Clean air grants to reduce VOCs

MPCA grants recently closed for cost-effective projects to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a wide range of organizations throughout Minnesota. The first round of applications closed May 18, 2018, and proposals are under review.

  • Upcoming: The grant round may open up again soon if more grant funding becomes available later this year. Sign up for updates to stay informed.

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MPCA will provide updates on assistance for small business VOC reduction.

Refer to the RFP for full details on who may apply for funding, the funding priorities for the State Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019 grant rounds, match requirements, activities eligible for funding, and other information that will help applicants submit an application.

  • Eligible applicants:  Governmental agencies; educational institutions; non-profits; trade groups; associations; businesses with under 500 employees (e.g., manufacturers, printers, industrial finishers, automotive, metal casting, etc.)
  • The maximum grant award is $24,000 with a 50% required match. The most cost-effective projects will score highest. Special consideration will be given for innovative projects from targeted applicants in environmental justice and highly urbanized areas.

PDF icon VOC Reduction Grant: Request for proposals (p-f2-27-3a-fy18)

This RFP assists applicants in applying for a Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) Reduction grant, including information on who may apply for funding, the funding priorities for the State Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019 grant rounds, match requirements, activities eligible for funding, and other information that will help applicants submit an application. Applications will be competitively evaluated approximately once every 60 days until the grant funding has been expended. The first round of applications is due May 18, 2018, no later than 4:00 p.m. CST and continuously after that until funds are expended.

PDF icon VOC Reduction Grant: Affidavit of Non-collusion for State of Minnesota (p-f2-27-3e-fy18)

PDF icon VOC Reduction Grant: Sample grant agreement (p-f2-27-3d-fy18)

 

Applicants who have any questions regarding this RFP must email questions to grants.pca@state.mn.us, subject line: “VOC RFP Question”. Questions and answers will be posted on the website on a weekly basis.

Q19: If we apply for this grant, if I am able to include items that we have already paid for and installed on the grant application?
A19: No. Unfortunately, the grant only covers expenses during grant agreement start and end dates.

Q18: Does everyone who applies for this grant need to submit the "Affidavit of non-collusion" with the application materials?
A18: Yes. If this is not provided, MPCA staff will contact the applicant. If the applicant does not supply this the application will be deemed ineligible.

Q17: Does the Organization Size part of the “Application evaluation score sheet” apply to all eligible entities or just to a business?
A17: This scoring criteria applies to all eligible entities. For example, a business of 250 and municipality of 250 will receive the same score.

Q16: The second page of the application asks for Project Work Plan and Budget (Task A, Task B, Task C), what is this asking for?
A16: This section is simply asking for a little more detail on what you will exactly be doing for your project, how much they cost, and timeline. This can be pretty broad or as detailed as you would like to provide. For example, if an auto body shop is converting to water-based paint, Task A can be ordering the new equipment, Task B can be installing the equipment, and Task C can be working with MPCA staff to finalize grant. The applicant would need approximate costs and timeline for each of these tasks.  

Q15: Do applicants need to go through a procurement process to come up with project costs?
A15: Applicants are not required to submit a bid with their application. However, a bid would be accepted with the application to assure projects costs are accurate. Keep in mind that projects are scored and evaluated based on the grant dollars requested and the emissions reductions the project will produce. Once grants are awarded- if they are between $10,000 and $24,999 they must be competitively awarded based on a minimum of two (2) verbal quotes or bids or awarded to a targeted vendor.

Q14: How can I calculate the VOC emissions from installing Stage 1 Vapor Recovery on my gasoline underground storage tank?
A14: One option is to use this spreadsheet/calculator: Office spreadsheet icon Underground Storage Tank emissions reduction calculator (p-sbap5-38). This file displays the first year VOC reductions in the blue box in F14. Or you can contact Matt Domski, Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP): 612-624-5119 or domsk004@umn.edu.

Q13: How can I calculate the emissions from switching out my gasoline passenger car to an electric vehicle?
A13: One option is to use this spreadsheet/calculator: Office spreadsheet icon Passenger car to Electric Vehicle Calculator (p-sbap5-37). The file provides instructions. Use the totals from F12 – F15 for the application’s Emissions Reduction table. Or you can contact Matt Domski, Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP): 612-624-5119 or domsk004@umn.edu.

Q12: I have an auto body shop that is looking at going to water-based paint which only has VOC reduction, do I need to fill out the NOx, CO2, PM and other boxes on the Emissions Reduction section of page 1 of the application?
A12: You only need to fill out the emission reduction boxes that apply to your project. If your project only reduces VOC then you don’t need to fill out the rest of the boxes.

Q11: Am I required to fill out the project workplan and budget on page 2?
A11: Yes, all parts of the application are required but in the past some projects can keep this fairly high level and only include the major parts of what they are proposing to do.

