Energy-related emissions of particulate matter (ENER 007) - Assessment published Aug 2011
Energy (Primary topic)
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
- ENER 007
Key policy question: Are energy-related emissions of particulate matter decreasing?
Energy-related emissions of primary particulate matter, PM10 and PM2.5 , account for 67% and 79% of total PM10 and PM2.5 emissions respectively in the EEA-32 in 2008. These energy related emissions fell by 0.2% and 1% respectively between 2007 and 2008. Since 1990, these emissions declined by 25% and 31% respectively in the EU and EEA member countries. The most important reductions were achieved in the energy supply sectors (Energy Industries and Fugitive emissions) as a result of fuel switching from coal and oil to natural gas. It is expected that in the future concentrations of PM10 in most of the urban areas in the EEA region remain well above the short-term limit air quality values.
Contribution of different sectors (energy and non-energy) to total emissions of PM10 and PM2.5, 2008, EEA-32
Note: The graph includes the combined emissions of primary PM10 particles (particulate matter with a diameter of 10 μm or less, emitted directly into the atmosphere).
- National emissions reported to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention) provided by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (Environment and Human Settlements Division, UNECE)
Overall, PM10 and PM2.5 emissions decreased by 21% and 29% respectively in all EEA member countries and 21% and 28% respectively in the EU-27 between 1990 and 2008. Energy related PM10 and PM2.5 emissions have fallen by 25% and 31% respectively in the EU and EEA member countries between 1990 and 2008, with reductions occurring from all sources except Agriculture (PM10 only) (see Figure 1). Energy-related emissions represented 67% and 79% of total PM10 and PM2.5 emissions respectively in the EEA-32 in 2008 (see Figure 2).
The reduction in energy–related emissions 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 and industry sectors, and an increased market penetration of road vehicles equipped with catalytic converters.
In 2008, Commercial, institutional and households is the largest source of emissions accounting for nearly 29% and 36% of all EU-27 PM10 and PM2.5 emissions respectively (see Figure 2). Domestic coal combustion has traditionally been the major source of particulate emissions in the EU-27 followed by Road transport. Emissions of PM10 and PM2.5 are expected to further decrease significantly between 2008 and 2010 (despite an increasing popularity in many countries of diesel vehicles, which have higher particulate emissions than petrol vehicles), as improved vehicle engine technologies continue to be adopted and stationary fuel combustion emissions are controlled through abatement measures (including particulate filters) or use of low sulphur fuels such as natural gas.
PM10 and PM2.5 emissions have decreased significantly in 18 out of 28 EEA member countries, with the largest PM10 reductions being reported in the United Kingdom, Estonia and the Netherlands (see Figure 3). However, in a few countries PM10 emissions increased during the period with increases of over 100 % in Bulgaria and Romania due to substantial increase in emissions from the Commercial, institutional and households sector. However these significant increases could also be a result of better emissions reporting under the LRTAP Convention.
Despite the reductions in emissions already achieved, it is expected that in the near future concentrations of PM10 in urban areas in the EEA region remain well above the short-term limit air quality values. Substantial further reductions in all sectors are therefore needed to reach the air quality limit values set in the Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe. 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, and complete transition to sulphur-free fuel by 2009.Emissions trends of secondary PM10 precursors (the fraction of NOx, SO2, and NH3 emissions which, as a result of photo-chemical reactions in the atmosphere, transform into particulate matter with a diameter of 10 μm or less) can be found in EEA’s main air pollution fact sheets on NOx, SO2 and NH3, and energy-related emissions in ENER05 and ENER06.
 See CSI 003
 Greece, Iceland, Luxemburg and Turkey did not provide any emission data
 CSI 004 - Exceedance of air quality limit values in urban areas (version 2) - Assessment published Dec 2008
EEA aggregated and gap filled air pollutant data (discontinued)
provided by European Environment Agency (EEA)
More information about this indicator
See this indicator specification for more details.
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoAnca-Diana Barbu
EEA Management Plan2010 2.8.1 (note: EEA internal system)
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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