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Emissions of primary particles and secondary particulate matter precursors (CSI 003) - Assessment published Dec 2008

Indicator Assessmentexpired Created 10 Nov 2008 Published 19 Dec 2008 Last modified 30 Jul 2015, 02:11 PM
This content has been archived on 30 Jul 2015, reason: No more updates will be done

Key messages

  • Total emissions of primary particulate matter (PM10) and secondary particulate precursors (nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ammonia (NH3)) have reduced by 44% across the EEA-32 region between 1990 and 2006.
  • Of this reduction, 43% has taken place in the 'energy industries' sector due to the fuel-switching from coal to natural gas for electricity generation and improvements in the performance of pollution abatement equipment installed at industrial facilities.
  • Emissions of primary PM10 particulate matter make only a small contribution to total particulate matter formation - 13% in 2006. The majority of particulate matter is formed from emissions of the secondary particulate precursors. Of the particulate-forming pollutants, reductions of SO2 that have taken place since 1990 have accounted for 60% of the overall reduction in particulate emissions, with NOx accounting for a further 30% of the observed reduction. The reduction in emissions of primary particles has accounted for only 6% of the overall reduction.

What progress is being made in reducing emissions of primary particulate matter (PM10) and secondary particulate matter precursors?

Emissions of primary and secondary fine (PM10) particulate matter

Note: No data available for Iceland.

Data source:

EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset, based on 2008 officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution.

Downloads and more info

Change in emissions of primary PM10 and secondary particulate matter precursors

Note: No data available for Iceland.

Data source:

EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset, based on 2008 officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution.

Downloads and more info

Emissions of primary particulate matter (PM10) and secondary particulate precursors have reduced by 44% across the EEA-32 region between 1990 and 2006 (Figure 1). Emissions of these pollutants are weighted using a factor that reflects their specific particulate matter formation potential prior to aggregation - see the CSI 003 indicator specification for further details. Within most individual countries, emissions of primary and secondary PM10 have decreased significantly since 1990 (Figure 2). The largest reductions have been reported by Luxembourg (-78%), the Czech Republic (-76%) and Slovakia (-68%). In contrast emissions have increased in four countries since 1990 - Cyprus (8%), Turkey (4%), Greece (1%) and Austria (0.4%).

Emissions of primary PM10 particulate matter make only a small contribution to total particulate matter formation - 13 % of the EEA-32 emissions in 2006. Collectively, emissions of the secondary particulate precursor pollutants NOx (52%), SO2 (23%) and NH3 (12%) were the most important pollutants contributing to particulate formation in the EEA-32 in 2006.

Emissions of both primary PM10 and the secondary precursor pollutants have all decreased since 1990 (Figure 4). Between 1990 and 2006, emissions of primary PM10 have declined by 28%. However, emission reductions for the secondary particulate matter precursors account for the vast majority of the total reduction of particulate matter during this period - reductions of SO2 emissions account for 60 % of the overall reduction in particulate matter formation, with NOx accounting for a further 30% (Figure 5).

The reductions in total emissions of particulate matter between 1990 and 2006 have been mainly due to the introduction or improvement of abatement measures across the energy, road transport, and industry sectors coupled with other developments in industrial sectors such as fuel switching from high-sulphur containing fuels to low-sulphur fuels. Emissions of primary PM10 and secondary PM10 precursors are expected to decrease in the future as vehicle technologies are further improved and stationary fuel combustion emissions are controlled through abatement or use of low sulphur fuels such as natural gas. Despite this, it is expected that within many of the urban areas across the EU, PM10 concentrations will still be well above the EU limit values for PM10. Substantial further reductions in emissions will therefore be needed if the air quality limit value set in the EU's Air Quality Directive is to be reached.

The EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) and the Gothenburg protocol to the UNECE LRTAP Convention also both set ceilings (i.e. limits) for the secondary particulate matter precursors NH3, NOx and SOx that countries must meet by 2010 [1]. Further details concerning the overall progress toward the 2010 ceilings for these pollutants may be found in the indicator fact sheet CSI 001 Emissions of acidifying substances, with additional details concerning the individual secondary particulate matter precursor pollutants available in the following indicator fact sheets:

[1] The NECD and Gothenburg protocol also set an emission ceiling for non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) which contribute to ground-level ozone formation.

How do different sectors and processes contribute to emissions of PM10 and their precursors?

