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:




Selecting Industrial Engine Cleaners: A Helpful Checklist

Just like engines in non-industrial machinery, engines in industrial machines must be serviced to remain in good working order. There are plenty of industrial engine cleaners that can help you do the job, but which one is right for your application? That’s what we help you answer by presenting a checklist covering six crucial selection criteria for industrial engine cleaners.

  1. Types of Materials in the Engine

You need a cleaner that doesn’t degrade any materials in the engine. In addition to knowing the general types of materials you’re dealing with, you need to know their specific type (e.g., grade of stainless steel or grade of plastic). Goal number one is to avoid damaging the engine with the wrong solvent.

  1. Turnaround Time for Cleaning

How fast must the engine be cleaned? Can you spend six hours polishing it to perfection, or do you need to clean it in a matter of minutes? Now that you know what solvents can safely clean the engine materials, you can focus on acquiring a solvent with the efficacy to clean the engine, as quickly as required.

If you have a quick turnaround time, it’s also helpful to use a fast drying solvent. Some solvents make soils flow away from parts and leave the parts dry within a few seconds.

  1. Geometry of Engine Parts

Regardless of the time frame for cleaning the engine, you need to apply solvent evenly across parts that need cleaning, including tough to reach places where cleaning by hand is impractical.

When engine parts have complex geometries, cleaning them is often done easiest with aerosol, whose cloud of particles diffuse uniformly across the work surface. Aerosol can be applied from drums with a high-speed sprayer wand, in addition to being applied with handheld spray cans.

  1. Energized Vs. Non-Energized

Most engines are cleaned in a non-energized state, meaning the power is disengaged. However, engines that perform long service runs being being powered off — such as engines in passenger jets and manufacturing equipment — must often be cleaned while running.

To do the job safely, use industrial engine cleaners that are non flammable and contain a dielectric. A dielectric is a buffer that prevents electrical current from flowing through the solvent. Be sure the dielectric you select has the strength to oppose the voltage of the engine.

  1. Engine Cleaning Schedule

You probably have an engine cleaning schedule in place. One way to be sure you don’t need clean engines more frequently is to use non-residue industrial engine cleaners. Solvent residue can be like common soap residue: Instead of repelling soils, it can actually attract them.

In engines, solvent residue can also create oil viscosity problems, potentially causing damaging friction between engine parts. Unless your cleaning application directly calls for a solvent that deposits a residue, stick with non-residue industrial engine cleaners.

Contact Us Today

Have questions about selecting the right engine cleaner? The chemists at Ecolink are here to help. We supply stock solvents and custom solvents in environmentally-preferred formulations. Contact us today at 800-563-1305, or email us a message through our contact form. We look forward to assisting you!



Degreasers for Parts Cleaners: An Option for Degreaser Recycling

It seems like almost anything can be recycled these days: tires, gasoline, motor oil, cotton fibers, degreaser, and the list goes on. If there’s one item in the list that many people don’t think of as recyclable, it’s degreaser, much less a specific class of degreasers, such as degreasers for parts cleaners.

Tank and Open Air

Among industrial users, degreasers fall into two general categories: degreasers that are applied in open air and degreasers used in parts washers. Both types of degreasers can be recycled, but the recycling process for each is markedly different.

A waste removal company removes spent open air degreaser from the waste trap. After degreaser is removed from the trap, it may or may not be recycled. As eco-friendliness goes, the best users can do is choose a waste removal company whose platform includes solvent recycling. Recycling degreasers for parts cleaners can be done with more ease.

Recycling Tank Degreasers        

As their makeshift name suggests, tank degreasers are solvent placed in the solvent basin of parts washing systems. Both the type of parts washing system you have and the degreaser you use make it possible or highly impractical to recycle degreasers for parts cleaners.

When it comes to solvent recycling, many industrial degreasers users prefer to recycle them within a parts cleaning system, where the solvents are purified and prepared for another round of cleaning, and then subsequent rounds of cleaning.

This process is used within the context of vapor degreasing — a process in which spent solvent condenses in a special part of the machine, is purified of soils, and then returns to the solvent basin, where it was manually placed before the first batch of parts were cleaned.

Using a parts cleaning system that facilitates vapor degreasing is one way to recycle degreasers for parts cleaners. If you don’t have a parts washer that supports vapor degreasing and recycling waste solvent, making the investment could big-time cost saver in the long run in two ways: It could reduce your solvent cost and mitigate your chemical waste disposal bill.

Degreaser Recycling Limits

Part of the establishing the cost saving value of recycling degreasers for parts cleaners is determined by the number of times the solvents can be recycled within the system. The exact number of times depends on your parts washing system and the degreaser you use.

If in doubt about how many times you can recycle a degreaser, consult the owner’s instructions. If you’re still left with questions, contact the dedicated team of chemists at Ecolink.

Contact Ecolink Today

If you need help selecting a parts washing system and a vapor degreaser to support degreaser recycling, the green solvent specialists at Ecolink are here to help. We provide environmentally friendly and environmentally safe solvent solutions, including degreaser. In addition to supplying stock products, we produce custom formulations for the needs of specific users.

With our products, you will never have to worry about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banning or regulating your degreaser or other cleaners. For more information about our products and services, call us today at 800-563-1305, or reach us through our contact form. We look forward to assisting you!