ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0275.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: fossil fuel; life cycle assessment (LCA); COVID-19; environment; resources; exergy
Online: 9 November 2020 (10:38:07 CET)
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a sudden and abrupt change in global energy landscape. Traditional fossil fuels that serve as the linchpin of the modern civilization have found their consumption rapidly fell across the most categories due to strict lockdown and stringent measures that have been adopted to suppress the disease. These changes consequently steered various environmental benefits across the world in recent time. The present article is an attempt to investigate these environmental benefits and reversals that have been materialized in this unfolding situation due to reduced consumption of fossil fuels. Life cycle assessment tool has been used hereby to evaluate nine environmental impacts and one energy based impact. These impacts include: ozone formation (terrestrial ecosystems), terrestrial acidification, freshwater eutrophication, marine eutrophication, terrestrial ecotoxicity, freshwater ecotoxicity, marine ecotoxicity, land use, mineral resources scarcity and cumulative exergy demand. Outcomes from the study demonstrate that COVID-19 has delivered impressive changes in global environment and life cycle exergy demand with about 11-25% curtailment in all above-mentioned impacts in 2020 in comparison to their corresponding readings in 2019.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202204.0021.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Palaeontology Keywords: Ophiuroidea; microfossils; fossil record; new species; Cenozoic
Online: 5 April 2022 (08:41:15 CEST)
The fossil record of the Ophiuroidea is still patchy, especially in the Cenozoic. Only four species have been described from the entire Oligocene, which is in stark contrast to the present-day diversity counting more than 2000 species. Here, we describe two new species of ophiuroid, Ophiura tankardi sp. nov. and Ophiodoris niersteinensis sp. nov., from the Lower Oligocene of the Mainz Basin. The species are based on microfossils extracted from the sieving residues of bulk sediment samples from a flush drill in Nierstein, Rhineland-Palatinate. The new species belong to extant genera and add to the poor Oligocene fossil record of the class. Based on present-day distributions, the occurrence of Ophiodoris suggests deep sublittoral to shallow bathyal palaeodepths for the Nierstein area of the Mainz Basin.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0640.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: long-term energy storage; fossil fuels; energy transition
Online: 26 July 2020 (16:38:35 CEST)
Great Britain’s stocks of coal, natural gas, and petroleum have seen major changes to the levels of stored energy over the years 2005 to 2019, a reduction of 200 TWh (35%) from 570 TWh to 370 TWh. The transformation of its electrical system over this timeframe saw a reduction in coal generation, leading to a corresponding reduction of the levels of stockpiled coal of 85 TWh (68%), partially offset by an increase in the stocks of biomass for electrical generation. The reduction in natural gas storage of 24 TWh (44%) was primarily due to the closure of Britain’s only long-term seasonal natural gas storage facility in January 2018. This was partially offset by the construction of medium-term natural gas storage facilities and the use of LNG storage in the years preceding its closure. For stocks of crude oil and oil products the reduction was 35 TWh (21%), linked to the overall reduction in demand.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0158.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: monster of troy; archaeology; Corinthian vase; fossil; Samotherium
Online: 13 December 2018 (06:47:37 CET)
It has been proposed that the Monster of Troy, depicted in a 6th Century BC Corinthian vase, is the earliest artistic record of a vertebrate fossil, possibly a Miocene giraffe (Samotherium sp.). I analyzed the giraffe hypothesis under four approaches: a double-blind random design in which 78 biologists compared the vase skull with Samotherium and several reptiles; an informed survey of 30 students who critically assessed the hypothesis; a computerized image comparison; and a morphological comparison. All of them rejected the giraffe hypothesis. Eye and teeth types unambiguously discard a fossil or living mammal as the model, which more probably was an extant carnivorous reptile.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201801.0014.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: algal pigment; fossil diatom; sediment core, climate change
Online: 2 January 2018 (12:13:28 CET)
The overarching aim of this paper is to investigate the lake ecosystem response to different drivers over a long term period by a paleolimnological study in Lake Narlay (46°64N, 5°91E) located in the Jura Mountains of France. It is a small, hard-water lake with a maximum water depth of 40 m and extended anoxic condition of the bottom water. Previous results on sediments analysis have documented a differential response of the lake to the environmental changes that occurred in AD 1600 when major shift in the trophic reliance on methane of the benthic food web were observed. From 1920 with intensification of modern agriculture, animal farming and the construction of a cheese making facility, the lake become eutrophic, with Oscillatoria rubescens bloom. However, the lake showed pronounced changes in an older period that remained unanswered. In this paper we aim at reconstructing in more detail the limnological conditions of this Lake over the last 1200 yrs. using combined analyses of specific algal carotenoids and subfossil diatom remains. A comparison with other proxies (chironomid, pollen, and instrumental climatic reconstruction) will be used to better identify, between the complex combination of climate and anthropogenic pressure, the driving factors that determined the ecological trajectory of Lake Narlay.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0223.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Applied Mathematics Keywords: carbon emissions; energy consumption; technology efficiency; Gini index; generalised entropy index; fossil fuels; non-fossil fuels; petroleum; coal; natural gas
Online: 16 February 2020 (15:20:21 CET)
