NOx abatement techniques increase greenhouse gas emissions

Advanced methods of reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides from boilers and vehicles give rise to higher emissions of nitrous oxide, a gas implicated in global warming and ozone depletion. The findings, reported in a study for the European Commission, suggest that global emissions of N2O from fossil fuel combustion are several times higher than estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and will rise further as the new technologies are deployed.1

The study was carried out by the Institut Francais du Petrole (IFP) and the Macaulay Land Use Institute. It was initiated by the Commission in 1989, soon after it was discovered that N2O was formed in flasks in which gas from combustion sources had been collected for analysis. This meant that emissions of the gas had been grossly overestimated.

Until then, scientists had believed that fossil fuel burning emitted some 2.5 millio

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