Emissions by sector of PM10 particulate matter (Primary and Secondary)

Note: Due to numerical rounding, values may not add exactly to 100%

Data source:

EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset, based on 2008 officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution.

Downloads and more info

Change in Particulate (Primary and Secondary) emissions for each sector and pollutant between 1990 and 2006

Note: No data available for Iceland.

Data source:

EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset, based on 2008 officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution.

Downloads and more info

Contribution to total change in Particulate (Primary and Secondary) emissions for each sector and pollutant

Note: 'Contribution to change' plots show the contribution to the total emission change between 1990-2006 made by a specified sector/ pollutant

Data source:

EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset, based on 2008 officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution.

Downloads and more info

The most important sources of primary PM10 and secondary particulate precursor emissions in 2006 across the EEA-32 region were the 'energy industries' (28 %), (22 %) 'agriculture' (14 %) and 'industry (energy)' (12 %) sectors (Figure 3). When emissions of only primary PM10 are considered, the 'other (energy)' sector is the main emission source, contributing 25% of total primary PM10 emissions. This sector includes combustion-related emissions from e.g. heating of residential and commercial properties.

Since 1990, emissions of primary and secondary PM10 from all sectors have decreased (Figure 4). Since 1990, emissions from the combustion-related sectors 'energy industries', 'industry (energy)' and 'road transport' have in particular reduced significantly, contributing 43%, 17% and 17% respectively of the total reduction of particulate matter emissions (Figure 5). As described in the main assessment, a combination of factors has contributed to the reduction of both primary PM10 and secondary particulate matter emissions in these sectors between 1990 and 2006. These include for primary PM10:

  • Improvements in the performance of particulate abatement equipment at coal-fired power stations;

and for the secondary particulate matter precursors:

  • Fuel switching from high-sulphur solid (e.g. coal) and liquid (e.g. heavy fuel oil) fuels to low sulphur fuels (such as natural gas) for power and heat production purposes within the 'energy industries', industry and domestic sectors;
  • the impact of European Community directives relating to the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels;
  • The introduction of flue-gas abatement techniques (e.g. flue gas desulphurisation, NOx scrubbers and selective (SCR) and non-selective (SNCR) catalytic reduction) and introduction of combustion modification technologies (such as use of low NOx burners);
  • The introduction of three way catalytic converters for petrol-fuelled cars (driven by the legislative 'Euro' standards) coupled with an increased penetration of diesel-fuelled vehicles.

Indicator specification and metadata

Indicator definition

This indicator tracks trends in emissions of primary particulate matter less than 10 mm (PM10) and secondary particulate matter precursors (nitrogen oxides (NOx) , ammonia (NH3), and sulphur dioxide (SO2)), each weighted by their respective particulate matter formation potential factor.

The indicator also provides information on the sources of emissions from a number of sectors: energy industries; road and other transport; industry (processes and energy); other (energy); fugitive emissions; waste; agriculture and other (non energy).

Units

ktonnes (particulate formation potential)


Policy context and targets

Context description

There are no specific EU emission targets set for primary PM10, as with respect to particulate emissions, measures are currently focused on controlling emissions of the secondary PM10 precursors. However, there are several Directives that affect the emissions of primary PM, including the 2008 Air Quality Directive and emission standards for specific mobile and stationary sources for primary PM10 and secondary PM10 precursor emissions.

 

For the particulate precursor species, within the European Union the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive) imposes emission ceilings (or limits) for emissions of the particulate precursor pollutants nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and ammonia that harm human health and the environment (the NEC Directive also sets emissions ceilings for a fourth pollutant - non-methane volatile organic compounds). The European Commission is expected to propose a revised NEC Directive in 2009.

 

Other key EU legislation is targeted at reducing emissions of the particulate precursor pollutants from specific sources, for example:

  • transport;
  • industrial facilities and other stationary sources.

 

Internationally, the issue of air pollution emissions is also being addressed by the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (the LRTAP Convention) and its protocols. The Gothenburg 'multi-pollutant' protocol under the LRTAP Convention also contains national emission ceilings for the three secondary particulate precursor pollutants that are either equal to or slightly less ambitious than those in the EU NEC Directive. 

 

References

Directive 2001/81/EC, on national emissions ceilings (NECD) for certain atmospheric pollutants. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/pdf/necd_consolidated.pdf

UNECE (1999). Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary air pollution (LRTAP Convention) to abate acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone. http://www.unece.org/env/lrtap/multi_h1.htm

Targets

There are no specific EU emission targets for primary PM10. However, emissions of the precursors NOx, SOx and NH3 are covered by the NECD and the Gothenburg Protocol to the UNECE LRTAP Convention. Both instruments contain emission ceilings (limits) that countries must meet by 2010.

