Carbon intensities of energy-intensive industries

Greenpeace asked CE Delft to calculate the carbon intensities of sectors participating in the EU ETS using public data. A top-down approach was adopted to investigate four industrial sectors (refineries, petrochemicals, fertilisers, iron and steel), accounting for the bulk of industrial emissions in the Netherlands. The carbon intensities of these sectors were compared with those of their counterparts in other countries.

The study started out from the notion that carbon intensities could in theory be readily calculated using data available from the regulatory bodies handling the EU ETS. This data proved to be confidential,  however, and was therefore unavailable. We identified two alternative options for calculating carbon intensities:

  1. Using monetary data from Eurostat
  2. Using physical data from Exiobase.

The first approach indicated that the Dutch petrochemical sector is generally about average in carbon intensity, with the fertiliser and iron and steel sectors above-average. This is probably due, at least in part, to the Dutch companies being specialized in the most carbon-intensive products within these sectors. The second approach showed that the Dutch sectors are slightly less carbon-intensive than the average of a sample of European countries plus the United States, Canada, China, Japan and South Korea.