4th International Conference on Energy and Sustainability19 - 21 June 2013
The fourth International Conference on Energy and Sustainability has taken place in Romania, organised by Prof Carlos A Brebbia of the Wessex Institute of Technology, UK and Profs Anca Marinov and Carmen Safta of the University Politehnica of Bucharest.
The meeting follows the success of the previous three, the first of which took place in the Wessex Institute of Technology campus in the New Forest National Park (2007), followed by one in Bologna (2009) and another in Alicante (2011).
The world economic system is driven by energy. Few of the advances made in the past two centuries would have been possible without the large scale exploitation of fossil fuels. Resources depletion and predictions of severe environmental effects deriving from continued use of solid fuels are spurring renewed interest in sustainable energy. The effort required to shift from a fossil fuel-based economy to one hinged in sustainability is massive, requiring advances from the basic sciences and system engineering to international policy making.
The evolution of new energy technologies and systems cannot follow the compartmentalised model that has worked so well in the past, because of the constraints imposed by oil depletion and climate change. All parts of the new energy economy are strongly interlinked and researchers in the field must be aware of the entire spectrum to maximise their own contribution.
The conference offered the opportunity to delegates from many different backgrounds to review developments in this rapidly changing environment. It covered topics related to sustainability in energy production, energy storage and distribution and energy management.
The Conference was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia who stressed the importance of this type of meeting to further the objectives of the Wessex Institute, ie the dissemination of knowledge at an international level. The conference, Carlos explained, together with the development of engineering software codes and publication of advanced books and journals are essential to bring the latest developments to the attention of our colleagues from all over the world.
Carlos mentioned that the papers which are published in paper and digital format are widely distributed through WIT Press, its publishing arm, with offices in Europe, the USA and extensive international distribution networks. The papers are also permanently archived at http://library.witpress.com/ where they are available to the international community. Papers printed at the Wessex Institute conferences are referenced by CrossRef and regularly appear in notable reviews, publications and databases, including referencing and abstract services.
Finally, Carlos pointed out that WIT encourages all presenters to submit extended versions of their conference papers for publication in the Institute Journals, the most appropriate of which in this case are the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, and the International Journal of Design and Nature with Ecodynamics.
Carlos ended his opening remarks by hoping that many delegates will consider visiting the Campus of Wessex Institute in the New Forest so that they can appreciate better the work carried out there and consider ways in which they can collaborate with WIT.
The papers presented at the conference were grouped according to the following topics:
- Energy and the built environment
- Energy policies
- Energy analysis
- New energy services
During the conference two special sessions were organised. The first by Prof Elena Cristina Rada of the University of Trento in Italy, dealt with sustainability of direct and indirect domestic energy sources, and consisted of her own presentation ‘Effects of MSW selective collection on waste-to-energy strategies’, followed by four other papers, as follows:
- ‘Application of multi-stage biofilter pilot plants to remove odour and VOCs from industrial activities air emissions’, by V Torretta, Insubria University of Varese, Italy
- ‘Maintenance strategies and local impact of MSW incinerators’, by M Ragazzi, University of Trento, Italy
- ‘Potential of electricity generation from renewable energy sources in standard domestic houses’, by R D Ionescu, University of Trento, Italy
- ‘Indoor measurements of particulate matter during steak cooking under different conditions’, by M Schiavon, University of Trento, Italy
The second special session was organised by Prof Qingyue Wang of Saitama University, Japan on Effective utilization of waste biomass and waste coal, and started with his own presentation entitled ‘Process analysis of waste bamboo materials using solvent liquefaction’, followed by five other papers on the following topics:
- ‘Suppression method of the condensation reaction during phenol liquefaction of woody material’, by N Mitsumura, Saitama University, Japan
- ‘Study of heterogeneous reaction between tar and ash from waste biomass pyrolysis and gasification’, by T Endo, Saitama University, Japan
- ‘Clarification of the reaction at the solution interface of pyrite during oil agglomeration for developing desulfurization and coal cleaning efficiency’, by H Niida, Saitama University, Japan
- ‘Behaviour of suspended particulate matter emitted from combustion of agricultural residue biomass under different temperatures’, by S Itoh, Saitama University, Japan
Prigogine Award 2013The highlight of the conference was the award of the Prigogine Medal which took place in the Aula Magna of the University Politehnica of Bucharest. The ceremony was preceded over by the Rector of the Politehnica of Bucharest, Prof George Darie who welcomed the delegates.
The Prigogine Medal was instituted by the University of Siena in Italy and the Wessex Institute of Technology in the UK in 2004 to honour the memory of Professor Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry and Honorary Chair of ECOSUD until his death in 2003.
Ilya Prigogine was born in Moscow in 1917 and obtained his undergraduate and graduate education in Chemistry at the Free University of Brussels. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, particularly the theory of dissipative structures. The main theme of his scientific work was the role of time in the physical sciences and biology. He contributed significantly to the understanding of irreversible processes, particularly in systems far from equilibrium. The results of his work have had profound consequences for understanding biological and ecological systems.
