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ENVIRON-MENTOR — Result In Brief

Project ID: 262138
Funded under: FP7-SME

Software-aided environmental compliance

European businesses often need consultants to help them comply with environmental regulations. New software helps the consultants to help business.
Software-aided environmental compliance
Europe has introduced strict environmental legislation, including the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive. While the legislation is generally well received, businesses sustain substantial time and financial costs in obtaining an IPPC compliance permit.

The eight-member ENVIRON-MENTOR project aimed to help. Given EUR 1.2 million in EU funding over 2 years to October 2012, the consortium developed software to facilitate the IPPC application process. A web-based application, the ENVIRON-MENTOR expert system, was the result of the project's two scientific and seven technical objectives.

Normally, a business applying for an IPPC permit would engage an environmental consultant for advice. ENVIRON-MENTOR assists the consultant in guiding small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), providing updated information about compliance measures. However, the software does not require specific knowledge of EU legislation, allowing environmental consultants who do not normally do IPPC certification to enter the market. The software relies on artificial intelligence tools for company profiling to tailor decision support.

ENVIRON-MENTOR uses its knowledge base to recommend the best available techniques for a given process. The application also contains the ISO 14001 standard specifying requirements for an environmental management system, a component of the IPPC permit. The software facilitates implementation and accreditation of the standard, providing a set of steps that facilitate ISO 14001 accreditation.

The software also handles carbon emissions trading. From 2013, a change came into effect, meaning that allowances would be auctioned. ENVIRON-MENTOR handles a type of auctioning platform built on multi-agent technology, which mimics the reasoning of humans in a real auction. This component of the system permits fair bidding for all players.

Furthermore, the project set objectives related to training, dissemination and product exploitation. Information was disseminated via at least five major events, receiving positive feedback from participants. The project partner SMEs will commercialise the product via a spin-off company.

The project's software is expected to streamline IPPC application processes and carbon trading. With instant access to current legislation and standards, environmental consultants will be able to offer more effective and efficient services to business. The project expects a return of EUR 4.5 million within five years of the project completion, representing an investment return of EUR 3.7 million.

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