Rescuing Brake Cleaner & Carburetor Cleaner Victims

Wind farm operation and maintenance is extremely difficult work. High winds (duh) attract all kinds of contaminants that impact the performance and longevity of high value parts including gearbox. Conducting wind turbine preventive maintenance takes place both in the field and shop environments. Having the right cleaners and degreasers makes the job cleaner.

For dozens of years over-the-counter aerosolized brake cleaner and carburetor cleaners have been the choice degreaser for wind turbine maintenance. Why?

Pros: cheap ($3/can), fast drying (50-90% acetone content) and cleans well (witches brew of co-solvents including benzene, xylene, isopropyl alcohol, propanol, butane to name a few of the usual suspects).

However, there are always
Cons: flammable (energized equipment not a good fit), dries ‘too’ fast (use more chemical), wasteful packaging (10-15% loss factor)

Ecolink received an urgent call from a CA-based wind farm generating more than 576 Mega Watts per year from over 2,500 wind turbines in operation for more than 25 years in Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Hopefully your folks can come up with a solution to our problem.
– Scott, a Production Assurance Specialist & Safety, Environmental Coordinator

Customer priority list:

  • BAAQMD VOC compliance – 45% and scheduled to 10% by content
  • Worker safety – non-flammable without any health affects
  • Process improvement – punctured over 30,000 cans/year and generated 330 gallons of hazardous waste annually
  • Reduce solid waste, including recycling content
  • Save green ($, money) by going green (fewer air/VOC emissions)

After a series of in-person meetings, team interviews among end users, environmental health and safety team, Ecolink narrowed the list of ‘compliant’ alternatives to a few solvent-based aerosol and bulk degreasers along with an industrial strength aqueous cleaner.


  • Eliminated 20,000 aerosol cans per year + 6 x 55-gal drums of hazardous waste disposal generated per year
  • Saved over 5,000 lbs (2.5 tons)/year of steel
  • Reduced VOC emissions by 14x (44% vs 2.5%)
  • Repurposed and unused parts washing unit
  • Converted $36/gal (concentrate of case of aerosols) to a $8/gal aqueous cleaner saving over $80,000/year (x 5 years and counting)
  • Replaced 65% of non-compliant, flammable & wasteful with a BAAQMD compliant, non-flammable and high performance cleaner

To learn more about the hazards facing wind farm technicians, check out this episode of Dirty Jobs: