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World Economy ; 2023.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2300919


The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in large and varying declines in bilateral trade flows. This study investigates whether these diverse effects can be explained by differences in trade costs as measured by pre-existing trade policies (e.g. tariffs, non-tariff measures and trade agreements). Results indicate that trade flows subject to higher trade costs declined more than average during 2020. The results also show that trade costs have heterogeneous effects depending on the thickness of trade relationships, with small exporters being relatively more affected by the presence of trade costs. We interpret the results as evidence that the fall in demand during 2020 caused higher-cost and less-established suppliers to be squeezed out of international markets. © 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Applied Energy ; 306:117993, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1458706


As emphasised by the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, medical oxygen is an essential health commodity. The purpose of this study is the application of Renewable Energy Sources (RES)-based (photovoltaic-powered) water electrolysis plant for oxygen production in hospitals to self-produce the amount of oxygen they need, and – in particular – to define when this choice could be economically competitive with the current medical gas market. The proposed plant is able to produce oxygen and to store energy in hydrogen form at the same time, proposing a new approach in RES applications. Therefore, we calculated as a function of the hospital size (number of beds, up to 500) what should be the market price of oxygen above which the self-production of oxygen is economically profitable (assuming a break-event point of 15 years). Hydrogen is considered a by-product allowing to increase the system efficiency and supplying extra services. The results demonstrated that, assuming a selling price of 3 €/kg for the hydrogen (co)-produced by the plant, the on-site production of medical oxygen could be an interesting alternative compared to purchasing from the local gas resellers, if its market price is higher than 3–4 €/kg. Since this value is in line with current prices established for ex-factory oxygen by some national regulatory authorities (e.g., AIFA), we can conclude that the proposed RES-based electrolysis system is a green and economically feasible solution for oxygen production in hospitals, able also to increase hospital resilience against energy and oxygen shortage.