AEROLAB SPACE shows GHG emissions for the Grand Est region

Published on 23/04/2024
Establishing carbon footprints and verifying whether or not greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets have been met requires an inventory of GHG emissions. The AEROLAB SPACE project is a response to the need to obtain this data quickly, on a local and regional scale, by proposing a real-time measurement and modelling method.

Already used in the Grand Est region to monitor greenhouse gas emissions in real time, the AEROLAB SPACE method is a first in France. Using spatial data, it complements the work of the AEROLAB research and innovation cluster supported by the University of Reims.

A genuine environmental and political decision-making tool, the project provides spatial monitoring of sources of GHG emissions and generates an indicator of confidence and traceability of emissions thanks to a major synergy of data:

  • very local and accurate in situ data from ground stations and airborne sensors (plane, drone, balloon) developed as part of the AEROLAB cluster.
  • precise, real-time spatial data with frequent satellite revisits.
  • simulations by modelling the diffusion of different GHGs, taking into account meteorological parameters.

This real-time monitoring is all the more important given that official emissions inventories are only published every two years or so.

Inventories and uncertainties
There is a regulatory framework for national inventories, but not for the more local scales that are necessary for public decision-makers and for monitoring measures to combat greenhouse gas emissions. Added to this, the lack of data and the rapid evolution of urban areas contribute to increasing errors and inaccuracies in carbon footprints. To accurately monitor greenhouse gas emissions and their trends (upwards, downwards), it is necessary to standardise inventory protocols, in particular by identifying all emission sources and sinks, and by including all sectors of activity.

💨 Find out more: Why carbon footprints are uncertain - and how to improve them, article published in The Conversation on 9 October 2022 (in French)

Working with CapGemini to design the digital platform that will report indicators and dynamic, up-to-date maps of GHG emissions in the Grand Est region, the team is currently focusing on the city of Reims. The city has a wealth of in situ data, which is needed to correlate the satellite data and 'calibrate' the models. Having carried out numerous comparisons of the different types of data, the project team has in particular carried out measurements by airplane over the Chalon industrial site to quantify the emission plume and compare it with the results of its model enhanced with meteorological data. It also analyzed the differences between daytime and night-time emissions at forestry and agricultural sites to identify anthropogenic emissions.

AerolabSpace mesures avion

Aerial measurements showing the plume of greenhouse gas emissions over the Chalon industrial site. © AEROLAB

While the next few months will be devoted to producing improved emissions maps, the team plans to deliver an operational tool in January 2025.

Aerolab Space interface V1

First version of the AEROLAB SPACE platform with changes in CO2 emissions since 2010. © CapGemini