Sealing technology is involved in virtually all of the sectors covered by the IPPC Directive. Correct selection and use of the appropriate sealing technology is fundamental in the reduction of fugitive emissions and the achievement of IPPC compliance. Yet, only limited information and guidance on sealing options is available in some of the early BREF notes. For this reason, the ESA has developed a Sealing Technology BAT guidance note to help customers to achieve compliance through the use of the best available techniques for sealing:
Although the document is aimed primarily at the industrial sectors which are covered by the IPPC Directive, it is applicable in virtually all process industries.
For an industrial sector not covered directly by the IPPC Directive, the sealing industry took a lead in developing this BAT guidance note voluntarily. This initiative has been well received by the European IPPC Bureau and the document is now used as the basis for sealing technology in many of the formal BAT Reference (BREF) notes from the European Commission.
Industrial sectors covered by the IPPC regime have been charged with collating their own information base for developing their own BREF note. Various Technical Working Groups (TWG's) have been established across the European Union from within each industry in order to develop the initial BREF document. These same TWG's are re-established as necessary whenever the BREF review process is initiated (intended to be every 3 years, where appropriate).
The BREF notes were considered initially to be specific for each industrial sector covered by the IPPC regime (so-called, "vertical" BREF notes). However, it became apparent that some BAT concepts are applicable across all (or at least a variety of) industrial sectors, and so a number of “horizontal” BREF notes have also evolved (see Figure 47).