway, more boreholes and analyses should be made in nearby locations and a systematic groundwater monitoring program should be implemented both downstream and within the external deposition site.

    Moving towards Zero Waste in a UK Local Authority Area: Challenges to the Introduction of Separate Food Waste Collections

    EU and UK Government targets for minimising and recycling household waste has led the responsible authorities to research the alternatives to landfill. In the work reported here the local waste collection authority (Charnwood Borough Council) has adopted the aspirational strategy of becoming a “Zero Waste Borough” to lead the drive for public participation. The work concludes that the separate collection of food waste would be needed to meet the two regulatory standards on recycling and biologically active wastes.

    An analysis of a neighbouring Authority (Newcastle-Under-Lyne Borough Council (NBC), a similar sized local authority that has a successful weekly food waste collection service was undertaken. Results indicate that the main challenges for Charnwood Borough Council would be gaining householder co-operation, the extra costs of collection and organising alternative treatment. The analysis also demonstrated that there was potential offset value via anaerobic digestion for CBC to overcome these difficulties and improve its recycling performance.

    Seawater Desalination for Production of Highly Pure Water Using a Hydrophobic PTFE Membrane and Direct Contact Membrane Distillation (DCMD)

    Qatar’s primary source of fresh water is through seawater desalination. Amongst the major processes that are commercially available on the market, the most common large scale techniques are Multi-Stage Flash distillation (MSF), Multi Effect distillation (MED), and Reverse Osmosis (RO). Although commonly used, these three processes are highly expensive down to high energy input requirements and high operating costs allied with maintenance and stress induced on the systems in harsh alkaline media. Beside that cost, environmental footprint of these desalination techniques are significant; from damaging marine eco-system, to huge land use, to discharge of tons of GHG and huge carbon footprint. Other less energy consuming techniques based on membrane separation are being sought to reduce both the carbon footprint and operating costs is membrane distillation (MD). Emerged in 1960s, MD is an alternative technology for water desalination attracting more attention since 1980s. MD process involves the evaporation of a hot feed, typically below boiling point of brine at standard conditions, by creating a water vapor pressure difference across the porous, hydrophobic membrane. Main advantages of MD compared to other commercially available technologies (MSF and MED) and specially RO are reduction of membrane and module stress due to absence of trans-membrane pressure, less impact of contaminant fouling on distillate due to transfer of only water vapor, utilization of low grade or waste heat from oil and gas industries to heat up the feed up to required temperature difference across the membrane, superior water quality, and relatively lower capital and operating cost. To achieve the objective of this study, state of the art flat-sheet cross-flow DCMD bench scale unit was designed, commissioned, and tested. The objective of this study is to analyze the characteristics and morphology of the membrane suitable for DCMD through SEM imaging and contact angle measurement and to study the water quality of distillate produced by DCMD bench scale unit. Comparison with available literature data is undertaken where appropriate and laboratory data is used to compare a DCMD distillate quality with that of other desalination techniques and standards. Membrane SEM analysis showed that the PTFE membrane used for the study has contact angle of 127º with highly porous surface supported with less porous and bigger pore size PP membrane. Study on the effect of feed solution (salinity) and temperature on water quality of distillate produced from ICP and IC analysis showed that with any salinity and different feed temperature (up to 70ºC) the electric conductivity of distillate is less than 5 μS/cm with 99.99% salt rejection and proved to be feasible and effective process capable of consistently producing high quality distillate from very high feed salinity solution (i.e. 100000 mg/L TDS) even with substantial quality difference compared to other desalination methods such as RO and MSF.

    Estimation of Bio-Kinetic Coefficients for Treatment of Brewery Wastewater

    Anaerobic modeling is a useful tool to describe and simulate the condition and behaviour of anaerobic treatment units for better effluent quality and biogas generation. The present investigation deals with the anaerobic treatment of brewery wastewater with varying organic loads. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total suspended solids (TSS) of the influent and effluent of the bioreactor were determined at various retention times to generate data for kinetic coefficients. The bio-kinetic coefficients in the modified Stover–Kincannon kinetic and methane generation models were determined to study the performance of anaerobic digestion process. At steady-state, the determination of the kinetic coefficient (K), the endogenous decay coefficient (Kd), the maximum growth rate of microorganisms (μmax), the growth yield coefficient (Y), ultimate methane yield (Bo), maximum utilization rate constant Umax and the saturation constant (KB) in the model were calculated to be 0.046 g/g COD, 0.083 (d¯¹), 0.117 (d-¹), 0.357 g/g, 0.516 (L CH4/gCODadded), 18.51 (g/L/day) and 13.64 (g/L/day) respectively. The outcome of this study will help in simulation of anaerobic model to predict usable methane and good effluent quality during the treatment of industrial wastewater. Thus, this will protect the environment, conserve natural resources, saves time and reduce cost incur by the industries for the discharge of untreated or partially treated wastewater. It will also contribute to a sustainable long-term clean development mechanism for the optimization of the methane produced from anaerobic degradation of waste in a close system.

