Alma Lopez-Aviles

Dr Alma Lopez-Aviles

Research Fellow
PhD Licentiate C.WEM C.Sci
+44 (0)1483 686678


Affiliations and memberships

Chartered member of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CWEM), UK since 2005.
Chartered Scientist (CSci), UK since 2006.


Research interests

Research collaborations



Alma Lopez-Aviles, Anton Johannes Veldhuis, Matthew Leach, Aidong Yang (2019)Sustainable energy opportunities in localised food production and transportation: A case study of bread in the UK, In: Sustainable Production and Consumption20pp. 98-116 Elsevier

Re-distributed manufacturing (RDM) is of high economic and political interest and is associated with rapid technological, environmental, political, regulatory and social changes in the UK. RDM of food raises opportunities and questions around the local nexus of food, energy and water. Considering these together can provide opportunities for rationalising resource utilisation, production, and consumption while contributing to shared prosperity between business, society and natural ecosystems. This paper concentrates on the energy–food aspects of the nexus for RDM by focusing on the case study of bread manufacturing and transportation in the UK. A detailed analysis of the energy requirements and environmental impacts of centralised bread production and transportation compared with localised options for re-distributed bread manufacturing is undertaken. This is achieved by building on existing literature and developing a series of bread-energy system configurations to model energy usage and green-house gas (GHG) emissions at the large (centralised), medium and small scales. Results from the analysis indicate that energy use and emissions can in some instances increase as a result of losing economies of scale through downscaling bread manufacturing. However, the analysis shows that overall energy use and emissions along the bread supply chain are dominated by transportation stages. Thus, RDM opens up new opportunities for reductions in overall energy consumption and emissions, for example by using low carbon vehicles for the transportation of bread and flour at the medium and small scales. Major energy use and emission reductions could also be achieved by reducing car usage if more consumers buy in local bakeries. The configurations also consider energy use for various bread wastage conditions. Assuming that buying more frequently in local bakeries only the bread that is consumed helps avoiding bread wastage, this would lead to reduced bread purchasing and bread manufacturing, which translates to reductions in energy use and emissions in the modelled configurations. Existing data demonstrate that there is a wide diversity across different manufacturing sites in the energy use and associated emissions per loaf of bread produced. The study highlights the opportunities for improvement in the sector if plant move towards the best available manufacturing technologies and practices, and this may be more practical for smaller scale operations. Two hypothetical bread production scenarios show that a greater share of the UK’s bread being produced locally could result in a reduction in overall energy consumption and emissions.

Alma Lopez-Aviles, Seyoum Leta, Wubalem Tadesse (2019)Multi-stakeholder engagement in innovation for sustainability in Ethiopia, In: Co-designing science in Africa: first steps in assessing the sustainability science approach on the groundpp. 67-95 UNESCO

Ethiopia faces some serious problems and inherent tensions linked to the sustainable use of natural resources, and is confronted with the sustainability challenge of reconciling economic, social and environmental priorities. This chapter describes the nexuses between water, energy, population, land use, agriculture and other economic activities, and discusses tensions for the sustainable use of natural resources (e.g. dams constructed for hydroelectricity generation, irrigation schemes for energy crops such as sugar cane, and flowers or coffee cashcrops are seen by some stakeholders to compete directly with their traditional water use in agricultural, fishing and pastoralist subsistence practices). To solve sustainable development problems, research and innovation, as well as cooperation and governance, have to be understood as drivers for economic development and environmental and societal well-being. The Ethiopian context provides the tools to explore the collective nature of innovation as a co-evolutionary process that results from the alignment of technical, social, political, institutional and organizational dimensions, especially when it comes to the sustainability agenda. Therefore, this chapter develops insights about the complexity of the sustainability challenge and the innovation process in Ethiopia, and outlines ways of coping with the inherent tensions across the social, economic and environmental dimensions via institutional support, governance, research, network and knowledge brokering, capacity-building and demand articulation. The revised National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy of Ethiopia has been operational since 2010 and cites innovation as the key process by which Ethiopia can build competitiveness and become a middle-income country by 2025. The STI policy emphasizes that ‘the integration and cooperation among various stakeholders will be of paramount importance to realize the policy’s objectives’. Thus, this chapter examines Ethiopian STI and other policies affecting sustainability; it describes how sustainability science is understood in the country, including how the engagement of multiple stakeholders is shaping innovation and its associated processes; and it presents examples of systems, services and business models that are innovative in their approach to promoting sustainable social and economic improvements.

