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Centre for Sustainable Development

Est 2000 - home of the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

A new study by Dr André Cabrera Serrenho and Dr Yunhu Gao has mapped the global flows of fertilisers and their emissions.  Their work, featured in February’s Nature Food, has established that the production and use of nitrogen fertilisers accounts for 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and that around two-thirds of emissions from fertilisers occur during use rather than in production.

Fertilisers are vital for global food security: however, Dr Serrenho and Dr Gao have identified a set of achievable mitigation methods that could reduce emissions from the fertiliser sector by as much as 80% by 2050 without resulting in a loss of productivity. 

Their analysis shows that a key method to reduce emissions would be to disincentivise inefficient farming practises that overuse fertilisers.

For a more detailed discussion of Serrenho and Gao’s paper please see the recent featured news article (1) on the University’s Research site.  Members of the University can read the full article at Nature Food (2).


Dr André Cabrera Serrenho is a member of the Centre for Sustainable Development and a lecturer for the associated MPhil taught course in Engineering for Sustainable Development.

Dr Serrenho (3) is exploring new ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet international climate pledges. This involves identifying new configurations of energy and material systems to supply future needs with less demand and emissions. André has been working on whole-systems analysis to use and dispose of petrochemicals without emissions (C-THRU project).



  2. Gao, Y., Cabrera Serrenho, A. Greenhouse gas emissions from nitrogen fertilizers could be reduced by up to one-fifth of current levels by 2050 with combined interventions. Nat Food (2023)