Reporting greenhouse gas emissions data, technical guidance 2019: emissions reporting format

4.1 Reporting emissions data

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)’s online Single Window reporting tool is available for reporting facilities to submit their greenhouse gas (GHG) reports to ECCC. To enter GHG emissions data, the reporter will input numerical values (in units of tonnes) for the emission sources occurring at the facility. The quantity of emissions in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) units will be automatically calculated by the online reporting system.

A “not applicable” (NA) box will be available for each emission source category and gas listed, and the reporter may select this box only in those cases where:

If a reporter has calculated the emissions for a given category or gas type and the emissions are zero, the reporter should enter the digit “0” in the relevant numeric field.

The reporting facility needs to calculate and report its direct emissions of the three gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) individually. When reporting these emissions, the reporter is required to disaggregate the emissions by the following source categories:

The reporting facility also needs to calculate and report its direct emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) by individual gas species from the following source categories:

A graphical representation of the GHGs to be reported under the GHGRP is presented in Table 3.

Table 3: Greenhouse gases to be reported by facilities and source categories

Emission Source Categories
Greenhouse Gas Stationary Fuel Combustion Emissions Industrial Process Emissions Industrial Product Use Emissions Fugitive—Venting Emissions Fugitive—Flaring Emissions Fugitive—Leakage Emissions On-site Transportation Emissions Waste Emissions Wastewater Emissions
Carbon Dioxide (excluding CO2 emissions from biomass combustion, which is to be reported separately) Applicable Applicable NA* Applicable Applicable Applicable Applicable Applicable Applicable
Methane Applicable Applicable NA Applicable Applicable Applicable Applicable Applicable Applicable
Nitrous Oxide Applicable Applicable NA Applicable Applicable Applicable Applicable Applicable Applicable
Sulphur hexafluoride NA Applicable Applicable NA NA NA NA NA NA
Hydrofluorocarbons NA by species by species NA NA NA NA NA NA
Perfluorocarbons NA by species by species NA NA NA NA NA NA
Total ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

NA* = not applicable

4.2 Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions

CO2, CH4 and N2O are reported individually, by source category. Additional information on each of these categories is provided in the following subsections.

4.2.1 Stationary fuel combustion emissions

Most facilities will have some form of stationary fuel combustion. This category includes releases from stationary fuel combustion sources occurring at the facility, where the fuel is burned to produce useful heat or work (e.g., to generate electricity, heat or steam). It includes external (e.g., boilers) and internal (e.g., cogeneration turbines) combustion sources. On-site waste incineration is also included if the waste is combusted to produce energy. Emissions from waste incineration used as a disposal method are included under the Waste Emissions category (see Section 4.2.5).

Note: If biomass is being combusted for the purposes of creating energy, CH4 and N2O emissions should be reported under Stationary Fuel Combustion Emissions. The CO2 emissions should be reported under Biomass Combustion Emissions (see Section 4.2.7). Also, emissions from coke oven batteries in iron and steel manufacturing are to be reported under stationary fuel combustion when fuel is used for the production of coke.

4.2.2 Industrial process emissions

This category refers to emissions from an industrial process involving chemical or physical reactions, the primary purpose of which is to produce a non-fuel product, as opposed to useful heat or work. Examples of industrial process emissions include mineral production (e.g., cement, lime), metal production (e.g., iron and steel, aluminum) and chemical production (e.g., adipic acid, nitric acid).

This category of emissions is expected to be unique to specific sectors and to specific facilities in a given sector, depending on the operations performed at the facility.

Note: In instances where industrial process emissions are produced in combination with emissions from fuel combusted to supply energy, the emissions are to be separated and categorized accordingly. Emissions produced for energy purposes (i.e. fuel combusted for useful heat or work) are included under Stationary Fuel Combustion Emissions, whereas industrial process emissions are included under Industrial Process Emissions. The reduction of iron in a blast furnace through the oxidation of coke is an example where, in the same process, coke serves a dual purpose of fuel (to generate heat required for the reaction) and of reductant (to reduce the iron). In this case, since the primary purpose of coke oxidation is to produce pig iron, the emissions are categorized as Industrial Process Emissions.Footnote 6

4.2.3 Fugitive emissions

Fugitive emissions are defined as the sum of venting, flaring and leakage emissions.

In general, fugitive emissions result from the production, processing and handling of fossil fuels, from iron and steel coke oven batteries and from carbon capture, transport, injection and storage activities.

(i) Venting emissions

Venting emissions are defined as the controlled release of a process or waste gas to the atmosphere. These include, but are not limited to, releases of CO2 associated with carbon capture, transport, injection and storage, casing gas, gas associated with a liquid (or solution gas), treater, stabilizer or dehydrator off-gas, blanket gas and releases from pneumatic devices that use natural gas as a driver, and from compressor start-ups, pipelines and other blowdowns, and metering and regulation station control loops.