J Chenoweth, A Lopez-Aviles, S Morse, A Druckman, A Plepys, A Nebelius, O Mont, D Kaufman (2013)SPREE Water Sector Report Deliverable 5.1 SPREE

Executive Summary The SPREE Water Research (Work Package 4) objectives are: - To develop sector-specific methodological tools in the water sector to measure the impacts derived from the shift towards servicizing; - To broader the understanding why previous policies in the water sector haven't led to absolute decoupling; - To explore existing examples and best practices (if exist) in servicizing systems within the water sector and to identify additional potential servicizing systems opportunities; - To understand the role of ICT and eco-innovation in servicizing in the water sector; - To build a conceptual framework for assessing social aspects of servicizing systems in the water sector, in particular, the links between water and wellbeing; - To identify potential servicizing policy paradigms that can lead to an absolute decoupling in the water sector; - To collect relevant data for the servicizing system and servicizing policy in the sector, according to the general methodologies developed in WP3 (“Methodology development”) and the sectorspecific methodologies developed in WP4. Following pre-defined tasks set out under WP4, the aim of this deliverable is twofold: (1) It sets out the conceptual and methodological frameworks of servicizing in the water sector, and (2) It serves to identify the specific water system to be investigated in the project and presents the appropriate methodologies to be employed for researching this system in the SPREE water sector countries (UK, Spain and Israel). Exploring the key elements and aspects of servicizing in the water sector seeks to clarify also the links between water and well-being and the role of servicizing in decoupling water and well-being.

This report has been written to fulfil the requirements of Deliverable D11.7 ‘Report of users’ perceptions and expectations of technologies for rapid microbial analysis’. The report has been produced by the AQUAVALENS team at the University of Surrey based on the results of data collected via a Perceptions and Expectations Questionnaire. This questionnaire was designed by the University of Surrey and was delivered in three study countries with the support of partners at the Instituto Superior Técnico of Lisbon in Portugal, the James Hutton Institute in Scotland, and the University of Belgrade in Serbia, who have been sampling water and piloting AQUAVALENS technologies for small water systems (SWS) as part of Work Package 11 (WP11).

J Chenoweth, A Lopez-Aviles, A Druckman, S Morse (2016)Options for reducing household water use in the UK: the potential of servicised systems, In: Built Environment42(2)pp. 294-305 Alexandrine Press

Household water consumption in most high-income countries is well above that required to meet basic needs, but consumption levels vary significantly between these countries. In those where consumption levels are at the lower end of the spectrum as a result of improved efficiency of household appliances, scope for further significant reduction from improvements in efficiency alone is limited. Product-service systems are suggested as a means of significantly further lowering water consumption, there being a diverse range of such systems which could be developed in the water sector. In the theoretical analysis described here servicized greywater recycling systems are shown to have real potential in that they can help overcome maintenance and water quality issues associated with such systems. If servicized greywater recycling systems were introduced in all new-build dwellings in England and also when making major bathroom renovations, an absolute decoupling of population and economic growth, and household water consumption would be possible as a result of savings in mains water consumption.

Anton Johannes Veldhuis, Jane Glover, David Bradley, Kourosh Behzadian, Alma Lopez-Aviles, Julian Cottee, Clare Downing, John Ingram, Matthew Leach, Raziyeh Farmani, David Butler, Andy Pike, Lisa De Propris, Laura Purvis, Pamela Robinson, Aidong Yang (2017)Re-distributed manufacturing and the food-water-energy nexus: Opportunities and challenges, In: Production Planning & Control Taylor & Francis

Addressing the intersection of two important emerging research areas, re-distributed manufacturing (RDM) and the food-energy-water (FEW) nexus, this work combines insights from engineering, business and policy perspectives and explores opportunities and challenges towards a more localised and sustainable food system. Analysis centred on two specific food products, namely bread and tomato paste reveals that the feasibility and potential of RDM vary with the type of food product and the supply chain (SC) components. Physically, energy efficiency, water consumption and reduction of waste and carbon footprint may be affected by scale and location of production activities and potentials of industrial symbiosis. From the business perspective, novel products, new markets and new business models are expected in order for food RDM to penetrate within the established food industry. Studies on policies, through the lens of public procurement, call for solid evidence of envisioned environmental, social and economic benefits of a more localised food system. An initial integrated framework is proposed for understanding and assessing food RDM and the FEW nexus

