Canada’s Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory Report 2020: chapter 2.4

2.4 Volatile organic compounds

In 2018, approximately 1.9 Mt of volatile organic compounds (VOC)s were released in Canada (Table 2–6). The oil and gas industry was the largest contributor at 35% (674 kt) of total emissions (with the upstream oil and gas industry emitting 34% (652 kt) of total VOCs). Paints and solvents were the next-largest contributor, accounting for 22% (412 kt) of emissions, with general solvent use accounting for 16% (311 kt) of the national total. Transportation and mobile equipment sources accounted for 16% (302 kt) of emissions, with off-road gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or natural gas (NG) vehicles and equipment contributing 6% (123 kt) of the national total.

Commercial/residential/institutional sources represented 15% (285 kt) of VOC emissions, attributed mainly to home firewood burning (12% or 228 kt). The other contributing VOC sources are agriculture, manufacturing and incineration and waste. Of these, agricultural sources accounted for 6% (116 kt) of emissions and manufacturing sources represented 5% (102 kt) of total VOC emissions.

Between 1990 and 2018, VOC emissions decreased by 37% (1.1 Mt) (Figure 2–4). The most significant driver of this trend is a decrease in emissions from off-road gasoline, LPG or CNG vehicles and equipment, due to increasingly stringent regulations on these spark-ignition engines. The consistent decrease in emissions from light-duty gasoline vehicles and trucks throughout the time series also contributed to this trend.

Although emissions from most sources decreased, the oil and gas industry experienced an overall increase in emissions between 1990 and 2018. VOC emissions from the downstream oil and gas industry declined overall from 1990 to 2007, with emissions remaining relatively stable after that time, but the upstream oil and gas industry experienced increased emissions, which were more pronounced from 2013 to 2015. In 2018, VOC emissions from the upstream oil and gas industry declined compared to 2015, due to an 18% decrease in the number of oil spills (AER, 2019a; BCOGC, 2019; CNLOPB, 2019; MB, 2019; SK MER, 2019a), as well as a 28% reduction in reported volumes of vented gas from crude oil batteries (AER, 2019b; SK MER, 2019b).

The most significant changes in VOC emissions from 1990 to 2018 include:

Figure 2–4: Major contributors to national volatile organic compound trends

Figure 2-4 (See long description below)
Long description for Figure 2–4

Figure 2–4 is a stacked area graph displaying the six major contributors to national volatile organic compound trends. The six contributors are the following: Upstream Oil and Gas Industry, Home Firewood Burning, Off-Road Gasoline/LPG/NG Vehicles and Equipment, General Solvent Use, Light-duty Gasoline Trucks and Vehicles, and Other. The following table displays the contributions (kt) for the years 1990 to 2018.

Figure 2–4: Major contributors to national volatile organic compound trends (kt)
Sector 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sector 1 - Upstream Oil and Gas Industry 471 474 493 523 539 562 594 587 602 562 582 599 620 618 610 613 638 635 646 603 608 603 659 714 745 706 637 638 652
Sector 2 - General Solvent Use 189 189 196 200 210 225 231 234 236 245 258 245 238 244 242 280 273 272 268 247 255 248 253 258 265 269 274 277 311
Sector 3 - Home Firewood Burning 356 351 336 352 358 342 338 323 342 325 314 290 313 269 261 246 238 235 235 224 236 235 234 233 231 230 231 230 228
Sector 4 - Off-road Gasoline/LPG/NG Vehicles and Equipment 764 738 747 762 760 755 735 696 663 649 576 429 423 400 416 346 333 326 304 292 281 183 160 147 143 136 114 118 123
Sector 5 - Light-duty Gasoline Trucks and Vehicles 319 303 301 301 300 290 283 278 276 271 260 252 237 220 206 178 163 161 170 142 136 125 118 112 104 103 107 107 110
Sector 6 - Other 938 919 896 930 937 913 891 875 877 870 853 799 786 775 743 740 645 617 585 536 540 524 516 506 498 485 480 476 490

