Conversion Factors for Hydrocarbon

            Emission Components
United States
Environmental Protection

     Conversion Factors for Hydrocarbon
                 Emission  Components

                     Assessment and Standards Division
                    Office of Transportation and Air Quality
                    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

     This technical report does not necessarily represent final EPA decisions or
     positions.  It is intended to present technical analysis of issues using data
     that are currently available. The purpose in the release of such reports is to
     facilitate the exchange of technical information and to inform the public of
     technical developments.
United States                                           EPA-420-R-10-015
Environmental Protection                                  NR-002d
Agency                                               July 2010

          Conversion Factors for Hydrocarbon Emission Components

                               Report No. NR-002d
                                      July 2010

                           Assessment and Standards Division
                      EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality
       The purpose of this memorandum is to document the conversion factors for reporting
hydrocarbon emissions in different forms. The general forms are total hydrocarbons (THC),
total organic gas (TOG), nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHC), nonmethane organic gas
(NMOG), and volatile organic compounds (VOC), all defined in the introduction below.  For
reporting hydrocarbon emissions from nonroad equipment, it is helpful to provide an accepted
means to estimate the hydrocarbons in the different forms. This is not a substitute for full
speciation of hydrocarbon emissions.

       Although the conversion factors in the model have not changed relative to the previous
NONROAD2005 version, this technical report has been corrected to properly state that the
exhaust conversion factors are applied to  the crankcase emissions.


       Hydrocarbon emissions can be reported in a variety of styles depending on the end use of
the emission estimates and the measurement technique used in the underlying data. Not all
emissions are measured for all engines, so a conversion from the most common measurement
type to others is needed to supply an estimate in terms required by the user.

       Most hydrocarbon emissions data from mobile sources is measured as total hydrocarbon
(THC). THC is the measured hydrocarbon emissions using a Flame lonization Detector (FID)
calibrated with propane. The FID is assumed to respond to all hydrocarbons identically as it
responds to propane in determining the concentration of carbon atoms in a gas sample. Most
hydrocarbons respond nearly identically as propane with notable exceptions being oxygenated
hydrocarbons such as alcohols and aldehydes commonly found in engine exhaust.

       Because alcohols and especially aldehydes are chemically reactive and therefore ozone-
forming hydrocarbons, the California Air Resources Board defined a measurement that adds the
THC and the oxygenated components into a new measurement called  total organic gas (TOG).
[1] The oxygenated components are measured by collecting aldehydes on dinitro-
phenylhydrazine impregnated filter traps  and alcohols in chilled water impingers.  The aldehydes
and alcohols are extracted and measured using chromatography to determine emission rates.
Each mole of aldehydes and alcohols is added by weight as formaldehyde and methanol.


       Methane is an organic gas that is orders of magnitude less reactive than other
hydrocarbons, so it is often excluded from emission estimations. The methane is measured by
chromatographically separating the methane from the THC and analyzing the concentrations
using a FID calibrated specifically for methane. The methane emissions are subtracted from the
THC and TOG emission estimations to produce a nonmethane hydrocarbon (NMHC) and a
nonmethane organic gas (NMOG) emission estimate. Some newer instruments can measure the
NMHC directly however leading to lower uncertainty.

       Some  hydrocarbons are less ozone-forming than other hydrocarbons,  so EPA has
officially excluded them from the definition of regulated hydrocarbons called volatile organic
compounds (VOC).  This definition excludes methane, ethane, acetone, and compounds not
commonly found in large quantities in engine exhaust like chlorohydrocarbons from
consideration as VOC.  For this work, the definition of VOC is the result of subtracting methane
and ethane from the TOG emission estimates.  Although acetone is not subtracted, it  is present in
smaller quantities compared to methane and ethane, and will have a negligible effect on the

Conversion Factors

Exhaust and Crankcase  Emissions

       Because all studies to date have measured THC, all other hydrocarbon types will be
given as a proportion of THC.  The ratios given in the table below were derived from those
studies that measured methane, ethane, and aldehydes. Alcohols are only found if the fuel
contains alcohols, so they would have been considered if data were available.

       The hydrocarbon speciation data from nonroad engines is sparse.  The 2-stroke engine
conversions are derived from the study of only one moped engine while the 4-stroke  engine
results  are an  averaged result of 11 lawnmower engines studied.  The diesel results are the
average of two late 70s  and early 80s vintage on-highway truck engines.  The factors for
compressed natural gas  (CNG) and liquid petroleum gas  (LPG) engines were estimated from
data collected using on-highway light-duty vehicles equipped with catalysts.  Nonroad
equipment does not use this technology but no emissions data from nonroad CNG and LPG
engines was available.

Table for Conversion Factors for Hydrocarbon Exhaust Emission Results
Engine Type
2- Stroke
Gasoline [2]
4- Stroke
Gasoline [2, 3]
Diesel [4]
LPG [5]
CNG [5]
Evaporative Emissions

       For non-tailpipe emissions (i.e., evaporative emissions) with fuels other than compressed
natural gas, we will assume:

                         THC = VOC = NMHC = TOG = NMOG

Hence, all ratios will be 1.000.

       For engines using natural gas fuels (CNG), we will assume that the relationship of the
non-tailpipe HC emissions (i.e., crankcase and evaporative emissions) will be:

                                      THC = TOG
                               VOC = NMHC = NMOG = 0

Hence, the ratio of TOG to THC will be 1.000 while the other ratios will be 0.0.


       The conversion factor is applied at the end of the model calculation of total hydrocarbons
for each emission type, known as THC.  Emission factors are generated most typically as THC,
so the conversion to other hydrocarbon forms is provided for the user.

       Newer data when available should be used to eventually augment and verify the data
currently used in this report. Changes in engine technology needed to meet nonroad engine
regulations that might affect the  speciation profiles should also be considered, given available

data. Acetone should also be explicitly excluded as a VOC when the newer data are analyzed.


[1]     Air Resources Board (1996), "California Non-methane Organic Gas Test Procedure,"
       California Environmental Protection Agency, Last Amended June 24, 1996.

[2]     Hare C.T. and White, JJ. (1991), "Toward the Environmentally-Friendly Small Engine,
       Lubricant, and Emission Measurement Issues", SAE-911222.

[3]     Gabele, P., (1997), "Exhaust emissions from four-stroke lawn mower engines," Journal of
       the Air & Waste Management Association, pp 642-649, vol.47, Sept., 1997.

[4]     Springer, Karl J. (1979), "Characterization of Sulfates, Odor, Smoke, POM and Particulates
       from Light and Heavy-Duty Engines  Part IX," Ann Arbor, Michigan: U.S. Environmental
       Protection Agency, Office of Mobile Sources. Publication no. EPA-460/3-79-007.

[5]     ARB,  (1991), "Proposed Reactivity  Adjustment Factors for Transitional Low-Emission
       Vehicles," Technical Support Document,  Sept., 27,  1991.