Economic Model of Sustainable Value Chain in Passenger Waterway Transportation Service

The service of passenger waterway transportation lacks economic models that help in designing and implementing strategies to ensure its sustainability in several aspects (economic, social and environmental). The size of costs, though not the only one, is of particular importance in these models. However, traditionally, cost management has been focused only on reducing production costs, for the purpose of companies to keep prices low and gain market competitiveness. Although, with all the technological advances, and other restrictions imposed by the market in terms of service, in the case of passengers waterway transportation: intermodal competition; quality of service; or by regulatory environment for public concession and; in the aspect of business: to stay in the market with natural, demand and institutional restrictions, this view is not enough. Thus, there is an evolution of a traditional cost accounting to strategic cost management. On the other hand, it is important to consider other important dimensions and recognize that companies no longer exist in isolation, but they are part of highly integrated value and supplies chains. Therefore, this work will explore and analyze the sustainable value chain of passenger waterway transportation service using the tools of strategic cost management. The method will start from three components of analysis: (1) definition of basic elements of sustainable value chain; (2) identification of main restrictions to the chain development and aspects critical for service sustainability; (3) development of a cost model and propositions to overcome the bottlenecks found, to add value. Whether in the internal cost structure of the company; operational cost reduction strategies; in search of new markets, or to establish new partnerships or even; in the broadest level, in terms of investments in infrastructure or recommendations involving governance decisions to improve the current institutional environment. The case study will be developed in passenger transport companies located in the Lower Amazon, consolidated in this market, with defined enterprise structure of business sustainability, and who have already been willing to collaborate with the investigation. As results, it is expected to understand the cost structures that support sustainable value chains, namely, costs of activities and relevant cost objects in order to determine the cost drivers, profitability margins, cost reduction opportunities and conditions conducive to competitive advantages related to the different strategic options to cost leadership, differentiation or approach. Finally, in the model to be developed, the proper characterization of cost structure and value creation in transport processes under study may constitute reference points for future more sophisticated applied works of optimizing the resources involved and supporting the decision making, in particular with regard to operations research and quantitative methods more robust.

Development of One-Axis Didactic Solar Tracker for Photovoltaic Panels

In recent years, solar energy has established itself as one of the main sources of renewable energy, gaining a large space in electricity generation around the world. However, due to the low performance of photovoltaic panels, technologies need to be sought to maximize the production of electricity. In this regard, the present study aims to develop a prototype of solar tracker for didactics applications, controlled with the Arduino® platform, that enables the movement of photovoltaic plates in relation to the sun positions throughout the day through an electromechanical system, optimizing, thus, the efficiency of solar photovoltaic generation and improvements for the photovoltaic effect. The solar tracking technology developed in this work was presented of the shape oral and practical in two middle schools in the municipality of Mossoró/RN, being one of the public network and other of the private network, always keeping the average age of the students, in the case, around 16 years, contemplating an average of 60 students in each of the visits. Thus, it is concluded that the present study contributed substantially to the dissemination of knowledge concerning the photovoltaic solar generation, as well as the study of solar trackers, thus arousing the interest and curiosity of the students regarding the thematic approached.

The Effect of Magnetite Particle Size on Methane Production by Fresh and Degassed Anaerobic Sludge

Anaerobic batch experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of magnetite-supplementation (7 mM) on methane production from digested sludge undergoing two different microbial growth phases, namely fresh sludge (exponential growth phase) and degassed sludge (endogenous decay phase). Three different particle sizes were assessed: small (50 - 150 nm), medium (168 – 490 nm) and large (800 nm - 4.5 µm) particles. Results show that, in the case of the fresh sludge, magnetite significantly enhanced the methane production rate (up to 32%) and reduced the lag phase (by 15% - 41%) as compared to the control, regardless of the particle size used. However, the cumulative methane produced at the end of the incubation was comparable in all treatment and control bottles. In the case of the degassed sludge, only the medium-sized magnetite particles increased significantly the methane production rate (12% higher) as compared to the control. Small and large particles had little effect on the methane production rate but did result in an extended lag phase which led to significantly lower cumulative methane production at the end of the incubation period. These results suggest that magnetite produces a clear and positive effect on methane production only when an active and balanced microbial community is present in the anaerobic digester. It is concluded that, (i) the effect of magnetite particle size on increasing the methane production rate and reducing lag phase duration is strongly influenced by the initial metabolic state of the microbial consortium, and (ii) the particle size would positively affect the methane production if it is provided within the nanometer size range.

