Designing for Integrated Local Production with the Food-Energy-Water Nexus in Mind

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* Article: Designing integrated local production systems: A study on the food-energy-water nexus. By Melissa Yuling, Leung Pah Hanga, et al. Journal of Cleaner Production Volume 135, 1 November 2016, Pages 1065-1084




• Mathematical approach proposed to design local integrated production systems.

• Use of locally available resources to meet local demands sustainably.

• Cumulative exergy consumption used an as indicator of resource intensity.

• Design of local food, energy and water production system based on the nexus concept.

• Demonstrated that local integrated system can be more resource efficient than centralised system.

"Centralised production of essential products and services based on fossil fuels and large scale distribution infrastructures has contributed to a plethora of issues such as deterioration of ecosystems, social-economic injustice and depletion of resources. The establishment of local production systems that deliver various products for local consumption (e.g. food, energy and water) by making the best use of locally available renewable resources can potentially alleviate unsustainable resource consumption. The main objective of this work is to develop process systems engineering tools combined with the concept of resource accounting using exergy for the design of such local production systems. A general design framework comprising an optional preliminary design stage followed by a simultaneous design stage based on mathematical optimisation is proposed. The preliminary design stage considers each supply subsystem individually and allows insights into the potential interactions between them. The simultaneous design stage yields an optimal design of the local production system and has the capacity to include all design integration possibilities between the subsystems and generate a truly integrated design solution. The proposed methodology, which reflects generalised principles for designing local production systems, has been illustrated through a case study on the integrated design of the food-energy-water nexus for a designated eco-town in UK. It demonstrates the advantages of an integrated design of a system making use of local resources to meet its demands over a system relying on centralised supplies and a design without considering integration opportunities between subsystems."

More information

* Article: Towards the optimization of sustainable food-energy-water systems: A stochastic approach. by Ebrahim Karan, Somayeh Asadi, and Rabi Mohtar. Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 171, 10 January 2018, Pages 662-674.


  • A proposal for integration of the ecosystem-water-food-land-energy (EWFLE) nexus concept into life cycle assessment: A synthesis matrix system for food security. Armağan Aloe Karabuluta, Eleonora Crenna et al. Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 172, 20 January 2018, Pages 3874-3889