Greenhouse Gas

A greenhouse gas (or GHG) is any gas in the atmosphere which absorbs and releases heat, and thereby keeps the planet’s atmosphere warmer than it otherwise would be. The main GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere are water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and ozone.

GHGs occur naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere, but human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are increasing the levels of GHGs in the atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change. The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty for controlling the release of GHGs from human activities. It is worth noting that different greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for different lengths of time, and they also absorb different amounts of heat. The “global warming potential” (GWP) of a GHG indicates the amount of warming a gas causes over a given period (normally 100 years).

CarbonCare in a Nutshell

Carbon dioxide & CO2 Equivalents

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common GHG emitted by human activities, in terms of the quantity released and the total impact on global warming. As a result, the term “CO2” is sometimes used as a collective expression for all greenhouse gases; however, this can cause confusion, and a more accurate way of referring to a number of GHGs collectively is to use the term “carbon dioxide equivalent” or “CO2e”.

Because CO2 is considered the most important greenhouse gas, some GHG assessments or reports only include CO2 and do not consider the other greenhouse gases, and this can lead to an understatement of total global warming impact. Greenhouse gas inventories are more complete if they include all GHGs and not just CO2. “Carbon dioxide equivalent” or “CO2e” is a term for describing different greenhouse gases in a common unit. For any quantity and type of greenhouse gas, CO2e signifies the amount of CO2 which would have the equivalent global warming impact.

A quantity of GHG can be expressed as CO2e by multiplying the amount of the GHG by its GWP. E.g. if 1kg of methane is emitted, this can be expressed as 25kg of CO2e (1kg CH4 * 25 = 25kg CO2e). “CO2e” is a very useful term for a number of reasons: it allows “bundles” of greenhouse gases to be expressed as a single number; and it allows different bundles of GHGs to be easily compared (in terms of their total global warming impact). However, one word of caution when comparing CO2e totals is that it is important to know that the same GHGs are included in the totals being compared (Econometrica 2012).

The Standard

CarbonCare is based on the European Standard EN16258.

EN 16258 is a methodology for the calculation and declaration of energy consumption and GHG emissions of transport services (freight and passengers). The CEN members are the national standards institutes of Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Cyprus.

Why have we committed to the EN16258 standard and not another standard?

Our research incorporated an assessment of all global standards. This revealed that most so-called standards focus on regional areas (e.g. SmartWay for North America) or have been established by transportation organizations (e.g. TIACA, GLEC, CCWG, IATA etc.), are concentrated solely on one mode of transport (e.g. IATA, IMO, ICAO, CCWG etc.) or are research bodies (e.g. COFRET, STREAM etc.). EN16258 is a European standard, but it focuses on all transport modes and is neither an association, nor a research body; moreover, it is a state norm.

LKW durch Weizenfeld unter grauen Wolken

CarbonCare Results

Primarily, EN16258 calculates the TTW (Tank-To-Wheel) and WTW (Well-to-Wheel). TTW means the direct combustion of energy for the respective mode of transport, whereas WTW includes the production, transportation and distribution of fuel, including the final combustion of energy. WTW is WTT + TTW, where WTT means “Well to Tank” (refer also to next two graphics).

EN16258 only provides for the calculation of CO2 equivalents: CarbonCare goes one step further. We calculate not only CO2 equivalents, but also the pure CO2. Many companies are very interested in effective and pure CO2 emissions.

Figure 2: EU Science Hub 2018

CarbonCare is holistic and calculates all kind of transport modes globally

We offer:

  • Air transports for all stage lengths (AIR)
  • Truck transports (ROAD)
  • Open sea transports with containerships (SEA)
  • Inland waterways transport on rivers (IWW)
  • Train transports (RAIL)

In addition to EN16258, we can also provide the emission figures for transhipping before, after and between any kind of transport modes (XSHIP).

General Principles for CarbonCare

For the establishment of the calculator we refer to following basic principles:

  • Basic standard EN16258
  • Some additional data for our customers, such as pure CO₂ emission calculations or transhipping factors
  • Developed with sophisticated partners for each mode of transport. Therefore real, operational data.
  • For the measurements, we have applied long periods of time and measured effective freight versus effective consumption. Thus, loading factors and empty rides are irrelevant, or even built into them.

For transparency, the underlying load factors are shown below.

  • Through well-developed partners for each mode, we provide mainly bottom up figures
  • Models are developed on more than 3.5million empirically developed data
  • Models are crosschecked with literature, databases, academic research and additional transport modes

Detailed Assumptions for each Mode

AIRDISTANCESGreat circle distances plus 95km according to EN16258. RF-Index is currently set to 1.0 according to CORE Project of University of Stockholm.UNDERLYING FACTORSData for different aircraft types.
LF: 80% or cargo load factor 70%. LL:
almost 0% since only a few technical flights required positioning.
ROADDISTANCESGreat circle distances for delivery tours. In the logistics industry, point to point transports are extremely seldom.UNDERLYING FACTORSData for various truck types (see calculator).
LF: 80% for trucks 7 tonnes and smaller.
LF: 75-80% for larger trucks.
SEADISTANCESShortest routings based on our own specially developed distance calculator. Distance compared with international, well-known calculators and measured examples.UNDERLYING FACTORSMainly based on CCWG (Clean Cargo Working Group) data. CCWG values corrected for one TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) to 10.5 tonnes according to EN16258. Data for cooling available. Fleetwide utilisation factor of 74%; however, there are large differences for different routes varying between 60% and 84%. Currents are compensated for over the timeframe.
IWWDISTANCESShortest routings based on our own specially developed distance calculator. Distance compared with international, well-known calculators.UNDERLYING FACTORSOwn measurements supplemented with newest STREAM research data. Applied UT of 53% for ships under 2000 tonnes or 55% respectively.
RAILDISTANCESShortest routings based on our own specially developed distance calculator. Distance compared with international, well-known calculators. Routes split up into electrified and diesel train routes.UNDERLYING FACTORSCarbonCare respects the masses for different railway systems. Further, we assess the diesel or electric traction for each route. The electrical consumption (WTW only) is calculated based on IEA national GRID values.
XSHIPDISTANCESUNDERLYING FACTORSOur own transhipment values, developed for each mode of transport. At airports, there is a 10-hour warehousing period included which respects the national GRID values. Cooling is only calculated for airport transhipping.
COOLDISTANCESUNDERLYING FACTORSCooling is only calculated for:
  • ROAD transports and truck masses of 13 tonnes and higher
  • SEA transports
  • Transhipping at airports

LF: load factor; LL: Loaded legs; UT: Utilization factor