A Short Survey of Integrating Urban Agriculture and Environmental Planning

The growth of the agricultural sector is known as an essential way to achieve development goals in developing countries. Urban agriculture is a way to reduce the vulnerability of urban populations of the world toward global environmental change. It is a sustainable and efficient system to respond to the environmental, social and economic needs of the city, which leads to urban sustainability. Today, many local and national governments are developing urban agriculture as an effective tool in responding to challenges such as poverty, food security, and environmental problems. In this study, we follow a perspective based on urban agriculture literature in order to indicate the urban agriculture’s benefits in environmental planning strategies in non-western countries like Iran. The methodological approach adopted is based on qualitative approach and documentary studies. A total of 35 articles (mixed quantitative and qualitative methods studies) were studied in final analysis, which are published in relevant journals that focus on this subject. Studies show the wide range of positive benefits of urban agriculture on food security, nutrition outcomes, health outcomes, environmental outcomes, and social capital. However, there was no definitive conclusion about the negative effects of urban agriculture. This paper provides a conceptual and theoretical basis to know about urban agriculture and its roles in environmental planning, and also conclude the benefits of urban agriculture for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers who seek to create spaces in cities for implementation urban agriculture in future.

Effect of Plastic Fines on Liquefaction Resistance of Sandy Soil Using Resonant Column Test

The aim of this study is to assess the influence of plastic fines content on sand-clay mixtures on maximum shear modulus and liquefaction resistance using a series of resonant column tests. A high plasticity clay called bentonite was added to 161 Firoozkooh sand at the percentages of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 by dry weight. The resonant column tests were performed on the remolded specimens at constant confining pressure of 100 KPa and then the values of Gmax and liquefaction resistance were investigated. The maximum shear modulus and cyclic resistance ratio (CRR) are examined in terms of fines content. Based on the results, the maximum shear modulus and liquefaction resistance tend to decrease within the increment of fine contents.

Nano-Texturing of Single Crystalline Silicon via Cu-Catalyzed Chemical Etching

We have discovered an important technical solution that could make new approaches in the processing of wet silicon etching, especially in the production of photovoltaic cells. During its inferior light-trapping and structural properties, the inverted pyramid structure outperforms the conventional pyramid textures and black silicone. The traditional pyramid textures and black silicon can only be accomplished with more advanced lithography, laser processing, etc. Importantly, our data demonstrate the feasibility of an inverted pyramidal structure of silicon via one-step Cu-catalyzed chemical etching (CCCE) in Cu (NO3)2/HF/H2O2/H2O solutions. The effects of etching time and reaction temperature on surface geometry and light trapping were systematically investigated. The conclusion shows that the inverted pyramid structure has ultra-low reflectivity of ~4.2% in the wavelength of 300~1000 nm; introduce of Cu particles can significantly accelerate the dissolution of the silicon wafer. The etching and the inverted pyramid structure formation mechanism are discussed. Inverted pyramid structure with outstanding anti-reflectivity includes useful applications throughout the manufacture of semi-conductive industry-compatible solar cells, and can have significant impacts on industry colleagues and populations.

Influence of Nanozeolite Particles on Improvement of Clayey Soil

The problem of soil stabilization has been one of the important issues in geotechnical engineering. Nowadays, nanomaterials have revolutionized many industries. In this research, improvement of the Kerman fine-grained soil by nanozeolite and nanobentonite additives separately has been investigated using Atterberg Limits and unconfined compression test. In unconfined compression test, the samples were prepared with 3, 5 and 7% nano additives, with 1, 7 and 28 days curing time with strain control method. Finally, the effect of different percentages of nanozeolite and nanobentonite on the geotechnical behavior and characteristics of Kerman fine-grained soil was investigated. The results showed that with increasing the amount of nanozeolite and also nanobentonite to fine-grained soil, the soil exhibits more compression strength. So that by adding 7% nanozeolite and nanobentonite with 1 day curing, the unconfined compression strength is 1.18 and 2.1 times higher than the unstabilized soil. In addition, the failure strain decreases in samples containing nanozeolite, whereas it increases in the presence of nanobentonite. Increasing the percentage of nanozeolite and nanobentonite also increased the elasticity modulus of soil.

