CORINAIR - The New Family Of Software Tools

Air Emission Data Exchange Module - project

Within the framework of the Corinair - CORe INventory AIR emissions, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and its European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change (ETC-ACC) have developed a set of software tools to support European countries in compiling annual air emission inventories. These tools allow for a transparent and standardized, hence consistent and comparable data collecting and emissions reporting procedure in accordance with the requirements of international conventions and protocols and EU legislation.

Background EEA and ETC-AE

The EEA (European Environment Agency) was established in Copenhagen (Denmark) by the European Union to provide “timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policy makers and to the public” [1]. European Topic Centres (ETCs) have been appointed by EEA to work on specific tasks, together with national reference centres in each participating country. This includes the European Topic Centre on Air Emissions (ETC-AE) in operation since 1994. The countries participating with EEA and co-operating with ETC-AE include all EU Member States and various other European countries. Since 1998 also co-operation with Central and Eastern European countries exists through a special EU (PHARE) project. The EEA works closely together with countries and with the European Commission (Brussels).

In 1999 ETC/AE distributed new software tools designed to help countries to collect and report air emission inventory data for submission to the European Commission and to international conventions, in particular UNFCCC regarding greenhouse gases and UNECE/CLRTAP (Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution) regarding acidifying pollutants, ozone precursors, heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants. These tools are being used by an increasing number of European countries.

In 2001 ETC/AE distributed modified and improved versions of software tools upgraded under EEA TERESA project. Tolls have partially modified user interface, use increased number of pollutants and provide national expert with new reporting possibilities according to directives as e.g. IPPC or LCP directives. However the main goal of the upgrade was to implement UNFCCC-CRF reporting requirements as well as new UNECE/LRTAP reporting requirements.

Reporting of inventories

Within international conventions reporting of inventories of air emissions and sinks is required for all Parties. European Union (EU) Member States as well as the European Community (required to report EU15 total emissions) are Party to the following conventions, with an overview of gases and pollutants to be reported :

- UN "Framework Convention on Climate Change" (UNFCCC), assisted by IPCC : CO2, CH4, N2O, NOx, NMVOC, CO, HFCs, PFCs and SF6 (by 15 April for the last but one year).
- NFR (Nomenclature For Reporting) it overlaps with the format that is utilized for reporting of greenhouse gas inventories under the UNFCCC but in more detail.

The EU furthermore requests its Member States to report the same data that are reported to UNFCCC, by means of the EU Monitoring Mechanism on greenhouse gases, to the European Commission (by 31 December for the last year). The EEA assists the Commission in evaluating these inventories. Furthermore the EEA assists the Commission in preparing the European Community submission of greenhouse gas inventories (EU15 totals).

The EU also requests its Member States to report emissions from Large Combustion Plants (LCP Directive) and from 2003 onwards in addition requires reporting of emissions to air and also to water of approx. 50 pollutants from other large industrial sources under the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (IPPC), through a new European Pollutant Emissions Register (EPER).

ReportER II tool is prepared to generate special report according to NACE (nomenclature statistique des activités économiques dans la Communauté européenne) categories. Such report will be generated for European authorities if required and if links between SNAP or CRF categories and NACE categories will be available.

Actual version of the ReportER II tool is able to generate report of calculated values into XML file.

The reporting requirements for each of the two conventions NFR of UNECE/CLRTAP and UNFCCC CRF are different however source categories used are quite similar (based on IPCC categories) but with various levels of aggregation:

- On the highest level of aggregation UNFCCC (IPCC/CRF format) uses 6 source and sink categories (with approximately 25 more detailed sub-categories) in accordance with the 1996 IPCC Guidelines [2]. Recently it has been decided to use a new Common Reporting Format (CRF) for delivering emission inventories to the UNFCCC [3].

- NFR (Nomenclature For Reporting) of UNECE/LRTAP uses 6 main source categories similar to categories used with UNFCC CRF report. Base categories can be splitted up to 5 levels (inclusive top level).

