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Clear the Air: Grants available to help your business reduce VOC pollution


latuff-auto-body-painting-smallBus

Are you a small-business interested in reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) throughout their facilities? VOCs can be reduced by making changes to manufacturing processes and heating equipment, and through facility-wide opportunities such as reducing vehicle miles traveled, purchasing environmentally friendly supplies and improving energy efficiency.

The MPCA has $320,000 in grant funding for small businesses to reduce emissions of VOCs. The grants can help with process changes, alternative chemical usage and equipment upgrades, as well as facility-wide projects that reduce vehicle miles traveled and improve energy efficiency.

This is an exciting opportunity to reduce VOCs facility-wide. If you have been thinking about reducing your VOC emissions, you can receive notifications on upcoming assistance opportunities by signing up for emails.

What are VOCs and why should I care?

Smoggy day verses clear day, St. Paul Skyline

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted from many industrial and commercial processes used in businesses all around us. You may recognize them as the solvent-like fumes coming from materials like coatings, inks, solvents, adhesives, gasoline, and other chemicals used in everyday commerce. Some common business sectors that have VOC emissions are trucking companies, manufacturers, auto body shops, dry cleaners, print shops, gas stations, and many more.

When these VOCs are released into the air, they can be chemically transformed into ground-level ozone, which is a component of smog, and is a harmful air pollutant. Indoor concentrations of VOCs can be up to ten times higher than outdoor air. Exposure can create short- and long-term health effects including:

  • Acute exposure to VOCs can lead to symptoms such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, and headaches, nausea and dizziness
  • Chronic exposure to VOCs can increase the risk of cancer and damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.

Reducing VOC emissions has positive health impacts for your employees, the general population, and potentially your bottom line. The reductions can help you:

  • Save money by reducing hazardous waste disposal fees, lowering regulatory obligations, and using fewer chemicals
  • Provide a healthier environment for your employees and community
  • Improve worker productivity and retention and reduce absenteeism
  • Use less protective equipment.

 

Dry cleaners

DryCleanerDry cleaners: Reduce VOCs

Change cleaning technologies

  • GreenEarth is liquid silicone-based
  • Wet cleaning uses only water-based and alternative solutions and systems
  • Liquid CO2 is nontoxic and noncombustible

Benefits

  • Save money by reducing regulatory requirements and lowering hazardous waste fees
  • Reduced employee health risks associated 
with exposure to perchloroethylene (perc)
  • Increased business with advertisement of 
“green” dry cleaning

Capital costs

  • Wet cleaning machine: $12,000-$37,000 
(30-50 lb. capacity)
  • Finishing equipment: similar to traditional 
equipment, approximately $6,000-$12,000
  • Liquid CO2 machine: Up to $90,000 more than perc machine
  • Training employees to use new equipment 
and procedures

Upgrade equipment

  • Refrigerated condensers: Can be added to a nonrefrigerated dry-to-dry machine, reduces perc approximately 40-50% annually. Installed costs: $10,000.
  • Carbon adsorption units: May be added to refrigerated dry-to-dry machines to achieve greater perc recovery. Machines with refrigerated condensers work so well at recovering perc that adding a carbon adsorber for a newer machine may not be cost effective. The old carbon adsorbers, or sniffers, required a high level of maintenance. New carbon units, which desorb with heat after refrigeration, are less costly to operate and do not produce large quantities of contact water from steam use. Carbon adsorbers may be required to meet the NESHAP standards.

Other ways to cut emissions

  • Source lower VOC products and supplies for use around the building (paint, adhesives, carpet, furniture, etc)
  • Purchase efficient vehicles for your fleet
  • Implement energy efficiency options in your business (e.g. electronics, lighting, heating/cooling systems)
  • Reduce vehicle miles traveled by using public transit or other options at your business
  • Encourage employees to use alternative commuting options
  • Reduce use of lawn maintenance equipment with alternative landscaping techniques
  • Purchase lower VOC cleaning solutions for general maintenance cleaning
  • Purchasing paper products with higher recycled content indirectly reduces VOC emissions

Printers

Printers: Reduce VOCs

Chemical alternatives

  • Most VOCs come from solvents to clean presses and use in parts washers. Work with your supplier to switch to cleaning solvents with the lowest VOC content or vapor pressure possible (<10 mmHg or above 140 degree flashpoint).
  • Use inks, coatings, and adhesives with the lowest VOC content possible.
  • Reduce the concentration of VOC-containing additives when using alcohol substitutes.
  • Institute a three-stage cleaning process.
  • Switch to digital print presses.
  • Look at solvent recycling systems for petroleum-based solvents and parts cleaners
  • Explore lower VOC cleaning solutions for general (non-press) cleaning.

