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Dr Isabela Butnar
Central House
14 Upper Wolburn Place
Dr Isabela Butnar profile picture
  • Principal Research Fellow
  • Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources
  • Faculty of the Built Environment

I joined the UCL ISR as a Senior Research Fellow in Bioenergy Systems in February 2016.

Before joining ISR, I worked as an environmental sustainability scientist for Unilever, and as associate researcher and research projects manager at the Rovira i Virgili University (Spain). 

I hold a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Rovira i Virgili University, Spain, and a MSc in Interface Process Engineering from the Babes-Bolyai University, Romania.

Research Themes
Research Summary

I am an environmental sustainability scientist with a broad range of modelling experience in sustainability assessment of products and services. I have a solid theoretical base, complemented by a rich industry experience, which allowed me to work with a multitude of stakeholders along international supply chains. I have a successful track record in Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), Environmental Input-Output (EIO) and Energy System modelling, subjects that I find particularly stimulating.

My current research focuses on Greenhouse Gas Removal(GGR) scale up in the UK and abroad. As UCL Co-PI of the CO2RE Hub, I am coordinating the development of a GGR evaluation framework to inform sustainable GGR scale up in the UK. I am also the GGR-Demonstrators programme coordinator of Life Cycle Assessment methods for GGR evaluation.

Another key part of my current research is dedicated to the co-creation with non-academic partners of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) assessment tools tailored for informing decision-making at local authority level. To this end, I am working with Cambridgeshire County Council in a Net Zero Innovation project funded by the Local Government Association, co-creating fit-for-purpose tools to help estimation of council's scope 3 emissions and enable collaboration with its suppliers for a joined transition to net zero. Find out more about our project here

Teaching Summary

I am currently co-supervising 3 PhD students:


  • Xin Chen, investigating the Environmental sustainability of the UK cider production
  • Chris Kim, Examining the Competitiveness of Synthetic Jet Fuel and High-Value Chemicals in a Net Zero Energy System
  • Haodong Lin developing LCA-based indicators for circular economy food systems

I teach the course Conducting a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): from Theory to Practical Application a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course designed for professionals who would like to understand, conduct, or implement LCA studies or associated policies. 

I am delivering every year guest lectures and seminars for the BSEER master degrees, and I run a modelling tutorial for the MSc in Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment.

I am also teaching a MSc optional module on Life Cycle Assessment available to all UCL MSc students. 

06-SEP-2011 – 22-FEB-2016 Sustainability Scientist Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre Unilever, United Kingdom
01-JUL-2007 – 31-AUG-2011 Research Manager of the Environmental Analysis Group Chemical Engineering Rovira i Virgili University, Spain
Academic Background
  BSc(Eng) Bachelor Degree in Chemical Engineering  
  MSc MSc in Process Engineering  
  PhD PhD in Process Engineering  
  MSc (Hons) Advanced Process Engineering  
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