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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Emission trends of non-methane volatile organic compounds NMVOC

Emission trends of non-methane volatile organic compounds NMVOC

Topics: ,

Assessment made on  01 Dec 2005

Generic metadata

Classification

Air pollution Air pollution (Primary theme)

DPSIR: Pressure

Identification

Indicator codes
  • APE 004
Geographical coverage:

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Contents
 

Policy issue:  Are we reaching emission targets for ozone precursors?

Key messages

    • EEA-32 emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) have decreased by 41% since 1990. In 2005, the most significant sources of NMVOC emissions were the "other (non energy)" sector (35%) (comprising activities such as paint application, dry-cleaning and other use of solvents), followed by the road transport sector (20%).
    • The decline in emissions since 1990 has primarily been due to reductions achieved in the road transport sector (due to the introduction of vehicle catalytic converters and the switching from petrol to diesel cars) and in the "other (non-energy)" sector (a result of the introduction of legislative measures limiting for example the use and emissions of solvents).
    • The EU-27 Member States have, in general, made good progress towards reducing emissions in line with their obligations under the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD). Thirteen Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom) have already reduced their national NMVOC emissions below the level of the emission ceilings set in the NECD. However, six Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Spain) have emissions still significantly above their respective emission ceilings and thus must make significant reductions over the coming years if they are to comply with the NECD.
    • Environmental context: Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) are a collection of organic compounds that differ widely in their chemical composition but display similar behaviour in the atmosphere. NMVOCs are emitted into the atmosphere from a large number of sources including combustion activities, solvent use and production processes. NMVOCs contribute to the formation of ground level (tropospheric) ozone. In addition, certain NMVOC species such as benzene and 1,3 butadiene are hazardous to human health. Quantifying the emissions of total NMVOCs provides an indicator of the emissions of the most hazardous NMVOCs.

Figures

Key assessment

EEA-32 emissions of NMVOCs have decreased by 41% since 1990. In 2005, the most significant sources of NMVOC emissions were the "other (non energy)" sector (35%) (comprising activities such as paint application, dry-cleaning and other use of solvents), and road transport (20%), industry processes (11%) and "other (energy)" (10%) sectors.

The decline in emissions since 1990 has primarily been due to the significant reduction achieved in the road transport sector which has been due to the increased penetration rate of three-way catalytic converters (in which NMVOCs are oxidized to CO2 and H2O) in the European vehicle fleet reflecting introduction of e.g. the Euro vehicle standards and the switching from petrol to diesel cars. NMVOC emissions from diesel and petrol cars differ due to the different engine characteristics. The road transport sector has contributed 61% of the total reduction in NMVOC emissions reported by countries. Significant reductions have also been achieved in the "other (non-energy)" sector, reflecting amongst other measures, the introduction and implementation of the Solvent Emissions and Paints Directives. For example, the Netherlands and Finland reported a decline in emissions of 69% and 64% from this sector largely as a result of compliance with the Solvent"s Directive.

Within the EEA-32 group of countries, all have reported lower emissions in 2005 compared to 1990 except Greece (+18%), Poland (7%) and Turkey (57%).

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