Coal has both scope 1 direct emissions and scope 3 indirect emissions. The upstream scope 3 emissions include the full life cycle of coal extraction and processing, starting with the extraction of raw materials through to the final delivery of that coal. Most emissions from coal (>90%) are from the combustion of the coal (scope 1). However, the scope 3 upstream emissions are important to include in your emissions inventory to have more complete information when comparing across different energy options.
SIMAP now includes the ability to calculate scope 3 upstream emissions for coal. These upstream emissions are categorized as scope 3 category 3: fuel- and energy-related activities (FERA).
Coal: Life cycle of coal, from extraction of raw materials through combustion
Source: NREL 2012
What affects your coal scope 3 emissions factor
The specific type of coal, the basin it was extracted from, processing methods, and the type of energy generation facility can all affect the scope 3 upstream emissions from coal. In SIMAP, we use a US average emissions factor reflecting common coal typesl.
In SIMAP, we use a US weighted average upstream emissions factor for coal
The SIMAP default scope 3 emissions factor for coal uses a weighted average of coal production and use in the US. If you would like to customize your coal scope 3 emissions factor based on your location, then read one for more details.
Upstream scope 3 emissions factors for coal by location
The scope 3 coal emissions factors are most concentrated in the extraction phase of the coal life cycle. The total US average upstream coal emissions factor for CO2 is 89.4788 kg CO2/short ton. The coal upstream emissions factors are collected from four studies from the US National Energy & Technology Laboratory (NETL). The four studies were published in 2018 using 2015 data. The 2015 emission factors are applied across all years in SIMAP.
Coal scope 3 emissions factors
|Stage||kg CO2/short ton||kg CH4/short ton||kg N2O/short ton|
Source: Four reports by Skone et al. 2018 (see Sources section)
How to enter your custom scope 3 coal emissions factor into SIMAP
You can customize your upstream coal emission factors using the following steps:
- Go to the Data Entry tab > Emission factors page
- From the drop-downs, make the following selections: Scope 1 > On-campus stationary sources > Coal
- Now when you select the last drop-down, FERA emission factors will appear for all emission factor types
- Select the 'FERA CO2' emissions factor, enter your custom emissions factor in the text field for all applicable years, and click the green 'save' button at the end. Repeat as needed for other emission factors (e.g., CH4, N2O)
Which coal FERA emissions factors are available in SIMAP?
The upstream emissions factors for coal in SIMAP are available in CO2, CH4, and N2O. The same emissions factors are used across all years.
Although NOx emissions are generated from upstream coal, we do not yet have those emissions factors calculated and populated in SIMAP. If you have a custom upstream coal emissions factor for NOx, there is a blank field on the emissions factors page where you can enter your custom factor.
NREL 2012. Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Concentrating Solar Power. https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/56416.pdf
Skone, T., Jamieson, M., Schivley, G., Marriott, J., Cooney, G., Littlefield, J., Mutchek, M., Krynock, M., & Shih, C. (2018). Life cycle analysis: Oxy-combustion supercritical pulverized coal (oxypc) power plants. https://doi.org/10.2172/1542448
Skone, T., Jamieson, M., Schively, G., Marriott, J., Cooney, G., Mutchek, M., Krynock, M., & Shih, C. (2018). Life cycle analysis: Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power plants. https://doi.org/10.2172/1542445
Skone, T., Schivley, G., Jamieson, M., Marriott, J., Cooney, G., Littlefield, J., Mutchek, M., Krynock, M., & Shih, C. (2018). Life cycle analysis: Sub-critical pulverized coal (subpc) power plants. https://doi.org/10.2172/1542447
Skone, T., Schivley, G., Jamieson, M., Marriott, J., Cooney, G., Littlefield, J., Mutchek, M., Krynock, M., & Shih, C. (2018). Life cycle analysis: Supercritical pulverized coal (SCPC) power plants. https://doi.org/10.2172/1542449