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Main novelties of Smitheries and Foundry Industry BREF document

After the draft of the upcoming BREF for Smitheries and Foundry Industry has been published, foundry companies have the opportunity to start working on their positioning regarding the new requirements included in this document aimed at improving the environmental impact of European industries.

Do you want to know the most relevant novelties of the upcoming BREF? Our Sustainability and Environment expert Andoni Ibarra has answered some key questions. 

What are BREF documents?

The BAT reference documents (Best Available Techniques), better known as BREF (BAT References) documents, bring together all the information related to the Best Available Technologies for the prevention and control of environmental pollution by European Industries. In the specific case of the Smitheries and Foundry companies, current BREF document is from 2005. In March 2024, the final draft of what will be the new BREF document was published, which is expected to come into force at the beginning of the year 2025.

As established by the Industrial Emissions Directive, these documents include information related to emission levels, discharges, consumption, materials, energy efficiency, waste and other types of indicators. They also recommend a series of techniques and technologies to help meet these levels. Although the use of these specific techniques and technologies identified in the documents is not mandatory, compliance with the defined emission levels is.


When will the new limits established in the BREF documents come into force?

After the BREF document gets published in the Official Journal of the European Union, we will have existing facilities (those that already had the environmental permit prior to said publication) and new facilities (those that will obtain the permit after this milestone). Logically, for the latter the application will be immediate, however, existing facilities will have a period of 4 years to adapt to the new requirements.


What are the most critical points for the sector when it comes to meeting the requirements of the new BREF?

As a result of our work with foundries and the environmental diagnoses that we are performing for companies in the sector, we have come across two critical points: the lack of data and the lack of confinement of diffuse emissions.

Regarding the lack of data, it is important to emphasize that the new Smitheries and Foundry Industry BREF places special emphasis on the collection and monitoring of environmental management indicators (KPI); however, when new parameters need to be evaluated, in many cases the plants do not have enough Data of reference.

Regarding the confinement of diffuse emissions generated in processes such as molding, machining or casting (which are not always confined), the BREF document establishes emission limits for them. Therefore, the facilities must first confine the emissions to later verify compliance with the limits established in the BREF and, if necessary, implement the appropriate techniques and technologies for compliance.


What are the next steps for foundries to take?

With the draft of the future BREF already published, companies can start working on the document’s requirements. There is no need to wait to the official publication of the BREF.

The first step would be to carry out an analysis or diagnosis of their current situation with respect to the future BREF to know their starting point and the gap to be covered in the coming years. The purpose is to be able to identify and prioritize the actions to be implemented in each particular case and set a specific plan for them.  

Andoni Ibarra
Andoni Ibarra

and Environment

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