Table 2–6: National summary of annual volatile organic compound emissions

Ore and Mineral Industries (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 19 000 20 000 16 000 13 000 13 000 11 000 11 000 11 000 12 000
Aluminium Industry 710 1 100 1 200 1 400 970 930 950 950 1 600
Asphalt Paving Industry 6 500 6 200 6 000 7 000 8 400 6 300 6 200 6 000 6 000
Cement and Concrete Industry 590 620 1 200 440 410 400 440 690 760
Foundries 1 700 1 100 920 520 450 380 360 310 350
Iron and Steel Industry 5 800 4 200 2 000 920 1 100 870 820 820 1 200
Iron Ore Industry 570 3 200 1 600 290 320 300 410 280 270
Mineral Products Industry 160 320 200 100 120 110 140 72 110
Mining and Rock Quarrying 3 000 2 600 2 300 1 800 1 600 1 900 1 400 1 300 1 400
Non-Ferrous Mining and Smelting Industry 340 36 51 69 66 67 65 69 79
Oil and Gas Industry (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 600 000 670 000 680 000 740 000 770 000 730 000 660 000 660 000 670 000
Downstream Oil and Gas Industry 130 000 86 000 64 000 24 000 23 000 24 000 24 000 21 000 22 000
Upstream Oil and Gas Industry 470 000 580 000 610 000 710 000 750 000 710 000 640 000 640 000 650 000
Electric Power Generation (Utilities) (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 2 500 3 600 3 300 1 600 1 700 1 600 1 600 1 300 1 100
Coal 1 300 950 1 300 390 450 410 410 380 210
Diesel 77 280 220 53 46 84 55 54 71
Natural Gas 480 1 600 1 500 880 900 910 890 630 570
Waste Materials 0.70 3.0 -* 8.2 11 13 9.0 - -
Other (Electric Power Generation) 630 770 350 290 270 220 200 290 280
Manufacturing (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 260 000 260 000 190 000 120 000 110 000 110 000 100 000 100 000 100 000
Abrasives Manufacturing 1 500 590 610 94 59 18 20 17 18
Bakeries 4 000 4 700 5 100 4 800 4 800 4 800 4 900 4 800 4 900
Biofuel Production -* - - 200 400 100 42 46 43
Chemicals Industry 47 000 36 000 25 000 13 000 12 000 10 000 9 800 9 200 9 800
Electronics 1 300 540 380 69 53 49 39 33 24
Food Preparation 10 000 13 000 15 000 15 000 15 000 15 000 15 000 14 000 17 000
Glass Manufacturing 2 000 2 300 620 280 240 200 190 200 160
Grain Industry 2 200 2 300 2 200 2 500 3 000 3 000 2 500 2 200 2 200
Metal Fabrication 9 100 14 000 12 000 4 800 4 200 4 400 3 700 4 100 4 300
Plastics Manufacturing 14 000 16 000 15 000 12 000 10 000 11 000 10 000 10 000 9 700
Pulp and Paper Industry 27 000 24 000 23 000 16 000 14 000 13 000 13 000 13 000 13 000
Textiles 860 1 500 850 490 570 470 490 880 510
Vehicle Manufacturing (Engines, Parts, Assembly, Painting) 22 000 23 000 16 000 8 300 8 200 8 400 9 300 8 300 7 800
Wood Products 110 000 98 000 64 000 36 000 36 000 33 000 32 000 30 000 30 000
Other (Manufacturing) 11 000 21 000 7 900 3 000 2 800 2 800 2 700 2 800 2 500
Transportation and Mobile Equipment (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 1 200 000 970 000 630 000 330 000 320 000 300 000 280 000 290 000 300 000
Air Transportation 2 800 2 400 1 800 2 800 2 700 2 600 2 300 2 300 2 200
Heavy-duty Diesel Vehicles 10 000 18 000 24 000 20 000 18 000 17 000 16 000 17 000 18 000
Heavy-duty Gasoline Vehicles 24 000 28 000 22 000 15 000 12 000 12 000 12 000 12 000 13 000
Heavy-duty LPG/NG Vehicles 7 100 12 000 2 300 53 26 26 36 68 68
Light-duty Diesel Trucks 770 1 000 1 600 1 100 1 200 1 300 1 400 1 700 1 800
Light-duty Diesel Vehicles 2 200 1 500 920 800 780 800 750 750 730
Light-duty Gasoline Trucks 90 000 110 000 82 000 58 000 55 000 55 000 58 000 60 000 63 000
Light-duty Gasoline Vehicles 230 000 150 000 95 000 54 000 50 000 49 000 49 000 48 000 48 000
Light-duty LPG/NG Trucks 8 100 3 700 1 900 35 26 24 25 30 30
Light-duty LPG/NG Vehicles 1 100 540 230 1.1 0.85 0.82 1.00 1.3 1.3
Marine Transportation 5 800 7 600 8 600 8 200 8 100 8 000 8 300 8 500 8 800
Motorcycles 1 600 1 700 1 800 1 900 1 800 1 900 2 000 2 000 2 100
Off-road Diesel Vehicles and Equipment 53 000 53 000 37 000 20 000 19 000 18 000 15 000 16 000 17 000
Off-road Gasoline/LPG/NG Vehicles and Equipment 760 000 580 000 350 000 150 000 140 000 140 000 110 000 120 000 120 000
