Rohm and Haas Company has been awarded a $3.75 million grant from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program to develop new polymer technologies that can remove as much as 30% of raw materials used to manufacture a variety of paints and coatings.
Working together with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), the University of Minnesota and DOE, Rohm and Haas will match its water-based polymeric binders with new biomass-derived coalescing agents to deliver architectural paints and coatings that offer breakthrough performance, environmental friendliness and cost efficiencies.
Waterborne coatings use polymer emulsions to bind color pigments and other paint ingredients together, and to help the resulting pigment/binder film adhere to a substrate. However, only the outer surface of each emulsion particle is actually used. With more than 700 million gallons of paint sold annually in North America alone, there is significant opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce waste.
“Reducing a third of the raw materials typically used in today’s paint technology will yield tremendous savings for manufacturers and consumers alike,” said Andrew Swartz, project leader in Rohm and Haas architectural and functional coatings research. “When fully deployed, our new technology will save up to 86 trillion BTUs per year.”
Swartz said the tough challenge, however, is making sure “we not only reduce waste, but maintain—or improve—the paint’s performance. The product must adhere to a substrate as well as it does today, and still hold up to environmental elements. Consumers want low odor paint that’s sensitive to the environment, but also performs exceptionally well. That’s what we hope to deliver.”
According to Rohm and Haas, the polymer particles will initially benefit North American markets for waterborne architectural coatings, but will expand into paper, industrial coatings, carpets, textiles, and construction industries.
The research project will span five years and cost approximately $5.5 million. Rohm and Haas and ADM are responsible for more than 30% of the total cost, with the remainder funded by DOE.