FAQ

1) What are the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) contributions of TBF solvents?

 US, except Southern CaliforniaSouthern California (SCAQMD)Canada
ShiraSol0 g/L0 g/L0 g/L
EkaSol 10 g/L2.66 g/L2.66 g/L
ZemaSol0 g/L0 g/L0 g/L
KradaSol0 g/L0 g/L0 g/L
BerdeSol0 g/L0 g/L0 g/L
TergoSol0 g/L2.82 g/L2.82 g/L

2) Are TBF solvents VOC-exempt?

TBF solvents are VOC-compliant in every jurisdiction in the United States and Canada.

2a) Can TBF solvents be used everywhere in North America?

Yes.

2b) Does a solvent have to be on the VOC-exempt list in order to comply with regulations?

No. It is important to note that the EPA, state and local regulations do not prohibit the use of solvents which are not on the VOC-exempt lists maintained by the EPA and SCAQMD. What the regulations do proscribe is that final products must have a VOC content which below the regulated limits for that product. Thus a manufacturer can use a 0 VOC or UltraLow VOC solvent in their product formulations to maintain the VOC content below the regulated limit, even if the solvent is not on the VOC-exempt list.

2c) What is the difference between VOC Exempt, Zero VOC and VOC Compliant?

  1. Both “VOC-exempt” and “Zero VOC” are terms which refer to a material which does not contribute any VOC to a formulation.
  2. A solvent can be Zero VOC even if it is not VOC-exempt.
  3. “VOC compliant” refers to solvents which meet the VOC regulations within a jurisdiction.
  4. “VOC-exempt” refers to a solvent that is on the VOC-exempt lists maintained by the EPA and SCAQMD. Only single component solvents that have been found not to contribute to ground level smog may be classified as VOC-exempt.
  5. “Zero VOC” solvents are generally comprised of a blend of exempt solvents and may not be classified as VOC-exempt. Blended solvents comprised of VOC exempt solvents meet the VOC regulations and contribute 0 or an ultra low amount of VOC’s to a formulation.
  6. “Ultra Low VOC” is a classification unique to SCAQMD for solvents containing less than 25 g/L of VOC. Ultra low VOCs may be used in SCAQMD. The VOC content of an Ultra Low VOC must be included in the calculation of the total VOC content of the final product.

2d) What tests are used to determine VOC content of a solvent?

A solvent blend can be tested using EPA Reference Method 24 and/or ASTM Method 313-91 to determine its VOC content. Solvents blended from VOC-exempt solvents will typically show VOC test results as zero, or an ultra low amount of VOC’s due to some minor impurities within the blend.

2e) How are TBF products considered by different jurisdictions?

ZemaSol:

ZemaSol is considered Zero VOC across the United States and Canada. ZemaSol is also the first hydrocarbon solvent in over 20 years to be certified by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) as a Clean Air Solvent.

EkaSol 1 and TergoSol:

Both EkaSol 1 and TergoSol are considered to be Zero VOC in most of the United States. In SCAQMD only they are considered Ultra Low VOCs and contribute 2.66 g/L and 2.86 g/L of VOC, respectively, to a formulation.

KradaSol, BerdeSol and ShiraSol:

The products are considered Zero VOC everywhere in North America. These 3 products have recently been certified by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) as Clean Air Solvents. The regulations section of this website discusses this in great detail, showing the VOC content limits both by jurisdiction and by application.

The table below describes TBF’s environmentally-friendly solvents in terms of their VOC classification:

 ShiraSolKradaSolBerdeSolEkaSol1TergoSolZemaSol
VOC Content (g/L)0002.662.820
Maximum Incremental Reactivity (g O3 / g VOC)0.0970.0620.0470.470.0650.079
49 states, and California except SCAQMD
VOC ClassificationZero VOCZero VOCZero VOCZero VOCZero VOCZero VOC
VOC Contribution to final product000000
SCAQMD
VOC classificationZero VOCZero VOCZero VOCUltraLow VOCUltraLow VOCZero VOC
VOC Contribution to final product0002.66 g/L2.82 g/L0 g/L
Rule 1122 (25 g/L max)Easily meets requirementEasily meets requirementEasily meets requirementEasily meets requirementEasily meets requirementEasily meets requirement
Rule 1171 (25 g/L max)Easily meets requirementEasily meets requirementEasily meets requirementEasily meets requirementEasily meets requirementEasily meets requirement
Rule 102Clean Air Solvent Certificate grantedClean Air Solvent Certificate grantedClean Air Solvent Certificate grantedClean Air Solvent Certificate granted
Manufacturing operations0002.66 g/L2.82 g/L0 g/L

3)  Are all TBF Solvents exempt from reporting under the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) in Canada?

