Institute for Prospective Technological Studies

Sevilla, Spain

Institute for Prospective Technological Studies

Sevilla, Spain
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Nakic D.,University of Zagreb | Vouk D.,University of Zagreb | Donatello S.,Institute for Prospective Technological Studies | Vucinic A.A.,University of Zagreb
Engineering Review | Year: 2017

As part of a wider feasibility study on the possible reuse potential of Croatian sewage sludge ash, ash has been produced by laboratory incineration of sewage sludge from two Croatian wastewater treatment plants. The Croatian sewage sludge ash was tested for soluble heavy metals according to EN 12457 and the results were considered in the context of EU landfill Waste Acceptance Criteria. With sewage sludge ash alone, the main soluble elements/ions of concern were (in decreasing order): Mo, SO4, Cr and Cl. When obtained ash was incorporated into cement mortars at cement replacement rates of 20%, EN 12457 leaching of the crushed mortars demonstrated compliance with the strictest limits for inert landfill Waste Acceptance Criteria and well within other limits specified for use in road bases. However, much of the reduction in leaching levels can be attributed to the dilution effect of sand used in mortars. In the cases of Se, Cr, F and Cl, results imply that the cement used in the mortars actually represents a more significant source of soluble Se, Cr, F and Cl than the produced ash. Regardless, the overall results reveal that leaching of heavy metals and other ions were not a significant concern that would prevent the potential reuse of Croatian sewage sludge ash in cement mortars or concretes should Croatian wastewater treatment plants opt for sewage sludge incineration as an alternative sludge disposal and management option.

Galvez-Martos J.-L.,University of Aberdeen | Schoenberger H.,Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Resources, Conservation and Recycling | Year: 2014

Life cycle assessment, LCA, has become a key methodology to evaluate the environmental performance of products, services and processes and it is considered a powerful tool for decision makers. Waste treatment options are frequently evaluated using LCA methodologies in order to determine the option with the lowest environmental impact. Due to the approximate nature of LCA, where results are highly influenced by the assumptions made in the definition of the system, this methodology has certain non-negligible limitations. Because of that, the use of LCA to assess waste co-incineration in cement kilns is reviewed in this paper, with a special attention to those key inventory results highly dependent on the initial assumptions made. Therefore, the main focus of this paper is the life cycle inventory, LCI, of carbon emissions, primary energy and air emissions. When the focus is made on cement production, a tonne of cement is usually the functional unit. In this case, waste co-incineration has a non-significant role on CO2 emissions from the cement kiln and an important energy efficiency loss can be deduced from the industry performance data, which is rarely taken into account by LCA practitioners. If cement kilns are considered as another waste treatment option, the functional unit is usually 1 t of waste to be treated. In this case, it has been observed that contradictory results may arise depending on the initial assumptions, generating high uncertainty in the results. Air emissions, as heavy metals, are quite relevant when assessing waste co-incineration, as the amount of pollutants in the input are increased. Constant transfer factors are mainly used for heavy metals, but it may not be the correct approach for mercury emissions. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Cordella M.,Institute for Prospective Technological Studies | Bauer I.,PE International AG | Lehmann A.,PE International AG | Schulz M.,DEKRA Consulting GmbH | Wolf O.,Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2015

An assessment of the environmental aspects related to the life cycle of disposable baby diapers in Europe is presented in this paper with the aim of analysing recent improvements and identifying key environmental areas on which to focus in order to further decrease impacts. Average products available on the European market in recent years have been modelled and evaluated from "cradle to grave". Results point out the importance of materials in the definition of the environmental profile of the product. These are followed by the end of life for some impact categories, while the contribution of manufacturing, packaging and transport to the overall LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) results seems of minor relevance. Significant environmental improvements at European level have been achieved in recent years through the design of lighter products and the introduction of superabsorbent polymers. Careful selection and use of materials at the design stage could allow life cycle impacts of products to be further decreased, while ensuring that human health and environmental risks are controlled and that functionality and performance requirements are fulfilled. Indeed, potential malfunctioning of products would result in increasing consumption. Resource efficiency is also important at the manufacturing level to optimise the demand for materials and limit waste production. Special forms of treatment at the end of life stage of the product could instead require significant structural changes of the waste management system. The outcomes of this paper could be applied to support the design and environmental labelling of disposable baby diapers for promoting the production and consumption of product options characterised by lower environmental impacts. © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license.

Mor Y.,PAU Education | Kalz M.,Open University Netherlands | Castano-Munoz J.,Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2016

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are changing the educational field, challenging traditional institutional strategies and recognition schemes and opening up new opportunities for learners and educators both from within and outside formal education. However, while the potential benefits and risks of the MOOCs have been discussed by scientists and policy makers, the corresponding empirical data is scarce. What’s more, the evidence that is available is usually restricted to a single course or single provider. MOOCKnowledge (, funded by the European Commission’s Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), aims to facilitate a shared understanding of the value and efficacy of MOOCs by developing a set of analysis tools and applying them to a wide range of MOOCs. The most powerful outcome of the project would be the possibility to correlate different dimensions of MOOC production, execution, and learners experience. For example, identifying links between financial investment, learning design, and learner outcomes. To do this, we must first develop a conceptual model of the factors which determine or contribute to the value of a MOOC. © The Author(s) 2016.

