2018 UK Defra carbon conversion factors download

Hot off the press are the new 2018 UK Defra carbon conversion factors the full set of which you can download fast


These are ‘Defra‘ conversion factors, although are now created and published by BEIS.

Need help applying the carbon conversion factors?

Need help or advice about when and how to use these, which replace the 2017 carbon conversion factors?  Or want to discuss different aspects of how to apply 2018 carbon factors to your organisation’s circumstances?  We’re here to help and love to discuss carbon problems!  Please ring us on 020 0960054 (ask for Emma or Will) and you can email us with your queries here too.

What’s new for 2018 CO2e factors?

  • UK electricity Scope 2 carbon conversion factor has decreased by 19%

This is due to the increasing proportion of natural gas and renewables in the UK grid mix.  The decrease in the 2017 GHG Conversion Factors was 15% compared with the previous year because there was a decrease in coal generation, and an increase in gas and renewables generation, in 2015 (the inventory year for which the 2017 GHG Conversion Carbon Factors were derived).

  • Flights carbon conversion factors increases

An 11.5% increase in the carbon emission factor for domestic UK flights and a 7.7% increase for long haul flights to and from the UK.

  • Inclusion of urea in HGVs and buses carbon conversion factors

Emissions from the consumption of urea in heavy duty vehicles and buses is estimated in the carbon conversion factors for the first time and are included in the estimates for overall CO2 emission conversion factors. Due to global concerns about air quality pollutants from diesel engines, Euro 6 regulations have been implemented to further reduce NOx emissions by 65% compared with Euro 5. NOx are some of the most harmful air quality pollutants, as they react with other gases in the atmosphere to form small particles and ozone.

A technology developed to enable manufacturers to meet diesel engine emissions standards for NOx is selective catalytic reduction (SCR). This uses a urea solution to effectively remove NOx and NO2 from diesel engines exhaust gases; this process occurs over a specially formulated catalyst. Urea solution is a colourless liquid that is made from a mixture of high-purity urea (32.5%) and deionised water (67.5%) and is injected into the vehicle’s exhaust system before harmful NOx emissions are generated from the tail pipe. When the fuel is burnt, urea solution is injected into the SCR catalyst to convert the NOx into a less harmful mixture of nitrogen and water vapour. In the SCR catalytic converter, the urea present becomes ammonia when heated, then reacts with the NOx and produce nitrogen, water and a small amount of carbon dioxide. Hence the UK 2018 carbon conversion factors capture this extra CO2.

  • Steel closed loop source carbon conversion factor

Key referenced for closed loop steel recycling has been updated, and the methodology has been improved. This more recent and improved data directly provides LCI emissions factors per kg of steel recycled, whereas these were previously derived based on emissions for different grades of recycled steel.

  • Construction and demolition metals closed loop source carbon factor

The updated metals recycling carbon conversion factors for construction and demolition have been standardised using the updated closed loop steel recycling carbon conversion factor. The methodology has changed, and is now based directly on emissions from metals recycling; previously this had been based on published estimated savings from recycling metals.

  • Waste Glass landfill / green and mixed organics composting carbon factors

These carbon factors had previously been taken directly from published studies that used a methodology different from that used for the other waste carbon factors. The new 2018 carbon factors are based on a standardised approach using data on transport emissions to and on site and MELMod factors for landfill emissions. 

Need help with the carbon factors download?

We created this carbon conversion factors download to make it easy to get hold of the 2018 carbon conversion factors published in May each year.  If you have any difficulty with our 2018 carbon conversion factors download, please get in touch and we can send them by email.

Should you use market-based electricity carbon factors or location-based carbon conversion factors from this download for UK grid electricity CO2 reporting?

If you’re reporting under the GHG Protocol, market-based carbon conversion factors are recommended.  To do this you need your fuel mix disclosure from your electricity supplier to derive the correct carbon factors.  If you’ve procured 100% REGO-backed renewable electricity (the genuine renewables energy guarantee of origin certificates should be issued to you, not a statement saying that the supplier has purchased the certificates on your behalf which does not mean you’ve invested in the UK renewables industry) then you can declare ZERO scope 2 emissions using the GHG Protocol market-based method.

However, BEIS, having taken over from DEFRA, has not issued any reporting guidance since 2013. Therefore organisations such as HESA which gather environmental data for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) stick with the location-based method as per the original 2013 UK government guidance.  Conversely, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) requests the market-based method.




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