The Clean Technology Centre

The Clean Technology Centre is an independent body, whose mission is to advise and assist industry, government and society alike, towards a more sustainable pattern of consumption and production. The integrity and reputation of CTC ensures its unbiased assessment of environmental issues.

The Clean Technology Centre (CTC) was formed in January 1992, in response to -

  • the growing need for better environmental performance in industry and society - and
  • the clear advantages of minimising waste at source over standard end-of-pipe methods of waste treatment and disposal.

The Centre was founded by its Directors (Dermot Cunningham & Noel Duffy) and initial funding was raised primarily from the pharmachem industry and the European Regional Infrastructure Development Programme. Based in The Cork Institute of Technology, the Centre is, thus, a strategic partnership between Irish industry and academia.

The CTC is neither a State Agency, nor a private consultancy - it is, rather, a national resource - allowing all concerned with the environment to avail of a pool of expertise which is not aligned to industry, government nor any sectoral organisation.

Since its inception, The Clean Technology Centre has become nationally and internationally regarded as a major centre of excellence in the area of proactive and innovative environmental improvement across a range of industrial sectors.

Past and present CTC staff at the opening of new offices in 1999

The CTC has provided training, awareness raising and environmental consultancy to the chemical, pharmaceutical, food, textiles, electronics, plastics, dairy, tourism and service sectors.

The organisation has a wide experience in - waste minimisation, process engineering, cost reduction, waste quantification, IPC licensing, environmental management systems (including ISO14001 and EMAS), waste minimisation assessment, identification of alternative technologies, and product and process Life-Cycle Assessment.

The Clean Technology Centre also advises and has carried out a large number of studies and projects for individual companies and consortia - and has undertaken pure and applied sustainable development related research activities for the European Commission (Directorates General IA, III, XI, XII, XVI and XXII), Irish Government Agencies, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Local Authorities, Irish Business Employers Confederation (IBEC), Enterprise Ireland and others.

The CTC is active in developing and utilising a better understanding of socio-economic factors in the move towards sustainable development. The key barriers and driving forces that impact on sustainability are no longer technological - rather, they relate to our societies and how they function. The use of networks, communication channels and support groups, is a crucial tool - as is a fundamental change in mass consumer behaviour. The role of innovative, punitive and well-implemented legislation is a also major driving force for sustainable development.

Business sector
Consideration of the environment is fast becoming a key priority for our society. Global pressures - such as climate change and ozone depletion; regional issues - such as acidification and local issues - such as water and air pollution, demand attention. Finding places where we can dispose of our waste or alternatives to our 'throw-away' society, are applying further pressures. International and national policies are responding to these concerns, with regulations and charges being applied to address the problems we face. In the midst of all this, enterprise is trying to satisfy demands of production, quality, service, cash-flow and community relations - as well as short and long term requirements to conserve the environment.

It is now undoubtedly true that companies which do not fully consider their environmental performance, will not survive in the market place. The growth of voluntary measures such as the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and ISO 14001 is proof of how proactive companies are meeting these market pressures.

The development of more environmentally friendly products through eco-design and the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) techniques are other growing trends.

As a result of all these forces, environmental sustainability becomes identical to economic sustainability. Companies that cannot - or will not - meet the rigorous demands and pressures of their environmental responsibilities, will simply not survive. The Clean Technology Centre provides the expertise, experience and knowledge necessary to ensure environmental sustainability and hence business viability.

Since its inception, the Clean Technology Centre has advised industry, local authorities and government of the importance of awareness raising and training relating to environmental protection. With its mixture of academic and industrial backgrounds, the CTC is especially qualified to develop and present such training materials and CTC staff are regularly invited to workshops and seminars to give training on pollution prevention strategies and techniques.

As a result of IPC licensing and EMS developments, businesses have recognised that there is now an urgent requirement for environmental training at all levels of the workforce.

To satisfy these requirements, CTC has developed a full suite of training courses which can be geared for any size organisation in any industrial or service sector.

The Clean Technology Centre can provide in-house - or externally located - training courses for organisations of all sizes, in any industrial or service sector. Experienced trainers participate in giving these courses and a wide range of training methods and media are utilised. The courses are highly interactive and activity-based in order to involve the trainees as much as possible and ensure a high level of interest and learning potential.

