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DSM Engineering Plastics has launched a material that reduces evaporative emissions from the fuel tanks of non-road outdoor equipment and vehicles with small, spark-ignition engines.

Tests of a tank with a nominal 2mm wall thickness moulded from Akulon Fuel Lock, a mono-polyamide 6 technology, showed a low evaporative emission rate that was less than 20 per cent of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation limit.

Such ultra-low emissions not only comply with tough agency regulations, but also enable thin-wall designs that reduce system costs.

Akulon Fuel Lock further supports sustainable practices by avoiding fluorination, a traditional barrier technology for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that can pose environmental risks.

The Akulon material for injection and blow moulding applications provides resistance to permeation right from the container, without the need for additives or post-moulding treatments.

As a mono-material, it simplifies processing, compared to expensive multi-layer fabrication technologies.

Translucence makes it easy for consumers to visually determine the fuel level in the tank.

‘We have created a material that improves protection against fuel tank emissions during start-up, operation and storage,’ said Ralf Ponicki, global segment manager outdoor power products.

Akulon Fuel Lock low permeation rates in combination with high impact resistance down to -40C offer customers the ability to design thinner-wall fuel tanks that reduce weight and material.

According to DSM, other cost advantages are easy processability and the ability to utilise standard injection moulding and blow moulding tools and machines currently used for HDPE.

In 2008, the EPA enacted legislation that restricts the amount of evaporative fuel emissions allowable from small, spark-ignition, non-road engines.

This classification includes all ground-supported power products (lawn and riding mowers, commercial turf equipment, generators and snow blowers), handheld equipment (chainsaws, string trimmers, blowers and clippers), utility vehicles (ATVs, UTVs and golf carts) and marine (personal water craft, portable and fixed non-diesel tanks).

In addition to direct review and approval of these low permeation tanks, the EPA will test units from retail outlets for compliance.

DSM Engineering Plastics

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