Methodological issues

The use of lubricants in engines is primarily for their lubricating properties and associated emissions are therefore considered as non-combustion emissions to be reported in the IPPU Sector. However, in the case of 2-stroke engines, where the lubricant is mixed with another fuel and thus on purpose co-combusted in the engine, the emissions should be estimated and reported as part of the combustion emissions in the Energy Sector (see Volume 2).

It is difficult to determine which fraction of the lubricant consumed in machinery and in vehicles is actually combusted and thus directly results in CO2 emissions, and the fraction not fully oxidised that results firstly in NMVOC and CO emissions (except for the use in 2-stroke engines, which is excluded here). For this reason, these NMVOC and CO emissions are very seldom reported by countries in the emission inventories. Therefore, for calculating CO2 emissions the total amount of lubricants lost during their use is assumed to be fully combusted and these emissions are directly reported as CO2 emissions.

Regulations and policies for the disposal of used oil in most OECD countries often restrict landfilling and dumping, and encourage the separate collection of used oil. A small proportion of lubricants oxidises during use, but the main contribution to emissions is when the waste lubricants are collected at the end of their use, in accordance with country-specific regulations, and subsequently combusted. These waste oil handling emissions, however, are to be reported in the Waste Sector (or in the Energy Sector when energy recovery takes place). Figure 5.1 illustrates this.

1 Also known as mineral turpentine, petroleum spirits, industrial spirit ('SBP').

2 Also known as paraffin or paraffin oils (UK, South Africa).

Figure 5.1 Sectoral allocation of emissions from lubricants and waxes

Figure 5.1 Sectoral allocation of emissions from lubricants and waxes

Since CH4 and N2O emissions are very small in comparison to CO2, these can be neglected for the greenhouse gas calculation.

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