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Vertec BioSolvents Wins Phase 2 SBIR Grant From the Department Of Energy

Published on 2008-02-01. Author : SpecialChem

Vertec BioSolvents has announced that its project entitled: Biosolvents for Coatings, Resins and Biobased Materials, won a major two year grant from the DOE. The primary focus of this work is the replacement of petroleum based solvents with renewable resource based biosolvents for widespread applications in the coatings industry.

Vertec BioSolvents has developed and commercialized new proprietary blends of biosolvents that provide superior price performance for several specialty coatings applications. The recently introduced ELSOL™ blend overcomes the odor related issues of lactate esters. The objective of this project is to expand the use of biobased solvents for large volume applications in the coatings industry.

Vertec BioSolvents has partnered with Akzo Nobel, Hexion Specialty Chemicals and other technology leaders whose management understands the value of "Green", sustainable, renewable, carbon-neutral products and technologies.

Coatings and paints are large volume products and a strong industry in the U.S. In 2004, approximately 1.57 billion gallons (~ 16 billion pounds) of products were produced in the U.S. with a market value of 19.5 billion dollars. Large volumes of a variety of solvents are used in the formulation of these products - an estimate of solvent based products is 875 million gallons with 60% solvents i.e. solvent consumption of 525 million gallons or approximately 4.7 billion pounds per year in the U.S. This industry is also a very large consumer of a variety of major polymeric resins such as polyesters, polyacrylates, alkyds, phenolics, fluoropolymers etc. The worldwide production is estimated to be about 2 to 2.5 fold of the U.S. production.

One of the major challenges facing the coatings industry is the emission of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from its products and applications (5). Currently many of the petrochemically derived solvents used such as glycol ethers, ketones and aromatics are both toxic and are considered HAPs. Vertec's biosolvents are non-toxic, non HAP, non-ozone depleting and have many other EPA approvals and endorsements. For example, Vertec's ethyl lactate VertecBio EL™ and its blended solvent with methyl soyate VertecBio Gold™ carry the EPA's "Design for the Environment" logo, which recognizes them for environmentally preferable chemistry.

Another challenge is the increasing cost of petrochemical feedstocks which is translating into higher prices. The prices of many of the petrochemically derived solvents and resins have increased by 50 to 100% over the past two years, whereas the prices of our biosolvents have remained relatively stable.

There is also an increasingly strong push by many countries and initiative among many governments for sustainable technologies and renewable resource based products, worldwide. This has challenged many of the worldwide manufacturers and major corporations to seek sustainable technologies for their products.

The two primary objectives of the project are:

  • Develop high performance coatings formulations using biosolvents with resins and bio-based materials for large volume applications such as polyesters, polyacrylates and others.
  • Optimize, pilot and lead to commercial development, two or three high performance coatings formulations using biosolvents with resins and bio-based materials for large volume applications in polyacrylates, polyesters or epoxies.

With the strong support of our major industrial partners we are making rapid progress to meet and exceed these goals.

Source: Vertec BioSolvents

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