Table 1. Percentage reduction required by 2010 compared to 1990 levels by country, for aggregated emissions of the secondary particulate precursors NOx, SOx and NH3 (individual pollutant emission ceilings weighted by particulate formation potential factors prior to aggregation).

Country

NECD Targets 1990 -2010 (particulate precursors)

Gothenburg Target  1990 -2010 (particulate precursors)

Austria

-40%

-38%

 

Belgium

-58%

-57%

 

Denmark

-55%

-55%

 

Finland

-47%

-46%

 

France

-52%

-50%

 

Germany

-73%

-73%

 

Greece

9%

12%

 

Ireland

-45%

-45%

 

Italy

-54%

-53%

 

Luxembourg

-52%

-52%

 

Netherlands

-54%

-53%

 

Portugal

-9%

-2%

 

Spain

-44%

-44%

 

Sweden

-43%

-43%

 

United Kingdom

-67%

-66%

 

Bulgaria

-34%

-32%

 

Cyprus

29%

 

 

Czech Republic

-75%

-73%

 

Estonia

-45%

 

 

Hungary

-40%

-37%

 

Latvia

-5%

11%

 

Lithuania

-21%

-21%

 

Malta

-24%

 

 

Poland

-43%

-43%

 

Romania

1%

1%

 

Slovakia

-62%

-62%

 

Slovenia

-63%

-63%

 

EU27

-53%

-52%

 

Turkey

-

-

 

Iceland

-

-

 

Liechtenstein

-

-

 

Norway

-

-27%

 

Switzerland

-

-39%

 

Related policy documents

  • 1999 Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone
    Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution 1999 Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone, amended on 4 May 2012.
  • Directive 2001/81/EC, national emission ceilings
    Directive 2001/81/EC, on nation al emissions ceilings (NECD) for certain atmospheric pollutants. Emission reduction targets for the new EU10 Member States have been specified in the Treaty of Accession to the European Union 2003  [The Treaty of Accession 2003 of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. AA2003/ACT/Annex II/en 2072] in order that they can comply with the NECD.

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

 This indicator factsheet uses emissions data from the EEA dataservice dataset 'EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission data'. The 2010 projection estimates reported by the EU-27 Member States under the requirements of the NEC Directive are also included in the analysis http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/air/datasets).

 

The dataset 'EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission data' is consistent with the annual 'European Community LRTAP Convention emission inventory' compiled by EEA. This inventory is based on the officially reported emissions data from countries submitted to the UNECE LRTAP Convention and supplemented with additional data reported under the NEC Directive and the EU GHG Monitoring Mechanism/UNFCCC.   

 

Air pollutant emissions data are reported by countries using the Nomenclature For Reporting (NFR) sectroal classification system developed by UNECE/EMEP.  For the purposes of the 'EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset', the numerous NFR sectors reported by countries are combined into the following EEA aggregated sectors to allow a simpler analysis: 

  • 'Energy industries': emissions from public heat and electricity generation
  • 'Fugitive emissions': emissions from extraction and distribution of solid fossil fuels and geothermal energy
  • 'Industry (Energy)': emissions from combustion processes used in the manufacturing industry including boilers, gas turbines and stationary engines
  • 'Industry (Processes)': emissions from production processes
  • 'Road transport': emissions from light and heavy duty vehicles, passenger cars and motorcycles;
  • 'Off-road transport': emissions from railways, domestic shipping, certain aircraft movements, and non-road mobile machinery used in agriculture, forestry;
  • 'Agriculture': emissions from manure management, fertiliser application, field-burning of agricultural wastes
  • 'Waste': emissions from incineration of waste, waste-water management.
  • 'Other (energy-related)': emissions from energy use principally in the services and household sectors
  • 'Other (Non Energy)': emissions from solvent and other product use.