These courses can be geared to fit exactly to the needs of the company or personnel to be trained. Such courses include the following -

Introduction to ISO14001*
Advanced ISO14001*
Executive Briefing
Waste Minimisation/Pollution Prevention Basics
Cleaner Technologies in the Process Industry
Environmental Issues
Environmental Management Foundation for Local Authority Personnel
Waste Prevention in a local authority Area
Environmental Awareness in SMEs

*Note: These two courses can also be given with regard to the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)

Environmental Management Systems
Environmental management systems - and certified systems in particular, such as the Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and ISO 14001 - offer businesses a method of managing their environmental impact in a way which is structured and familiar to progressive companies. They provide a potential mechanism to link together the many different stakeholders - e.g. business, consumers, shareholders, neighbours, and regulators - in a mutually supportive manner.

In fact, installing an EMS, such as ISO 14001 or EMAS, has many benefits, including -

  • assisting with compliance to IPC license requirements
  • providing an advantage in competitive markets
  • enhancing the public image of your company
  • increasing environmental awareness within your company
  • increased profitability
  • ensuring that you meet your social responsibilities.

Since its inception, the Clean Technology Centre has been a leading Irish proponent of EMS and is represented on the NSAI's Environmental Standards Consultative Committee - which developed IS310 and which now decides the Irish input regarding development of the ISO14000 series.

Clean Technologies
The Clean Technology Centre has developed considerable expertise in the identification and implementation of Clean Technologies in a wide range of industrial sectors. More and more, businesses are now making use of clean technologies because of legislative, customer and other pressures - or due to the knowledge that sustainable development is the only viable option for progressive companies.

The best clean technology options for individual companies can be identified through a proper audit and assessment and/or with the use of a substance flow analysis. Clean technology can be implemented using improved practices, process/technology modifications, materials substitution and/or product modification.

The Clean Technology Centre can also assist companies in carrying out a Life Cycle Assessment of their processes and/or products - looking at the full environmental impact from cradle to grave.

This method of environmental impact analysis is now well established in developed countries and is accepted and being used by advanced organisations in a variety of industrial sectors.

Audits & Assessments
It is impossible to organise an environmental management structure without including provisions for the examination of performance - including compliance with objectives, whether they are legislative requirements or corporate policies.

Environmental auditing is essentially a management tool comprising a systematic, documented, periodic and objective evaluation of how well the organisation, management and equipment are performing in environmental terms. The CTC - whose three auditors, fully qualified and registered to the Environmental Auditors Registration Association (EARA) - can carry out any audits and assessments required to ensure environmental protection by - (a) Facilitating management control of environmental practices and (b) Assessing compliance with company policies, which would include meeting regulatory requirements.

CTC can provide a full service to all sectors of industry to ensure completion of the following audit classifications as necessary -

  • Regulatory Compliance Audit
  • Environmental Management System Audit
  • Waste Minimisation Audit.

CTC can also assist companies in preparing grant applications for various audits.

IPC Licensing
The EPA Act 1992 brought about the implementation of the rigorous industrial licensing system - Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) (based on the EU Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive) and the setting up of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement it.

The Clean Technology Centre has been assisting companies to apply for and implement IPC licenses since the system began.

IPC licences issued to date have followed a consistent pattern, with a series of at least thirteen conditions - followed with six schedules. These schedules are specific to the site and stipulate for all emissions, the emission limit values, the control equipment and the method and frequency of monitoring. Off-site disposal is also addressed, as are noise levels. Finally, the reporting requirements are summarised.

CTC provides the following services to industry requiring IPC compliance:

1. Application - CTC provides a consultancy service to assist in the efficient compilation and generation of the comprehensive data necessary for an application.

2. Implementation - CTC has developed expertise in the following areas, necessary for compliance with the requirements of an IPC licence -

Environmental Management Programmes/Systems
Material mass balance for PER requirement
Fugitive emission quantification
Development of facility-specific waste minimisation plans
Training for all levels of the workforce
Assistance with reporting requirements
Environmental noise surveys

Since 1992, the Clean Technology Centre has been providing innovative and effective environmental engineering consultancy to a wide range of industrial sectors in Ireland and abroad. CTC can provide a client-oriented engineering solution for environmental problems by whichever is the most suitable method.

