The EU Directive (NERC) for air pollutants, such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, was amended and thus tightened. The Federal Environment Agency commissioned scientists to develop new emission forecasts for Germany for the years 2020 to 2035 in order to examine the extent to which national reduction measures are sufficient. The project was also to propose climate protection and air pollution control measures that would enable Germany to comply with the new NEC Directive for all five air pollutants. The IZT was responsible for the content of stationary combustion plants in power generation and industrial processes.

The European NEC Directive (2001/81/EC) set emission ceilings for air pollutants for the EU Member States. On 31 December 2016, an amendment came into force with the new NEC Directive 2016/2284. This determined the emissions of five air pollutants reduction obligations of the individual member states. Compared to 2005, the emissions of the pollutants nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (NMVOC, without methane), sulphur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM) and ammonia (NH3) were to be reduced in percentage terms by 2030.

Furthermore, the new NERC Directive includes extensive reporting obligations: In addition to annual emission reporting, emission forecasts for the named pollutants must be reported every two years. In addition, a regularly updated national air pollution control programme must be drawn up from 2019. The national programmes must contain emission forecasts as well as strategies and measures for emission reduction, including an assessment of the reduction potential.

On behalf of the Federal Environment Agency, IZT and its research partners further developed the forecasts of air pollutants for the national clean air programmes.

The focus of the IZT's work was the preparation of emission forecasts, especially for stationary combustion plants in power generation and industrial processes. Two reduction scenarios were designed for the emission forecasts, based on different assumptions about reduction measures. On the one hand, the legal situation valid at the time and, on the other hand, a scenario with environmental policy measures that could be expected to lead to further emission reductions.

In the further course of the 30-month project, a spatial distribution of the predicted emissions as well as a modelling of their distribution and a geographical resolution of the air pollution caused were carried out.

The project was based on the predecessor project Air Quality 2020/2030 in terms of methodology and content.