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CURIOSITY LEADS TO RESEARCH
Thanks to the internet and other technologies, life moves at a very fast pace. We’re constantly adapting and learning new ways to do things–as well as expecting and even demanding innovation from our scientists, executives, and leaders. Thanks to its team of researches and the partnership with several universities, EUAbout is an active actor for the improvement of our society through many research projects. 
"Sustainable Solid Waste Management in the European Union: Four Countries Regional Analysis"
Chioatto, E., Sospiro, P. & Attiq Khan, M. (2022)

In the last twenty years, the EU has framed a comprehensive regulatory action aimed at shifting Waste Management practices to Sustainable Waste Management systems. The first premise is to foster waste prevention, and secondly to better treat waste residuals by promoting recycling practices. In a previous work, the authors qualitatively analysed the policies, criteria, methodologies and outcomes state-ofart of four EU-Member States (France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands) in the transition from Waste Management to Sustainable Waste Management to Circular Economy. The study highlighted overall positive results, which are driving EU countries towards higher Municipal Solid Waste recycling rates and low dumping. This paper makes a step forward, by investigating Municipal Waste Management performances at regional level in the same EU-Member States. Specifically, it aims at assessing whether national data (outlined by the previous work) are homogenously distributed at regional stage, in order to understand how legislation is effectively applied within countries and identifying best and worse performers. The results confirm that Northern European countries have to a greater extent moved away from landfill in favour of higher recycling rates. Conversely, Italy and France are those displaying lower performances but with progressive improvements.

 
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"Transition from waste management to circular economy: the European Union roadmap".
Chioatto, E. & Sospiro, P. (2022)

In the last twenty years, the European Union (EU) has enhanced Waste Management (WM) strategies toward Circular Economy (CE). Starting from the previous analysis carried out by Fabrizi and Sospiro (Waste Management in Europe: A Comparative Study of the main EU countries: Methodology and Evaluation of Local Waste Management System, Lambert Publisher, Saarbücken, Germany, 2017), this article analyses firstly EU Member States (MSs) Roadmap toward Sustainable Waste Management (SWM) and secondly to CE. The research relied on Kirchherr et al. (Kirchherr in Ecological Economics 150:264–272, 2018) study which identified four barriers to CE (cultural, regulatory, market failure, and technological). The regulatory framework has been analysed. Four case studies (France, FR, Germany, DE, Italy, IT, the Netherlands, NL) have been selected to investigate: criteria, methodologies, policies, implementation and outcomes on SWM at national level. In addition, given MSs coordination at EU level the research aimed at analysing whether is there any convergence in terms of policies and achievements. The study considered recent findings on CE, Eurostat data, and Eurostat Circular Material Use (CMU) indicator. The analysis revealed SWM positive results, which seem to confirm a certain degree of convergence between EU-MSs that consists in a positive cascade mechanism from advanced toward less advanced MSs. In spite of this, EU countries need a further step in order to close materials’ loops. Larger quantity of Secondary Raw Materials (SRMs) should return to manufacture, and this requires stronger intervention that goes beyond the waste sector. In light of this, the EU Commission recently entrusted the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to assess and compare the environmental impacts of alternative feedstock for plastic products. This reveals EU attempt to re-balance the intervention on CE, by striving new products’ design approaches.
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"Municipal Waste in the European Union: A Data Envelopment Analysis and a Convergence Analysis at the Regional Level"
Chioatto, E., Fedele, A. & Sospiro, P. (2021)
Sustainable Waste Management (SWM) is key to achieving a full Circular Economy (CE). Monitoring the transformation path that the European Union (EU) Member States (MSs) are undertaking is, in fact, critical to assessing the impact and effectiveness of recent European waste legislation. Despite several studies have demonstrated positive performance and convergence in the treatement of waste at EU-MS level, efficiency evaluation analysis at regional level is still scant. This research attempts to benchmark Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management performance of 167 NUTS-2 regions in 20 EU-MSs between 2008-2013, and assess whether is there any positive convergence between EU regions. The efficiency assessment is done with 4 different models of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) - Benefit-of-Doubt (BoD), a non-parametric approach. The measurement is presented by the Composite Indicators (CI) which considers the multi-criteria of the main waste treatments. Our results reveal that despite a progressive convergence, still  substantial differences in MSW management performances exist between EU-20 regions, even within the same country. Particularly, the analysis demonstrates that best performers are registered in Central and Northern EU NUTS-2 regions, while Eastern and Southern EU NUTS-2 regions performed generally worse.
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"Cost–Benefit Analysis of Pumped Hydroelectricity Storage Investment in China"
Sospiro, P., Nibbi, L., Liscio, M. C. & De Lucia, M. (2021)
In this study, the energy scenario in China was analyzed by retracing the trend of exponential population growth, gross domestic product (GDP), and electricity production and consumption. A forecast up to 2050 was made based on the history and forecasts of other field studies. It was possible to deduce data on pollutants in terms of CO2 equivalent (CO2-eq) emitted over time if there were no changes in the way energy was produced. Moreover, different scenarios were hypothesized for the use of pumped hydroelectricity storage plants, namely 4.5%, 6%, 8%, 11%, and 14% (percentage of electricity compared to requirements in 2050), to balance variable renewable energy sources and avoid curtailment, thereby reducing the use of energy produced by coal-fired plants. For this implementation, direct and indirect costs and benefits were considered, with interesting results obtained from an economic standpoint and very positive results from environmental, social, and territorial perspectives.
 