Other ways to cut emissions

  • Purchase more efficient vehicles for your fleet
  • Reduced use of lawn maintenance equipment with alternative landscaping techniques.
  • Evaluate energy efficiency options in your business (e.g. electronics, lighting, heating/cooling systems)
  • Purchase fuel efficient vehicles or aim for reduced vehicles miles traveled by carpooling and other alternative commuter options.
  • Source lower VOC products and supplies for use around the building (paint, adhesives, carpet, furniture, etc)
  • Reduce vehicle miles traveled by using public transit or other options at your business
  • Encourage employees to use alternative commuting options
  • Reduce use of lawn maintenance equipment with alternative landscaping techniques
  • Purchasing paper products with higher recycled content indirectly reduces VOC emissions

Clear Lake Press operator pouring a chemical into a printing pressCase Study: Clear Lake Press goes green

Clear Lake Press, a national printer in Waseca, has all but eliminated hazardous chemicals, making work safer for employees and the environment by switching to vegetable and water-based cleaners and fluid in their parts washer, reducing paper consumption by 40 rolls each month, and reusing their pallets. As a result, Clear Lake Press has:

  • Saved money by buying less paper and lowering its hazardous waste license fees
  • Reduced VOCs by 92%
  • Eliminated 1,560 pounds of hazardous parts cleaner
  • Reduced paper waste from 13.6% to 5.1%

See the full case study here.

PIM: Technical help is available!

If you would like help figuring out how your printing business can reduce
VOC emissions, the Printing Industry Midwest Great Printer Program is
available to help you!
Paul Gutkowski   |   paulg@pimw.org   |   651-789-5505 

Gas stations

Worker filling an underground storage tank at a gas stationGas Stations: Reduce VOCs

Example: Stage 1 Vapor Recovery

Stage I vapor recovery captures vapors, known as volatile organic compounds  (VOCs), released when gas is put into the underground storage tank. The vapors are returned to the truck instead of being released into the air. There are two kinds of Stage I systems: Single Point (coaxial) and Dual Point.

Benefits:
Limits the escape of VOCs that contribute to air pollution
Improves employee and customer health
Positive publicity for your business

Single Point (Coaxial) systems have one tank opening that transfers both fuel and vapors. This is usually accomplished by installing a 3-inch diameter drop tube inside the 4-inch fill pipe, creating a gap between the drop tube and the fill pipe that vapors can pass through.

Dual Point systems use two separate tank openings for delivery and vapor recovery. The first is the fill-port drop tube where a hose from the tanker transfers fuel to the storage tank. The vapor recovery port is called a “dry break” (commonly painted orange) and it consists of a riser and a spring-loaded poppet valve. During fuel delivery, a vapor recovery device is attached to the dry break which automatically opens the poppet valve. The vapor return hose routes the vapors from the tank through the dry break and back to the tanker.

Other vapor reduction options

Dripless nozzles

Can reduce drips or spillage up to 60%

Low-permeability hoses at the pump

  • Similar cost to other gasoline dispensing hoses
  • Potential to reduce emissions at the hose up to 96%

Equipment needed

  • Coaxial drop tube or a fill-pipe drop tube (for two-point systems) extending within 6” of the bottom of each tank to ensure that the drop tube opening is submerged when the tank is filled
  • Tightly fitting fill cap on each fill pipe
  • For two-point systems, a properly functioning dry break (poppet valve) that seals the vapor return line when not in use
  • Pressure/vacuum valves on the tank vent lines to prevent emission of gasoline vapors from the tank

Auto body / Industrial Coating

Auto body shops / Industrial coaters: Reduce VOCs

  • ElectroStatic paint gunSwitch to waterborne or powder coating paint system
  • Replace spray guns, cleaning equipment, etc. with equipment that has better transfer efficiency (e.g. electrostatic guns)
  • Install recycling equipment for petroleum-based solvents and parts cleaners
  • Work with your supplier to purchase alternative solvents
  • Consider purchasing efficient vehicles for your fleet
  • Evaluate energy efficiency options in your business (e.g. electronics, lighting, heating/cooling systems)
  • Reduce vehicle miles traveled by using public transit or other alternative commuting options

For more specific ideas and to find auto refinishing events that focus on reducing VOCs visit the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program 

 

Technical help is available!

If you would like help figuring out how your business can reduce VOC emissions, the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program is available to help you!
www.mntap.umn.edu   |   612-624-1300

For more information

To see the Request for Proposal, more information on the project, or what other businesses have done to reduce VOCs, contact:
Eric David  eric.david@state.mn.us   |   651-757-2218

Español?

Para mayor información en español, contactarse con Ned Brooks por teléfono al 651-757-2557 o Ned.Brooks@state.mn.us

 

 

Last modified on July 11, 2014 11:44

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