Ott H.,Thuenen Institute | Ott H.,Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Journal of Agricultural Economics | Year: 2014

Intra-annual (within crop year) price volatility and inter-annual (between crop years) price volatility are measured for wheat, maize, rice, barley, oats and rye. A set of explanatory variables is used in a pooled regression to explain variations in these price volatilities. With low cereal stocks, supply (yield) shocks (defined here as volatilities, as for the price volatilities) mostly influence inter-annual volatility while other influential factors are the crude oil price and exchange rate. Cereal demand and interest rate shocks combined with low stocks affect intra-annual volatility, while other explanatory factors include exchange rate and crude oil price shocks. The derivatives market activity appears to have no significant effect on either intra- or inter-annual volatility. In contrast, large cereal stocks and a well-functioning international cereal market reduce the effects of shocks in the explanatory variables on both intra- and inter-annual volatilities. © 2014 The Agricultural Economics Society.

Haegeman K.,Institute for Prospective Technological Studies | Harper J.C.,Malta Council for Science and Technology | Johnston R.,University of Sydney
Science and Public Policy | Year: 2010

Experiences of recent years place a premium, for governments and individuals, on being able to discern the possible shape of the future: what is likely to influence it, and what can be done to prepare for it. This special section is based on selected papers from the Third International Seville Seminar on Future- Oriented Technology Analysis, held 16-17 October 2008 at Seville, Spain, which addressed the challenge of increasing the impact of future-oriented technology analysis on policy and decision-making. © Beech Tree Publishing 2010.

Hervas Soriano F.,Institute for Prospective Technological Studies | Mulatero F.,Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Energy Policy | Year: 2011

The SET-Plan established a strategy to use Research and Innovation (R&I) to green the EU energy sector while ensuring a secure supply and increasing EU competitiveness. The strategy sets clear objectives and programming plans and takes stock of existing initiatives in the energy sector, fosters a cooperative approach to R&I, introduces a high-level steering group (the SET-Plan Steering Group) to monitor progress, creates a dedicated information system (the SETIS) to fill the void in policy information and produces estimates of financial needs over the programming period. In this respect, the SET-Plan could serve as a blueprint for R&I strategies to tackle other societal challenges. To be effective, such strategies should further clarify the hierarchy of existing objectives and instruments, introduce specific instruments to pull the demand of new technologies, strengthen links with education and training policies and formalize links with the governance structures of existing initiatives. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Lenton T.M.,University of Exeter | Ciscar J.-C.,Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Climatic Change | Year: 2013

There is currently a huge gulf between natural scientists' understanding of climate tipping points and economists' representations of climate catastrophes in integrated assessment models (IAMs). In particular, there are multiple potential tipping points and they are not all low-probability events; at least one has a significant probability of being passed this century under mid-range (2-4 °C) global warming, and they cannot all be ruled out at low (<2 °C) warming. In contrast, the dominant framing of climate catastrophes in IAMs, and in critiques of them, is that they are associated with high (> 4 °C) or very high (> 8 °C) global warming. This discrepancy could qualitatively alter the predictions of IAMs, including estimates of the social cost of carbon. To address this discrepancy and assess the economic impact of crossing different climate tipping points, we highlight a list of scientific points that should be considered, at least in a stylised form, in simplified IAMs. For nine different tipping events, the range of expected physical climate impacts is summarised and some suggestions are made for how they may translate into socio-economic impacts on particular sectors or regions. We also consider how passing climate tipping points could affect economic growth. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Moncada-Paterno-Castello P.,Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Science and Public Policy | Year: 2010

Policy-makers have become increasingly aware that corporate R&D and innovation are the main drivers of an economy's competitiveness and growth. The widespread adoption of R&D targets has led researchers and analysts to pursue a deeper understanding of corporate R&D investment trends, drivers and impacts. This paper focuses on the main differences between the EU and the US in corporate R&D performance, and has three objectives: to review the literature on this subject, to introduce the papers in this special issue, and to discuss the possible implications for policy. © Beech Tree Publishing 2010.

PubMed | Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2011

Quantitative estimates of the economic damages of climate change usually are based on aggregate relationships linking average temperature change to loss in gross domestic product (GDP). However, there is a clear need for further detail in the regional and sectoral dimensions of impact assessments to design and prioritize adaptation strategies. New developments in regional climate modeling and physical-impact modeling in Europe allow a better exploration of those dimensions. This article quantifies the potential consequences of climate change in Europe in four market impact categories (agriculture, river floods, coastal areas, and tourism) and one nonmarket impact (human health). The methodology integrates a set of coherent, high-resolution climate change projections and physical models into an economic modeling framework. We find that if the climate of the 2080s were to occur today, the annual loss in household welfare in the European Union (EU) resulting from the four market impacts would range between 0.2-1%. If the welfare loss is assumed to be constant over time, climate change may halve the EUs annual welfare growth. Scenarios with warmer temperatures and a higher rise in sea level result in more severe economic damage. However, the results show that there are large variations across European regions. Southern Europe, the British Isles, and Central Europe North appear most sensitive to climate change. Northern Europe, on the other hand, is the only region with net economic benefits, driven mainly by the positive effects on agriculture. Coastal systems, agriculture, and river flooding are the most important of the four market impacts assessed.

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