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"Pump it up: Recommendations for urgent investment in pumped storage hydropower to back the clean energy transition."
International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower Policy and Market Frameworks Working Group: Global Paper September 2021
Pumped storage hydropower (PSH) works on a simple principle. At times of low demand when electricity prices tend to be lower water is pumped from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir, and then released at times of high demand to drive a turbine and generate electricity. Today, in 2021, it is the dominant form of energy storage on electricity grids across the globe, providing daily, weekly, and seasonal storage, with over 160GW of installed generating capacity and around 9,000GWh of energy stored. As the world relies more and more on variable sources of electricity like solar PV and wind, the demand for energy storage will grow. Even conservative estimates of the level of variable renewable deployment predict a ten-fold increase. To keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, many international organisations foresee significantly more deployment. No two electricity markets are identical – different mixes of energy resources, regulatory frameworks, market structures and historical characteristics mean that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to securing the place of long duration storage technologies like PSH. However, this report identifies key recommendations that are applicable in many contexts.

 
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"Smart Grid in China, EU, and the US: State of Implementation."
Sospiro, P., Amarnath, L., Di Nardo, V., Talluri, G. & Gandoman, F.H. (2021)
Depletion of fossil fuel deposits is the main current issue related to the world’s power generation. Renewable energy sources integrated with energy efficiency represent an effective solution. The electrification of end-use coupled with renewable power generation integration is considered as an important tool to achieve these tasks. However, the current electric power system does not currently have the suitable features to allow this change. Therefore, in the future, it has to allow two-way direction power flows, communication, and automated controls to fully manage the system and customers. The resulting system is defined as the smart grid. This article analyses the smart grid state of play within China, the US, and the EU, assessing the completion state of each smart grid technology and integrated asset. The analysis related to these countries presented here shows that the smart grid overall state of play in China, the US, and the EU are equal to 18%, 15%, and 13%, respectively, unveiling the need related to further efforts and investments in these countries for the full smart grid development.
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"What may Influence European Citizen’s Willingness to Provide Foreign Aid" 
Sospiro P. (2020)
This work has been done using 27 surveys from Euro barometer related to humanitarian and international aid. This article aims at first to assess whether there are any changes in the people‟s opinion regarding humanitarian aid from the European Union, and then, to analysis which aspects may influence the willingness of European citizens to provide aid in developing countries. The article shows significant results that the gender, educational level, job occupation, country of residence, and political orientation impact the European citizen‟s willingness to provide aid.
 
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"Transition from Waste Management to Circular Economy the European Union Roadmap"
Sospiro P., Chioatto E. (2020)
In the last twenty years, the European Union (EU) has enhanced Waste Management (WM) strategies toward Circular Economy (CE). Starting from the previous analysis carried out by (Fabrizi, Sospiro, 2017), this article analyses firstly EU Member States (MSs) Roadmap toward Sustainable Waste Management (SWM) and secondly to CE. The research relied on J. Kirchherr et al. study which identified four barriers to CE (cultural, regulatory, market failure, and technological). The regulatory framework has been analysed. Four case studies (France, FR, Germany, DE, Italy, IT, the Netherlands, NL) have been selected to investigate: criteria, methodologies, policies, implementation and outcomes on SWM at national level. In addition, given MSs coordination at EU level the research aimed at analysing whether is there any convergence in terms of policies and achievements. The study considered recent findings on CE, Eurostat data, and Eurostat Circular Material Use (CMU) indicator. The analysis revealed SWM positive results, which seem to confirm a certain degree of convergence between EU-MSs that consists in a positive cascade mechanism from advanced toward less advanced MSs. In spite of this, EU countries need a further step in order to close materials’ loops. Larger quantity of Secondary Raw Materials (SRMs) should return to manufacture, and this requires stronger intervention that goes beyond the waste sector. In light of this, the EU Commission recently entrusted the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to assess and compare the environmental impacts of alternative feedstock for plastic products. This reveals EU attempt to re-balance the intervention on CE, by striving new products’ design approaches.
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