3. Overview of the Corinair 90 Process

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CORINAIR 90 was extended to include countries outside the EU and now includes 30 countries (although not all of these have reported as yet). All of these countries agreed to contribute and have worked together to produce a single system for the whole of Europe. Definitions had to be agreed. Software was distributed and data collected by national experts.

This effort involved:

  • SNAP90 (Selected Nomenclature for Air Pollution 90), a source sector hierarchical nomenclature with 260 activities, three levels and 11 main sectors.
  • Extending the number of point sources.
  • Covered eight pollutants:
  • sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • oxides of nitrogen (NOx)
  • non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC)
  • ammonia (NH3)
  • carbon monoxide (CO)
  • methane (CH4)
  • nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Collaboration with UNECE which requires inventory information as part of the protocols of the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) and OECD (who were developing the IPCC methodology for greenhouse gas emissions). There has also been collaboration with the UNECE Task Force on Emissions Inventories that is producing the EMEP/CORINAIR guidebook on emission inventories based on the SNAP nomenclature.

When national CORINAIR 90 inventories have been compiled and checked, the data is then transferred to an ORACLE database held by the EEA, and the results of the European wide inventory are collated and distributed to users. Table 3 summarises the information which is contained in CORINAIR 90 and the requirements of some potential users. Table 4 is a summary of CORINAIR 90 data for Europe and an example of the more detailed data available from CORINAIR 90 is shown in Table 5.

Table 3 CORINAIR 90 Specifications and User Requirements

UNECE EMEP IPCC EU Large Combustion
Plant Directive
EU Greenhouse Gas Reporting Other (e.g. Policy makers, NFP)
SO2 · · ·   ·      
NOx · · · · ·      
CO2 · ·   ·     ·  
CH4 · · · ·        
N20 ·     ·        
NMVOC · · · ·        
CO · · · ·        
NH3 · · ·          
OTHER       · HFCs
· CF4
· C2F6
· SF6
  Heavy metals


Other gases required by the IPCC but data ‘requested’ not ‘expected’. ·Particulates

· Specific VOCs

CORINAIR SNAP LEVEL 1 - 11 GROUPS · · ·          


OTHER · Point Sources     · 6 groups split into 71 categories

· Sinks (partial)

· Existing plant ³ 300 MW

· Existing plant 50 to 300 MW

· New plant ³ 50 MW

  IPCC Source Categories · DGXI VOC directive: to be specified

· Policy makers: ISIC and socio -economic categories

NUTS LEVEL 0 (NATIONAL) · · ·   · · · ·
NUTS LEVEL 3 ·             ·
OTHER · Individual large point sources as defined by CORINAIR 90   · 50 x 50 km grid   · Individual large point sources as defined in directive · Not fully defined yet   · Individual point sources

· Smaller grids

· Urban inventories

PROVISIONAL DATA             7 months  
REVISED DATA   12 months 12 months 21 months 9 months   19 months  

Table 4 CORINAIR 90 Summary for Europe

Table 5 Detailed CORINAIR 90 Data for France 1990 Emissions (as Mg except CO2 as Gg) for Industrial combustion plant and Processes with Combustion

030000 Industrial combustion plant and processes with combustion 514090 164965 7282 6623 598176 87391 2070 0
030100 Combustion in boilers, gas turbines and stationary engines 328113 66742 2398 2299 8328 44311 1570 0
030101 Combustion plants ³ 300 MW 113600 18556 603 565 2337 12653 458 0
030102 Combustion plants ³ 50 MW and < 300 MW 70365 17216 564 501 2028 11664 366 0
030103 Combustion plants < 50 MW 144116 29604 1200 1200 3871 19478 724 0
030104 Gas turbines 31 1366 33 33 91 517 23 0
030105 Stationary engines IE IE IE IE IE IE IE IE
030200 Process furnaces without contact(1) 63083 13959 594 586 5739 12247 283 0
030201 Refinery processes furnaces 49353 6246 205 202 1046 4854 190 0
030202 Coke oven furnaces 13196 7137 380 380 4282 1106 14 0
030203 Blast furnaces cowpers 0 454 0 0 394 6200 76 0
030204 Plaster furnaces 534 122 9 4 17 87 4 0
030300 Processes with contact (2) 122895 84263 4290 3739 584109 30833 217 0
030301 Sinter plant 26389 20994 660 2423 549998 3080 178 0
030302 Reheating furnaces steel and iron 3569 2521 986 118 508 833 0 0
030303 Gray iron foundries 374 104 187 21 12456 83 0 0
030304 Primary lead production 21804 85 1 0 18 78 0 0
030305 Primary zinc production 13946 61 1 0 11 49 0 0
030306 Primary copper production 9 103 0 0 0 0 0 0
030307 Secondary lead production 3700 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
030308 Secondary zinc production 0 15 18 0 0 0 0 0
030309 Secondary copper production 27 5 80 0 10 0 0 0
030310 Secondary aluminium production 107 82 22 0 13 0 0 0
030311 Cement 16572 33666 1158 1158 9262 17946 0 0
030312 Lime (including iron and steel and paper pulp industries) 162 1750 14 0 174 2401 0 0
030313 Asphalt concrete plants 8640 576 227 0 1644 829 28 0
030314 Flat glass 22141 20946 0 0 288 3311 0 0
030318 Mineral wool (except binding) NEG NEG NEG NEG NEG NEG NEG NEG
030319 Bricks and tiles 3976 2565 282 0 8209 1657 0 0
030320 Fine ceramic materials 706 456 50 0 1458 294 0 0
030321 Paper-mill industry (drying process) 773 335 18 18 61 272 11 0
030322 Alumina production 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Key: 0 = non-existing activity or no emission expected,
NEG = neglected
IE = included elsewhere)
(1) Processes where flames and/or combustion gases are not in contact with other products
(2) Processes where flames and/or combustion gases are in contact with other products

