Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 8

Search results for: I. Brás

8 Ecotoxicological Safety of Wastewater Treated with Lignocellulosic Adsorbents

Authors: Luísa P. Cruz-Lopes, Artur Figueirinha, Isabel Brás, Bruno Esteves

Abstract:

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.

Keywords: chemical composition, lignocellulosic residues, ecotoxicological safety, wastewater

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7 Valorization of Beer Brewing Wastes by Composting

Authors: M. E. Silva, I. Brás

Abstract:

The aim of this work was to study the viability of recycling the residual yeast and diatomaceous earth (RYDE) slurry generated by the beer brewing industry by composting with animal manures, as well as to evaluate the quality of the composts obtained. Two pilot composting trials were carried out with different mixes: cow manure/RYDE slurry (Pile CM) and sheep manure/RYDE slurry (Pile SM). For all piles, wood chips were applied as bulking agent. The process was monitored by evaluating standard physical and chemical parameters. The compost quality was assessed by the heavy metals content and phytotoxicity. Both piles reached a thermophilic phase in the first day, however having different trends. The pH showed a slight alkaline character. The C/N reached values lower than 19 at the end of composting process. Generally, all the piles exhibited absence of heavy metals. However, the pile SM exhibited phytotoxicity. This study showed that RYDE slurry can be valorized by composting with cow manure.

Keywords: beer brewing wastes, compost, valorization, quality

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6 The Shadow of Terrorism in the World Tourism Industry: Impacts, Prevention and Recovery Strategies

Authors: Maria Brás

Abstract:

The main purpose of the presentation is to identify the impacts and appropriate measures to prevent potential attacks, or minimize the risk of an attack in tourist destination. Terrorism has been growing in the shadow of unpredictability, however, is possible to minimize the danger of a terrorist attack by doing the: (1) recognition; (2); evaluation; (3) avoidance; (4) threat reduction. The vulnerability of tourism industry to terrorism is an undeniable fact, and terrorists know it. They use this advantage attacking tourists for very specific reasons, such as the: (1) international coverage by the media, “if it bleeds it leads” ; (2) chances of getting different nationalities at the same place and time; (3) possibility of destroyed the economy of a destination, or destinations (“terrorism contamination effect”), through the reduction of tourist demand; (4) psychological, and social disruption based on fear of negative consequences. Security incidents, such as terrorism, include different preventive measures that can be conducted in partnership with: tourism industry (hotels, airports, tourist attractions, among others); central government; public and/or private sector; local community; and media. The recovery strategies must be based on the dissemination of positive information to the media; in creating new marketing strategies that emphasize the social and cultural values of the destination; encourage domestic tourism; get government, or state, financial support.

Keywords: terrorism, tourism, safety, security, impacts, prevention, recovery

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5 Co-Composting of Poultry Manure with Different Organic Amendments

Authors: M. E. Silva, I. Brás

Abstract:

To study the influence of different organic amendments on the quality of poultry manure compost, three pilot composting trials were carried out with different mixes: poultry manure/carcasse meal/ashes/grape pomace (Pile 1), poultry manure/ cellulosic sludge (Pile 2) and poultry manure (Pile 3). For all piles, wood chips were applied as bulking agent. The process was monitored, over time, by evaluating standard physical and chemical parameters, such as, pH, electric conductivity, moisture, organic matter and ash content, total carbon and total nitrogen content, carbon/nitrogen ratio (C/N) and content in mineral elements. Piles 1 and 2 reached a thermophilic phase, however having different trends. Pile 1 reached this phase earlier than Pile 2. For both, the pH showed a slight alkaline character and the electric conductivity was lower than 2 mS/cm. Also, the initial C/N value was 22 and reached values lower than 15 at the end of composting process. The total N content of the Pile 1 increased slightly during composting, in contrast with the others piles. At the end of composting process, the phosphorus content ranged between 54 and 236 mg/kg dry matter, for Pile 2 and 3, respectively. Generally, the Piles 1 and 3 exhibited similar heavy metals content. This study showed that organic amendments can be used as carbon source, given that the final composts presented parameters within the range of those recommended in the 2nd Draft of EU regulation proposal (DG Env.A.2 2001) for compost quality.

Keywords: co-composting, compost quality, organic ammendment, poultry manure

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4 Evaluation of the Mechanical Behavior of a Retaining Wall Structure on a Weathered Soil through Probabilistic Methods

Authors: P. V. S. Mascarenhas, B. C. P. Albuquerque, D. J. F. Campos, L. L. Almeida, V. R. Domingues, L. C. S. M. Ozelim

Abstract:

Retaining slope structures are increasingly considered in geotechnical engineering projects due to extensive urban cities growth. These kinds of engineering constructions may present instabilities over the time and may require reinforcement or even rebuilding of the structure. In this context, statistical analysis is an important tool for decision making regarding retaining structures. This study approaches the failure probability of the construction of a retaining wall over the debris of an old and collapsed one. The new solution’s extension length will be of approximately 350 m and will be located over the margins of the Lake Paranoá, Brasilia, in the capital of Brazil. The building process must also account for the utilization of the ruins as a caisson. A series of in situ and laboratory experiments defined local soil strength parameters. A Standard Penetration Test (SPT) defined the in situ soil stratigraphy. Also, the parameters obtained were verified using soil data from a collection of masters and doctoral works from the University of Brasília, which is similar to the local soil. Initial studies show that the concrete wall is the proper solution for this case, taking into account the technical, economic and deterministic analysis. On the other hand, in order to better analyze the statistical significance of the factor-of-safety factors obtained, a Monte Carlo analysis was performed for the concrete wall and two more initial solutions. A comparison between the statistical and risk results generated for the different solutions indicated that a Gabion solution would better fit the financial and technical feasibility of the project.