Such consultancy may include:

  • mass balancing and emissions estimation;
  • product eco-design and life cycle assessment;
  • technology transfer;
  • clean technology implementation;
  • waste minimisation and treatment;
  • waste stream studies;
  • reduction of loads to treatment plants;
  • solvent, energy and water studies, etc.

Ireland is now one of the most stringently regulated countries in Europe with regard to environmental protection. A whole plethora of environmental legislation now exists in Ireland - covering several media and activities. Regulations pertaining to the EPA Act, 1992 and the Waste Management Act, 1996, alone, are coming being implemented regularly. But further pressures are still to follow, due to Irish obligations to various EU Directives and other international agreements. Several pending Directives are soon to be ratified and these will, in turn, impact on Irish law.

Furthermore, with the growth of voluntary standards such as EMAS and ISO14001, companies are obliged to compile registers of the environmental legislation that is affecting them. CTC has developed many such registers in the pharmaceutical, chemical, cosmetic, drink, food, medical products, electronic and metal sectors.

The detail, comprehensiveness and understanding of the regulations in CTC registers makes them widely regarded as one of the best available in Ireland. CTC registers are structured to fit the exact needs of the client company, whether they require the register for in-house use or for certification to a standard.

They contain details such as -

  • Title
  • Document No.
  • Revision No.
  • Category
  • Relevant SIs
  • Regulations Superseded
  • Relevant Guidance Notes and Documents
  • A detailed Description (including how the company can comply with the legislation)
  • Relevance to the company.

CTC registers provide full details of all current and pending Irish and European environmental legislation and updates - whenever required.

Grant Aid
One of the main areas of expertise in the Clean Technology Centre is in the writing of grant applications to a wide range of support bodies both in Ireland and the European Union.

Whether an organisation is a local authority, a semi-state organisation, an NGO or a business, the CTC is fully conversant with the potential environmental-related funding that is available - and its track record in securing such grant aid is exceptional, as the list of successful applications shows.

Furthermore, if a company has implemented high level environmental projects, the CTC can assist in getting the recognition it deserves through Irish or European environmental awards.







Such grant aid schemes and awards include:

  • Better Environmental Award for Industry (BEAFI) applications (Enterprise Ireland)
  • Cleaner Production Pilot Demonstration Awards (EPA)
  • Retex Operational Programme Grants (Enterprise Ireland)
  • Environmental Management Systems Grant Scheme (Enterprise Ireland)
  • Environmental Audit Grant Scheme (Enterprise Ireland)
  • European Project Funding (DOE and European Commission)
  • LIFE Environment Programme (European Commission).

The terms - best practice, best available technologies (BAT), technology transfer, benchmarking, etc. - are now becoming common in environmental circles - but how can a company identify these practices or technologies and how can a company find out where it stands in comparison to its competitors or partner companies?

The Clean Technology Centre can provide companies with assistance in answering these questions. Through its extensive experience in environmental engineering and technology over several years and its work in highly developed countries such as the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark, the CTC can both identify and implement the BAT - or best practice.

Technology transfer from such countries is now also a very attractive option and the CTC has the contacts and networks in these countries to make this possible.

Furthermore, benchmarking is now becoming a common method for companies to identify how their environmental performance compares with the best practices in Europe and the USA and where they stand in relation to their competitors and partner companies. Again, the CTC can carry out such benchmarking, due to its broad range of experience, its access to the best and most recent information and its wide range of contacts in Ireland and abroad.

The Clean Technology Centre has carried out a large number of studies and projects for individual companies and consortia and has undertaken pure and applied research activities for the European Commission (Directorates General: External Relations; Industry; Environment; Science, Research and Development; Regional Policies and Cohesion; Education, Training and Youth), Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Local Authorities, IBEC (Irish Business and Employers Confederation), Enterprise Ireland (Irish national agency for enterprise development) and others.

These projects and studies allow the CTC to remain at the cutting edge of new developments in preventive approaches to environmental protection.

They also give the Clean Technology Centre opportunities to develop partnerships in Ireland and abroad and to enlarge its already sizeable network of contacts in several countries.

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