Effect of Nanobentonite Particles on Geotechnical Properties of Kerman Clay

Improving the geotechnical properties of soil has always been one of the issues in geotechnical engineering. Traditional materials have been used to improve and stabilize soils to date, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Although the soil stabilization by adding materials such as cement, lime, bitumen, etc. is one of the effective methods to improve the geotechnical properties of soil, but nanoparticles are one of the newest additives which can improve the loose soils. This research is intended to study the effect of adding nanobentonite on soil engineering properties, especially the unconfined compression strength and maximum dry unit weight, using clayey soil with low liquid limit (CL) from Kerman (Iran). Nanobentonite was mixed with soil in three different percentages (i.e. 3, 5, 7% by weight of the parent soil) with different curing time (1, 7 and 28 days). The unconfined compression strength, liquid and plastic limits and plasticity index of treated specimens were measured by unconfined compression and Atterberg limits test. It was found that increase in nanobentonite content resulted in increase in the unconfined compression strength, liquid and plastic limits of the clayey soil and reduce in plasticity index.

Effect of Bentonite on Shear Strength of Bushehr Calcareous Sand

Calcareous sands are found most commonly in areas adjacent to crude oil and gas, and particularly around water. These types of soil have high compressibility due to high inter-granular porosity, irregularity, fragility, and especially crushing. Also, based on experience, it has been shown that the behavior of these types of soil is not similar to silica sand in loading. Since the destructive effects of cement on the environment are obvious, other alternatives such as bentonite are popular to be used. Bentonite has always been used commercially in civil engineering projects and according to its low hydraulic conductivity, it is used for landfills, cut-off walls, and nuclear wastelands. In the present study, unconfined compression tests in five ageing periods (1, 3, 7, 14, and 28 days) after mixing different percentages of bentonite (5%, 7.5% and 10%) with Bushehr calcareous sand were performed. The relative density considered for the specimens is 50%. Optimum water content was then added to each specimen accordingly (19%, 18.5%, and 17.5%). The sample preparation method was wet tamping and the specimens were compacted in five layers. It can be concluded from the results that as the bentonite content increases, the unconfined compression strength of the soil increases. Based on the obtained results, 3-day and 7-day ageing periods showed 30% and 50% increase in the shear strength of soil, respectively.

Chemical Leaching of Metals from Landfill’s Fine Fraction

Leaching of heavy metals (chromium, zinc, copper) from the fine fraction of the Torma landfill (Estonia) was investigated. The leaching kinetics studies have determined the dependence of some metal’s concentration on the leaching time. Metals were leached with Aqua Regia, distilled water and EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid); process was most intensive 2 hours after the start of the experiment, except for copper with EDTA (0.5 h) and lead with EDTA (4 h). During leaching, steady concentrations of Fe, Mn, Cd and Pb were fully stabilized after 8 h; however concentrations of Cu and Ni were not stabilized after 10 h.

Experimental Investigation on Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil Sections via California Bearing Ratio Test

Loose soils normally are of weak bearing capacity due to their structural nature. Being exposed to heavy traffic loads, they would fail in most cases. To tackle the aforementioned issue, geotechnical engineers have come up with different approaches; one of which is making use of geosynthetic-reinforced soil-aggregate systems. As these polymeric reinforcements have highlighted economic and environmentally-friendly features, they have become widespread in practice during the last decades. The present research investigates the efficiency of four different types of these reinforcements in increasing the bearing capacity of two-layered soil sections using a series California Bearing Ratio (CBR) test. The studied sections are comprised of a 10 cm-thick layer of no. 161 Firouzkooh sand (weak subgrade) and a 10 cm-thick layer of compacted aggregate materials (base course) classified as SP and GW according to the United Soil Classification System (USCS), respectively. The aggregate layer was compacted to the relative density (Dr) of 95% at the optimum water content (Wopt) of 6.5%. The applied reinforcements were including two kinds of geocomposites (type A and B), a geotextile, and a geogrid that were embedded at the interface of the lower and the upper layers of the soil-aggregate system. As the standard CBR mold was not appropriate in height for this study, the mold used for soaked CBR tests were utilized. To make a comparison between the results of stress-settlement behavior in the studied specimens, CBR values pertinent to the penetrations of 2.5 mm and 5 mm were considered. The obtained results demonstrated 21% and 24.5% increments in the amount of CBR value in the presence of geocomposite type A and geogrid, respectively. On the other hand, the effect of both geotextile and geocomposite type B on CBR values was generally insignificant in this research.