TBF Green SolventNPRI Reporting Requirement (by weight)
ZemaSolTotally Exempt
EkaSol 131% *
TergoSol28% *
KradaSolTotally Exempt
BerdeSolTotally Exempt
ShiraSolTotally Exempt
*Part 4 – Total VOC thresholds. If the threshold is exceeded, a Part 4 – Total VOC substance report is required. For more information, refer to Part 4 Substance section of the NPRI reporting guide available at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/inrp-npri/default.asp?lang=En&n=1FAA2366-1. *Note: Environment Canada has proposed adding certain ingredients to the VOC-exclusion list. If adopted, both EkaSol 1 and TergoSol will be totally exempt from NPRI reporting requirements.

4) What is the Maximum Incremental Reactivity (MIR) and what are the MIR’s of TBF products?

The MIR is the measure of the increase in ozone formation per unit weight of a hydrocarbon when added to the atmosphere. Reactivity is often used rather loosely to refer to the rate of ozone formation, the amount of ozone formed, or both. The validity and usefulness of MIR values are widely accepted in the scientific community, and by both U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Traditional solvents have high MIRs, which is why they are subject to increasingly stringent regulations:
Traditional SolventMIR Value
Heptane1.28
Hexane1.45
Methyl Ethyl Ketone1.48
Mineral Spirits0.9 – 2.47
Toluene3.97
Xylene7.37

Typical petroleum-based solvent substitutes have lower MIRs:

Typical Solvent SubstitutesMIR Value
Tertiary Butyl Acetate (TBAc)0.20
ParaChloroBenzoTriFluoride (PCBTF)0.11
However, TBF’s Ultra Low- and zero-VOC solvents have MIRs which are even significantly lower.
TBF Green SolventMIR Value
ShiraSol0.097
EkaSol 10.470
ZemaSol0.079
KradaSol0.062
BerdeSol0.047
TergoSol0.065

5) What is Evaporation Rate and what are the evaporation rates of TBF products?

The Evaporation Rate is characterized as the vaporization rate of a chemical compared with the vaporization rate of a standard chemical, such as normal-butyl acetate (also written n-BuAc), whose vaporization rate is standardized as 1.0.
ZemaSol: The evaporation rate of ZemaSol is considered high in relation to Xylene and Toluene but considerably lower than Acetone. In coating applications, ZemaSol has a fast initial evaporation and exhibits a tail that slows the evaporation rate after a short period (approximately 15 seconds). The evaporation rate mimics that of Xylene. SCS Coatings Services, Inc., an independent lab, compared the evaporation rates and other solvency parameters of ZemaSol to TBAc, PCBTF and Xylene. They concluded: ZemaSol exhibits a very comparable dry profile relative to Xylene. Of all exempt solvents tested, ZemaSol exhibited the best dry profile, with TBAc and PCBTF being too fast and too slow, respectively.
EkaSol 1: The evaporation rate of EkaSol 1 is considered very close to Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK). The evaporation rate is critical to the performance of a solvent in formulation. Since EkaSol 1 mimics MEK closely, it is suitable for use as a replacement for MEK in most paint, coatings and ink applications. Aqueous and bio-based alternative solvents actually don’t have the evaporation rate solvency required to be effective alternatives and emit VOC’s. Thus, these types of solvents are not particularly applicable as an MEK substitute for most applications, particularly in formulation.
TergoSol: The evaporation rate of TergoSol is slightly slower than Acetone. However in practical use, particularly in cleaning applications, the difference in evaporation rate is negligible and has no effect on the quality of the application.
ShiraSol: ShiraSol was specifically developed to exhibit to mimic the evaporation rate of Mineral Spirits. It is the only solvent in the marketplace that does so. ShiraSol may be used as a substitute for a variety of common slow evaporating solvents such as mineral spirits, cyclohexane, Aromatic 100, Aromatic 150, etc.
KradaSol: The evaporation rate of KradaSol is slower than Hexane. This was done by design as KradaSol was specially designed as a solvent for dissolution of polymers. The slower evaporation rate is critical to the performance of a solvent in a formulation so would not “flash off” as fast as some of its traditional organic solvents such as Hexane or Toluene. KradaSol mimics Hexane quite closely and is suitable for use as a replacement for not only Hexane but Toluene, Xylene and Perchloroethylene in cleaning and dissolution applications. Aqueous and bio-based alternative solvents often don’t have the evaporation rate solvency required to be effective alternatives and emit VOC’s. Thus, these types of solvents are not particularly applicable as a Hexane substitute for most applications, particularly in formulation and dissolution.
BerdeSol: The evaporation rate of BerdeSol is very similar to Heptane. This was done by design as BerdeSol was specially designed as a solvent for replacement of Heptane in brake and contact cleaners and as a co-solvent for Heptane in paints, coatings and resins. BerdeSol’s comparable evaporation rate to Heptane is critical its performance as dry time is essential element of its physical characteristics. BerdeSol mimics Heptane quite closely and is suitable for use as a replacement for Heptane in cleaning and formulation applications. Aqueous, bio-based and Acetone type solvents have issues related to safety, solvency and either too slow or too fast evaporation rates required to be effective alternatives and often emit VOC’s. Thus, these types of solvents are not particularly applicable as a Heptane substitute for most applications.

