Reducing Non-CO2 Industrial & Agricultural Emissions

Decarbonization Avenue : Reducing Non-CO2 Industrial & Agricultural Emissions

Human activities globally emit about 35 billion tons of CO2 every year.

An additional 15 billion tons of CO2 equivalent emissions happen from sources outside of CO2 - mainly from methane & N2O, some from refrigerant gases, and gases such as SF6 used in applications such as sealants.

Methane emissions happen from cattle & livestock emissions, from landfills, and leaks of methane from natural gas production and distribution infrastructure (natural gas flaring is another source of emissions, but the methane gets converted to CO2 in this process).

About three quarters of all global N2O emissions mainly occur from agricultural fields where the nitrogen in the excess fertilizer that had not been absorbed by the crops gets converted into N2O.

R-22, the common refrigerant in use today, has a global warming potential that is about 2000 times that of CO2. Thus, even relatively small amounts of leaks of this refrigerant could mean  significant enhancements to global warming. Similar is the case with SF6, which has a potential that is 22,000 times that of CO2 over a hundred year period.

Given the diverse nature and sources of these emissions, it will be quite challenging to mitigate all of them quickly. Some of these sources - landfill emissions, for instance - could see significant successful abatement efforts during the 2020-2030 period, while others - for instance, controlling N2O emissions from agriculture - could prove far more challenging.

For the 2020-2030 period, innovations for this domain will be around leakage detection systems, alternative refrigerants, landfill gas management, and solutions for farmers to decrease N2O emissions through alternative fertilizers or from better fertilizer application systems.

Industries impacted

  • Agriculture & farming
  • Chemicals & petrochemicals
  • Fertilizers
  • Livestock
  • Oil & gas
  • Waste management
  • Water

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Themes & Topics

  • Methane

    • Reduction of methane emissions from landfills

    • Reduction of methane emissions from industrial operations

      • Oil & gas production

      • Natural gas distribution pipelines

      • Coal mining operations

      • Other industries

    • Agriculture & livestock

      • Ruminant enteric fermentation

      • Agricultural farms

      • Animal waste

    • Methane emissions from wetlands

    • Monitoring & control of CH4 emissions

    • Methane capture and use

  • Refrigerants

    • CFCs and HCFCs

    • Monitoring and control

    • Alternative refrigerants

  • SF6

  • Use of IT and IoT for emission monitoring & control

  • Policies

  • Training and capacity building


  • N2O emissions from fertilizer use

    • Monitoring & control of fertilizer use to reduce fertilizer run-offs

    • Precision farming for reducing fertilizer run-offs

    • Mechanical methods to treat fertilizer run-offs

    • Bioremediation to treat fertilizer run-offs

    • Treating fertilizer run-offs through wetlands

    • Use of soil conditioners and cover crops

    • Effective drainage for minimizing fertilizer run-offs

    • Use of slow release fertilizers

    • Use of field buffers such as trees and shrubs

    • Conservation tillage

    • Managing livestock access to streams