Note: CO2 estimated as ‘"at source"

3.1 Achievements of CORINAIR 90.

While this paper will discuss in detail the problems of CORINAIR 90 it is important to remember that the CORINAIR 90 project has had many significant successes.

CORINAIR 90 is a major step forward in the compilation of a European inventory system that has achieved the highest level of completeness, consistency, comparability and transparency reached to date in such a wide international collaboration. While there are many different ways in which the individual country’s inventories differ the overall inventory is a major step forward in achieving its goals.

The collaboration, assisted by CITEPA, between EMEP and CORINAIR and other technical experts, has produced a system that covers 30 countries with a wide range of experience in the development of their national emission inventories. For some countries CORINAIR 90, was their first attempt at a national inventory while others already had a well developed national system.

CORINAIR 90 has resulted in a source classification, SNAP codes, that now has a wide acceptance in Europe. This is forming the basis of the joint EMEP/CORINAIR guidebook on emission inventories. Several countries wish to use CORINAIR 90 type inventories for data submission to UNECE (and EMEP) and IPCC (with the data conversion routines produced by CITEPA).

Unfortunately, the time-scale for completion of the CORINAIR 90 was not explicitly specified and adhered to as an important objective at the beginning of the project.

3.2 National Approaches to CORINAIR 90

An overview of possible national approaches to producing CORINAIR 90 is shown in Figure 1. Countries have taken different approaches to CORINAIR 90. The questionnaires (with 17 replies out of 31 participants) show that 4 countries used CORINAIR 90 to produce their national estimates, while 7 have ensured that their national estimates are consistent with CORINAIR 90. (Annex A describes the results of the questionnaires. Box 1 gives examples of the approaches taken in particular countries, and Annex B summarises the characteristics of each country’s CORINAIR 90 database).

Each country has reasons for adopting their individual approach and in the medium term the Emissions Inventory Topic Centre must either answer their concerns and needs or include them in any future methodology. A long term aim for the Topic Centre should be the adoption of a single methodology across Europe.

Figure 1 - Overview of Approaches to CORINAIR 90


Box 1 Examples of National Approaches to CORINAIR 90

In France, CORINAIR is used for the national estimates. All SNAP codes are treated, but sometimes there was considerable difficulty in doing this. The rubrics have been used either to describe technical differences (e.g. different cement processes) or to distinguish different economic sectors (e.g. industrial combustion is divided according to economic sector). Sometimes the software’s top-down approach has been used to spatially allocate data but at other times procedures outside the system have adopted a bottom-up approach. Some territorial unit specific emission factors have been used. Emissions measurements and other data (e.g. from mass balances) are included whenever they are available. A specific biogenic model is used for French biogenic emissions. In order to ensure that the transparency of CORINAIR is maintained, all activity rates and other data are provided in the inventory. This allows the recalculation of emissions factors and comparisons with other countries. Compiling CORINAIR is thus a mixture of a top-down and bottom-up approaches.

The Netherlands has a different system which measures or estimates emissions from many sources. The aim is to achieve a consensus system where the emissions are agreed by the individual companies and the contractors compiling the inventories (TNO). There is a specific problem in that the individual companies are allocated to economic categories according to their main income, which can be quite different from their emission activity. (For example, a manufacturing plant may be allocated to the trade sector.) They have entered the measured emissions into the CORINAIR 90 software with emission factors set to 1. Thus their contribution is not open and transparent as there is no way that their numbers can be compared with other countries’ contributions. As this combines lots of individual data about individual sources this is a ‘bottom-up’ approach. The lack of transparency is also due to the CORINAIR 90 system expecting similar datasets to be collected for each country. As the original data collection and assumptions are open to limited inspection transparency could be achieved by looking at the original data.