Prigogine’s ideas established the basis for ecological systems research. The Prigogine Medal to honour his memory is awarded annually to a leading scientist in the field of ecological systems. All recipients have been deeply influenced by the work of Prigogine.
Previous Prigogine Gold Medal winners were:
- 2004 Sven Jorgensen, Denmark
- 2005 Enzo Tiezzi, Italy
- 2006 Bernard Patten, USA
- 2007 Robert Ulanowicz, USA
- 2008 Ioannis Antoniou, Greece
- 2009 Emilio del Giudice, Italy
- 2010 Felix Müller, Germany
- 2011 Larissa Brizhik, Ukraine
- 2012 Gerald Pollack, USA
The recipient of the 2013 Award was Prof Vladimir Voeikov, Professor of Bio-organic Chemistry at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia.
Vladimir received his degree at Moscow State University and a PhD in Biophysics at the same institution, completing after that a further doctorate on Biological Sciences.
Since then he has been carrying out outstanding research at the Moscow Academy of Science, Duke University and Moscow State University. He is renowned in the field of physical and chemical properties of water and aqueous systems providing for the biological role of water in bioenergetics, in particular, in aerobic respiration, functions of reactive oxygen species in regulation of biological functions and in bioenergetics.
Vladimir is the author or co-author of more than 250 publications including 100 papers in scientific journals, as well as five books and monographs.
He is a member of the renowned Institute of Biophysics in Neuss, Germany and of the all-Russian Biochemical Society as well as an Editor of the Journal on Water, a multi-disciplinary research journal.Vladimir was awarded the medal by the Rector of the Politehnica of Bucharest and after this he proceeded to deliver his special Prigogine Lecture entitled ‘The Key Role of Stable Nonequilibrium State of Aqueous Systems in Bioenergetics’, the abstract of which is as follows:
Nearly 80 years ago the founder of Theoretical biology Ervin Bauer formulated Fundamental Principles to differentiate between animate and inanimate systems. The major Principle defining the living state of matter is the Principle of Stable Non-equilibrium, ‘No living system is ever at equilibrium. It ceaselessly performs work against equilibrium, demanded by the physical and chemical laws appropriate to the actual external conditions’. From this and a few other fundamental principles all the life manifestations automatically follow. Essentially a living thing is envisaged as an active and coherent free energy rich unit that uses all its energy for the preservation of its non-equilibrium state. Sustainability of the living state in time and space is provided by its intrinsic ability for the continuous buildup of free energy stock it possesses expressed in terms of evolution.
However, the origins of the initial conditions that allow for the process of a living system to emerge and for the global life to develop incessantly are omitted from Bauer’s theory. Furthermore, the matter that resides in a stable non-equilibrium state (“living matter”), possessing structural energy and performing useful work, has only very loosely been defined. In this assay we’ll show that recently discovered unique properties of water allow considering Real Aqueous Systems as living systems because they fully meet all the requirements of Erwin Bauer’s principles. Hence life in all its forms is the necessary consequence of the unique properties of this widespread substance – Water.The full text of his lecture has been published in the International Journal of Design and Nature with Ecodynamics, Vol 8, Issue #2 2013.
The lecture was followed by Prof Brebbia’s remarks congratulating Vladimir for his excellent presentation which clearly explained the new direction of water research, following the work of previous Prigogine medallists such as Profs del Giudice, Brizhik and Pollack.
After the event, the participants were invited to a buffet lunch at the Politehnica before returning to the Intercontinental Hotel where the other sessions were held. This hotel is one of the iconic buildings in Bucharest, very well located in the centre of the city and next to its old quarter, a place full of good restaurants, bars and cultural sites.
Conference DinnersThe conference banquet took place in a unique restaurant which captures the spirit of Bucharest during the ‘belle epoque’ when it was influenced by the French culture. The excellent meal and the good Romanian wines were accompanied by a delightful international show, making the night very special.
The International Scientific Advisory Committee met over dinner to discuss the conference. Carlos thanked them all for their work in reviewing abstracts and papers and collaboration with organising the meeting. The restaurant featured regional food and had a folkloric show depicting some of the variety of local traditional dances preferred in Romania.
Closing of the Conference
The conference was closed by Carlos who reminded the participants about the possibility of submitting an extended version of their paper to one of the two International Journals sponsoring the conference. He also explained that all oral presentations will be scheduled for publication in a subsequent volume of WIT Transactions.
Carlos wished all participants a safe trip home and invited them to visit the WIT Campus in the New Forest National Park when convenient.
Carmen Safta also said a few words to the delegates in the name of the local organisers, hoping that they enjoyed Bucharest as well as the conference, and wishing them a safe trip home.
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 176 of WIT Transactions on the Ecology and the Environment (ISSN: 1746-448X, Digital ISSN 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com