ARB Research Seminar
This page updated June 19, 2013
Project on Low-VOC Auto Parts Cleaners
Katy Wolf, Ph.D., Institute for Research and Technical Assistance (IRTA)
October 14, 2005
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA
In this project, near-zero VOC content automotive aerosol products were developed, tested, and demonstrated for engine degreasing, carburetor and fuel injection system cleaning, brake cleaning, and general degreasing applications. 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 percent. 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 nearly 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 percent to 10 percent. Alternatives to traditional hydrocarbon propellants were investigated. Carbon dioxide was found to be lower cost alternative propellant and offered the best performance. 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.
Katy Wolf, Ph.D. is Executive Director for the Institute for Research and Technical Assistance (IRTA). IRTA is a non-profit organization with the aim of helping industries reduce or eliminate their use of ozone depleting substances, chlorinated and VOC solvents and other pollutants. Dr. Wolf conducts field investigations, the demonstration and evaluation of new technologies and processes, and regulatory analysis to carry out IRTA's mission. Dr. Wolf has a Ph.D in Chemistry from the University of Southern California.