CO2 calculator for cars, planes and much more.

All data and calculation bases were given to us from the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (Ifeu) in Heidelberg provided. On behalf of the Federal Environment Agency, Ifeu has Expert model for calculating air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions developed from motorized traffic in Germany: Tremod – Transport Emission Model.

With Tremod, the Heidelberg Institute looks at all means of passenger transport for each year from 1960 and in scenarios up to 2050, as well as energy consumption, greenhouse gases and air pollutant emissions. Tremoden takes into account exhaust emissions also from fuel combustion Emissions in the upstream chain to the electricity or. Fuel supply (“Well-to-Wheels” – “from the well to the wheel”). The emissions that occur during the manufacture and disposal of means of transport and for the necessary infrastructure such as roads are not taken into account.

CO2 and other greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gas emissions include next CO2 also methane, nitrous oxide and other substances. Therefore, our CO2 calculator not only determines CO2, but also so-called CO2 equivalents (eq). The global warming potential (GWP), that is, the average warming effect of the atmosphere over a certain period (usually 100 years), is determined according to the specifications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 2007. CO2 is given a factor of 1, methane a factor of 25 and nitrous oxide a factor of 298. The emission of nitrous oxide and methane does not occur primarily when the fuel is burned, but rather when the fuel or electricity is produced.

Values ​​are more realistic than NEDC

Tremod was used to determine the cars’ fuel and electricity consumption. It contains realistic values ​​that are far above the values ​​from the “New European Driving Cycle” (NEDC).

The fuel or electricity consumption that we expected. | Picture: WDR

Both plug-in hybrids the total consumption is indicated. The vehicle needs both fuel and electricity to travel a certain distance. Both are included in the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions. Here lies electric driving share according to an analysis by the Fraunhofer Institute (Ploetz et al., 2017), currently approx 50 percent. Higher shares of electric driving are possible and desirable from an ecological point of view, but much depends individual user behavior and load discipline away.

Greenhouse gas emissions from cars

The cars’ carbon dioxide emissions are calculated based on the fuel consumption, the emission factors for the fuels and the number of people in the car.

Formula for CO2 emissions per  kilometer.
Calculation of CO2 emissions per kilometer. | Picture: WDR

These CO2 emissions per vehicle kilometers are divided by the number of people in the car (person kilometers) and then multiplied by the total distance. The value that the computer emits always refers to one person on a particular route.

The emission factors for the various fuels are taken from the current Tremod (version 5.71). Gasoline already contains 4 percent ethanol, and diesel contains 5 percent biodiesel (based on one megajoule of fuel). The figures take into account the “Well-to-Wheel” – “from the borehole to the wheel” – i.e. all emissions from the generation and delivery of the drive energy.

Emission factors for the different types of cars.
Emission factors for the different types of cars. | Picture: WDR

The average German electricity mix was used to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions from electricity production.

The influence of the energy transition on CO2 values

While today’s German electricity mix (from 2016) has an emission of around 580 grams CO2eq/kWh, the value in 2030 is expected to be 425 grams CO2eq/kWh (Information from Öko-Institut and Fraunhofer Institute, 2015). If the energy transition is continued in an ambitious manner, CO2 emissions from electricity production will fall significantly more in the future. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions will drop sharply and the climate benefit of electric and rail vehicles will increase significantly. The values ​​shown here form a dish conservative estimate away.

Emission factors for the different types of cars.
Emission factors for the different types of cars. | Picture: WDR

What about the other means of transport?

The carbon emissions from local and long-distance transport also come from 2016 Tremod average fleet assumed – local passenger transport includes e.g. also diesel-powered trains and not just electric trains – and the average capacity taken as a basis.

CO2 emissions from local and long-distance transport.
CO2 emissions from local and long-distance transport. | Picture: WDR

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