Primary energy consumption is one of the key drivers of global CO2 emissions that, in turn, heavily depend on the efficiency of involved technologies. Either the improvement in technology efficiency or the expansion of non-fossil fuel consumption require large investments. The planning and financing of such investments, by policy makers or global energy firms, require, in turn, reliable measures of associated global spreads and their evolution in time. In this paper, our main contribution is the introduction of index measures for accessing global spreads (that is, measures of inequality or inhomogeneity in the statistical distribution of a related quantity of interest) of technology efficiency and CO2 emission in primary energy consumption. These indexes are based on the Gini index, as used in economical sciences, and generalised entropy measures. Regarding primary energy sources, we consider petroleum, coal, natural gas and non-fossil fuels. Between our findings, we attest some stable relations in the evolution of global spreads of technology efficiency and CO2 emission, and a positive relation between changes in global spreads of technology efficiency and use of non-fossil fuel.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0361.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: renewable energy; decarbonization; fossil fuels; energy transition; COVID-19; sustainability
Online: 16 July 2020 (13:41:22 CEST)
The measures for tackling the COVID-19 may shrink the global GDP by approximately 6% in 2020, the deepest post-war recession. As a result, the global energy demand declined by 3.8% in the first quarter of 2020. Concerning fossil fuels, this conjuncture reduced the demand drastically and collapsed the prices to historic levels. Despite the general market disruptions, renewable energy sources (RES) seem to be more resilient to the crisis because they are the only sources that will grow in demand in 2020, driven by priority dispatch. The RES´s significant growth in cumulative installed capacity in the last two decades and the significant cost reductions of RES and energy storage technologies are positive signs towards better market conditions for the global energy transition. Currently, the crisis is seen by international agencies and transition scholars as an opportunity to advance a renewable-based energy transformation. Nevertheless, this article aims at caution about another possibility: if societal changes are not urgently implemented, the crisis may weaken the global energy transition. This article examines this last possibility from a three-level perspective: 1) post-COVID economic recovery, 2) low oil and natural gas prices and competitiveness of alternative sources and, 3) reorganization of the world energy market and the OPEC+. This paper exists to stimulate debate.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0406.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: nuclear energy; renewable energy; fossil energy; small modular reactors; resilience; hybrid energy
Online: 31 May 2022 (03:13:28 CEST)
Small modular reactors (SMR) (<300 MW) offer a potentially attractive nuclear energy option for the middle-east region (MER). Currently, the MER uses a significant amount of fossil fuel to process heat applications such as water desalination and in petroleum refineries and chemical plants, besides generating electricity. SMR technologies represent an opportunity to meet future energy demand in the MER. This paper discusses issues related to the future development and use of SMR technology in nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems for application in the middle east. SMRs have also been examined as part of a resilient hybrid energy system that combines nuclear energy with renewable energy and traditional fossil energy to produce chemicals, fuels, and electricity. This paper presents the results of a techno-economic analysis of a Nuclear-Renewable-Conventional Hybrid Energy System. The paper concludes that SMR technology will be an essential feature of future hybrid energy systems for the MER.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0627.v1
Subject: Keywords: COVID-19; fossil fuels; life cycle assessment (LCA); climate change; environment; impact
Online: 25 November 2020 (09:40:06 CET)
COVID‑19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, has spread rapidly across the globe since the end of 2019 and brought impressive changes in our life and living through partial or full lockdown and reduced anthropogenic activities. Hence, it is imperative to investigate the impacts and consequences of COVID-19 on global eco-system and environment. The present study accordingly addresses the impacts and consequences of COVID-19 by ten environmental indicators; viz., global warming (or greenhouse gas emission), stratospheric ozone depletion, ozone formation (on human health), fine particulate matter formation, smog, ionizing radiation, human carcinogenic toxicity, human non-carcinogenic toxicity, water resource consumption, and effect on human health. The overall study has been performed in agreement with the standard principle and guidelines of life cycle assessment. Worldwide changes in consumption of fossil fuels, viz., petroleum, coal and natural gas, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, has been the core theme of the study. Outcomes from the study show that COVID-19 has been a ‘blessing in disguise’ for the global environment with most of the above-mentioned indicators declining by approximately 20-30% in 2020 in comparison to the 2019 level.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0283.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: energy policy; energy economics; renewable energy; fossil energy; nuclear energy; hybrid energy; teaching
Online: 23 May 2022 (03:33:09 CEST)
Issues related to safe and abundant energy production have been prominent in recent years. This is particularly tr ue when society considers how to increase the quality of life by providing low-cost energy to citizens. A significant concern of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) relates to the environmental effects of energy production and energy use associated with climate change. Efforts to reduce fossil fuel use and increase the use of renewable energy, together with the price volatility of fossil fuels, have seriously impacted the economics of many of the oil-producing countries, particularly the Gulf States, which has led to efforts to make their economies more diverse and less dependent on oil production.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0472.v1
