MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sustainability in the coatings and inks industry is often reduced to "bio-based solutions." However, to evaluate a coating’s true environmental impact, many more aspects need to be considered than only assessing if a solution is “bio-based." To address this challenge, Evonik has developed a strategy that goes far beyond its own additives by putting the formulation and the final product itself as the focus of all its activities, as per the company's press release.
Under the claim “Sustainability goes deeper than the surface,” Evonik’s Coating Additives business line introduces its new holistic approach to sustainability that minimizes the environmental footprint and maximizes the handprint of the final coating.
“Sustainability is about so much more than just being green,” says Gaetano Blanda, Head of Evonik Coating Additives. “It's about the consistent viability of saving time, materials, and energy. We are convinced that to produce truly sustainable products the formulation itself must be more environmentally friendly and safer.” Accordingly, Evonik Coatings Additives bundles its new sustainability approach into seven so-called handprint effects. “The handprint of a product is the difference between an established and an improved condition of a single environmental impact,” describes Tim-Frederic Sloot, Head of Sustainability at Evonik Coating Additives. “For example, when our product enables the formulator to significantly reduce the VOC content in a coating’s footprint – then the difference to the VOC content in the reference coating is the handprint of our additive.” The business line has defined seven different effects which outline potential handprints for its products and solutions. These seven handprint effects influence different steps of the value chain – from the manufacturing, via the end use of coated or printed articles to the disposal or recycling.
There are four handprint effects that focus mainly on the formulation and application step of coatings and inks. These four effects are “Safe Use,” “Production Efficiency,” “VOC Reduction,” and “Sustainable Feedstocks.” Concerning safe use, Evonik’s Coating Additives team proactively carries out individual actions to reduce safety related risks of its portfolio, for example by replacing hazardous components. To improve production efficiency, solutions are offered that optimize and reduce the amount of material and utility needed from customers, for example by reducing energy usage during the grinding step of a formulation. Providing solutions for VOC reduction is already a core competency of Evonik, and the existing portfolio of additives and resins that serve this purpose is continuously expanded. The increasing number of bio-based products included in Evonik’s portfolio further addresses the growing need to replace fossil raw materials with more sustainable feedstocks.
The next two handprint effects of “Durability” and “Labels/Compliance” have their highest 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 of raw materials and emissions. Evonik’s high-performance additives improve corrosion, scratch, and/or burnish resistance. To address the “Labels/Compliance” effect, Evonik’s regulatory experts evaluate the suitability of relevant products for compliant coatings and inks, providing customers with extensive regulatory information for the whole portfolio.
The seventh and last handprint effect, “Circular Solutions”, focuses on the end of life of coated and printed articles. As a key member of Evonik’s Circular Plastics Program, the Coating Additives business line focuses the development of its portfolio on circular solutions for paints, coatings and inks.
Besides maximizing the handprint, the Coating Additives business also minimizes its footprint throughout all its processes by using resources more efficiently and reducing emissions.
For that purpose, a comprehensive Portfolio Sustainability Assessment (PSA) using the framework of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is carried out. Based on the PSA, it is possible to identify products that have a clear positive sustainability profile, which are then named as “Next Generation Solutions.” It is also possible to identify products with critical sustainability profiles and initiate actions to improve the profile. As of today, approximately 50% of Evonik’s coating additives portfolio are classified as next generation solutions.
Evonik’s efforts to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions also includes increasing the transparency of its processes. This is done by monitoring the specific energy use and material streams at individual production sites and by Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) on a 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 Tim-Frederic Sloot.
The Coating Additives business line’s sustainability approach is part of the entire Evonik group’s overall Sustainability Strategy. This strategy is based on ambitious targets and key activities to translate them into measurable actions.
As MRC reported before, Evonik is investing a three-digit million-euro sum in the construction of a new production plant for bio-based and fully biodegradable rhamnolipids. The decision to build the plant follows a breakthrough in Evonik's research and development. Rhamnolipids are biosurfactants and serve as active ingredients in shower gels and detergents. Demand for environ-mentally friendly surfactants is growing rapidly worldwide.
We remind that in February, 2020, Dow and Evonik entered into an exclusive technology partnership. Together, they plan to bring a unique method for directly synthesizing propylene glycol (PG) from propylene and hydrogen peroxide to market maturity.
Propylene is the main feedstock for the production of polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,363,850 tonnes in January-November, 2021, up by 25% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.
Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of EUR12.2 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of EUR1.91 billion in 2020. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable and sustainable solutions for customers. About 33,000 employees work together for a common purpose: to improve life today and tomorrow.