    An Investigation into the Potential of Industrial Low Grade Heat in Membrane Distillation for Freshwater Production

    Membrane distillation is an emerging technology which has been used to produce freshwater and purify different types of aqueous mixtures. Qatar is an arid country where almost 100% of its freshwater demand is supplied through the energy-intensive thermal desalination process. The country’s need for water has reached an all-time high which stipulates finding an alternative way to augment freshwater without adding any drastic affect to the environment. The objective of this paper was to investigate the potential of using the industrial low grade waste heat to produce freshwater using membrane distillation. The main part of this work was conducting a heat audit on selected Qatari chemical industries to estimate the amounts of freshwater produced if such industrial waste heat were to be recovered. By the end of this work, the main objective was met and the heat audit conducted on the Qatari chemical industries enabled us to estimate both the amounts of waste heat which can be potentially recovered in addition to the amounts of freshwater which can be produced if such waste heat were to be recovered.

    By the end, the heat audit showed that around 605 Mega Watts of waste heat can be recovered from the studied Qatari chemical industries which resulted in a total daily production of 5078.7 cubic meter of freshwater.

    This water can be used in a wide variety of applications such as human consumption or industry. The amount of produced freshwater may look small when compared to that produced through thermal desalination plants; however, one must bear in mind that this water comes from waste and can be used to supply water for small cities or remote areas which are not connected to the water grid. The idea of producing freshwater from the two widely-available wastes (thermal rejected brine and waste heat) seems promising as less environmental and economic impacts will be associated with freshwater production which may in the near future augment the conventional way of producing freshwater currently being thermal desalination. This work has shown that low grade waste heat in the chemical industries in Qatar and perhaps the rest of the world can contribute to additional production of freshwater using membrane distillation without significantly adding to the environmental impact.

    Determining the Best Fitting Distributions for Minimum Flows of Streams in Gediz Basin

    Today, the need for water sources is swiftly increasing due to population growth. At the same time, it is known that some regions will face with shortage of water and drought because of the global warming and climate change. In this context, evaluation and analysis of hydrological data such as the observed trends, drought and flood prediction of short term flow has great deal of importance. The most accurate selection probability distribution is important to describe the low flow statistics for the studies related to drought analysis. As in many basins In Turkey, Gediz River basin will be affected enough by the drought and will decrease the amount of used water. The aim of this study is to derive appropriate probability distributions for frequency analysis of annual minimum flows at 6 gauging stations of the Gediz Basin. After applying 10 different probability distributions, six different parameter estimation methods and 3 fitness test, the Pearson 3 distribution and general extreme values distributions were found to give optimal results.

    Effect of Climate Change on Runoff in the Upper Mun River Basin, Thailand

    The climate change is a main parameter which affects the element of hydrological cycle especially runoff. Then, the purpose of this study is to determine the impact of the climate change on surface runoff using land use map on 2008 and daily weather data during January 1, 1979 to September 30, 2010 for SWAT model. SWAT continuously simulate time model and operates on a daily time step at basin scale. The results present that the effect of temperature change cannot be clearly presented on the change of runoff while the rainfall, relative humidity and evaporation are the parameters for the considering of runoff change. If there are the increasing of rainfall and relative humidity, there is also the increasing of runoff. On the other hand, if there is the increasing of evaporation, there is the decreasing of runoff.

    The Relationship between Land Use Change and Runoff

    Many problems are occurred in watershed due to human activity and economic development. The purpose is to determine the effects of the land use change on surface runoff using land use map on 1980, 2001 and 2008 and daily weather data during January 1, 1979 to September 30, 2010 applied to SWAT. The results can be presented that the polynomial equation is suitable to display that relationship. These equations for land use in 1980, 2001 and 2008 are consisted of y = -0.0076x5 + 0.1914x4–1.6386x3 + 6.6324x2–8.736x + 7.8023(R2 = 0.9255), y = -0.0298x5 + 0.8794x4 - 9.8056x3 + 51.99x2 - 117.04x + 96.797; (R2 = 0.9186) and y = -0.0277x5 + 0.8132x4 - 8.9598x3 + 46.498x2–101.83x +81.108 (R2 = 0.9006), respectively. Moreover, if the agricultural area is the largest area, it is a sensitive parameter to concern surface runoff.