Subject: Biology, Plant Sciences Keywords: stele; stelar architecture; plant development; plant anatomy; procambium; endodermis; boundary layer; developmental domain; protostele; siphonostele; eustele; vascular tissue; xylem, phloem; pith; evo-devo; evolution; fossil
Online: 31 May 2020 (15:28:34 CEST)
The stele concept is one of the oldest enduring concepts in plant biology. This paper reviews the concept and its foundations, and builds an argument for an updated view of steles and their evolution. The history of studies of stelar organization has generated a widely ranging array of definitions of the stele that determine the way we classify steles and construct scenarios about the evolution of stelar architecture. Because at the level of the organism biological evolution proceeds by, and is reflected in, changes in development, concepts of structure need to be grounded in development in order to be relevant in an evolutionary perspective. For the stele, most of the traditional definitions that incorporate development have viewed it as the totality of tissues that either originate from procambium – currently the prevailing view – or are bordered by a boundary layer (e.g., endodermis). A definition of the stele that would bring consensus between these perspectives recasts the stele as a structural entity of dual nature. Here, I review briefly the history of the stele concept, basic terminology related to stelar organization, and traditional classifications of the steles. I then revisit boundary layers from the perspective of histogenesis as a dynamic mosaic of developmental domains. I use classic and recent anatomical and molecular data to reaffirm and explore the importance of boundary layers for stelar organization. Drawing on data from comparative anatomy, developmental regulation, and the fossil record, I offer a model for a stele concept that integrates both the boundary layer and the procambial perspective, consistent with a dual nature of the stele. The dual stele model posits that stelar architecture is determined in the apical meristem by two major cell fate specification events: a first one that specifies a provascular domain and its boundaries, and a second event that specifies a procambial domain (which will mature into conducting tissues) from cell subpopulations of the provascular domain. If the position and extent of the developmental domains defined by the two events are determined by different concentrations of the same morphogen (most likely auxin), then the distribution of this organizer factor in the shoot apical meristem, as modulated by changes in axis size and the effect of lateral organs, can explain the different stelar configurations documented among tracheophytes. This model provides a set of working hypotheses that incorporate assumptions and generate implications that can be tested empirically. The model also offers criteria for an updated classification of steles that is in line with current understanding of plant development. In this classification, steles fall into two major categories determined by the configuration of boundary layers – boundary protosteles and boundary siphonosteles, each with subtypes defined by the architecture of the vascular tissues. Validation the dual stele model and, more generally, in-depth understanding of the regulation of stelar architecture, will necessitate targeted efforts in two areas: (i) the regulation of procambium, vascular tissue, and boundary layer specification in all extant vascular plants, considering that most of the diversity in stelar architecture is hosted by seed-free plants, which are the least explored in terms of developmental regulation; (ii) the configuration of vascular tissues and, especially, boundary layers, in as many extinct species and lineages as possible.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0311.v1
Subject: Biology, Plant Sciences Keywords: fossil; morphology; evo-devo; paleobotany; evolution; development; macroevolution; modularity; hierarchy; structural fingerprint; regulatory module; auxin; polar auxin transport; embryophyte evolution; sporophyte evolution; polysporangiophyte; leaf evolution; secondary growth; secondary xylem; vascular cambium; strobilus; Sphenophyta; Equisetum; Lycophyta; root evolution; Lepidodendrales
Online: 14 July 2020 (13:34:20 CEST)
Fossils constitute the principal repository of data that allow for independent tests of hypotheses of biological evolution derived from observations of the extant biota. Traditionally, transformational series of structure, consisting of sequences of fossils of the same lineage through time, have been employed to reconstruct and interpret morphological evolution. More recently, a move toward an updated paradigm was fueled by the deliberate integration of developmental thinking in the inclusion of fossils in reconstruction of morphological evolution. The vehicle for this is provided by structural fingerprints – recognizable morphological and anatomical structures generated by (and reflective of) the deployment of specific genes and regulatory pathways during development. Furthermore, because the regulation of plant development is both modular and hierarchical in nature, combining structural fingerprints recognized in the fossil record with our understanding of the developmental regulation of those structures produces a powerful tool for understanding plant evolution. This is particularly true when the systematic distribution of specific developmental regulatory mechanisms and modules is viewed within an evolutionary (paleo-evo-devo) framework. Here, we discuss several advances in understanding the processes and patterns of evolution, achieved by tracking structural fingerprints with their underlying regulatory modules across lineages, living and fossil: the role of polar auxin regulation in the cellular patterning of secondary xylem and the parallel evolution of arborescence in lycophytes and seed plants; the morphology and life history of early polysporangiophytes and tracheophytes; the role of modularity in the parallel evolution of leaves in euphyllophytes; leaf meristematic activity and the parallel evolution of venation patterns among euphyllophytes; mosaic deployment of regulatory modules and the diverse modes of secondary growth of euphyllophytes; modularity and hierarchy in developmental regulation and the evolution of equisetophyte reproductive morphology. More generally, inclusion of plant fossils in the evo-devo paradigm has informed discussions on the evolution of growth patterns and growth responses, sporophyte body plans and their homology, sequences of character evolution, and the evolution of reproductive systems.