6.A.1 - Ammonia emissions from human respiration and transpiration

Short description

Category Code Method AD EF
6.A.1 T1 NS D

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Method(s) applied
D Default
T1 Tier 1 / Simple Methodology *
T2 Tier 2*
T3 Tier 3 / Detailed Methodology *
CS Country Specific
M Model
* as described in the EMEP/EEA Emission Inventory Guidebook - 2019, in category chapters.
(source for) Activity Data
NS National Statistics
RS Regional Statistics
IS International Statistics
PS Plant Specific
As Associations, business organisations
Q specific Questionnaires (or surveys)
M Model / Modelled
C Confidential
(source for) Emission Factors
D Default (EMEP Guidebook)
CS Country Specific
PS Plant Specific
M Model / Modelled
C Confidential

NOx NMVOC SO2 NH3 PM2.5 PM10 TSP BC CO Heavy Metals POPs

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L/- key source by Level only
-/T key source by Trend only
L/T key source by both Level and Trend
-/- no key source for this pollutant
IE emission of specific pollutant Included Elsewhere (i.e. in another category)
NE emission of specific pollutant Not Estimated (yet)
NA specific pollutant not emitted from this source or activity = Not Applicable

In addition to animal-related excretion, nitrogen (N) is also introduced into the environment through human consumption of food and later disposed of.

Although nitrogen is released into the wastewater system as urine, mainly, physiological processes such as sweating and respiration also release nitrogen as ammonia.


The calculation of ammonia emissions in this area is made for the first time and is based on the methodological description of Visschendijk et al. (2022) 1).

For the complete time series, the emissions are calculated as follows:

EM = AD_(number of German inhabitants) * EF_(kg emission per inhabitant)

Activity data

The number of inhabitants in Germany is derived from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (DESTATIS) on an annual basis.

The number of people living in Germany by end of June of a specific year is taken as activity data. As of June 2022, 84,4 million people lived in Germany.

The following table shows the population figures over time.

Table 1: Population figures in Germany, as of 1990

1990 79,753,227
1995 81,307,715
2000 81,456,617
2005 81,336,663
2010 80,284,071
2011 80,274,983
2012 80,523,746
2013 80,767,463
2014 81,197,537
2015 82,175,684
2016 82,521,653
2017 82,792,351
2018 83,019,213
2019 83,166,711
2020 83,155,031
2021 83,237,124
2022 84,358,845

Emission factor

For the calculation of ammonia emissions in this category, the highest of the emission factors given in Sutton et al. (2000)2) are used, resulting in a total emission factor of 0.0826 kg NH3-N per person per year (according to the assumptions sum of 74.88 (sweating) and 7.7 (breathing) grams NH3-N per person per year, respectively).

Here, to avoid underestimating of emissions, the higher EFs were applied.

The amount was converted to the amount of ammonia using the stoichiometric factor of 17/14.

Emission Trend

The average value over tha last decade is 8.25 kt NH3 / year, so this category is not a major source of regional NH3 emissions.

The following figure shows the emission trend as of 1990:

 Annual ammonia emissions from human re- and transpiration.


With activity data and emission factors remaining unrevised, no recalculations were made compared to the last submission.


Activity data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (DESTATIS) usually have an uncertainty of ±3%.

As emission factors vary between different data sources and the amount of ammonia volatilized is based on an assumption, uncertainties for the emission factors are expected to be relatively high.

Hence the overall uncertainty for the emission estimation of NH3 is estimated by expert judgement to be ±95%.

Planned Improvement

Currently, no source-specific improvements are planned.

Visschedijk, A.J.H., J.A.J. Meesters, M.M. Nijkamp, W.W.R. Koch, B.I. Jansen & R. Dröge, 2022. Methods used for the Dutch Emission Inventory. Product usage by consumers, construction and services. RIVM Report 2022-0003. RIVM, Bilthoven., chapter 19 [https://rivm.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10029/625730/2022-0003.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y]
Sutton, M.A., U. Dragosits, Y.S. Tang & D. Fowler, 2000. Ammonia emissions from non-agricultural sources in the UK. Atmospheric Environment 34 (2000), 855–869.