Indicator Assessment

Energy-related emissions of particulate matter

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-131-en
  Also known as: ENER 007
Published 12 Aug 2011 Last modified 11 May 2021
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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.

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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).

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[1] 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[2], 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[3]. 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.

[1] See CSI 003

[2] Greece, Iceland, Luxemburg and Turkey did not provide any emission data

[3] CSI 004 - Exceedance of air quality limit values in urban areas (version 2) - Assessment published Dec 2008

Supporting information

Indicator definition

Combination of primary PM10 and PM2.5 emission data.


PM10 definition: "PM10" shall mean particulate matter which passes through a size-selective inlet with a 50 % efficiency cut-off at 10 μm aerodynamic diameter (Air Quality Framework Directive, first Daughter Directive, article 2 (11) - (Council Directive 1999/30/EC of 22 April 1999 relating to limit values for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter and lead in ambient air, Official Journal L 163 , 29/06/1999 P. 0041 - 0060):


PM10 emission in kt


Policy context and targets

Context description

Levels of fine particulate matter and precursor emissions are controlled in the European Union by 3 main types of regulation:

  • Air quality standards.
  • Emission standards for specific (mobile or stationary) sources.
  • National emission ceilings and transboundary air pollution standards for emission precursors.

There are no direct emission limits or targets for primary PM10 within the European Union, although there are limits on emissions of the precursor pollutants NOx, SO2 and NH3. Limit values for the concentration of PM10 are set under EU Directive 99/30/EC relating to ambient air quality assessment and management (European Commission 1999).

Several EU-wide limits and targets exist for the reduction of SO2, NOx and NH3 emissions, including the National Emissions Ceiling (NEC) Directive (2001/81/EC) and the Gothenburg Protocol of the UNECE LRTAP Convention (UNECE 1999). These are discussed further in factsheet EN06. As part of the review of the NEC Directive that is currently taking place, the feasibility of introducing national emission ceiling targets for particulate matter is being investigated. A proposal for the revised directive is expected in 2013.


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.

See also indicators CSI 003:



Related policy documents

  • 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.
  • UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution
    UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.


Methodology for indicator calculation

Indicator is based on officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe/Co-operative programme for monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transmission of air pollutants in Europe) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention), submission 2010. Recommended methodologies for emission inventory estimation are compiled in the EMEP/CORINAIR Atmospheric Emission Inventory guidebook, EEA Copenhagen (EEA, 2009). Base data are available from the EEA Data Service ( and the EMEP web site ( Where necessary, gaps in reported data are filled by ETC/ACC using simple interpolation techniques (see below). The final gap-filled data used in this indicator is available from the EEA Data Service (

Base data, reported in NFR are aggregated into the following EEA sector codes to obtain a common reporting format across all countries and pollutants:

  • Energy Industries: emissions from public heat and electricity generation, oil refining,  production of solid fuels, extraction and distribution of solid fossil fuels and geothermal energy;
  • Industrial processes: emissions derived from non-combustion related processes such as the production of minerals, chemicals and metal production;
  • Road transport: light and heavy duty vehicles, passenger cars and motorcycles;
  • Non-road (other) transport: railways, domestic shipping, certain aircraft movements, and non-road mobile machinery used in agriculture & forestry;
  • Household and services: emissions principally occurring from fuel combustion in the services and household sectors;
  • Manufacturing and Constructions: emissions from combustion processes used in the manufacturing industry including boilers, gas turbines and stationary engines;
  • Other non-energy (Solvent and product use): non-combustion related emissions mainly in the services and households sectors including activities such as paint application, dry-cleaning and other use of solvents;
  • Agriculture: manure management, fertiliser application, field-burning of agricultural wastes
  • Waste: incineration, waste-water management;

The following table shows the conversion of Nomenclature for Reporting (NFR) sector codes used for reporting by countries into EEA sector codes:

EEA classification

Non-GHGs (NFR)


National totals

National total

National totals without LUCF

Energy Industries



Fugitive emissions

1B1, 1B2


Road transport



Non-road transport (non-road mobile machinery)

1A3 (exl 1A3b)

1A3a, 1A3c, 1A3d, 1A3e

Industrial processes



Other non-energy (Solvent and product use)

3, 7A








Household and services

1A4ai, 1A4aii, 1A4bi, 1A5a

1A4A, 1A4B

Manufacturing / Construction



Methodology for gap filling

No methodology for gap filling has been specified. Probably this info has been added together with indicator calculation.

Methodology references

  • Methodology Reference EMEP/CORINAIR Emission Inventory Guidebook - 2009 This 2009 update of the emission inventory guidebook prepared by the UNECE/EMEP Task Force on Emissions Inventories and Projections provides a comprehensive guide to state-of-the-art atmospheric emissions inventory methodology. Its intention is to support reporting under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution and the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive. EMEP (2010). Transboundary, acidification, eutrophication and ground level ozone in Europe in 2008


Methodology uncertainty

Officially reported data following agreed procedures and Emission Inventory Guidebook (EEA 2009) Primary PM10 data reported by countries remains uncertain in terms of quality for many countries. In many cases the available reported data does not include all years.

Data sets uncertainty

The reported primary PM10 data is likely to be very uncertain. Much of the uncertainty in the overall reported PM10 emissions comes from uncertainties associated with emission factors. For many countries there is little country-specific data available from which PM10 emission factors can be determined. Emission factors in the literature can be very variable due to the differences that occur between sector processes both within and between different countries. For many countries a complete time series of PM10 data is not available from 1990, and so significant interpolation and extrapolation has had to be performed to obtain a complete time series of data. Similarly not all countries report emissions from every sector. In contrast, the uncertainties of sulphur dioxide emission estimates in Europe are relatively low, as the sulphur emitted comes from the fuel burnt and therefore can be 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 (which include emission data as one of the model parameters) and measured concentrations throughout Europe (EMEP 2005). From these studies the uncertainties associated with the modelled annual averages for a specific point in time have been estimated in the order of ±30 %. This is consistent with an inventory uncertainty of ±10 % (with additional uncertainties arising from the other model parameters, modelling methodologies, and the air quality measurement data etc). NOx emission estimates in Europe are thought to have higher uncertainty than pollutants such as SO2, as the NOx emitted comes both from the fuel burnt and the combustion air and so cannot be estimated accurately from fuel nitrogen alone. EMEP has compared modelled and measured concentrations throughout Europe (EMEP 2005). From these studies differences for individual monitoring stations of more than a factor of two have been found. This is consistent with an inventory of national annual emissions having an uncertainty of ±30% or greater (there are also uncertainties in the air quality measurements and especially the modelling). The trend is likely to be much more accurate than for individual absolute annual values; the annual values are not independent of each other. However it is not clear that all countries backdate changes to methodologies so early years may have been estimated on a different basis to later years.

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sources

Other info

DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • ENER 007
EEA Contact Info


Geographic coverage

Temporal coverage



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