DSM Engineering Plastics

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Overcoming CARB Evaporative Emissions Regulatory Challenges

  • Dan Hilfiker · Advanced Engineering Manager

  • 11 July 2018

For many years, regulatory agencies around the world have focused on reducing automotive and heavy-duty on-highway vehicle emissions, but more recently attention has shifted to the impact of small off-road engines for applications such as outdoor power equipment.

In fact, recent analysis from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) estimates that common activities such as operating a gasoline-powered push lawnmower for one hour creates as much smog-forming pollution as driving an average sedan from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (300 miles/483 km).

As regulators aim to reduce the overall environmental impact of small off-road engines, limiting evaporative emissions from fuel tanks has become an area of focus. As a result, CARB amended its small off-road engine rules to increase the stringency of procedures used to test evaporative emissions.

Traditionally, manufacturers have used high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for small engine applications, but this can allow increased emissions permeation and reduced durability. In the 1990s, DSM partnered with OEM customers and regulatory agencies to better understand these challenges and develop a solution.

As a result, DSM launched Akulon® Fuel Lock nylon/polyamide (PA6) monolayer technology in 2011. Today, leading global manufacturers have trusted Akulon for seven years, and the third-generation technology continues to deliver superior performance versus HDPE.

Key Akulon Benefits

  • Permeation rates five times below CARB and EPA standards, and over 50 times below HDPE tanks.
  • Durability throughout the product life, making it resistant to failure during the molding and assembly stages and extending its expected-use life.
  • Requires no masterbatch or fluorination treatment.
  • Injection molding, blow molding and rotomolding grades are available and existing molding equipment can still be utilized

With additional CARB evaporative emissions regulations expected in 2022 and the potential for regulators in other countries to follow suit, Akulon will continue to be an important solution for manufacturers seeking to ensure compliance and reduce the environmental impact of their products.

To learn more, visit dsm.com/fuellock or plasticsfinder.com for related products and application data sheets.

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