Q10: How can I calculate emissions from handheld 2-cycle gas equipment for purposes of completing the Emissions Reductions chart on the bottom of page 1?
A10: One option is to use this spreadsheet/calculator: File Handheld 2-cycle engine emissions calculator (p-sbap5-36). The file provides instructions. Use the totals from row 19 of the “Emissions & Grants $/ton” tab for the application’s Emissions Reduction table.

Q9: My MPCA Air Permit requires me to put certain pollution controls in my business. Can this grant help with those costs?
A9: No. This grant is only for voluntary emissions-reduction activities. Projects that are required due to permit or other regulations are ineligible.

Q8: May the required match be in-kind instead of cash?
A8: Matching funds may be either cash or in-kind. A reasonable dollar value must be assigned to all in-kind matches.

Q7: May other sources of funds be used for the match?
A7: Some projects may exceed the maximum award amount available. The MPCA encourages these projects to consider the low-interest Small Business Loan program (www.pca.state.mn.us/smallbizloan), which is available year-round. Additionally, if the applicant has secured other grant funding that may also be used for the applicant’s match funding.

Q6: Am I still eligible for a VOC Grant if I have received a previous grant?
A6: Yes, you remain eligible. However, if the MPCA has previously funded a similar project, the applicant should clearly show how the new project differs from that of the previous MPCA-funded project(s).

Q5: How do I calculate my $/lb. level to know what my points are on the Application Evaluation Score Sheet?
A5: Simply take the amount of grant funding being requested and divide by the annual pounds of VOCs being reduced through your project. For example, if a project is reducing 3,000 pounds VOCs and requesting $15,000, the $/lb. would be $5/pound ($15,000 / 1,000 lbs) and receive 30 points on the scoring sheet. 

Q4: How do I calculate my VOC emissions?
A4: This calculation depends on what type of VOC material is being used and what your project is to reduce those VOCs. If you need help calculating your VOC reduction or figuring out what your organization can do to reduce VOCs, please contact Matt Domski, Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP): 612-624-5119 or domsk004@umn.edu.

Q3: How do I tell if my company is in an Environmental Justice area?
A3: Use this mapping tool to see if the project is located in an area of concern for Environmental Justice: http://mpca.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=f5bf57c8dac24404b7f8ef1717f57d00  

Q2: The RFP states that a business that has under 500 employees is eligible. Does that include all of our facilities?
A2: That 500 number includes all facilities, operations, parent companies, etc. If a business is independently owned and operated (such as a franchise), only count the number of employees under that independently owned and operated operation.

Q1: Is my project eligible?
A1: Any project that reduces VOC emissions will be considered, as long as the applicant is eligible. MPCA is encouraging a wide variety of organizations to apply with diverse projects.

 

About VOCs

Volatile Organic Compounds are common air pollutants emitted from everyday processes and liquid use, and can contribute to smog formation. VOCs can cause unpleasant health effects like eye and throat irritation, headaches, and nausea. These effects can be particularly noticeable in highly urbanized or environmental justice communities.

Previously funded projects

Twenty-one Minnesota organizations have received grants totaling $660,000 to reduce VOCs. These funded projects reduced about eighteen tons of VOCs annually, equal to more than 72,000 cans of spray paint.

  • Crystal Lake Automotive (Lakeville and Burnsville): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • Dan Loock's Automotive (Redwood Falls): Replacing a solvent-based parts washer with a water-based unit and add a solvent recycler.
  • Heppner's Auto Body (Inver Grove Heights): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • Heppner's Auto Body - Midway (St. Paul): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • Heppner's Auto Body - 7th Street (St. Paul): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • Heppner's Auto Body (Woodbury): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • Jenniges Gas and Diesel (Wabasso): Replacing a solvent-based parts washer with a water-based unit and adding a solvent recycler.
  • Maaco (Richfield): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • Maplewood Collision Center (Maplewood): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • Master Collision Group (Bloomington): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • MCP Collision Center (Annandale): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • Mountain Power Hydraulics (Mountain Lake): Install industrial parts washer, eliminating Xylol.
  • Oscar Auto Body (Minneapolis): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • Pro Auto Collision & Frame (Ortonville): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • Rupp's Unique Auto Body (Elbow Lake): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • St. Cloud Technical and Community College (St. Cloud): Install the Virtual Paint system, which teaches the next generation of painters about efficiency and techniques that use less paint and reduce emissions.
  • Uptown Auto Care (Redwood Falls): Replacing a solvent-based parts washer with a water-based unit.
  • Valley Craft Industries (Lake City): Converting a paint line that applies finish to products from liquid to powder paint.
  • Wayne's Auto Body (Hastings): Converting to waterborne paint system.
  • Windy's Collision Center (St. Paul): Converting to waterborne paint system.