Decarbonization: You Can Only Improve If You Know the Data

Neuss, Deutschland
Decarbonization: You Can Only Improve If You Know the Data
Li Xuesong - Manager Energy Management

Accurate carbon data is the foundation for achieving effective carbon management and emission reduction goals. It provides a comprehensive understanding of our carbon emissions. Only with reliable data can correct decisions be made to optimize energy use, improve overall efficiency, and work towards sustainable energy management. To delve into how Yanfeng achieves carbon footprint capture through a systematic approach, we have invited energy management expert Li Xuesong to join us in the discussion.

Li Xuesong, what challenges does a company face in the area of carbon emissions management?

“Carbon emissions accounting comprises three Scopes. Scope 1 is the greenhouse gas emissions generated by its own operations. Scope 2 is the emissions generated by the purchased energy. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions generated in the company’s value chain, including the emissions generated by the company’s upstream and downstream transport, the carbon footprint of the products used by the company, and the carbon emissions generated during the use of these products. 
Since Scope 3 emissions are difficult to understand and it is difficult to collect this data, most companies’ ESG reports only covered Scope 1 and Scope 2 in the past. The fact is, however: Scope 3 emissions accounted for the largest portion of total emissions for many companies. The difficulty of supply chain carbon emissions lies in Scope 3.”

What were some of the challenges in the development and use of the Yanfeng Carbon Emission Tracking System?

“Yanfeng’s Carbon Emission Tracking System is a software platform. More precisely, it is a computing platform that combines business scenarios with IT technology, which employs computing logic based on Yanfeng’s business. This calculation logic is relatively complex and requires identification of different business scenarios. 
For a large company like Yanfeng, with multiple business segments, the difficulty is that the hundreds of plants under such an organization sometimes interact with each other as upstream suppliers and downstream customers. It is easy to do carbon calculations for a single plant, but when calculating the total emissions for all of Yanfeng, it is necessary to remove some overlapping carbon emission data to avoid double counting.”

One last question, Xuesong: what are the core elements of Yanfeng’s Carbon Emission Tracking System?

“The core element of this system is the emissions factors. A carbon emissions factor refers to the amount of carbon emissions produced per unit of energy in the process of burning or using each type of energy. According to the assumption of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it can be assumed that the carbon emission coefficient of a certain type of energy is constant, and the formula “carbon emissions = activity rate x emissions factor” can be used to calculate the carbon emissions directly once the emissions factor is known. However, due to differences in production processes, regional distribution, technical level, and other aspects, in addition to the carbon emissions factor data released by the IPCC, countries and industries also have their own emissions factor data to calculate carbon emissions. Now, Yanfeng has stored 3,100+ factors that are applicable for Yanfeng in the global authoritative factor database (40,000+ factors), which can connect to the international and domestic mainstream carbon emissions factor databases. In order to ensure the reliability of factors, we label each one in the Yanfeng factor database. This indicates which factor database it comes from and which year’s data it is.

The identification of the factor pool requires expert knowledge. There are often many factors for a given material, and which one to choose depends on the technician’s understanding of the process. Take aluminum processing as an example: there are many kinds of processes, and choosing different factors will yield different carbon calculation results. 

Therefore, the factor database for the Yanfeng Carbon Emission Tracking System is led by professional technicians, who can identify different materials and process methods from a professional point of view, so as to choose the appropriate calculation factor.”

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