In general, venting emissions are a result of the handling or processing of fuel in the fossil fuel industries.

CO2 emissions from hydrogen production in fossil fuel production and processing are to be reported under venting emissions from facilities that are involved in the production, upgrading and refining of fossil fuels. CO2 released as a result of processing, such as the sweetening of natural gas, should also be reported as venting emissions.

(ii) Flaring emissions

Flaring emissions are defined as controlled releases of gases from industrial activities from the combustion of a gas and/or liquid stream produced at a facility not for the purpose of producing useful heat or work. They may arise from waste petroleum incineration, hazardous emission prevention systems (whether in pilot or active mode), well testing, natural gas gathering systems, natural gas processing plant operations, crude oil production, pipeline operations, petroleum refining as well as chemical fertilizer and steel production.

In general, flaring emissions are a result of the handling or processing of fuel in fossil fuel industries.

Note: Flaring of landfill gas should be accounted for under the Waste Emissions category (see Section 4.2.5). Also, emissions from coke oven batteries in iron and steel manufacturing are to be reported under flaring emissions when applicable.

(iii) Leakage emissions

Leakage emissions are defined as accidental releases and leaks of gases from fossil fuel production and processing, transmission and distribution; iron and steel coke oven batteries; CO2 capture, transport, injection and storage infrastructure for long-term geological storage.

Note: The release of landfill gases are to be reported under the Waste Emissions category (see Section 4.2.5). Also, emissions from coke oven batteries in iron and steel manufacturing can be reported under leakage emissions when applicable.

4.2.4 On-site transportation emissions

This category refers to releases of CO2, CH4 and N2O resulting from fuels combusted in machinery used at an integrated facility for the transport or movement of substances, materials, equipment or products that are used in the production process. Examples of such machinery or equipment may include:

Examples of transportation activities or machinery that would not be reported include:

4.2.5 Waste emissions

This category of emissions refers to releases that result from waste disposal sources at a facility. This includes landfilling of solid waste, flaring of landfill gas and waste incineration. GHG emissions from waste-to-energy conversion, where waste material is used directly as fuel or converted into fuel, must be calculated and reported under Stationary Fuel Combustion Emissions. There are emissions of CO2, CH4 and N2O from waste disposal, and special consideration is necessary for CO2 emissions originating from biomass materials in waste (see Section 4.2.7).

4.2.6 Wastewater emissions

This category of emissions refers to releases that result from wastewater and wastewater treatment at a facility. Wastewater treatment processes (aerobic and anaerobic) typically result in emissions of CH4 and N2O, and these emissions are reported under this category. CO2 is also a product of aerobic and anaerobic wastewater treatment. However, as described in Section 4.2.7, these emissions should not be reported.

In general, closed underground sewers are not considered a significant source of CH4 or N2O.

GHG emissions from wastewater treatment plants or processes will vary based on the type of influent (municipal vs. industrial wastewater), volume of influent and the specific treatment processes used. If CH4 from an anaerobic digestion process is collected and combusted for energy, it should be reported under Stationary Fuel Combustion Emissions. Special consideration is necessary for CO2 emissions originating from biomass materials in wastewater (see Section 4.2.7). Advanced treatment plants with nutrient removal (i.e., nitrification and denitrification) represent a small but distinct source of N2O.

Much of the N2O that leaves a wastewater treatment plant in the liquid effluent stream is eventually released to the atmosphere and does represent a significant source of GHGs, but wastewater treatment facilities are not required to report this type of delayed-flux emission from effluent.

4.2.7 Emissions from biomass

The following materials are considered to be biomass materials:

(i) CO2 emissions from combustion of biomass

In accordance with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Reporting Guidelines, special consideration is necessary when reporting CO2 emissions from biomass in national inventories to ensure that there is no double counting. These guidelines require the reporting (although not the counting) of CO2 emissions resulting from the combustion of biomass materials. This explicit reporting of CO2 emissions from biomass-based combustion has the benefits of:

The facility may use biomass materials as a fuel source in its on-site combustion processes. The reporting facility must report the CO2 emissions from the combustion of biomass fuels under Biomass Combustion Emissions, and these should not be included in the emission totals for the facility. Any CH4 and N2O emissions should be reported under either Stationary Fuel Combustion Emissions if the biomass is being burned to create energy, or under Waste or Wastewater Emissions in the case of waste incineration and landfill/anaerobic digester gas flaring processes, and these emissions must be included in the facility totals. There is no reverse, biogenic mechanism by which replacement biomass removes these emissions from the atmosphere. Therefore, they must be included in the GHG totals in the same way as CH4 and N2O emissions from any other material combusted.