    The Composting Process from a Waste Management Method to a Remediation Procedure

    Composting is a controlled technology to enhance the natural aerobic process of organic wastes degradation. The resulting product is a humified material that is principally recyclable for agricultural purpose. The composting process is one of the most important tools for waste management, by the European Community legislation. In recent years composting has been increasingly used as a remediation technology to remove biodegradable contaminants from soil, and to modulate heavy metals bioavailability in phytoremediation strategies. An optimization in the recovery of resources from wastes through composting could enhance soil fertility and promote its use in the remediation biotechnologies of contaminated soils.

    Ecotoxicological Safety of Wastewater Treated with Lignocellulosic Adsorbents

    Portugal is an important wine and olive oil producer, activities which generate a high quantity of residues commonly called grape stalks and olive cake, respectively. In this work grape stalks and olive cake were used as lignocellulosic adsorbents for wastewater containing lead treatment. To attain a better knowledge of the factors that could influence the quality of the treated wastewater, a chemical characterization of the materials used in the treatment was done. To access the ecotoxicological safety of the treated wastewater, several tests were performed.

    The results of the toxicity test show that the samples leachate has a mild effect on the living models tested. The tests performed in lemna and bacteria were the most sensible to toxicity effects of the samples. The results obtained in this work evidenced the importance of use of simple and fast toxicity tests to predict impacts in the environment.

    Development of Risk-Based Ambient Air Quality Standards in the Russian Federation on the Basis of Risk Assessment Procedures Harmonized with International Approaches

    Nowadays harmonization of sanitary and hygienic standards of environmental quality with international standards is crucial part of integration of Russia into the international community. Harmonization of Russian and international ambient air quality standards may be realized by risk-based standards development. In this paper approaches to risk-based standards development and examples of these approaches implementation are presented.

    Design and Analysis of Electric Power Production Unit for Low Enthalpy Geothermal Reservoir Applications

    The subject of this paper is the design analysis of a single well power production unit from low enthalpy geothermal resources. A complexity of the project is defined by a low temperature heat source that usually makes such projects economically disadvantageous using the conventional binary power plant approach. A proposed new compact design is numerically analyzed. This paper describes a thermodynamic analysis, a working fluid choice, downhole heat exchanger (DHE) and turbine calculation results. The unit is able to produce 321 kW of electric power from a low enthalpy underground heat source utilizing n-Pentane as a working fluid. A geo-pressured reservoir located in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, USA is selected as a prototype for the field application. With a brine temperature of 126 , the optimal length of DHE is determined as 304.8 m (1000ft). All units (pipes, turbine, and pumps) are chosen from commercially available parts to bring this project closer to the industry requirements. Numerical calculations are based on petroleum industry standards. The project is sponsored by the Department of Energy of the US.

    New Evaluation Methodology for Solidification Product Durability Assessment

    This paper deals with a proposal of a new methodology for durability assessment of solidification product for its safe further use. The new methodology is based on a review of the current state of assessment of treated waste in Czech Republic and abroad. The aim of the paper is to propose an optimal evaluation methodology for verifying properties of solidification product to ensure its safe further use in building industry.

    Soil Respiration Rate of Laurel-Leaved and Cryptomeria japonica Forests

    We assessed the ecology of the organic and mineral soil layers of laurel-leaved (BB-1) and Cryptomeria japonica (BB-2 and Pw) forests in the Kasugayama Hill Primeval Forest (Nara, Japan). The soil respiration rate was higher in the deeper horizons (F and H) of organic layers than in those of mineral soil layers, suggesting organic layers may be where active microbial metabolism occurs. Respiration rates in the soil of BB-1, BB-2 and Pw forests were closely similar at 5 and 10°C. However, the soil respiration rate increased in proportion to temperatures of 15°C or above. We therefore consider the activity of soil microorganisms to markedly decrease at temperatures below 10°C. At a temperature of 15°C or above, the soil respiration rate in the BB-1 organic layers was higher than in those of the BB-2 and Pw organic layers, due to differences in forest vegetation that appeared to influence several salient soil properties, particularly pH and the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) content of the F and H horizons.