Mechanical Properties of Cement Slurry by Partially Substitution of Industry Waste Natural Pozzolans

There have been many reports of the destructive effects of cement on the environment in recent years. In the present research, it has been attempted to reduce the destructive effects of cement by replacing silica fume as adhesive materials instead of cement. The present study has attempted to improve the mechanical properties of cement slurry by using waste material from a glass production factory, located in Qazvin city of Iran, in which accumulation volume has become an environmental threat. The chemical analysis of the waste material indicates that this material contains about 94% of SiO2 and AL2O3 and has a close structure to silica fume. Also, the particle grain size test was performed on the mentioned waste. Then, the unconfined compressive strength test of the slurry was performed by preparing a mixture of water and adhesives with different percentages of cement and silica fume. The water to an adhesive ratio of this mixture is 1:3, and the curing process last 28 days. It was found that the sample had an unconfined compressive strength of about 300 kg/cm2 in a mixture with equal proportions of cement and silica fume. Besides, the sample had a brittle fracture in the slurry sample made of pure cement, however, the fracture in cement-silica fume slurry mixture is flexible and the structure of the specimen remains coherent after fracture. Therefore, considering the flexibility that is achieved by replacing this waste, it can be used to stabilize soils with cracking potential.

Influence of Humidity on Environmental Sustainability, Air Quality and Occupant Health

Nowadays, sustainable development issues have a key role in the planning of the man-made environment. Ensuring this development means limiting the impact of human activity on nature. It is essential to secure healthy places and good living conditions. For these reasons, indoor air quality and building materials play a fundamental role in sustainable architectural projects. These factors significantly affect human health: they can radically change the quality of the internal environment and energy consumption. The use of natural materials such as earth has many beneficial aspects in comfort and indoor air quality. As well as advantages in the environmental impact of the construction, they ensure a low energy consumption. Since they are already present in nature, their production and use do not require a high-energy consumption. Furthermore, they have a high thermo-hygrometric capacity, being able to absorb moisture, contributing positively to indoor conditions. Indoor air quality is closely related to relative humidity. For these reasons, it can be affirmed that the use of earth materials guarantees a sustainable development and at the same time improves the health of the building users. This paper summarizes several researches that demonstrate the importance of indoor air quality for human health and how it strictly depends on the building materials used. Eco-efficient plasters are also considered: earth and ash mortar. The bibliography consulted has the objective of supporting future experimental and laboratory analyzes. It is necessary to carry on with research by the use of simulations and testing to confirm the hygrothermal properties of eco-efficient plasters and therefore their ability to improve indoor air quality.

Evaluation of Underground Water Flow into Tabriz Metro Tunnel First Line by Hydro-Mechanical Coupling Analysis

One of the main practical difficulties attended with tunnel construction is related to underground water. Uncontrolled water behavior may cause extra loads on the lining, mechanical instability, and unfavorable environmental problems. Estimating underground water inflow rate to the tunnels is a complex skill. The common calculation methods are: empirical methods, analytical solutions, numerical solutions based on the equivalent continuous porous media. In this research the rate of underground water inflow to the Tabriz metro first line tunnel has been investigated by numerical finite difference method using FLAC2D software. Comparing results of Heuer analytical method and numerical simulation showed good agreement with each other. Fully coupled and one-way coupled hydro mechanical states as well as water-free conditions in the soil around the tunnel are used in numerical models and these models have been applied to evaluate the loading value on the tunnel support system. Results showed that the fully coupled hydro mechanical analysis estimated more axial forces, moments and shear forces in linings, so this type of analysis is more conservative and reliable method for design of tunnel lining system. As sensitivity analysis, inflow water rates into the tunnel were evaluated in different soil permeability, underground water levels and depths of the tunnel. Result demonstrated that water level in constant depth of the tunnel is more sensitive factor for water inflow rate to the tunnel in comparison of other parameters investigated in the sensitivity analysis.

Effect of Density on the Shear Modulus and Damping Ratio of Saturated Sand in Small Strain

Dynamic properties of soil in small strains, especially for geotechnical engineers, are important for describing the behavior of soil and estimation of the earth structure deformations and structures, especially significant structures. This paper presents the effect of density on the shear modulus and damping ratio of saturated clean sand at various isotropic confining pressures. For this purpose, the specimens were compared with two different relative densities, loose Dr = 30% and dense Dr = 70%. Dynamic parameters were attained from a series of consolidated undrained fixed – free type torsional resonant column tests in small strain. Sand No. 161 is selected for this paper. The experiments show that by increasing sand density and confining pressure, the shear modulus increases and the damping ratio decreases.

