Regulatory

“Since the formation of Euro Chlor, we have contributed valuable content to many of the regulations related to our sector. This will not change as we will focus even more on the key European regulatory topic of energy.”

Kristof May, Regulatory Affairs Manager

Input on two consultation rounds to EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS)

The Energy Task Force work focused on the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), more specifically on the associated State Aid Guidelines for indirect costs compensation.

The EU ETS rules result in higher electricity costs for some electrointensive undertakings. To compensate these higher costs, industry can count on the European State Aid guidelines. With the ETS Directive just being revised for its phase 4 (2021-2030), the 2012 State Aid Guidelines are now also in the process of being updated.

The EC Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) already organised two consultation rounds for this. In both rounds (public and sector-targeted), Euro Chlor and Cefic demonstrated the importance and value of this compensation for our sector given the strong indirect effects of the ETS system on the chlor-alkali industry. In close collaboration, Euro Chlor and Cefic will make sure all DG COMP’s questions are answered.

In addition to our own Energy Task Force, the Euro Chlor Regulatory Department actively works together with Cefic to have our sector heard in the larger European energy debate.

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To facilitate the transition towards a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 and deliver on the EU’s Paris Agreement commitments for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the EU has agreed a comprehensive update to its energy policy framework. This update resulted in the completion of a new energy rulebook – the Clean Energy for all Europeans’ package. The package consists of eight legislative acts in total and the EU Council of Ministers formally adopted the final four pieces on 22 May 2019 and published them on 19 June 2019.

The EU is aiming high, not only by striving for an energy mix consisting of 32% renewable energy sources by 2030, but also in counting on an increase in energy efficiency of 32.5% by that same date. Agreed during June 2018 trilogue meetings between the European Commission (EC), Parliament and Member States, these targets set the EU as an energy and climate action leader in the world. They will now need to be taken up in the Member States’ National Climate and Energy Plans for the upcoming years (up to 2050).

The ‘Clean Energy Package’ aims to place the consumer at the heart of the energy transition. There will be support for small installations so that households are also able to participate in the market and self-generate, consume and store any energy they produce. In addition, families will be better informed about energy prices and potential efficiency improvements. This may in turn help to combat ‘energy poverty’.

In the package, industry is not seen as a specific separate player but merely as a large consumer. One of the key points of the package is to improve the functioning of Europe’s energy markets. This would result in lower energy prices and in keeping industries competitive, particularly electricity-intensive industries like the chlor-alkali sector. It is Euro Chlor’s challenge and goal to safeguard a reliable and affordable electricity supply.

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Despite the phase-out of the mercury technology by the end of 2017, a lot of work remained to remove the mercury from both the cells and any equipment that is no longer used.

According to the EU legislation, liquid mercury must be converted within a five-year period, (i.e. before the end of 2022), to mercury sulphide before being safely stored in a salt-mine. This requires effort on our part as there is limited capacity available to convert any mercury. At the end of 2018, Euro Chlor members reported that they have 2,947 tonnes of liquid mercury on site with 1,146 tonnes of liquid mercury being converted during 2018. Based on the results of 2018, we might expect that the total conversion of the available liquid mercury to be finalised before the end of 2022.

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ECSA’s regulatory challenges

ANGELICA CANDIDO

ECSA Manager

UBA PMT approach

Perchloroethylene (PER) is considered to be persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) under criteria set by Germany’s UBA[1]. The PMT criteria could be used to identify substances of very high concern (SVHC) for inclusion in the candidate list for authorisation and the Stockholm convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. An EU science committee identified PMT substances as one of 14 emerging issues that could impact human health or the environment in the future.  ECSA has shared its position with Cefic, national industry associations and EU and national authorities and is closely following the scientific and regulatory discussions.

