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Carbon emissions per kWh for various fuels

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 October 2017 18:52

Carbon Dioxide emissions data from burning fossil fuels, like natural gas or heating oil is relatively easy to come by and present, but there are some inaccuracies when presenting the data, considering the efficiency and effectiveness of fuel combustion and the effect this has on the effluent. Having said that the numbers for the fuels presented in this site are reasonably accurate and directly from government sources. We have used this very useful reference document, government has an irritating habit of archiving old document from previous administrations so we have downloaded the document and added it to our server so that if this happens we still have the reference, it is here by the way!

From this document we have used the net figures, i.e. figures for the emissions of CO2 from a kWh of delivered energy, in other words it includes a measure of combustion efficiency, making the emissions data a little more accurate.

For fuels like wood sensible data is much more tricky as you have the argument that wood and other bio fuels are re-grown acting as carbon sinks and are close to carbon neutral. For the moment this site will avoid these fuels when considering CO2 emissions, but we will eventually get to them. The main figures used in the site are in the table.

Natural Gas CO2 Emissions 0.21kg per kWh used
Heating Oil CO2 Emissions 0.26kg per kWh used
LPG CO2 Emissions 0.23kg per kWh used
UK Grid CO2 Emissions 0.367kg per kWh used

The table also includes the latest emissions data for the UK National Grid, this is updated once a year. The number is an average Carbon Dioxide emission value for the whole year and it is reducing each year at the moment; the closure of some of the old coal fired power stations in the UK and the move to more renewables plays a part in this. If you scan the internet the values given on all but a few sites are inaccurate and based on emissions often 10 years ago, a lot has changed.

We have taken this data from which is up to date, well researched and well presented, it also shows how emissions fluctuate throughout the day and illustrates that the time of day you choose to wash your clothes for example can impact on UK CO2 emissions.

Below is the trend for Carbon Dioxide emissions since 2009 from the national Grid. As you can see it is reducing.

I have found another source of data for this information and I am not sure which to use. This gives a slightly different picture.

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