Furthermore there are some differences between both conventions in reporting of emissions from international shipping and aircraft (“international bunkers”).

Both conventions require reporting of annual emission inventories (and sinks). In addition EMEP requires every five years reporting of disaggregated emissions (in grid cells of 50x50 km2) mainly for use in the EMEP atmospheric transport and chemistry models.

Basic principle national inventories

The data flow within the national inventorying activity, using for example tools provided by EEA, is shown below. Data on emissions per source or source sector are collected by the national reference centre and stored into the national database. Data in this database are interpreted, analyzed and aggregated for various national reports (for example state of the environment reports, environmental outlooks) and international reports (UNFCCC (CRF), UNECE/CLRTAP, EU greenhouse gas Monitoring Mechanism and EU LCP and IPPC directives).

This data flow is clearly separated in a data collection phase and a data interpretation and reporting phase. The National Emissions Inventory database is in the centre of this process.

This approach has major advantages:

- keeping a clear separation between collecting the data and using them enables the establishment of a transparent and thorough quality assessment and quality control system;

- data validation and screening (“checking”) can be concentrated in the data collection phase, assuring that all reports to international and national activities will be consistent;

- changes in reporting formats or instructions or in the definitions of source sectors and fuels can be reflected in the analysis phase only, keeping the data collection phase basically unaffected (major changes in definitions imply changes in the database, that can however be easily implemented in this new system).

Within the Corinair software system this clear separation between both phases has been implemented into the modular software tools as indicated in the figure below.

The Corinair software system at present consists of four separate computer programmes and documentation and one additional document:

  1. CollectER II: the basic tool that helps the national reference centre to collect the national emission inventory database in a transparent way. The tool organizes the input and keeps track of source sectors and fuels in detail. It allows the user to copy default emission factors into the national inventory and stores the data in a relational database in a Microsoft Access format file. In addition the tool provides some methods for spatial disaggregation. Once the tool has been applied for one year, producing the inventory for the next year can be seen as an updating process of existing data, where the data for this earlier year remain available for comparison. All pollutants, relevant for the conventions are available in the system but the user could add additional pollutants, if needed [5].
  2. ReportER II: the main output tool, interpreting and formatting the data in the database into the requested reporting format(s) [6]. The present implementation allows the user to produce easily the currently required data and tables for the Annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory to be submitted to UNFCCC (CRF summary tables, sectoral tables and part of the sectoral background tables) and the New Format Reporting (NFR) report that replaces EMEP report. It fills MS Excel sheets as defined in the NFRsheets.xls file.
  3. EstimatER: expert systems providing emission estimation knowledge and expertise to its user for selected source sectors. At present the Copert software is the first EstimatER available (Computer Programme to calculate Emissions from Road Transport) [8]. Copert supports the national expert in estimating the emissions from the road transport sector (see item 5 below). As part of the development of the new CRF report in ReportER II, new Estimater models (Agriculture and Reference Approach) are being developed within the EEA-Commission project TERESA (Transparent Environmental Reporting System for Administrations). These Estimaters models are available since the end of 2000.
  4. TrainER: a document describing the basics of the system and providing assistance [7]. It helps the user to practice applying the system in a concrete way. The document is therefore accompanied by an example inventory and the user is shown step by step how to update the data and how to add new sources or to remove existing ones. The report also shows how to produce the various reports with national emissions data.
  5. Copert III: is a user friendly software tool [8] which can be used for the estimation of road-transport related pollutant emissions. The methodology and speed-dependent emission factors applied have been drawn from previous versions of Copert, from European research projects (mainly MEET, Methodologies for Estimating Emissions from Transport and COST 316) and contributions from various European scientific sources. Emissions are calculated for hot engine operation, cold starts and fuel evaporation. The list of pollutants has been extended and now includes all regulated species (CO, VOC, NOx, PM) and several others (N2O, NH3, CH4, NMVOC, PAHs a POPs)). Application of the methodology is suggested for a minimum temporal resolution of one month and minimum spatial resolution of a network of streets (urban, rural and highway).