Studying the Spatial Variations of Stable Isotopes (18O and 2H) in Precipitation and Groundwater Resources in Zagros Region

Zagros mountain range is a very important precipitation zone in Iran as it receives high average annual precipitation compared to other parts of this country. Although this region is important precipitation zone in semi-arid an arid country like Iran, accurate method to study water resources in this region has not been applied yet. In this study, stable isotope δ18O content of precipitation and groundwater resources showed spatial variations across Zagros region as southern parts of Zagros region showed more enriched isotope values compared to the northern parts. This is normal as southern Zagros region is much drier with higher air temperature and evaporation compared to northern parts. In addition, the spatial variations of stable isotope δ18O in precipitation in Zagros region have been simulated by the models which consider the altitude and latitude variations as input to simulate δ18O in precipitation.

Investigating the Thermal Characteristics of Reclaimed Solid Waste from a Landfill Site Using Thermogravimetry

Thermogravimetry has been popularized as a thermal characterization technique since the 1950s. It aims at investigating the weight loss against both reaction time and temperature, whilst being able to characterize the evolved gases from the volatile components of the organic material being tested using an appropriate hyphenated analytical technique. In an effort to characterize and identify the reclaimed waste from an unsanitary landfill site, this approach was initiated. Solid waste (SW) reclaimed from an active landfill site in the State of Kuwait was collected and prepared for characterization in accordance with international protocols. The SW was segregated and its major components were identified after washing and air drying. Shredding and cryomilling was conducted on the plastic solid waste (PSW) component to yield a material that is representative for further testing and characterization. The material was subjected to five heating rates (b) with minimal repeatable weight for high accuracy thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) following the recommendation of the International Confederation for Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry (ICTAC). The TGA yielded thermograms that showed an off-set from typical behavior of commercial grade resin which was attributed to contact of material with soil and thermal/photo-degradation.

The Quality Assessment of Seismic Reflection Survey Data Using Statistical Analysis: A Case Study of Fort Abbas Area, Cholistan Desert, Pakistan

In geophysical exploration surveys, the quality of acquired data holds significant importance before executing the data processing and interpretation phases. In this study, 2D seismic reflection survey data of Fort Abbas area, Cholistan Desert, Pakistan was taken as test case in order to assess its quality on statistical bases by using normalized root mean square error (NRMSE), Cronbach’s alpha test (α) and null hypothesis tests (t-test and F-test). The analysis challenged the quality of the acquired data and highlighted the significant errors in the acquired database. It is proven that the study area is plain, tectonically least affected and rich in oil and gas reserves. However, subsurface 3D modeling and contouring by using acquired database revealed high degrees of structural complexities and intense folding. The NRMSE had highest percentage of residuals between the estimated and predicted cases. The outcomes of hypothesis testing also proved the biasness and erraticness of the acquired database. Low estimated value of alpha (α) in Cronbach’s alpha test confirmed poor reliability of acquired database. A very low quality of acquired database needs excessive static correction or in some cases, reacquisition of data is also suggested which is most of the time not feasible on economic grounds. The outcomes of this study could be used to assess the quality of large databases and to further utilize as a guideline to establish database quality assessment models to make much more informed decisions in hydrocarbon exploration field.

Evaluation of Water Quality of the Surface Water of the Damietta Nile Branch, Damietta Governorate, Egypt

Water quality and heavy metals pollution of the Damietta Nile Branch at Damietta governorate were investigated in the current work. Fourteen different sampling points were selected along the Damietta Nile branch from Ras EL-Bar (sample 1) to Sheremsah (sample 14). Physical and chemical parameters and the concentrations of Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Fe, Al, Hg, Pb and Zn were investigated for water quality assessment of Damietta Nile Branch at Damietta Governorate. Most of the samples show that the water is suitable for drinking and irrigation purposes. All locations of samples near the sea are unsuitable water but the samples in the south direction away from the sea are suitable or good water for drinking and irrigation.

Production and Recycling of Construction and Demolition Waste

Recycling of construction and demolition waste (C&DW) and their new reuse in structures is one of the solutions of environmental problems. Construction and demolition waste creates a major portion of total solid waste production in the world and most of it is used in landfills all the time. The paper deals with the situation of the recycling of the building and demolition waste in the Czech Republic during the recent years. The paper is dealing with questions of C&D waste recycling, it also characterizes construction and demolition waste in general, furthermore it analyses production of construction waste and subsequent production of recycled materials.