Cannibals can be good. Particularly for the environment. We are talking of the tiny micro-organisms that ingest oil and other hydrocarbons and convert them into water and carbon dioxide. Doesn’t this sound good. It actually is. These environmentally friendly microbes go through a process similar to human digestion to eat away polluting grease and oil.

In technical terms, this process is known as Bioremediation. Simply put, Bioremediation is a process which uses a biologically active product, containing live colonies of microbes, to achieve a designated task. Usually the task is to break down environmentally hazardous or potentially hazardous materials through the action of these living organisms.

Bioremediation has been applied to parts cleaning as well. The designated task in this case is to clean machinery and automotive parts and break down the hazardous chemicals which accumulate on these parts.

The Ecosafe Washer from Alsco successfully uses this technology. Want this technology for your auto garage? Get a free, zero-obligation quote for your business now.

Here is how it works…

In the automotive world, grime, grease and oil that coat components are a haven of toxins and hazardous chemicals.

The sequence of events begins with the breaking of the tight bond between the contaminant and the part itself, thereby releasing the grease into the fluid itself. This is done by the surfactant / degreaser present in the cleaning fluid called OzzyJuice. These cleaning fluids are pH-neutral, non-flammable, water-based combinations of chemicals that contain no hazardous ingredients that could harm workers or interfere with the action of the organisms making OzzyJuice safe yet incredibly powerful at the same time.

The lifted contaminants are emulsified into the cleaning solution. The emulsified cleaning fluid is then passed through the mat contained inside the Ecosafe Washer. The OzzyMat is a filtering device where larger particulate matter such as dust, paint chips or pieces of metal get retained in the mat, while the fluid containing the contaminants flows into the tank below the mat.

The fluid flowing through the mat releases our hungry micro-organisms in the same tank where the grease, oil and other hydrocarbons are contained. It is now that the organisms come into life and ‘eat’ the oil and grease converting them into water and carbon dioxide.

The water combines with the fluid and the carbon dioxide escapes into the air in volumes so slight so as to be immeasurable.

Let’s get to know these cannibals

Our helpful cannibals occur naturally around us. “They are as common as – and no more harmful than – ordinary dirt.”

These hydrocarbon-degrading micro-organisms are ubiquitously distributed in soil and aquatic environments. They normally constitute less than 1% of the total microbial communities. While they may be only a small proportion of a pre-spill microbial community, according to Ronald M. Atlas, the presence of oil-based pollutants can raise their populations to 10% of the total community.

These oil eating indigenous microbes came into global spotlight during the Exxon Valdez and the BP Deepwater oil spills. They played a significant role in reducing the overall environmental impact of both these spills.

Storing these cannibals

The microbes are stored in the mats in an inactive or dormant state and become active only when the fluid is added. This makes storage of these organisms, simple, hassle-free and viable over extended periods of time.

Let them eat

In order to get the best results from your little cannibals and from your friendly Ecosafe Washer, here are a few things to be kept in mind.

The microbial pads should be changed at prescribed intervals. This achieves two objectives

  • Any trace metal particles caught in the mat filter do not accumulate to hazardous levels and are disposed of quickly and easily.
  • A new pad contains refreshed, new and vigorous microbes which replace the old, worn out ones.

Maintaining the right temperature is important to achieve the desired results. Too cold and the microbes will not function properly, slowing down their process. Too hot and they will die. The right temperature provides an optimal environment for the microbes aiding their digestive and reproductive processes.

Adding bleach, disinfectants and other chemicals could kill these microbes.

Want to meet the Ecosafe Washer in person?

Alsco will be at the Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo and the Collision Repair Expo on April 16-18. Do visit stand E17 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre to find out about the Ecosafe Washer.

Or simply reach out to our helpful sales staff here to know about Alsco’s customer friendly rental and hassle-free maintenance programs.


Photo Courtesy: Ferrous Büller