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SPIRE-12-2017 - Assessment of standardisation needs and ways to overcome regulatory bottlenecks in the process industry


A clear, consistent and predictable regulatory framework is needed, as well as a set of standards. Proposed support actions should cover the needs of the different industrial sectors representing big and small companies within the process industry. Their objective should be to identify and to propose solutions along the value chain, required to reach long term sustainability for Europe in terms of global competitiveness, ecology and employment.

The evaluation of current policies and regulatory or standardisation needs could include recommendations within the following areas:

  • Re-use of different grades of wastewater for industrial purposes.
  • Re-use of different types of waste (e.g. through re-classification) as feed for industrial production and/or energy sources.
  • Recovery of valuable materials, metals and minerals from waste.
  • Lifecycle Assessment methodologies to allow a harmonised comparison between industries and sectors.
  • Production of advanced renewable fuels from the use of CO2 as feedstock.
  • General harmonisation of the European Waste, Water and Energy policies.
  • Eliminating bottlenecks for the transferability of new technologies across European borders.
  • Eliminating bottlenecks that prevent the stimulation of investments in new technologies, e.g. within clean and low carbon technologies.
  • New standardisation methodologies that facilitate continuous production.

While in some cases it is necessary to recommend harmonisation on a European scale through regulation and European standards, in other cases it may only be necessary to enable transferability of technology across sectorial boundaries.

Examples for this could be (but are not restricted to) the following:

  • IT control systems and plant monitoring systems facilitating industrial symbiosis.
  • Equipment for Process Intensification.
  • Equipment for small scale localised production.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 500000 and 1000000 would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

No more than one action will be funded.

It is essential to take advantage of the significant potential benefits from new technologies and materials while ensuring that there are mechanisms in place to prevent, identify and manage any potential risks associated with certain use of such technologies.

The European regulatory process should also instil consumer confidence in the approved marketed products and encourage the reduction of production costs and the increase of efficiency, improving of the quality of products and services, ensuring worker health and safety, and protecting the environment in order to keep jobs and a competitive economy. At the same time, regulatory bottlenecks to innovation in the process industry should be identified in order to ensure that innovative processes, technologies and products in the areas of circular economy, resource and energy efficiency can be introduced on the market in a faster timeframe.

In addition, many production plants, companies and industrial parks are presently using their own protocols and standards, which in many cases do not match those used by other similar companies. This means that it can be difficult to perform cross-sectorial technology transfer and thereby achieve efficiency improvements.

Before any changes in policies are considered, a very careful and well-thought analysis should be undertaken in order to minimise the risk of potential negative impact on innovation and on the uptake of technology.

  • Enabling regulatory authorities to better address the different relevant issues based on a better assessment and taking into consideration the different stakeholders in SPIRE.
  • Rationalising the process to deliver standardisation mandates to the European Standards Organisations.
  • Successful implementation of different policies, regulations and standards within the SPIRE sectors.
  • Enabling of industrial symbiosis and better use of industrial resources.
  • Reducing cost of operation for the process industry.
  • International cooperation.