Bio-based coatings: “Act before it is required

Bio-based coatings are getting more and more attention, even though switching away from petro-chemistry is everything but easy. We spoke with experts from Covestro and PPG about the current raw material situation and obstacles for bio-based coatings.

Bio-based raw materials are often -

What are the main criteria for raw material suppliers to use bio-based alternatives? For Lydia Simon and Berta Vega Sánchez from Covestro “the bio-based products must be available in sufficient amounts in the medium and long term, and at stable and predictable costs to offer an economic alternative to fossil-based products.” Also, they add, they need to offer the same performance than petrochemical counterparts and “the extraction of biomass as well as the production of bio-based materials made from them must be environmentally and socially responsible.”

Some bio-based solutions are already there

Lydia Simon

Dr Lydia Simon Global Sustainability Manager Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties Covestro

Thierry Destruhaut from PPG Global Architectual Coatings explains that there is already a number of bio-based coatings materials on the market. These are mostly water-based emulsified alkyd polymers derived from vegetable oils and water-based dispersion polymers synthesised from a bio-naphtha coming from fermented sugar obtained from crop. 

Berta Vega Sánchez

Dr Berta Vega Sánchez Marketing Manager Furniture Coatings & Adhesives Covestro

“Bio-based water-borne alkyd coatings are currently most commonly used in France and Southern Europe, utilising methods that transform the fatty acid from vegetable oils and plant-based polyols into an alkyd resin” he explains and ads that PPG is already offering numerus coatings based on this. Destruhaut expects that regulations and legislation will boost the demand for bio-based coatings, “but if we want to be at the forefront of innovation then it is up to us to act before it is required”, he says.  

Bio-based coatings to expensive

Thierry Destruhaut

Thierry Destruhaut Director Project Portfolio PPG Global Architectural Coatings

An obstacle that has to be overcome is of course the price issue. For Lydia Simon and Berta Vega Sánchez from Covestro this is mostly true for 2nd generation biomass. “Such biomass from waste materials like lignin is not yet readily available at comparable costs and quantities”, they explain and add: “in the meantime we have to ensure that current biomass sources are produced in a responsible way.” 

Thierry Destruhaut is of a similar opinion: “An obstacle is competition with food and overall use of arable land. With the goal of increasing bio-based coatings production, we must be careful not to develop an economical context that would push farmers to reduce food production.”

Event tip:

On 22-23 October European Coatings will host an international two-day Conference on bio-based coatings. There is a super early bird registration available until 22 May.

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