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You are here: Home / The European environment – state and outlook 2010 / Country assessments / Belgium / Air pollution - Drivers and pressures (Belgium)

Air pollution - Drivers and pressures (Belgium)

Topics: ,
Ozone precursor emissions in Belgium
Topic
Air pollution Air pollution
more info
NFP-Belgium
Organisation name
NFP-Belgium
Reporting country
Belgium
Organisation website
Organisation website
Contact link
Contact link
Last updated
22 Dec 2010
Content license
CC By 2.5
Content provider
NFP-Belgium
Published: 05 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 22 Dec 2010 original
Key message

Ozone precursor emissions decreasing, but NEC reduction target out of reach.

Figures

Figure 4: Ozone precursor emissions

Source: compilation of the Belgian regional emission inventories (IRCEL-CELINE) + EMEP WebDab
Data source
http://www.irceline.be/%257Ecelinair/english/airpol_en.html
Figure 4: Ozone precursor emissions
Fullscreen image Original link

Ozone precursors (NOx and VOC) emissions, expressed in TOFP (Total Ozone Formation Potential) units decreased by 40 % between 1990 and 2007. Because the different ozone precursors have a different share in the tropospheric ozone formation, the photochemically relevant sum of the precursors is expressed in TOFP units. Besides NOx and VOC, CO and CH4 also play a role in the photochemical ozone formation reactions. Their role, however, is less important and the TOFP used here is only the relevant sum of NOx and VOC.

The VOC emissions have decreased more significantly than the NOx emissions. VOC emissions decreased by more than 50 %, and NOx emissions only by 30 % between 1990 and 2007. The NEC (National Emission Ceiling) target for 2010 for VOC is within reach. The NOx target, however, is totally out of reach. It is estimated (EEA, 2009) that the Belgian NOx emissions in 2010 will be around 43 % higher than the target. The main reason is the increasing share of diesel fueled cars in the Belgian vehicle fleet (see hereunder). Diesel cars emit significantly more NOx than gasoline and LPG cars. Almost 80 % of new cars sold in Belgium are diesel cars now. This is further stimulated by the Belgian government due to ’environmental‘ subsidies that are given only on the basis of CO2 emissions. Diesel cars generally emit less CO2 than comparative gasoline cars so that only diesel cars (with the exception of very small gasoline and hybrid cars) are eligible for these subsidies. Another reason for the increasing share of diesel cars is the lower taxes which makes diesel cheaper (per liter) than gasoline.

 

Key message

Primary and precursor PM10 emissions decreasing slowly

Figures

Figure 5: Particulate matter emissions (PM10) in Belgium

Source: Interregional Air Quality database (IRCEL), RIO-corine interpolation model (VITO-IRCEL), compilation of the Belgian regional emission inventories (IRCEL) and EMEP WebDab.
Data source
http://www.irceline.be
Figure 5: Particulate matter emissions (PM10) in Belgium
Fullscreen image Original link

Data sources

http://www.irceline.be
Data sources
Source

Particulate matter emissions (PM10)

Recent studies have demonstrated that almost 50% of the total measured PM10 in Belgium is secundary aerosol (sulphates, nitrates). The AFP (Aerosol Formation Potential) emissions (blue bars), this is the weighted sum of the NH3, SO2 and NOx emissions based on their aerosol formation potential, have decreased by 23 % in 2007 since 2000. The primary PM10 emissions (green bars) decreased by 28% in 2007 since 2000.

The total (=sum of primary and secundary) PM10 emissions were more than 20% lower in 2007 compared to 2000.

The decrease of the PM10 concentrations (orange dots) however was only 10%. Possible explanations for this “paradox”are:

  • The relation between the emissions of PM and the measured PM concentrations is not “linear”. A decrease of the PM precursor emissions will not decrease the “secundary” PM10 fraction to the same extent;

  • Some “diffuse” (mostly industrial) emissions are unknown and are not available in the emission inventories;

  • The use of biomass as alternative fuel (woodpellets, …) has increased significantly the last decade and these biomass emissions are probably underestimated ;

  • The NOx emissions of diesel cars are higher in “realistic” driving conditions compared to the “official” NOx emissions based on the EURO guidelines. NOx emissions are thus probably underestimated.

 

Key message

The number of vehicle-km keeps on increasing. The share of diesel vehicles is exceeding the share of gasoline vehicles, and a growing share of the passenger cars complies with the stricter European emissions standards.

Figures

Graph 1: Stock of passenger cars by fuel type in Belgium, 1985-2008

None
Data source
http://www.febiac.be/
Graph 1: Stock of passenger cars by fuel type in Belgium, 1985-2008
Fullscreen image Original link

Number of vehicle-km and stock of passenger cars by fuel type and by emission standards

A main driver in the ozone precursor and particulate emissions is the number of vehicle-km that keeps on growing in Belgium. The number of vehicle-km increased at an average annual rate of 2 % from 1990 to 20071.

Another key driver is the fuel type and quality. During the last twenty years, the types of cars have changed. Diesel vehicles have taken a greater importance and now account for the greatest share (57 %) of the stock of passenger cars, against 42 % for the gasoline vehicles (see graph 1).

The stock of passenger cars is also characterised by a growing number of cars responding to the Euro 3 and 4 standards. At the end of 2008, more than the half of the stock of passenger cars was Euro 3 or Euro 4 (see graph 2).

The number of vehicle-km keeps on increasing. The share of diesel vehicles is exceeding the share of gasoline vehicles, and a growing share of the passenger cars complies with the stricter European emissions standards.

 


1 Federal Planning Bureau. Internet Website (www.plan.be). Data. Base de données et chiffres. Base de données transport (22/10/09)

 

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The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

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