The effects of changes in the UK energy demand and environmental legislation on atmospheric pollution and future options for further reductions in emissions

  • John Isaac

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    This thesis researches and analyses three aspects of UK atmospheric pollution:-

    1.0 Evaluation of the annual atmospheric emissions arising from fossil fuels over the 1970 - 1994 period , and identification of the reasons for changing trends over this period of time.

    2.0 Prediction of future emissions for the 1990 - 2020 period.

    3.0 Evaluation of existing and new technology available for further reduction of emissions for the future.

    Phase 1 establishes and analyses changing pattern of the UK air pollution emission over the period 1970-1994 .

    Fossil fuels have been identified as the major source of man made air emissions and this thesis establishes the annual changing trends of carbon dioxide ( as carbon), sulphur dioxide , oxides of nitrogen ( as nitrogen dioxide) and black smoke .

    Estimations of the annual mass emission of the pollutants emitted from fossil fuels were based on the product of the emission factor coefficient for each of the pollutants and the annual consumption energy of the individual fossil fuels .

    The analysis of these data have clearly shown that emissions of carbon dioxide , sulphur dioxide and black smoke over this period have declined , whereas the oxides of nitrogen have shown a less clear trend .

    Further analysis of these data has identified and quantified three factors that have influence on the changing pattern of these emissions .

    The changing pattern of energy consumption
    The changing pattern of fossil fuel mix .
    UK and EEC Environmental legislation.

    Phase 2 considers future emission levels up to the year 2020

    Using the calculated and empirically developed emission factors established in this thesis and a predictive energy consumption and energy mix energy model future forecasts of mass emissions from fossil fuels were established for the period 1990 - 2020.

    An analysis of this data indicates : -
    A decline in carbon dioxide emissions up to the year 2000 , and thereafter a significant increase in the level of emissions .
    A steady but significant decline in the emissions of sulphur dioxide over the whole of the 1990-2010 period , due mainly to environmental legislation and changes in energy mix.
    With the predicted increase in demand for travel in the UK, the major source of emissions of oxides of nitrogen during the 2000 -2020 is expected to continue to be the road traffic sector .
    The road traffic sector is currently by far the major source of black smoke . The implementation of legislative control will determine future levels of emissions.

    Phase 3 considers the potential for reductions in emissions from the power generating sector by the adoption improved existing technology and also advances technology.

    The power generating sector has been shown to be the major emitter of carbon dioxide , and sulphur dioxide and also significant generators of oxides of nitrogen. Technology options for reducing emissions have been identified and evaluated .

    Date of AwardJul 1997
    Original languageEnglish

    Cite this