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Reference Number EP/M017753/1
Title Building sustainable local nexuses of food, energy and water: from smart engineering to shared prosperity (The Local Nexus Network)
Status Completed
Energy Categories OTHER CROSS-CUTTING TECHNOLOGIES or RESEARCH(Environmental, social and economic impacts) 25%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields SOCIAL SCIENCES (Sociology) 50%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (General Engineering and Mineral & Mining Engineering) 50%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Other sociological economical and environmental impact of energy) 100%
Principal Investigator Dr A Yang
No email address given
Engineering Science
University of Oxford
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 February 2015
End Date 31 July 2017
Duration 30 months
Total Grant Value £483,898
Industrial Sectors Energy; Environment; Food and Drink; Manufacturing
Region South East
Programme Manufacturing : Manufacturing
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr A Yang , Engineering Science, University of Oxford (99.999%)
  Other Investigator Dr J Ingram , Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Thames Water Utilities Plc (0.000%)
Project Contact , Nestle UK Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Oxford City Council (0.000%)
Project Contact , Combined Heat and Power Association (0.000%)
Project Contact , FLAG. Flooding on the Levels Action Group (0.000%)
Project Contact , Innocent Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Good Food Oxfordshire Ltd (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract Historically, human industrial and economic activities have been shaped greatly by the pattern of resource utilisation in favour at the time. For thousands of years pre-1800, material and energy resources, mostly renewable, were extracted and used locally. With the widening exploitation of energy-dense fossil fuels, post-1800 industry has been diverted to more centralised production primarily based on geographically concentrated resources, accompanied by large-scale distribution infrastructures. Whilst the scale economies of these large systems have served us well in certain respects, continued reliance on centralised resource extraction and production has contributed to the formation of a range of acute issues facing the global society today, such as insecurity of essential supplies, climate change, and social-economic imbalance and injustice.Driven by the desire to improve resource utilisation and broader sustainability in response to the above issues, a special chapter of re-distributed manufacturing is concerned with localised production with indigenous sustainable resources to support local economy and communities. Among products and services that can potentially benefit from localised production, food, energy and water represent the most essential commodities for every society. Furthermore, it has increasingly been recognised that there exist close ties between these commodities, manifested by (1) the significant energy and water footprints in food production and the mutual footprint between energy and water production, and (2) their intertwined connections with land and the broader ecosystems. The inseparable challenges from the three sectors require an integrative approach as opposed to tackling them in silos.Local nexuses, involving localised food manufacturing and decentralised energy and water supply that interact with the food system, are a special chapter of re-distributed manufacturing (RDM) with a focus on the sustainable local alignment of resources, production and consumption. To-date, a comprehensive technological, economic, and social/political understanding of local production/manufacture of food, energy and water, or local nexus, is still yet to be developed.By collaboration between engineering and social sciences, the Local Nexus Network will carry out feasibility projects and events to (i) establish the technical and socio-economic state-of-the-art of local productions of food, energy and water, (ii) generate initial insights for guiding researchers, businesses, policy makers and communities who are enthusiastic about exploring the potential of local nexuses, (iii) develop an evidence-based research agenda, (iv) form an inclusive research and stakeholder community, and (v) inform other related research on RDM. Two "master" case study locales, representing "new development" and "retrofitting" respectively, will be employed for empirical data collection and used as the background for developing new thinking.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 08/04/15