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Dr Isabela Butnar
Dr Isabela Butnar profile picture
  • Senior Research Associate
  • Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources
  • Faculty of the Built Environment

Isabela joined the UCL ISR as a Senior Researcher in the Bioenergy Value Chains project in February 2016. Her research focuses primarily on the assessment of environmental impacts of bioenergy systems, particularly related to the contribution of land use and land use change to climate change. Before joining the UCL ISR, Isabela worked as an environmental sustainability scientist for Unilever, and as associate researcher and research projects manager at the Rovira i Virgili University (Spain). 

Isabela holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rovira i Virgili (Spain), and a MSc in Interface Process Engineering from the University Babes-Bolyai (Romania).

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

Isabela is a chemical engineer by background, specialised in environmental impact assessment by using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmentally Extended Economic Input-Output (EIO) techniques. She has a wide experience on modelling environmental impacts of food and biofuel systems, e.g. GHG emissions, water consumption and pollution, over the complete lifecycle, from the cultivation of crops, their processing, product manufacturing, transport, consumer use, through to final disposal.

Her PhD work explored the use of hybrid EIO - LCA techniques for environmental impact assessment. She developed a hybrid EIO - LCA model to assist the environmental impact assessment of companies within the wider context of a national economy, with a particular focus on the Spanish context. She used advanced economic techniques, such as Structural Path Analysis and Structural Decomposition, to unravel the contribution of particular sectors to the national environmental impacts, e.g. GHG emissions, land use, water consumption.

At Unilever, Isabela provided environmental sustainability expertise to several business units, but she primarily supported Unilever’s Foods business. She also undertook research on the development and application of environmental impact assessment methods to products and services at different scales, e.g. local, regional, and global. 

As part of the UCL ISR modelling team, Isabela contributes to incorporating LULUCF GHG emissions into the TIAM-UCL global energy systems model, enabling a more accurate estimation of climate change consequences of various scenarios of global bioenergy consumption in general, and UK bioenergy consumption in particular.

Teaching Summary

Isabela supervised several MSc students and co-supervised a PhD student. She also taught several undergraduate laboratory courses, and trained business audiences on environmental sustainability. 

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