By David Reed, UT EditorSt Louis, Missouri-The US Environmental Protection Agency has given the novel blowing agent introduced by Foam Supplies, Inc., under the tradename Ecomate, Exempt Status under its proposals for cutting the use of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The material, chemically methyl formate, is considered to be "negligibly reactive," according to the EPA's Final Rule, published on 29 Nov. The ruling shows that methyl formate does not contribute to tropospheric ozone (also known as smog), says Foam Supplies, in a 7 Dec statement. Smog occurs when VOCs and nitrogen oxides (NOX) react in the atmosphere, the firm explained.The move means that methyl formate, already approved under the EPA's Significant New Alternatives Program (SNAP), will no longer be counted as a VOC. Foam Supplies says it has demonstrated that ecomate is an ideal replacement for HCFC-141b, and offers thermal efficiency equal to or better than HCFC-22 and HFC-134a systems. It requires only minor equipment, plant or manufacturing changes, the firm adds.Foam Supplies was granted the patent for Ecomate early in 2004 and says it is an alternative blowing agent that satisfies all regulatory and environmental constraints at costs comparable to present systems. Further details about Ecomate are available from Tim Kalinowski of Foam Supplies, [email protected], or from http://www.foamsupplies.com."