Articles publicats (Enginyeria Industrial i de l’Edificació)

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    Open Access
    Evaluation of the social impact of an energy system for residential heating applications based on a novel seasonal thermal energy storage
    (Elsevier, 2024) Borri, Emiliano; Zsembinszki, Gabriel; Cabeza, Luisa F.
    Thermal energy storage (TES) is a key player in the energy transition to support the integration of renewable sources and reduce the energy demand supplied by fossil fuels. The EU-funded project SWS-Heating aims to develop a novel seasonal thermal energy storage based on selective water sorbents for domestic heating to increase the share of renewables. Although the main performance indicator of new technologies is energy efficiency optimization, social impact of TES is an overlooked aspect representing a strong barrier to market deployment of novel technologies. Therefore, this study uses social life-cycle assessment (S-LCA) techniques to evaluate the social impact of the proposed systems described above. The inventory developed in this study is based on qualitative data from industrial companies involved in the different stages of the system life cycle. Results showed that the system has a medium-high social impact with great potential for improvement especially in the manufacturing and end-of-life stages. In particular, to increase the value of social impact more effort should be put by companies to strengthen the engagement with local communities and support sustainability with value chain actors.
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    Open Access
    Circularity of new composites from recycled high density polyethylene and leather waste for automotive bumpers. Testing performance and environmental impact
    (Elsevier, 2024-04) Kılıç, Eylem; Fullana i Palmer, Pere; Fullana Puig, Margalida; Delgado Aguilar, Marc; Puig, Rita
    New composite materials (suitable for automotive bumpers), composed of recycled high-density polyethylene (rHDPE) and leather buffing dust waste (BF) ranging from 20 to 50 wt%, were produced and investigated for mechanical properties. Optimal mechanical performance was achieved with composites containing 30 % wt BF. The environmental performance of automotive bumper production from both virgin and recycled HDPE reinforced with 30 % wt BF (HDPE-BF, rHDPE-BF) composites was compared to that of conventional polypropylene (PP) by performing a cradle to gate life cycle assessment. A component-based approach, instead of a comprehensive LCA assessment for the entire car was adopted using various functional units (FU) such as mass (FU1), volume (FU2), and volume of raw material fulfilling a specific impact strength requirement (FU3), thus enriching the paper with methodological discussions. The rHDPE-BF system provided better environmental performance compared to the virgin PP system, when considering both mass and volume-related functional units, mainly due to the avoidance of virgin polymer production. Even with the inclusion of the use phase in FU2 and a slightly higher density (+1.7 %) of composites than PP-based bumpers, the rHDPE system still provides better environmental performance (10 % less impact). The sensitivity analysis highlighted the significance of car type and final density of the bumper on the impact results. Finally, when using FU3, due to its higher impact strength, HDPE-BF system is clearly the best environmental alternative (50 % less impact) followed by rHDPE-BF system. In all cases, rising the content of recycled materials in the bumpers increases its circularity. The paper illustrates the importance of selecting a suitable functional unit, based on a specific application (i.e., automotive bumpers), to evaluate the environmental impact of new composite materials in comparison to traditional options. Expanding the assessment to encompass multiple functions provides a more accurate portrayal of reality but also introduces greater result uncertainty.
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    Open Access
    Thermal Energy Storage Using Phase Change Materials in High-Temperature Industrial Applications: Multi-Criteria Selection of the Adequate Material
    (MDPI, 2024) Cabeza, Luisa F.; Martínez, Franklin R.; Borri, Emiliano; Ushak, Svetlana; Prieto, Cristina
    Thermal energy storage (TES) plays an important role in industrial applications with intermittent generation of thermal energy. In particular, the implementation of latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) technology in industrial thermal processes has shown promising results, significantly reducing sensible heat losses. However, in order to implement this technology, a proper selection of materials is important. In this study, a new multi-criteria phase change material (PCM) selection methodology is presented, which considers relevant factors from an application and material handling point of view, such as hygroscopicity, metal compatibility (corrosion), level hazard, cost, and thermal and atmospheric stability. The methodology starts after setting up the system requirements where the PCM will be used, then a material screening is able to find all possible candidates that are listed with all available properties as listed before. Then, a color map is produced, with a qualitative assessment of material properties drawbacks, hazard level, melting enthalpy, and price. The experimentation starts with a preliminary set of tests on hygroscopicity and one-week corrosion test, which allows disregarding PCMs and selecting a short list of potential PCMs that would need further characterization before the final selection.
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    Open Access
    Development of a bio-inspired TES tank for heat transfer enhancement in latent heat thermal energy storage systems
    (MDPI, 2024) Cabeza, Luisa F.; Mani Kala, Saranprabhu; Zsembinszki, Gabriel; Vérez, David; Risco Amigó, Santiago; Borri, Emiliano
    Thermal energy storage (TES) systems play a very important part in addressing the energy crisis. Therefore, numerous researchers are striving to improve the efficiency of TES tanks. The TES technology has the potential to reach new heights when the biological behavior of nature is incorporated into the design of TES tanks. By mimicking the branched vein pattern observed in plants and animals, the heat transfer fluid (HTF) tube of a TES tank can enhance the heat transfer surface area, hence improving its thermal efficiency without the need to add other enhancements of heat transfer methods. Accordingly, in this study, a unique additive-manufacturing-based bio-inspired TES tank was designed, developed, and tested. A customized testing setup was used to assess the bio-inspired TES tank's thermal performance. A comparison was made between the bio-inspired TES tank and a conventional shell-and-tube TES tank. The latent TES system's thermal performance was significantly enhanced by the biomimetic approach for the design of a TES tank, even before the optimization of its design. The results showed that, compared to the shell-and-tube TES tank, the bio-inspired TES tank had a higher discharging rate and needed 52% less time to release the stored heat.
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    Open Access
    Life Cycle Assessment Comparison between an Earthbag Building and a Conventional Sahrawi Cement Blocks Building
    (MDPI, 2024) Carrobé, Ariadna; Castell, Albert; Martorell, Ingrid
    Growing environmental awareness has prompted a resurgence in traditional building techniques that rely on natural or recycled materials since many believe that structures made from these resources are ecologically friendly. Using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for construction materials offers valuable insights into the impacts produced during their production and construction processes. This study aims to assess the environmental impacts of two different constructions—an Earthbag Building (EB) and a conventional Sahrawi Cement Blocks Building (CBB). It also determines whether it is more environmentally beneficial to construct traditionally, utilizing local materials and aligning with the principles of the circular economy, which is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Europe. This study specifically examines a cradle-to-gate LCA, using the software Simapro v. 9.4.0.1. Results show that in 21 out of the 22 impact categories analyzed, the CBB performs worse, in some cases presenting an impact of 70% higher than the EB. The highest impact is obtained for fine particulate matter formation and Global Warming related to Human Health categories, whilst impact categories related to water consumption and eutrophication obtained an impact of less than 0.001 for both constructions.