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Project at a Glance

Project Status: complete

Report Published December 2004:

Title: Alternatives to automotive consumer products that use volatile organic compounds (VOC) and / or chlorinated organic compound solvents.

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Wolf, Katy; Zavadil, Jon; Morris, Michael

Contractor: Institute for Research and Technical Assistance

Contract Number: 01-317

Research Program Area: Emissions Monitoring & Control

Topic Areas: Stationary Sources


This project involved developing, testing and demonstrating alternative near-zero VOC automotive aerosol products for engine degreasing, carburetor and fuel injection system cleaning, brake cleaning and general purpose degreasing. The products were tested with technicians in 13 auto repair facilities, one car wash, three detailers and with three consumers. Eight water-based cleaners that performed well for engine degreasing were identified and tested. The VOC content of most of these cleaners was 10%. Three alternative soy/acetone blends that performed very well for carburetor and fuel injection system cleaning were identified and tested. The VOC content of these cleaners was near-zero. Three water-based cleaners and two soy/acetone blends that performed well for brake cleaning and/or general purpose degreasing were identified and tested. The VOC content of these products ranged from zero% to 10%. Alternatives to traditional hydrocarbon propellants were investigated and carbon dioxide was found to be lower cost and it also offered the best performance. Additional work is required to ensure that carbon dioxide is compatible with water-based cleaners. The raw material cost of the alternative cleaners is somewhat higher than the raw material cost of high VOC solvent based products that are currently used. The toxicity of the alternative cleaners is lower than the toxicity of the current products.


For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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