Costs of VOC emission reduction techniques in industry

On behalf of the French administration, it was suggested at the EGTEI meeting on 10 October 2014, to update the work carried out by EGTEI in 2005 (see previous documents) on the costs of VOC abatement techniques for solvent users. This item was approved at the meeting.

Between 2003 and 2006, EGTEI worked on the issue of the costs related to VOC mitigation techniques, for the purpose of the LRTAP Convention and in close collaboration with the first BREF Surface Treatment with Solvents (STS) technical working group (TWG). This work was very comprehensive and covered many sectors: summary sheets on technical and economic data were produced for around fifteen industrial sectors and shared with the BREF STS TWG. Cooperation between the two groups was very fruitful and many of the EGTEI’s contributions are referenced throughout the first STS BREF of 2006; section 24.1.1 was devoted to the EGTEI work.

The revision of the 2006 STS BREF was scheduled by the EIPPC Bureau of European Commission´s Joint Research Centre (JRC). This revision was seen as a good opportunity to update the cost data collected by EGTEI ten years ago.

Two activities were selected: car manufacturing and flexible packaging printing. An “ERICCa_VOC” tool was developed.

TFTEI documents are cited in “The Best Available Techniques (BAT) Reference Document on Surface Treatment Using Organic Solvents including Preservation of Wood and Wood Products with Chemicals”, dating from 2020, mainly in its chapter 21.3 “Models for estimating environmental and economic effects (cost-benefit)”

Flexible packaging printing

This report, prepared within the framework of the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, does not focus on specific regions or industries, but provides an overview of aspects of importance to the sector as a whole. We have developed a flexible methodology that can be applied to a wide variety of installations and applications to assess the economic and environmental effects of emission abatement measures.

In line with the work carried out by the EIPPC Bureau in Seville, the TFTEI focused on large installations with solvent consumption of more than 200 tonnes per year. Industry information was provided mainly by the industry associations ESIG (European Solvents Industry Group), FPE (Flexible Packaging Europe), FTA Europe (European Flexographic Industry Association) and Intergraf (The European Federation for Print and Digital Communication).

Both primary measures (at the source) and secondary measures are covered (treatment of waste gases with VOCs).

VOC Abatement in the Packaging Printing Industry (2017)

Car manufacturing

The study provides methods to estimate the costs associated with reducing VOC emissions from paint shops in the automotive industry.

To estimate the costs of reducing VOC emissions, five reference installations were defined to represent all the families of paint shops encountered (Solvent Based, Solvent Based / Water Based Mix, Water Based, integrated process).

Three options to reduce VOC emissions for paint shops were considered:

  1. Primary measures corresponding to the reduction of VOC emissions at source (reduction in solvent consumption or improved collection of solvent),
  2. Secondary measures to treat waste gases containing VOC (“end of pipe” techniques),
  3. Change to a new paint shop (which enables the use of water-based paint systems, advanced paint application systems and waste gas treatment techniques)

The following parameters are provided for each type of measures:

  1. VOC emission reduction potentials based on installation solvent management plan data, modelling and case studies,
  2. Annual costs based on case studies and modelling,
  3. Cost effectiveness analysis combining VOC emission reductions and annual costs.

To assist TFTEI Technical Secretariat in developing cost estimates for the reduction of VOC emissions from paint shops in the automotive industry, a working group was set up with representatives of ACEA and three car manufacturers (PSA, Renault, Volkswagen).

The study was based on information provided by the working group. Six meetings with industry experts were held to exchange information and discuss the approach taken to estimate costs and results.

Final report on car manufacturing (2016)


The methodology for estimating the costs of VOC abatement options was developed for installations in the flexible packaging printing sector and car manufacturing sectors that consume more than 200 tonnes of solvent per year. However, the design and costs of VOC reduction measures are similar for many other sectors with comparable operating conditions. The tool should therefore be widely applicable. The methodology provides cost data for primary measures (substitution of high solvent content products, with some limitations (costs of primary measures being sector and installation specific)) and secondary measures of thermal oxidation and adsorption with solvent recovery. For secondary measures, the tool can be used for all types of activity and all sizes of installations (even for consumption of less than 200 t/year), regardless of the primary measures. Costs are estimated for different regulatory objectives, depending on whether or not the solvent management plan methodology is used.


VOC emission reduction cost calculation methodology