EN07 Energy-related particulate matter emissions
Assessment made on 01 Nov 2008
ClassificationEnergy (Primary theme)
DPSIR: Driving force
- ENER 007
Policy issue: Is the use and production of energy having a decreasing impact on the environment?
Energy-related particulate matter emissions (i.e. aggregated primary and secondary PM10) in the EU-27 have fallen by 53 % between 1990 and 2005, although energy-related sectors were still responsible for 70 % of total PM10 particulate matter emissions to the atmosphere in 2005. Of the specific energy-related particulate matter emissions in 2005, the most significant contributing pollutants were NOx and SO2, which together were responsible for almost 90% of the total energy related emissions (see also EEA, 2008).
Transport and Energy supply represent the sectors with the highest particulate matter emissions across the EU-27 and the EEA.
The majority of the reduction in emissions of energy-related particulate matter pollutants between 1990 and 2005 came from the energy supply sector (in both absolute and percentage terms), although the other sectors also decreased emissions significantly during this period (Fig 1). Overall, the reduction in emissions of energy-related particulate matter pollutants has mainly been achieved through a combination of using lower sulphur content fuels, fuel switching from coal and oil to natural gas, the deployment of emission abatement technologies in the energy supply (see EN09 for further details about emissions of SO2 and NOX from public electricity production) and industry sectors, and an increased market penetration of road vehicles equipped with catalytic converters.
Emissions from transport decreased in the EU-27 by 36 % between 1990 and 2005, contributing significantly to the overall reduction of particulate matter emissions. Emissions of primary PM10 and secondary PM10 precursors are expected to further decrease significantly between 2005 and 2010 (despite an increasing popularity of diesel vehicles in many countries), as improved vehicle engine technologies continue to be adopted and stationary fuel combustion emissions are controlled through abatement measures (including particulate traps) or use of low sulphur fuels such as natural gas. It is noted however, that not all improved engine technologies lead to lower emissions of particulate matter e.g. gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines while offering certain benefits such as improved fuel economy, do produce higher particulate matter emissions (g/km) than a normal gasoline motor.
Despite the reductions in emissions already achieved, it is expected that in the near future concentrations of PM10 in most of the urban areas in the EEA region are expected to remain well above the short-term limit air quality values (EEA 2006). Substantial further reductions in all sectors are therefore needed to reach the air quality limit values set in the EU first Daughter Directive to the Framework Directive on Ambient Air Quality. Additional measures to reduce the sulphur content of diesel and petrol fuels have been decided upon (Directive 2003/17/EC), which include the availability of the sulphur-free (<10 ppm sulphur or 'zero sulphur') fuel from 2005 in Member States, and complete transition to sulphur-free fuel by 2009. These measures should reduce emissions of NOx and SO2, as well as primary PM10, from road vehicles in the future.
Emissions of SO2 and NOx from shipping in European waters are expected to increase by 2010 with an associated increase in primary and secondary PM10 precursors (European Commission, 2005).
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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