Engineering localised synergistic production networks based on renewable resources (LocalPURE)

Project Overview

Today’s globalised manufacturing system, fuelled primarily by geographically concentrated fossil resources, is facing a range of environmental, social, and also economic challenges. In responding to these challenges, we envisage that networks of Localised Production based on Renewable Resources (LPRR) will play a significant role, shifting the balance between localised and centralised production.

Funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant, the LocalPURE project (July 2013 - June 2016) is aimed to develop an approach for designing and assessing production networks that supply synergistically energy, water, food and other goods and services, based on local, renewable resources. Such LPRR networks should integrate industrial, agricultural, and municipal processes to achieve collectively a high degree of resource efficiency and resilience, consequently enhancing their economic viability whilst maintaining harmony with natural ecosystems. Furthermore, an LPRR network is expected to interact with peers in neighbouring localities with different sets of resource availability and population needs, and also exchange with centralised large-scale production and distribution infrastructures.

Based on systems engineering and industrial ecology principles, we are investigating the fusion of heterogeneous production processes within a general systems framework, adopting the “characterisation-synthesis-analysis” triplet. The theoretical development is be supported by a main case study on Whitehill & Bordon Eco-Town (UK) as well as several other cases.

Project Team

Dr Aidong Yang, Principal Investigator, University of Oxford

Prof Matthew Leach, Co-Investigator, University of Surrey

Dr Elias Martinez-Hernandez, Research Fellow, University of Oxford

Melissa Leung Pah Hang, PhD student, University of Surrey


  • Yao, Y., Martinez-Hernandez, E., & Yang, A. (2018). Modelling nutrient flows in a simplified local food-energy-water system. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 133, 343-353. doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2018.02.022

  • Veldhuis, A. J., Leach, M., & Yang, A. (2018). The impact of increased decentralised generation on the reliability of an existing electricity network. Applied Energy, 215, 479-502. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2018.02.009

  • Martinez-Hernandez, E., Leach, M., & Yang, A. (2017). Understanding water-energy-food and ecosystem interactions using the nexus simulation tool NexSym. APPLIED ENERGY, 206, 1009-1021. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.09.022

  • Veldhuis, A. J., & Yang, A. (2017). ' Integrated approaches to the optimisation of regional and local food-energy-water systems. CURRENT OPINION IN CHEMICAL ENGINEERING, 18, 38-44. doi:10.1016/j.coche.2017.09.001


  • Melissa Yuling Leung Pah Hang, Elias Martinez-Hernandez, Matthew Leach, and Aidong Yang (2017). An insight-based approach for the design of integrated local food-energy-water systems. Environmental Science & Technology. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b00867

  • Leung Pah Hang, M. Y.Martinez-Hernandez, E., Leach, M. and Yang, A., 2016. Designing integrated local production systems:a study on the food-energy-water nexus. Journal of Cleaner Production, 135, pp. 1065-1084.

  • Martinez-Hernandez, E., Leung Pah Hang, M., Leach, M. & Yang, A.(2016). A framework for modeling local production systems with techno-ecological interactions. Journal of Industrial Ecology. Accepted.
  • Leung Pah Hang, M. Y., Martinez-Hernandez, E., Leach, M., & Yang, A. (2016). Towards a coherent multi-level framework for resource accounting. Journal of Cleaner Production, 125, 204-215. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.03.031
  • Satchatippavarn, S., Martinez-Hernandez, E., Leung Pah Hang, M. Y., Leach, M., & Yang, A. (2016). Urban biorefinery for waste processing. Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 107, 81-90. doi:10.1016/j.cherd.2015.09.022
  • Elias Martinez-Hernandez, Matthew Leach, and Aidong Yang (2015). Impact of Bioenergy Production on Ecosystem Dynamics and Services—A Case Study on U.K. Heathlands. Environmental Science & Technology 49 (9), 5805-5812.

  • Martinez-Hernandez E., Leung Pah Hang M., Leach M., Yang A. Local Resource Calculator – a tool for assessment of local production system options. Accepted for the 17th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production, 14-16 October 2014, Portoroz, Slovenia

  • Leung Pah Hang M., Martinez-Hernandez E., Leach M., Yang A. A multi-level framework for resource accounting. Accepted for the 17th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production, 14-16 October 2014, Portoroz, Slovenia.