Article by CSA-Sira on the launch of the Environmental Technology Verification in the EU:
Europe and the rest of the world are confronted with urgent environmental challenges such as climate change, the unsustainable use of resources and loss of biodiversity. Environmental technologies have a role to play in addressing these challenges and, at the same time, can contribute positively to competitiveness and growth.
In response, the European Commission has established the Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) framework to support the development of new, innovative technologies, which by definition do not have any standards to be evaluated against.
Put simply, ETV demonstrates that environmental technologies meet the performance claim made by the manufacturer. The EC has developed and launched a unified and harmonised international framework to promote innovative technologies and provide global recognition for verified technologies.
The voluntary pilot programme is split into three technology areas:
- Water treatment and monitoring
· Materials, waste and resources
· Energy technologies
The ETV is intended is to promote innovative environmental technologies by providing developers, manufacturers and investors access to third-party performance verification.
As shown in the flow chart, in order for a new technology to be verified, evidence, in the form of valid test data, is needed to demonstrate the performance. If existing data of good quality is available it will be reviewed by the verification body for acceptance, reducing time and costs for the proposer.
Successful ETV applications result in a ‘verification statement’, which is published on the EU ETV webpage. The information contained in the Statement of Verification summarises the actual performance of the verified technology, including the results of the tests performed.
The programme is underpinned by quality assurance, requiring verification bodies to be accredited to ISO 17020 for the specific technology areas listed above. This ensures a level playing field across Europe.
Additionally, technical working groups - one per technology area or sub-area - will be established in order to harmonise the implementation of ETV procedures by verification bodies in the different technology areas and in the different participating countries, and ensure the same level of quality of verification results, in particular Statements of Verification.
Relationship with MCERTS
MCERTS is the Environment Agency’s (EA) Monitoring Certification Scheme, which includes performance standards for environmental monitoring equipment.
The EU ETV programme is not a replacement or duplication of the current MCERTS scheme in place in the UK, which is widely accepted internationally. The ETV programme is for new, innovative technologies where there are no existing standards to test or validate against.
Work conducted under the ETV programme could be used as a basis to develop MCERTS standards further in the future. With support from industry, the EA are willing to review the need for new standards and develop them where required.
Examples of this can be seen from the MCERTS standards for Indicative Particulate Monitoring Systems and Environmental Data Acquisition Software, which have been published as a result of support and work from manufacturers.
The application process is underway for verification bodies wishing to become accredited for ETV approvals. A list of applicants can be seen on the webpage http://ec.europa.eu/environment/etv/etv_preprog.htm.
CSA-Sira has applied to UKAS for accreditation to become a verification body for the ETV programme for the technical areas water treatment and monitoring and energy technologies.
Benefits of ETV
ETV offers advantages to all stakeholders involved:
- It provides the proposer / developer of new technology a third party approval enabling them to enter new markets and promote their technology.
- Users of new technology can be assured that it has been independently tested, and performance claims that are made can be trusted.
- It will also enable regulators to trust new innovative methods that may have previously been disregarded as unreliable.
If ETV is embraced by industry, it will result in new, innovative methods being used for a number of applications and methods. The net result will be a better understanding and protection of the environment through the use of new technology.