Paint Removal From Architectural Surfaces With an Innovative Pulsed Light Source

EPA Contract Number: 68D03046
Title: Paint Removal From Architectural Surfaces With an Innovative Pulsed Light Source
Investigators: Schaefer, Raymond B.
Small Business: Phoenix Science and Technology Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: II
Project Period: May 1, 2003 through April 30, 2005
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2002) Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Waste , Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Environmental regulations for air emission and waste disposal have created a need for paint removal methods that are both economically and environmentally acceptable. Furthermore, architectural surfaces painted prior to 1978 have lead paint that should be removed to meet U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) lead concentration standards.

Improved paint removal techniques are needed because "acceptable" techniques are inadequate. Media blasting and abrasive techniques, for example, generate a large volume of debris and can damage architectural materials. Chemical strippers are labor intensive, messy, and may be toxic. Also, many stripped surfaces require additional preparation before repainting.

However, pulses of light, a technology being developed by Phoenix Science & Technology, Inc. (PS&T), removes paint without generating secondary waste and without damaging the surface. The technology also leaves behind a surface ready for repainting. Paint strippers using flashlamps and lasers are commercially available, but they are too expensive and impractical for removing paint from architectural surfaces. Phase I and subsequent internal research and development (R&D) work at PS&T demonstrated the feasibility of using this pulsed light source to meet lead concentration standards for architectural surfaces at high removal rates needed for commercialization.

The proposed Phase II research project will continue the development of this photolytic paint removal process using PS&T's new lamp, with the potential to become a practical, low-cost paint stripper of architectural surfaces. The Phase II objectives are to: (1) determine optimum light pulse parameters for removing paints from architectural materials, (2) demonstrate an effluent capture system that meets air quality standards, (3) develop a robotic scanner to control the paint removal process, (4) develop a prototype depainter that meets HUD cleanliness standards for lead concentration, and (5) conduct a field test demonstration. The Phase II research project will be a sister program both to a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) program to develop the lamp technology needed for commercialization and a HUD Office of Healthy Homes program to develop a hand-held paint stripper to complement the large area paint stripper of this proposed Phase II research project. Together, the NIST, HUD, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency programs provide a comprehensive R&D program for lead paint removal in homes. A manufacturer of detectors for measuring lead concentration in paint will support Phase II and is a potential partner for the commercialization of a paint stripper using PS&T's lamp.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, photolytic paint removal, pulsed light source, lead, flashlamp, large area paint stripper, hand-held paint stripper, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, cleaner production/pollution prevention, waste reduction, Sustainable Environment, HAPS, Waste, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Civil Engineering, Economics and Business, Environmental Engineering, cleaner production, paint removal, Lead Compounds, waste minimization, pulsed light source, hazardous waste, cost benefit, recycling, innovative technology, architectural surfaces, source reduction, pulsed light sources

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Paint Removal From Architectural Surfaces With an Innovative Pulsed Light Source