Rail Transportation 6 700 6 200 6 100 5 400 5 100 4 500 3 800 4 400 4 500
Tire Wear and Brake Lining -* - - - - - - - -
Agriculture (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 100 000 120 000 130 000 120 000 120 000 110 000 110 000 120 000 120 000
Animal Production 100 000 120 000 130 000 120 000 120 000 110 000 110 000 120 000 120 000
Crop Production -* - - - - - - - -
Fuel Use 81 91 82 200 200 190 200 190 190
Commercial / Residential / Institutional (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 430 000 390 000 320 000 290 000 290 000 290 000 290 000 290 000 290 000
Cigarette Smoking1 13 12 8.8 6.8 6.9 6.1 6.1 6.2 6.3
Commercial and Institutional Fuel Combustion 1 000 1 400 1 400 1 300 1 300 1 300 1 300 1 400 1 400
Commercial Cooking 2 000 2 300 2 500 2 500 2 400 2 300 2 300 2 300 2 300
Construction Fuel Combustion 71 34 41 44 43 42 44 46 47
Home Firewood Burning 360 000 310 000 250 000 230 000 230 000 230 000 230 000 230 000 230 000
Human1 -* - - - - - - - -
Marine Cargo Handling - - - - - - - - -
Residential Fuel Combustion 1 500 1 700 1 700 1 700 1 800 1 700 1 500 1 600 1 800
Service Stations 72 000 74 000 65 000 50 000 49 000 50 000 51 000 51 000 51 000
Other (Miscellaneous) - - - - - - - - -
Incineration and Waste (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 17 000 14 000 14 000 9 400 9 700 9 900 10 000 10 000 10 000
Crematoriums 0.95 1.3 1.6 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.5
Waste Incineration 9 700 8 100 8 200 4 300 4 500 4 500 4 700 4 700 4 500
Waste Treatment and Disposal 7 000 6 300 5 900 5 200 5 200 5 300 5 500 5 500 5 500
Paints and Solvents (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 360 000 400 000 430 000 350 000 360 000 360 000 360 000 370 000 410 000
Dry Cleaning 740 790 180 160 160 170 170 180 190
General Solvent Use 190 000 260 000 280 000 260 000 260 000 270 000 270 000 280 000 310 000
Printing 37 000 48 000 42 000 20 000 19 000 18 000 17 000 17 000 19 000
Surface Coatings 130 000 89 000 100 000 73 000 74 000 74 000 74 000 75 000 82 000
Dust (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total -* - - - - - - - -
Coal Transportation - - - - - - - - -
Construction Operations - - - - - - - - -
Mine Tailings - - - - - - - - -
Paved Roads - - - - - - - - -
Unpaved Roads - - - - - - - - -
Fires (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 41 000 4 200 3 400 2 000 8 100 5 900 4 900 2 900 1 500
Prescribed Burning 40 000 3 900 3 100 1 700 7 900 5 700 4 700 2 700 1 300
Structural Fires 390 310 280 290 220 210 210 210 210
Totals (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Ore and Mineral Industries 19 000 20 000 16 000 13 000 13 000 11 000 11 000 11 000 12 000
Oil and Gas Industry 600 000 670 000 680 000 740 000 770 000 730 000 660 000 660 000 670 000
Electric Power Generation (Utilities) 2 500 3 600 3 300 1 600 1 700 1 600 1 600 1 300 1 100
Manufacturing 260 000 260 000 190 000 120 000 110 000 110 000 100 000 100 000 100 000
Transportation and Mobile Equipment 1 200 000 970 000 630 000 330 000 320 000 300 000 280 000 290 000 300 000
Agriculture 100 000 120 000 130 000 120 000 120 000 110 000 110 000 120 000 120 000
Commercial / Residential / Institutional 430 000 390 000 320 000 290 000 290 000 290 000 290 000 290 000 290 000
Incineration and Waste 17 000 14 000 14 000 9 400 9 700 9 900 10 000 10 000 10 000
Paints and Solvents 360 000 400 000 430 000 350 000 360 000 360 000 360 000 370 000 410 000
Dust -* - - - - - - - -
Fires 41 000 4 200 3 400 2 000 8 100 5 900 4 900 2 900 1 500
Grand Total 3 000 000 2 800 000 2 400 000 2 000 000 2 000 000 1 900 000 1 800 000 1 800 000 1 900 000

Notes:

Totals may not add up due to rounding.

1. Cigarette Smoking as well as Infant Diapered Waste (which is included within the Human sector) are being considered for removal from future inventories. If you have any questions, please contact us at ec.iepa-apei.ec@canada.ca or 1-877-877-8375.

* - = no emission

0.00 Indicates emissions truncated due to rounding

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