Environment: ENEA develops new software to calculate ammonia emissions in agriculture and livestock


SCENA is a new software to calculate ammonia emissions in agriculture and livestock developed by ENEA as part of the ES-PA project[1].

“In Italy the majority of ammonia emissions comes from animal husbandry and agricultural fertilisers. Our software is an easy-to-use tool with which regional and provincial public administrations can plan targeted actions to reduce ammonia emissions into the atmosphere ", explained Ilaria D'Elia, ENEA researcher at the Atmospheric Pollution Laboratory .

In detail, SCENA (Calculation tool for ammonia emissions in the agricultural sector) provides estimates on ammonia emissions for the different categories of livestock and the agricultural use of fertilizers with a high nitrogen content.  Data processing include: number of animals and amount of fertilizer; emission factors by number of heads of the main categories[2] of the zootechnical sector in the various phases (grazing, shelter, storage and spreading), in line with the ISPRA national inventory and the emission reduction methods contained in the Code of Good Agricultural Practices attached to the National Air Pollution Control Plan[3]; the amount of nitrogen emitted for the different nitrogen fertilizers[4];

Killing methods defined as the proportion of animals for each category and phase for the livestock sector, type of distribution technique and type of land for the agricultural sector.

As highlighted by the national inventories for air pollution emissions released annually by Ispra, in Italy, in 2019 alone (IIR, 2021)[5], 94.3% of ammonia emissions derived from livestock production and the use of nitrogen fertilizers, with no significant variations from the 1990s until today.

"The European NEC directive [6] requires Italy to reduce ammonia emissions by 16%- compared to the 2005 values- by 2030. Ammonia is considered particularly dangerous since it plays a key role in the formation of fine particulate matter, very harmful to human health. SCENA is an innovative tool which allows to assess the effectiveness of the programs implemented or to be implemented to comply with the national reduction target ", said Chiara Nobili, ENEA researcher at the Sustainability, Quality and Safety of Agrifood Production Laboratory.

For more information please contact:

Chiara Nobili, ENEA - Biotechnologies and  AgroIndustry Division, Sustainability, Quality and Safety of Production Laboratory

Ilaria D’Elia, ENEA - Models and Technologies for the Reduction of Anthropic Impacts and Natural Risks Division,  Atmospheric Pollution Laboratory, ilaria.delia@enea.it



[1] Energy and Sustainability Project for the PA, line of activity 2.4.2 "Tools for calculating ammonia emissions from fertilizers and the livestock sector", funded by the PON Governance and Institutional Capacity 2014-2020.

[2] dairy cows, other cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, horses, other equines, sows, other pigs, rabbits, laying hens, broilers, other poultry, fur animals.

[3] https://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/reduction/NAPCP.htm

[4] Ammonium sulphate, calcium cyanamide, nitrate, urea, other nitrogens (nitric, ammoniacal, amide) nitrogen, phostatic nitrogen, potassium nitrogen, phospho-potassic nitrogen, simple organic nitrogen, organic compound, mineral organ (simple nitrogen, compound), soil improver (vegetable , mixed, peaty compost, peat, manure, others).

[5] https://www.isprambiente.gov.it/it/pubblicazioni/rapporti/inventario-nazionale-delle-emissioni-in-atmosfera-1990-2019-informative-inventory-report-2021

[6] EU NEC Directive (National Emission Ceilings) implemented in Italy by Legislative Decree 81/2018.

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