Emissions factor databases - or EFDBs - serve as invaluable resources for policymakers, researchers, industries, and environmentalists alike. Minimum explores the various EFDBs and how they’re calculated.
An emissions database is a structured collection of data that provides information on various pollutants released into the atmosphere. It contains detailed records of emissions from different activities, sectors, and sources.
The database typically includes data on greenhouse gasses (such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) as well as other air pollutants (such as sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds). It’s a compilation of emission factors for various activities, processes, and sources that release pollutants into the atmosphere.
Emission factors are generally expressed as the ratio of emissions produced per unit of activity or fuel consumption. They are derived from empirical measurements, scientific studies, or established models that take into account various parameters such as:
Emission factors are crucial for estimating greenhouse gas emissions, air quality modeling, and developing emission inventories. The EFDB serves as a valuable resource for researchers, policymakers, and industries to estimate and manage emissions, develop emission inventories, and design effective mitigation strategies.
Emissions databases are created by compiling and organizing emission data from various sources. There are several bodies that are responsible for creating the databases, including but not limited to:
Emission data is collected from a variety of sources, including scientific studies, field measurements, industry reports, government databases, and international organizations. These sources provide data on specific activities, processes, and sources that emit pollutants into the atmosphere.
The collected data is standardized to ensure consistency and compatibility across different sources. This involves converting data to a common unit of measurement, adjusting for different reporting methodologies, and normalizing the data to a specific reference point or activity level.
The collected data undergoes a quality assurance process to ensure accuracy, completeness, and reliability. This may involve checking for data errors, inconsistencies, or outliers, and validating the data against established measurement protocols or standards.
The emission data is categorized and classified based on relevant parameters such as sector (e.g., energy, transportation, industry), pollutant type (e.g., carbon dioxide, methane), geographical location, and emission source (e.g., power plants, vehicles, industrial processes).
The emission data is organized and stored in a structured format suitable for database management systems. This may involve creating tables, fields, and relationships to efficiently store and retrieve the data.
Comprehensive documentation and metadata are created to provide information on the data sources, methodologies, assumptions, and limitations associated with the emission data.
Emission factor databases can either be publicly available or produced by an organization which charges a fee for its use. Government agencies such as BEIS in the UK, or the EPA in the US provide relatively comprehensive EFDBs for free. Other agencies such as the IEA charge for their international electricity emission factors.
It's important to note that different emissions databases may have varying degrees of comprehensiveness, geographical coverage, and accuracy.
Users should consider the source and methodology behind each database to ensure it aligns with their specific needs and requirements - for example, by speaking to our specialists at Minimum. There are many EFDBs produced but some core examples include:
These examples illustrate the diverse range of emission factor databases available, each tailored to specific regions, pollutants, and sectors. They play a crucial role in understanding and addressing the environmental impact of human activities and supporting efforts to mitigate climate change and air pollution.
Minimum can help organizations to understand how their existing carbon output stacks up against these emissions databases. Our Emissions Data Platform seamlessly collects and processes emissions data from every corner of your organization and supply chain - no matter the format. Making it the ideal platform for emissions audits and all-round business intelligence. Learn more about how Minimum's Emission Data Platform can help to power you all the way to Net Zero today.
To see how Minimum's Emissions Data Platform can streamline carbon accounting for your organization, book a demo with our Sustainability Experts today.