Executive Summary. The Food-Energy-Water Local Nexus Network (LNN) for redistributed manufacturing focuses on the development of local nexuses of food manufacturing and energy and water supply which may provide opportunities for rationally customising resource utilisation, production, and consumption while contributing to the shared prosperity between business and community, and between human society and natural ecosystems. This network involves a multidisciplinary academic team across six UK universities working with representative stakeholders that will study the local nexuses along four research themes: engineering, business, policy and society, and systems integration. Two case study locales provide a common background for different research themes to interact and integrate, and will serve purposes ranging from collection of empirical data to stakeholder engagement. These two case studies represent respectively situations of “new development”, (Northstowe, Cambridgeshire, where opportunities exist to introduce a new food, energy and water system), and “retrofitting” (Oxford, where an existing system is to be changed to benefit from the paradigm of local nexuses). The work will be developed through six inter-related feasibility projects. This report covers the work undertaken to date within the Energy Feasibility Study. The specific objectives of the Energy Feasibility study are: 1. Assess requirements for energy supply (electricity and heat of different qualities) to localised food systems (e.g. production, storage), including typical temporal (diurnal and seasonal) variations 2. Assess opportunities for energy integration across the local supply and production chains (e.g. CO2 emissions to be used in green-houses to aid tomatoes ripen, re-use heat loss from cooling down after evaporation etc.). 3. Assess potential for energy recovery from waste arisings from food production across the local supply chain, plus arisings from local water/wastewater treatment systems 4. Develop local energy system scenarios, including other potential users 5. Evaluate energy generation and storage technologies suitable for implementing the scenarios: efficiency, cost effectiveness, safety, and environmental impact Based on the objectives above, existing literature and data were reviewed on the Nexus and the linkages between Energy and Water, Energy and Food etc. A review of existing academic and grey literature and data on energy use for the production of two chosen food products: tomato paste and bread, is also summarised in this report, and a detailed study of selected energy system scenarios linked to bread manufacturing processes is also presented illustrating the current situation versus a possible future where redistributed manufacturing (RDM) would be more widespread.

A Lopez-Aviles, J Chenoweth, A Druckman, S Morse, D Kauffmann, L Hayoon, A Pereira, X Vence, A Carballo, M González, A Turne, E Feitelson, M Givoni (2015)Servicizing Policy Packages for the Water sector SPREE

A policy package is a combination of policy instruments1 (PIs) designed to address one or more policy objectives, created in order to improve the effectiveness of the individual policy instruments, and implemented while minimizing possible unintended effects, and/or facilitating interventions’ legitimacy and feasibility in order to increase efficiency. The Water sector is one of the three sectors for which the options and contribution of servicizing to absolute decoupling2 were examined (the other two sectors are Mobility and Agri-food). Specifically, servicizing the introduction of greywater recycling (GWR) and rainwater harvesting (RWH) were analyzed. Examining the potential in the UK indicates that servicizing the introduction of GWR and RWH does have the potential to contribute to decoupling, both in terms of GHG emissions and in terms of water that needs to be delivered in mains. The decoupling indicator chosen for the mobility sector in this project was chosen to be the ratio between the economic cost and environmental impact (emissions/mains water use) of abstracting, treating, delivering and disposing of water in the servicizing options (GWR&RWH solutions). However, the extent to which such decoupling will materialize is a function of the degree to which such systems are indeed adopted. To facilitate the adoption of GWR and RWH systems a policy packaging approach is used, whereby different policy instruments (PI) are combined so they will have synergetic effects, and potential contradictions among them are addressed. The Policy Packages are designed in several steps. First all the PIs that are likely to advance GWR and RWH are identified. Then the potential contribution of each, and the likely cost of implementing it are assessed, in order to identify the most effective PIs – those PIs with the highest potential to both advance decoupling and the implementation of which does not incur excessive cost. Then the preconditions for implementing these most promising, “low hanging fruits” are identified, as well as instruments that may facilitate decoupling if enacted with these primary PIs and PIs that have synergetic relations with the primary PIs. On this basis basic packages are formed. In the case of GWR and RWH in the UK, the leading country in this sector study, three basic packages were originally identified, based on the primary tools they use. Then, by using agent-based modeling simulation results and causal mapping an Effective Package is formed. This package accounts for the likelihood of reaching the objective in the most effective way. In the UK some 100 PIs were whittled down to 15 at this stage.But an Effective Package is not necessarily implementable. Hence, the distribution facets of the Effective Package were identified, as well as the institutions and interest groups that will be involved in the decision-making and implementation stages. To this end the beneficiaries and losers from each PI included in the Effective Package were identified, as well as measures that can attenuate the losses. In addition the potential implementation barriers faced by each of the PIs in the package were identified. On this basis the Effective Package was modified, to assure that it is viable – viable package. To this end several PIs were removed from the Policy Packages. The background conditions, as well as the socio-political circumstances of each country differ. Hence, the viability of the policy package formulated in the UK has to be modified to address other countries’ particularities. In this study the cases of Israel and Galicia, Spain, were examined. In both cases the particular features of the setting required that the list of PIs in the British Effective Package s will be modified. Thus, in both Israel and Spain, water is metered, there is no need to include this PI, which was a central PI in the UK case. Hence, this PI was removed in both the Israeli and Spanish cases. But while Israel is mostly dry, Galicia is the wettest part of Spain. Hence, while Israel focused on GWR, the Spanish team focused on RWH. Barriers to implementation and decision making structures also differ among the countries. In Israel, for example, GWR is not legal at present, and thus a law allowing for GWR (already being discussed) is a pre-requisite for all other PIs. This PI was added therefore to the Israeli viable package. Similarly, in the Spanish case it lack of staff for developing RWH was seen as an impediment and hence subsidies for the social insurance of such staff was added as a PI. In summary, GWR and RWH can contribute to decoupling, and servicizing can be important for the introduction of such systems. But in order for these benefits to materialize a place-modified Policy Packages are needed. Three viable packages were formulated in the study, demonstrating how a combination of servicizing and policy packaging can contribute to decoupling.

