Evonik additives promote coating durability

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Sustainability in the coatings and inks industry is often reduced to “bio-based solutions”. However, to assess the true environmental impact of a coating, many other aspects must be taken into account than just assessing whether a solution is “biobased”.

To meet this challenge, Evonik has developed a strategy that goes beyond its own additives by putting the formulation and the final product itself at the center of all its activities. Under the motto “Sustainability goes beyond the surface”, Evonik Coating Additives The business line introduces its new holistic approach to sustainability that minimizes the environmental footprint and maximizes the footprint of the final coating.

“Sustainability is more than just being green,” says Gaetano Blanda, Head of Evonik Coating Additives. “It’s about the constant viability of saving time, materials and energy. We believe that to produce truly sustainable products, the formulation itself must be more environmentally friendly and safer.

Accordingly, Evonik Coatings Additives groups its new approach to sustainability into seven so-called handprint effects.

“A product’s footprint is the difference between an established condition and an improved condition from a single environmental impact,” noted Tim-Frederic Sloot, sustainability manager at Evonik Coating Additives. “For example, where our product allows the formulator to significantly reduce the VOC content in a coating’s footprint, the difference to the VOC content in the reference coating is our additive footprint.”

The business line has defined seven different effects that draw potential footprints for its products and solutions. These seven footprint effects influence different stages of the value chain – from manufacturing to disposal or recycling to the end use of coated or printed articles.

The Role of Handprints in the Coatings and Inks Industries

There are four handprint effects that mainly focus on the stage of formulating and applying coatings and inks. These four effects are “Safe to use”, “Production efficiency”, “VOC reduction” and “Sustainable raw materials”.

With regard to safe use, Evonik’s Coating Additives team proactively takes individual actions to reduce the safety risks to its portfolio, for example by replacing hazardous components. To improve production efficiency, solutions are offered to optimize and reduce the amount of material and utility needed by customers, for example by reducing energy consumption during the grinding stage of a formulation.

The growing number of bio-based products included in Evonik’s portfolio also responds to the growing need to replace fossil raw materials with more sustainable raw materials.

The following two footprint effects of ‘durability’ and ‘labels/compliance’ have their greatest relevance in the end-use phase of coated articles. A more durable coating significantly reduces the need for maintenance or replacement, resulting in substantial savings in raw materials and emissions.

To address the Labels/Compliance effect, Evonik’s regulatory experts assess the suitability of relevant products for compliant coatings and inks, providing customers with detailed regulatory information for the entire portfolio.

The seventh and final footprint effect, “Circular Solutions”, focuses on the end of life of coated and printed items. As a key member of Evonik’s Circular Plastics program, the Coating Additives business line focuses its portfolio development on circular solutions for paints, coatings and inks.

Minimize the footprint

In addition to maximizing footprint, the Coating Additives business also minimizes its footprint throughout its processes by using resources more efficiently and reducing emissions.

To this end, a comprehensive Portfolio Sustainability Assessment (PSA) using the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) framework is carried out. Based on the PSA, it is possible to identify products that have a clearly positive sustainability profile, which are then named “Next Generation Solutions”. It is also possible to identify products with critical sustainability profiles and initiate actions to improve the profile. To date, approximately 50% of Evonik’s coating additive portfolio is classified as next-generation solutions.

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

Evonik’s efforts to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions also include increasing the transparency of its processes. This is done by monitoring specific energy consumption and material flows at individual production sites and through life cycle assessments (LCAs) at product level. In a next step, experts from Evonik’s Technology & Engineering department will also identify the most attractive reduction potentials and carry out projects to realize them.

“Our holistic approach enables our customers to contribute to a much more sustainable coatings and inks industry,” added Sloot.

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