Background

Introduction (on Industrial Emission legislation)

Industrial production processes account for a considerable share of the overall pollution in Europe due to their emissions of air pollutants, discharges of waste water and the generation of waste. The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) is one of the key pieces of legislation in place that regulate emissions of pollutant from industrial processes.

The IED aims to achieve a high level of protection of human health and the environment taken as a whole by reducing harmful industrial emissions across the EU, in particular through better application of Best Available Techniques (BAT). Around 50,000 installations undertaking the industrial activities listed in Annex I of the IED are required to operate in accordance with a permit (granted by the authorities in the Member States). This permit should contain conditions that include emission limit values based on Best Available Techniques (BAT).

Best Available Techniques

In order to achieve a level playing field accros Europe, BAT and the BAT-associated environmental performance levels must be defined at EU level. For this the Commission organises an information exchange process involving experts from Member States, industry and environmental organisations. This work is co-ordinated by the European IPPC Bureau at the EU Joint Research Centre in Seville (Spain). This process results in BAT Reference Documents (BREFs). The BAT conclusions contained in the BREF documents are successively adopted by the Commission as Implementing Decisions.
The BAT conclusions are the subsequent reference for setting permit conditions. To ensure BREF documents reflect technological progess and the development of new techniques, they are reviewed/updated in regular intervals.

BREF information exchange / review processes

Within the BREFs and BREF review processes ‘Emerging Techniques (ETs)’ have a special status. Emerging techniques are defined techniquest that, if commercially developed, could provide either a higher general level of protection of the environment or at least the same level of protection of the environment and higher cost savings than existing best available techniques. Consequently the information exchange process also has to guarantee that practical arrangements are made to ensure that Member States and stakeholders also provide data of sufficient quality and quantity to enable the determination of BATs and ETs.

Novel techniques and Emerging Techniques

Novel techniques (NT) can therefore be understood as pre-commercial techniques. However this covers a wide range of levels of development. Some NTs may be developed to such a stage that they have been trialled in plants and can be considered as candidates for best available techniques (BAT). Those which are at a less developed stage might be considered as ETs.

The Industrial Emission Directive requires the identification and promotion of Emerging Techniques during the development of reference documents (BREFs).

The IED sets implementing tools to facilitate testing Emerging techniques on industrial sites.

The guidance on the collection of data and on the drawing up of Best Available Technique (BAT) reference documents describes how BREFs should address the Emerging Techniques. Thuis guidance states that BREF will identify andinclude only techniques at a sufficiently advanced stage of development that there is a good chance they may become BAT in the (near) future.

Also been noted that the systematic tracking and follow-up of ET development could be improved. Therefore the underlying objective of this initiative is testing the capability of an innovation observatory to ensure ETs are included in BREFs and documented in a complementary database, with a view to facilitate activities promoting the finalisation of the innovation cycle and spread the use of the ET.

Environmental Technology Verification

Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) is a service designed to help innovative environmental technologies access the market. In ETV, qualified third parties verify a technology’s technical and environmental performance by assessing the results of tests of controlled quality, based on performance claims put forward by technology developers. This should help developers and sellers of the technology to document the reliability of their performance claims and help technology purchasers identify innovations that suit their needs. This is particularly helpful to SMEs in a context where there is no certification or labelling scheme applicable to the technology. In the longer term, ETV should help overcome technological lock-in, while ensuring that more effective and cheaper environmental protection measures can emerge.

In relation to the implementation of the Industrial Emission Directive (IED), the information provided by ETV, on the technical and environmental performance of both (emerging) technologies and candidate BATs, may feed into the drafting process of Reference documents on Best Available Techniques (BREFs) by IED expert groups in general and technological discussions more in particular.

The ETV service is provided by Verification Bodies accredited specifically for that. They apply harmonised methods ensuring the quality and comparability of the ETV Statements of Verification, which are also fully in line with the recent ISO Standard 17034 on Environmental Technology Verification. More information, including the list of Verification Bodies and the register of verified technologies, is available at the EU ETV website: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecoap/etv_en