[1] UBA: Umweltbundesamt (the German Federal Environment Agency)

Revision of 2.BImSchV in Germany

The German UBA also initiated a workshop concerning the revision of the 2. BImSchV (German Federal Emission Protection Ordinance). The 2. BImSchV, established in 1990 and revised in 2013, describes detailed technical installations, monitoring and permit requirements of halogenated solvents in dry-cleaning, metal cleaning and extraction installations, implementing the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) in Germany. ECSA responded to the survey and attended the UBA workshop on 16 April 2019 with solvent users and recyclers. ECSA and its stakeholders told UBA that this unique ordinance should be left as is without listing new solvents or removing current ones as it ensures the safe use of chlorinated solvents at a very high standard in Germany.

Montreal Protocol and the EU ODS regulation

Discussions on very short-lived substances (VSLS) continue, which include chlorinated solvents (methylene chloride and chloroform) and their predicted negative impact on ozone layer recovery. This impact has been overestimated due to incorrect global volume growth and emission projections. ECSA is a recognised stakeholder in the revision of the Montreal Protocol and the EU Regulation on Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), which implements the Montreal Protocol into EU law, and has provided extensive data and scientific arguments proving that current produced volumes of chlorinated solvents are no harm to the ozone layer and do not need to be regulated under the ODS regimes. Adaptations of the Protocol and the EU ODS regulation are expected in late 2019 or early 2020.

ECSA refreshes its communications

ECSA, the  European Chlorinated Solvents Association, is evaluating and refreshing all its communications and has released a new, informative flyer that describes the benefits of chlorinated solvents. The ECSA website ( www.chlorinated-solvents.eu ) is also in the process of being modernised in line with the Euro Chlor corporate design and improved functionalities. As part of this, the Product & Application Toolbox is being updated according to the revised REACH dossiers and regulations, giving users of chlorinated solvents and related co-products guidance at a glance on safe and sustainable use, simplifying the highly formal exposure scenarios in the extended safety datasheets (eSDSs).

RICHARD MARINER

Science Manager

Other Product Group news

Chloro Alkane Product Groups (CAPG) highlights

The Chloro Alkane Product Group (CAPG) has been involved in two major international conferences over the past 12 months.

The first took place in New Delhi, India in December 2018. At this event, speakers from the CAPG and MCCP REACH consortia presented the results of the Community rolling action plan (CoRAP) test programme and urged the international audience towards greater inter-continental collaboration to promote the benefits of chloro alkanes.

The second more technical event took place at the VU Amsterdam, Netherlands and focused on the challenges associated with chloro alkane detection. Organised by the CAPG, the audience of academics, regulators and European officials identified the methods and technologies needed to ensure the correct detection of this material.

Closer to home, the group is involved as part of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electronics and Electronic Equipment Directive (‘RoHS’; 2011/65/EU). Here, the EC is adapting the methodology by which substances are nominated for restriction under the RoHS directive. MCCP is included as part of an exercise to ‘test’ the methodology so CAPG are working closely with Cefic to ensure that any nomination is scientifically and legally correct.

Biocides news

At the start of 2019, disinfectant products related to chlorine, sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite were registered under the EU Biocidal Product Regulation (EU 528/2012). This came at a time when focus was on these essential biocides from other regulations such as the Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC) and the Pesticide Residue Regulation (EC 396/2005). Activities are also underway to change the EN standards related to the use of sodium hypochlorite as a drinking water treatment chemical.

To better serve Euro Chlor members, all registration activities have been passed to another provider (SCC GmbH) who will continue to manage the registration groups through the ‘preservative’ applications (PT11 and 12). Meanwhile, Euro Chlor will enhance the advocacy efforts for these biocides by setting up a dedicated task force that will support the safe, but essential, use of these important chlor-alkali products.

Sodium Chlorate Product Group (SCPG) update

Euro Chlor’s newest product group has been following the recent review of the Explosive Precursors regulation (98/2013). The regulation harmonises rules across Europe on the marketing and use of such precursors and originally included sodium chlorate. The SCPG have a code of conduct on how to deal with the requirements imposed as part of this regulation.

As sodium chlorate is no longer available to the general public, recommendations have been made by authorities that licensing requirements for sodium chlorate are discontinued.

The group is also supporting efforts to remove the H412 (Harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects) environmental toxicity classification from sodium chlorate, sponsored by the Swedish Chemicals Agency, KemI.