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How to reduce your VOC emissions 

 

What is a VOC? 

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound and according to the European Community (EC) is any compound other than methane that contains carbon and at 20°C, it’s vapour pressure is superior to 10 Pascal. VOC can be expressed as a percentage (weight of the VOC compared to total product weight) or in g/l (weight of VOC in grams contained in 1 litre of product). 

How do I know if my product contains a VOC? 

To find out if a product you are using or purchasing contains a VOC, refer to Section 9 of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS), or alternatively contact the supplier of the material who will be able to advise. 

Why do I want to reduce my VOC emissions? 

VOC emissions have a direct impact on the environment as well as the health of operators, users and the general public. The European Union have adopted several directives aimed at reducing VOCs including 1999/13/EC and 2001/81/EC, cascading down into local and national restrictions on production and maintenance sites. 

Within the aerospace and defence sector, particular focus is being drawn to cleaning and degreasing processes at both OEM and MRO level. Socomore have a wide range of solutions available that not only complete the cleaning task, but also allow the user to reduce their VOC emissions. These solutions can be categorised into four groups. 

Lower VOC Solvents

A VOC quantity is measured by multiplying the amount of solvent used by the VOC rate. It is therefore possible to produce a lower VOC solvent by two methods – reducing the amount of solvent used and by reducing the amount of VOC in a chemical. 

Even if a chemical is a 100% VOC, it may be safer than an alternative product due to its’ evaporation rate. This is the speed at which the product evaporates compared to butyl acetate and directly affects the amount of solvent needed to complete a task. A slower evaporation rate means less solvent is used, and therefore a lower VOC. 

Chemical Name Evaporation Rate   
 Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)   5.6  
 Acetone 3.8  
 Socomore Diestone DLS 0.5
 Socomore Diestone SR 0.12

 

All four chemicals listed above are 100% VOC products, but replacing MEK with Diestone DLS allows for a significant reduction in VOC emissions due to its’ evaporation rate being seven times less. 

In addition to the evaporation rate, not all solvents contain 100% VOC. Choosing a product that is partially formulated with non VOC substances reduces the amount of VOC emitted per litre of product used. 

 


Product examples Images and links

Non VOC Solvents 

Another way to reduce the VOC output in a process is to choose a chemical that contains no VOCs. This includes any solvent of which the vapour pressure at 20°C is less than 10 Pascal. 

Product examples images and links

Aqueous Cleaners

One step further is to remove the solvent content altogether, and move towards an aqueous or water-based cleaning process. Aqueous cleaners are suitable for a range of cleaning tasks, and are suitable for wiping, spraying and immersion applications. 

Product examples Images and links

Pre-Saturated Wipes 

The final change a customer can make to reduce their VOC emissions is to alter the application process. The traditional VOC and non VOC solvents are often supplied in bulk liquid format, and  are then manually applied onto cloth before wiping. 

By purchasing Socomore pre-saturated wipes, you are not only controlling the evaporation rate, you are also reducing other safety risks such as those from fire. In addition, moving away from manually dosing bulk chemicals reduces the quantity of solvent used, thus further reducing emissions and also reducing cost. 

These wipes are available on a variety of cloths suitable for general purpose and critical cleaning, and can be pre-saturated with a variety of low VOC, non VOC and aqueous cleaning chemicals. 

Product examples images and links

For further information on the Socomore VOC reduction solutions, please click here (LINK TO VOC BROCHURE).