Germany has two separate systems. Firstly the Lander estimated emission inventories for their areas. This is not done annually. However, due to legal restrictions separating the federal government and the regional Lander, these datasets are available to the federal authorities for specified uses only. The UBA (Berlin) has constructed an inventory for the whole of Germany and transferred this gridded dataset into the CORINAIR 90 system.

The UK has taken its existing methodology and entered the results into the CORINAIR 90 system. Thus the emission factors are taken from the national methodology. This has caused a few problems in areas where the sectoral splits do not exactly match. It does mean that the results are comparable and transparent as all the data used is entered into the system. As this works from national data this could be described as a ‘top-down’ approach. It was important for the UK that there was only one estimate for the emissions rather than a set of estimates for different purposes (i.e. a national estimate, a CORINAIR 90 estimate, an EMEP estimate and a IPCC estimate). However this estimate could be revised in the future. In other words improvements in technical knowledge and the methodology are applied retrospectively. The UK believes the speedy production of time series and trend data is important.

There are a number of countries with developed, computerised systems where effort was expended transferring data into the CORINAIR 90 system. These include Norway, The Netherlands, UK and Sweden. As the CORINAIR 90 software is not the final product, that is the EEA ORACLE database in Copenhagen, these countries thought that transferring data was into CORINAIR 90 first was an extra, unnecessary effort. If countries were to transfer data directly to the Oracle database then it would be important that the quality of the data is still checked and that validation and verification procedures are carried out.

The Baltic states did not have experience in compiling emission inventories. They received considerable support from RISØ on behalf of CORINAIR 90 and were able to complete their initial datasets within six months. They found the provision of a complete system and guidance very useful.

In some other countries, no single organisation may be responsible for producing the national emissions inventory; experts may each contribute to a particular aspect, and may not use the same base data or the same assumptions.

3.3 Time Taken to Complete the Project.

CORINAIR 90 is only now starting to produce its results. A complete inventory will only be available five years after the end of 1990. CORINAIR 85 has only been completely reported in 1995. These long delays have obscured the many successes of the projects and have severely compromised the usefulness of the whole exercise. It is possible that when the data is finally published it is of limited use to policy makers. It is far too late to supply the data requirements listed in Section 5.3.

There are a number of reasons for this. They include:-

  • Time required. The effort needed ranged from 0.5 man-years to 5 man-years for different countries. This needs to be addressed. The Baltic States compiled provisional inventories within six months elapsed time. They had direct assistance and produced inventories with relatively few area activity rates.
  • Time waiting for other statistics. Many countries reported that waiting for data from others, either for the publication of official statistics or statistics from source sectors, caused delay to CORINAIR 90. This problem must be addressed, but this is best done on a country by country basis. In the case of official statistics, it may be possible to use pre-publication copies of the data, rather than waiting for them to be officially published. This is possible in the UK. In other countries where this is not possible estimates based on provisional international statistics are possible.
  • The effort required to learn to use the system. Two approaches to this problem can be considered. The software could be made simpler, or more direct assistance could be made available.
  • The low priority given to CORINAIR 90. This is a matter of policy in individual countries. Greater timeliness of the data would raise the profile of the work, and thus the pressure to meet the deadlines. Pressure from the EEA to collaborate would also help.
  • Shortage of funding and delayed contracts. In some countries a shortage of national or CEC funding (e.g. under PHARE), or a delay in receiving a contract from the national customer or the CEC, delayed completion of CORINAIR 90. As above a higher profile for CORINAIR work, and pressure from the EEA to collaborate might help. The switch to a rolling programme of work may also help.
  • The need to get internal agreement in an individual country to the data supplied. Again this is an policy consideration. In Belgium two inventories were compiled, one for each part, and this regional approach may help in other cases.
  • The amount and variety of the data requested. A lot of data was requested both sectoral and spatial. Despite requests from the EEA-TF little or no attempt was made to prioritise this and thus focus on the important parts. Similarly little attempt was made to collect fundamental data first (e.g. national totals) and the remaining data later.
  • Reluctance of experts to submit data that is not final or subject to revision. This is a particular problem with emission inventories as they are, by their nature, estimates. Thus many years can pass with experts ‘perfecting’ the estimates while users have to wait. Even then, these ‘perfected’ numbers are still estimates with, in some cases, large uncertainties. Another approach is to provide the best estimate that exists on a particular date. Provision can then be made for subsequent revision.

It is important to distinguish between technical problems that may delay the production of an inventory and structural or ‘political’ limitations. The former may include the late supply of data collected by others e.g. road transport statistics, while the latter may involve the need to get agreement from various official bodies about the data. Some of the ‘institutional’ problems which have occurred, e.g. delays in funding or contracts may be improved in Air Emissions 94 by the switch from a voluntary collaboration to a more structured framework of national focal points and national reference centres.

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