A Lopez-Aviles, J Chenoweth, A Druckman, S Morse (2015)SPREE Country Feasibility Study Report: Water Sector in the UK SPREE

The SPREE Country Feasibility Study is the key deliverable for Work Package (WP) 7. The objectives of WP7 are: • To test the identified Servicizing systems1 and their impacts on achieving absolute decoupling and social benefits using three sector specific models with local country conditions; • To assess the feasibility of pursuing Servicizing opportunities and anticipated policy outcomes for the different partner countries; • To set the ground for the preparation of the more general Policy Packages using the insights from qualitative assessment, models simulations, and sensitivity analysis.

Jonathan Chenoweth, Alma Lopez-Aviles, Stephen Morse, Angela Druckman (2016)Water consumption and subjective wellbeing: An analysis of British households, In: Ecological Economics130pp. 186-194 Elsevier

While having basic access to water resources is clearly critical for survival, the extent to which water consumption contributes to wellbeing once basic needs have been met is not clear. In this study the link between household water consumption and wellbeing is assessed via a household survey conducted in southern England and actual water consumption data for the same households received from their water supply company. While the study revealed a few correlations, in general no link was found between actual water use and wellbeing. This suggests that high wellbeing is attainable regardless of low water use (assuming basic needs are met). In fact, when assessed through individual rather than composite measures of wellbeing, a weak but statistically significant link was shown between higher water use and some indicators of low wellbeing. Our results also show that actual water use appears to be unlinked to environmental attitudes, attitudes to water use or willingness to adopt water saving measures. This suggests that seeking a sustained reduction in water consumption via attitudinal change alone is unlikely to be effective.

J Cottee, A Lopez-Aviles, K Behzadian, D Bradley, D Butler, C Downing, R Farmani, J Ingram, M Leach, A Pike, L De Propris, L Purvis, P Robinson, A Yang (2016)The Local Nexus Network: Exploring the Future of Localised Food Systems and Associated Energy and Water Supply, In: R Setchi, RJ Howlett, Y Liu, P Theobald (eds.), Sustainable Design and Manufacturing 2016 (Smart Innovation Systems and Technologies). Special Volumepp. 613-624 Springer

This volumes consists of 59 peer-reviewed papers, presented at the International Conference on Sustainable Design and Manufacturing (SDM-16) held in Chania, Crete Greece in April 2016. Leading-edge research into sustainable design and manufacturing aims to enable the manufacturing industry to grow by adopting more advanced technologies, and at the same time improve its sustainability by reducing its environmental impact. SDM-16 covers a wide range of topics from sustainable product design and service innovation, sustainable process and technology for the manufacturing of sustainable products, sustainable manufacturing systems and enterprises, decision support for sustainability, and the study of societal impact of sustainability including research for circular economy. Application areas are wide and varied. The book will provide an excellent overview of the latest research and development in the area of Sustainable Design and Manufacturing.

A Lopez-Aviles, AJ Veldhuis, M Leach, A Yang (2017)Energy and emissions in localised food systems: a case study of bread in the UK, In: Applied Energy

Additional publications