Keywords: economical analysis, probability of failure, retaining walls, statistical analysis

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

Authors: Isabel Brás, Artur Figueirinha, Bruno Esteves, Luísa P. Cruz-Lopes

Abstract:

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.

Keywords: lignocellulosic wastes, adsorption, acute toxicity tests, risk assessment

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2 The Impact of Housing Design on the Health and Well-Being of Populations: A Case-Study of Middle-Class Families in the Metropolitan Region of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Authors: A. L. Verret, N. Prince, Y. Jerome, A. Bras

Abstract:

The effects of housing design on the health and well-being of populations are quite intangible. In fact, healthy housing parameters are generally difficult to establish scientifically. It is often unclear the direction of a cause-and-effect relationship between health variables and housing. However, the lack of clear and definite measurements does not entail the absence of relationship between housing, health, and well-being. Research has thus been conducted. It has mostly aimed the physical rather than the psychological or social well-being of a population, given the difficulties to establish cause-effect relationships because of the subjectivity of the psychological symptoms and of the challenge in determining the influence of other factors. That said, a strong relationship has been exposed between light and physiology. Both the nervous and endocrine systems, amongst others, are affected by different wavelengths of natural light within a building. Daylight in the workplace is indeed associated to decreased absenteeism, errors and product defects, fatigue, eyestrain, increased productivity and positive attitude. Similar associations can also be made to residential housing. Lower levels of sunlight within the home have been proven to result in impaired cognition in depressed participants of a cross-sectional case study. Moreover, minimum space (area and volume) has been linked to healthy housing and quality of life, resulting in norms and regulations for such parameters for home constructions. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that people spend the two-thirds of their lives within the home and its immediate environment. Therefore, it is possible to deduct that the health and well-being of the occupants are potentially at risk in an unhealthy housing situation. While the impact of architecture on health and well-being is acknowledged and considered somewhat crucial in various countries of the north and the south, this issue is barely raised in Haiti. In fact, little importance is given to architecture for many reasons (lack of information, lack of means, societal reflex, poverty…). However, the middle-class is known for its residential strategies and trajectories in search of better-quality homes and environments. For this reason, it would be pertinent to use this group and its strategies and trajectories to isolate the impact of housing design on the overall health and well-being. This research aims to analyze the impact of housing architecture on the health and well-being of middle-class families in the metropolitan region of Port-au-Prince. It is a case study which uses semi-structured interviews and observations as research methods. Although at an early stage, this research anticipates that homes affect their occupants both psychologically and physiologically, and consequently, public policies and the population should take into account the architectural design in the planning and construction of housing and, furthermore, cities.

Keywords: architectural design, health and well-being, middle-class housing, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

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1 The Problem of the Use of Learning Analytics in Distance Higher Education: An Analytical Study of the Open and Distance University System in Mexico

Authors: Ismene Ithai Bras-Ruiz

Abstract:

Learning Analytics (LA) is employed by universities not only as a tool but as a specialized ground to enhance students and professors. However, not all the academic programs apply LA with the same goal and use the same tools. In fact, LA is formed by five main fields of study (academic analytics, action research, educational data mining, recommender systems, and personalized systems). These fields can help not just to inform academic authorities about the situation of the program, but also can detect risk students, professors with needs, or general problems. The highest level applies Artificial Intelligence techniques to support learning practices. LA has adopted different techniques: statistics, ethnography, data visualization, machine learning, natural language process, and data mining. Is expected that any academic program decided what field wants to utilize on the basis of his academic interest but also his capacities related to professors, administrators, systems, logistics, data analyst, and the academic goals. The Open and Distance University System (SUAYED in Spanish) of the University National Autonomous of Mexico (UNAM), has been working for forty years as an alternative to traditional programs; one of their main supports has been the employ of new information and communications technologies (ICT). Today, UNAM has one of the largest network higher education programs, twenty-six academic programs in different faculties. This situation means that every faculty works with heterogeneous populations and academic problems. In this sense, every program has developed its own Learning Analytic techniques to improve academic issues. In this context, an investigation was carried out to know the situation of the application of LA in all the academic programs in the different faculties. The premise of the study it was that not all the faculties have utilized advanced LA techniques and it is probable that they do not know what field of study is closer to their program goals. In consequence, not all the programs know about LA but, this does not mean they do not work with LA in a veiled or, less clear sense. It is very important to know the grade of knowledge about LA for two reasons: 1) This allows to appreciate the work of the administration to improve the quality of the teaching and, 2) if it is possible to improve others LA techniques. For this purpose, it was designed three instruments to determinate the experience and knowledge in LA. These were applied to ten faculty coordinators and his personnel; thirty members were consulted (academic secretary, systems manager, or data analyst, and coordinator of the program). The final report allowed to understand that almost all the programs work with basic statistics tools and techniques, this helps the administration only to know what is happening inside de academic program, but they are not ready to move up to the next level, this means applying Artificial Intelligence or Recommender Systems to reach a personalized learning system. This situation is not related to the knowledge of LA, but the clarity of the long-term goals.

Keywords: academic improvements, analytical techniques, learning analytics, personnel expertise

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