Generic carbonate consumption


Mineral industry methodology, general carbonate calcination. Calculates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions based on the quantity of carbonate minerals calcined. Scenarios include pure, rock and clay forms of limestone and dolomite. Globally applicable.


This methodology represents carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with the calcination of carbonate minerals. The data and calculation methodology is sourced from the IPCC, as published in Volume 3, Chapter 2 - Mineral Industry Emissions of their 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. IPCC tier 1 and tier 2 approaches are represented by this methodology.

The methodology

Emissions model

Limestone (CaCO3) and dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2) are basic raw materials having commercial applications in a number of industries. The heating of carbonate minerals to high temperatures ('calcining') produces metallic oxides as well as CO2 emissions. This methodology calculates CO2 emissions from the general consumption (through calcination) of carbonate minerals.

The methodology represents a simplified mass-balance approach, assuming (1) that all carbon (C) which enters the calcination process as a component of carbonate minerals is eventually emitted as CO2; and (2) that carbonate consumption is based entirely on mixtures of limestone and dolomite (more varied composition can be handled using the tier 3 approach - see below).

Quantities of CO2 are calculated by using conversion factors which represent the stoichiometry of the chemical processes, i.e. the known molecular mass ratio of the reactant carbonate material and the product CO2.

A default composition of 85% limestone and 15% dolomite is provided for cases where specific quantities are not known. In this case this methodology represents the IPCC tier 1 approach. Where individual quantities of limestone and dolomite are provided as additional activity data, the calculation represents the tier 2 approach.

Model data

CO2 conversion factors (stoichiometric ratios) for limestone and dolomite are sourced from the IPCC and can be found here.

As well as stoichiometric considerations, CO2 emissions associated with the calcining of carbonate minerals are also related to the purity of the carbonate. Four calculation scenarios are provided with this methodology representing different levels of carbonate purity for the limestone/dolomite mix:

  • pure: 100% carbonate
  • rock: 95% carbonate
  • clay: 10% carbonate
  • other: 100% carbonate
These purities specify what proportion of the bulk material calcined represents carbonate minerals. These values can be overidden if specific purity data is available.

Activity data required

Greenhouse gas emissions are directly proportionate to the quantity (i.e. mass) of carbonate consumed, which therefore must be specified in order to make a calculation. In addition, values for the proportions of limestone and dolomite and the overall mixture purity can be specified optionally, if data are available.

Calculation and results

CO2 emissions are calculated by converting the bulk quantity into a quantity for pure carbonate (via the purity value), from which the respective quantities of limestone and dolomite are calculated (via their fractional concentrations). These quantities are finally converted into a quantity of CO2 emissions on the basis of their respective CO2 conversion factors

This emissions calculated by this methodology represent those attributable to the specified quantity of carbonate calcined.

Related methodologies

Several other IPCC methodologies are available which represent carbonate calcination. These include the IPCC tier 3 methodology which corresponds to this methodology, as well as methodologies specific to soda ash consumption, as well as glass and cement production.

F2VLC2DB97ID limestone/dolomite, clay
CS4H6MBQRXKN limestone/dolomite, other
8NEGVT85UWMV limestone/dolomite, pure
NLKCZPAXZZN8 limestone/dolomite, rock
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