 

The following table shows how the NFR categories used by countries to report their emissions are aggregated into the EEA aggregated sectors listed above:  

 EEA Code

EEA classification

Non-GHGs (NFR)

0

National totals

National Total

1

Energy industries

1A1

3

Industry (Energy)

1A2

2

Fugitive emissions

1B

7

Road transport

1A3b

8

Other transport (non-road mobile machinery)

1A3 (excl 1A3b) + sectors mapped to 8 in table below

9

Industry (Processes)

2

4

Agriculture

4 + 5B

5

Waste

6

6

Other (Energy)

1A4a, 1A4b, 1A4b(i), 1A4c(i), 1A5a

10

Other (non-energy)

3 + 7

14

Unallocated

Difference between NT and sum of sectors (1-12)

12

Energy Industries (Power Production 1A1a)

1A1a

 

The 'unallocated' sector (14) corresponds to the difference between the reported national total and the sum of the reported sectors for a given pollutant/country/year combination. It can be either negative or positive. Inclusion of this additional sector means that the officially-reported national totals do not require adjustment to ensure they are consistent with the sum of the individual sectors reported by countries.

 

Where reported data from countries is incomplete, simple gap-filling techniques are used in the 'EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset' in order to obtain a consistent time-series (see following section).

 

To obtain an aggregated estimate of the total particulate matter emissions, the emission values of the individual pollutants are multiplied by a particulate formation potentials factor (de Leeuw, 2002) prior to aggregation.  The factors are primary PM10: 1.0; NOx: 0.88; SO2: 0.54 and NH3: 0.64. Results are expressed in terms of 'PM10 equivalents' (ktonnes). 

Methodology for gap filling

Where PM10 data was not reported by countries to UNECE/EMEP, emission estimates for 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005 were obtained from the IIASA GAINS model PM10 module [1].

To allow trend analysis, where countries have not reported data for one or more years, data in the 'EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset' has been interpolated to derive the emissions for the missing year or years. If the reported data is missing either at the beginning or at the end of the period, the emission value is assumed to equal the first or last reported value. The use of gap-filling may lead to artificial trends, but it is considered necessary if a comprehensive and comparable set of emissions data for European countries is to be obtained. A spreadsheet containing a record of the gap-filled data is available from EEA's European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change (ETC/ACC) (http://air-climate.eionet.europa.eu/)

[1] http://www.iiasa.ac.at/rains/gains-online.html?sb=9

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

The use of interpolation/extrapolation procedures to gap-fill the underlying emissions dataset and the application of particulate matter formation factors both lead to uncertainties. With respect to the particulate matter formation factors, these are assumed to be representative for Europe as a whole; on the local scale different factors might be estimated. An extensive discussion on the uncertainties in these factors is available in de Leeuw (2002).

Data sets uncertainty

The PM10, NOx, SO2 and NH3 emissions data officially submitted by EU Member States and other EEA member countries follow common calculation (EMEP/EEA 2009) and reporting guidelines (UNECE 2003).

Sulphur dioxide emission estimates in Europe are thought to have an uncertainty of about 10% as the sulphur emitted comes from the fuel burnt and therefore can be more accurately estimated.  However, because of the need for interpolation to account for missing data the complete dataset used here will have higher uncertainty. EMEP has compared modelled (using emission inventory data) and measured concentrations throughout Europe (EMEP, 1998). From these studies differences in the annual averages have been estimated in the order of 30% consistent with an inventory uncertainty of 10% (there are also uncertainties in the measurements and especially the modelling).

Nitrogen oxide emission estimates in Europe are thought to have an uncertainty of about +/-20% (EMEP, 2009), as the NOx emitted comes both from the fuel burnt and the combustion air and so cannot be estimated accurately from fuel nitrogen alone.  However, because of the need for interpolation to account for missing data, the complete dataset used will have higher uncertainty. The trend is likely to be more accurate than the individual absolute annual values - the annual values are not independent of each other.

Ammonia emissions are also relatively uncertain. NH3 emission estimates in Europe are more uncertain than those for NOx or SO2 due largely to the diverse nature of agricultural sources - which account for the vast majority of NH3 emissions. It is estimated that they are around +/-30% (EMEP, 2009). The trend is likely to be more accurate than the individual absolute annual values - the annual values are not independent of each other.

Primary PM10 data is likely to be of high uncertainty.  

References

Rationale uncertainty

This indicator on emissions of particulate matter is updated annually by EEA and is used regularly in our reports on the state of the environment. It is therefore important to note the uncertainties related to methodology and data sets.

Data sources

Generic metadata

Topics:

Air pollution Air pollution (Primary topic)

Environment and health Environment and health

Industry Industry

Tags:
particulate matter | air emissions
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 003
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1990-2006, 2008
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Martin Adams

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2010 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100