Materials Science

First biobased coating hardener for lightfast polyurethane coatings

At eMove360° Europe 2018, the international trade fair for Mobility 4.0 in Munich, Covestro was awarded one of the coveted MATERIALICA Design + Technology Awards 2018. With the world’s first biobased hardener for lightfast polyurethane coatings, the company managed to prevail in the “CO2 Efficiency” category.

For years, Covestro has been increasingly using alternative raw materials to manufacture its products, also to reduce its own dependence on fossil resources. The material manufacturer is thus meeting the growing interest in products on this basis and is presenting itself as a pioneer in terms of sustainability.

Improved ecological footprint
“Our hardener is of similar high quality to its petrochemical counterparts,” explains Hiep Tran, project manager for the biobased hardener in the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segment at Covestro. “With a biomass proportion of 70 percent, however, it achieves a 30 percent better ecological footprint than comparable fossil products.”

In addition, its properties are also comparable, enabling processors to use formulated coatings on their systems with minimal adaptation costs. Coatings based on Desmodur® eco N are equally suitable for automotive, plastics, wood, furniture and industrial coatings.

Promising drop-in solution
Along with alternative raw materials, industries such as the automotive industry rely above all on energy savings and the possibility of using existing processes and plants – at competitive prices for the products they use.

The polyurethane raw material Desmodur® eco meets all these requirements: The hardener is produced from fermented feed maize and thus conserves fossil resources. Compared to conventional products, several process steps are saved during its manufacture.

First near-series car paint job
Last year, a project team consisting of employees from the vehicle manufacturer Audi, the BASF Coatings division and Covestro reached a new milestone: for the first time, Audi Q2 test bodies were successfully coated with a clear coat of the bio-based hardener. The application took place at the Ingolstadt plant under near-series conditions on existing systems. One of the vehicles was exhibited at the European Coatings Show from 4 to 6 April 2017 in Nuremberg.

Desmodur eco N is just the beginning: Covestro is expanding its product range to include a large number of variants with different properties – such as the recently launched water-soluble product Bayhydur® eco, which is perfectly tailored to the requirements of high-performance waterborne coatings. At the same time, Covestro and its partners are working on the development of next-generation biobased raw materials from cellulose and waste biomass.

Renowned award
The MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award is presented to products and concepts that meet demanding criteria such as intelligent material selection, competent engineering, a high degree of innovation and convincing design. The prize has been awarded since 2003 and addresses designers and engineers alike. eMove360° Europe 2018 is one of the world’s leading technology trade fairs for sustainable mobility solutions.