Similarly, for waste incineration processes that may occur at the facility, the waste stream may be composed of organic (or biomass) materials and fossil fuel-based carbon materials (e.g., plastics, rubber, liquid solvents, waste oil). The CO2 emissions from the biomass portion being incinerated should be reported separately in the GHG report (and not included in the CO2 emission totals), whereas the CO2 emissions resulting from incineration of the fossil fuel-based fraction must be included in the facility totals.

As a further example of combustion of biomass materials, in the case of flaring of landfill gas, the CO2 emissions produced from this combustion process should be reported separately in the GHG report and not included in the emission totals, since landfill gas is considered a product stemming from the biodegradation of biomass material.

(ii) CO2 emissions from non-combustion of biomass

Waste disposal and wastewater treatment processes can produce CO2 emissions, a result of aerobic decomposition of biomass material in the waste or wastewater stream. The reporting company is not required to report these CO2 emissions; however, emissions of CH4 and N2O resulting from decomposition of biomass must be reported in the Waste or Wastewater Emissions categories.

Similarly, CO2 emissions generated from the fermentation of biomass materials (e.g., corn or wheat) are not to be reported. The fermentation of sugar or converted starch contained in grains (e.g., corn or wheat) in the ethanol production process is an example of this type of fermentation process generating CO2 emissions.

4.3 Hydrofluorocarbon, perfluorocarbon and sulphur hexafluoride emissions

The reporting facility also needs to calculate and report its direct emissions of the HFC and PFC gas species listed in Table 1, and the gas SF6, if the facility emits these GHGs from industrial processes and industrial product use.

HFC, PFC and SF6 emissions from industrial processes are described as emissions resulting from a chemical or physical transforming of material, such as PFC emissions from anode effects in primary aluminum smelting.

HFC, PFC and SF6 emissions from industrial product use are described as the use of a product to deliberately exploit one or more physical or chemical properties of it. The use does not involve any chemical or physical reaction of the product in the process. Some examples include SF6 and HFCs used in the magnesium industry as a cover gas. Use of SF6 in electrical equipment (e.g., gas-insulated switchgears, circuit breakers) is also considered an industrial product use.

The following subsections provide additional detail on these GHGs and possible sources of such emissions.

4.3.1 Hydrofluorocarbons

(i) Overview

HFCs are a series of synthetic gases containing carbon, hydrogen and fluorine (see Table 1 for a listing of individual HFC species). While HFCs are emitted in small quantities, they have disproportionate effects as a result of long atmospheric lifetimes, which in turn lead to large GWPs. The HFC species have 100-year GWPs ranging from 92 to as high as 14 800 (IPCC, 2012). The use of HFCs is expected to grow substantially as a result of the phasing out of various ozone-depleting substances (IPCC, 2006). HFCs are not included under the Montreal Protocol because they are not considered to be ozone-depleting substances.

(ii) Sources

The main sources of HFC emissions from industrial processes and industrial product use include emissions arising from foam blowing and the use of HFCs as a cover gas in metal production.

Emissions of HFCs from other applications, such as refrigeration, air conditioning, propellants in aerosols, fire extinguishers and solvents, are not considered industrial process or industrial product use emissions under the GHGRP and therefore should not be reported.

4.3.2 Perfluorocarbons

(i) Overview

PFCs are a family of industrial gases, and they should be reported by individual PFC gas species (see Table 1). Emissions of PFCs are relatively low by mass; however, they are potent GHGs, with 100-year GWPs ranging between 7 390 and 12 200 (IPCC, 2012). PFCs are not ozone-depleting substances, so they are not included under the Montreal Protocol.

(ii) Sources

The main sources of PFC emissions from industrial processes and industrial product use are attributed to two areas: aluminum production and foam blowing. PFC emissions are an undesirable by-product of aluminum production, while PFCs are purchased and used as foam-blowing agents.

Emissions of PFCs from other applications, such as refrigeration, air conditioning, semiconductor manufacturing, solvents, aerosols and fire extinguishing, are not considered industrial process or industrial product use emissions under the GHGRP and therefore should not be reported.

4.3.3 Sulphur hexafluoride

(i) Overview

SF6 is a synthetic gas with chemical properties that render it relatively inert, which makes it a preferred choice in various industrial applications. It is a particularly potent GHG, with a 100-year GWP of 22 800 and an estimated lifetime of about 3 200 years (IPCC, 2012).

(ii) Sources

The main sources of SF6 emissions from industrial processes and industrial product use include SF6 used as a cover gas in magnesium smelting and casting as well as for special foundry products in the aluminum industry. Use of SF6 as an insulating gas in electrical equipment (e.g., gas-insulated switchgear, circuit breakers) is also considered as an industrial product use.

Emissions of SF6 from other applications, such as fire suppression and explosion protection, leak detection and various electronic applications, are not considered industrial process or industrial product use emissions under the GHGRP and therefore should not be reported.

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