Evaporation Rates of TBF Products and Traditional Solvents (n-BuAc = 1.0):

TBF Green Solvents Traditional Solvents and Substitutes 
ShiraSol0.1Mineral Spirits0.13
EkaSol 13.62MEK3.86
ZemaSol5.14Xylene0.6
Tertiary Butyl Acetate (TBAc)2.8
ParaChloroBenzoTriFluoride (PCBTF)0.90
Toluene1.2
KradaSol1.4Hexane8.3
BerdeSol2.5Heptane3
TergoSol5.45Acetone7.7

6) What is the Heat of Combustion and what are the values for TBF products?

The heat of combustion is the energy released as heat when a substance undergoes complete combustion with oxygen.
TBF Green SolventsHeat of CombustionHeat of Combustion
ShiraSol8046.8 btu/lb4473.2 kcal/kg
EkaSol 19205.2 btu/lb5116.8 kcal/kg
ZemaSol8943.8 btu/lb4571.3 kcal/kg
KradaSol9905.3 btu/lb5506.3 kcal/kg
BerdeSol10898 btu/lb6058 kcal/kg
TergoSol8538.8 btu/lb4771.3 kcal/kg

7) What are the Surface Tension measurements for TBF products? 

TBF Green SolventSurface Tension
ShiraSol24.5 dynes/cm
EkaSol 126.1 dynes/cm
ZemaSol24.2 dynes/cm
KradaSol21.1 dynes/cm
BerdeSol20.4 dynes/cm
TergoSol25.1 dynes/cm

8) Are TBF products halogenated solvents?

ZemaSol, ShiraSol, KradaSol, and BerdeSol each contain a halogenated molecule. We suggest that the client thoroughly test the material in their application(s) or formulations to test for compatibility with specific raw materials, specific specialized equipment and/or end use. EkaSol 1 and TergoSol are NOT halogenated solvents.

9) Do TBF products contain Hydroxyl (OH groups)?

ZemaSol contains NO Hydroxyl (OH) groups. EkaSol 1 contains a compound that does contain a Hydroxyl component. However, it should be noted that in urethane coatings formulation, there has been no adverse effect on the Polyol nor on the isocyanate crosslinker when combined with the Polyol. The material performed and dried as specified. We recommend that the customer thoroughly test the use of EkaSol 1 in 2k polyurethane formulation to test for the efficacy in their formulation. TergoSol, KradaSol, BerdeSol and ShiraSol contain NO Hydroxyl (OH) groups.

10) Why are TBF solvents considered “Green”?

All TBF solvents are considered green because they do not contribute to the depletion or creation of ozone and contain no hazardous air pollutants. They are considered Zero-VOC in most jurisdictions, as noted in Question 2 above.