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EPA Administrator Honors DuPont and DaimlerChrysler for Joint Air Quality Improvement Project - EPA’s Innovative Flexible Permit Motivated the Two Companies to Create a New Emission-Reduction Technology

Release Date: 3/20/2003
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

PHILADELPHIA – DuPont and DaimlerChrysler are being honored today for teamwork that cut volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by more than 25 percent in a new paint technology at DaimlerChrysler’s auto plant in Newark, Del.

EPA Administrator Christie Whitman recognized DuPont, DaimlerChrysler and 20 other recipients during the third annual Clean Air Excellence Award ceremony held in Washington, D.C. today. The Clean Air Excellence Awards honors outstanding, innovative efforts to make progress in achieving cleaner air.

“From Kentucky to Colorado, and across the nation, these award winners are using innovative approaches to help make our nation’s air cleaner," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. “I am proud to honor these pioneering individuals and organizations for using creative ideas, showing once again, that government and industry working together can achieve a healthy environment without sacrificing economic growth. The winners of the Clean Air Excellence Awards are real-life examples of how one person – one organization – taking steps to reduce pollution can make our air cleaner.”

Volatile organic compounds are vapors released from paints, solvents, and chemical processes. Emissions of VOCs cause the formation of ground level ozone smog, which remains a serious health problem. Certain VOCs are also categorized as hazardous air pollutants, and are associated with even more serious health and environmental effects.

The stage was set for DaimlerChrysler and DuPont to develop the new technology under the terms of DaimlerChrysler’s flexible air permit issued in 1995 by Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources (DNREC) and approved by EPA. The permit includes a PAL or plantwide applicability limit which provides an incentive to DaimlerChrysler to stay under plantwide emission levels, and thereby avoid the delays associated with having to get a new permit each time it expands or upgrades its operations. So long as it stays under its plantwide emission levels, DaimlerChrysler has the flexibility to make changes in its operations that not only improve the company’s bottom line by saving money but allow it to respond quickly to consumer demands and compete in the global marketplace.

DuPont developed its SuperSolids clearcoat technology and proposed using it at DaimlerChrysler’s facility. The innovation immediately lowered VOC emissions on the clearcoat line by more than one quarter, in addition to eliminating more than 80 percent of the hazardous air pollutant emissions from the complete topcoat process. The technology also reduced odors from the painting process by 50 percent. By working smarter together, DuPont and DaimlerChrysler came up with an innovative solution that reduced emissions and gave a better quality product for the customer.

The first commercial application of SuperSolids clearcoat is on the 2002-2003 Dodge Durango, produced at the DaimlerChrysler Newark, Del. assembly plant.

The Clean Air Excellence Awards program was established in 2000 by the U.S. EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, a senior-level policy committee that advices EPA on implementation of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The awards are dedicated to the memory of Thomas W. Zosel, an original member of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, who was an internationally-recognized authority on clean air, pollution prevention and other environmental issues.

Winners must directly or indirectly reduce emissions of the Clean Air Act’s criteria pollutants or other hazardous pollutants, demonstrate innovation and uniqueness, serve as a role model and achieve positive outcomes that are continuing and sustainable.