With its Super Sap line of bio-derived epoxy systems, Entropy Resins, a California-based materials company, is enabling a new generation of companies to create environmentally friendly yet high performance composite products.
Over the past year, Entropy has partnered with several sporting goods companies to bring their Super Sap technology to market. One such company, Utah-based Niche Snowboards, uses a proprietary version of Super Sap across their entire snowboard line. “From the start we wanted to design and build a product where every component had some environmental improvement over the industry standard,” said Dustin Morrell, COO of Niche. “However, snowboards go through an incredible amount of abuse so we had to make sure these components were not only eco-friendly but also performed.”
For 2011, Entropy customers are introducing commercial products across other action sports, including alpine skis, skateboards, and surfboards. However, the company said eco-friendly sporting goods are just the beginning. Entropy Resins is expanding into the larger composites markets like wind energy, transportation and civil engineering. “With new industry standards and government legislation focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and maximizing the sustainability of our natural resources, we feel there are further opportunities for our bio-based technology,” said Desi Banatao, lead applications engineer for Entropy. Later this year, Entropy will introduce a line of coatings and adhesive products aimed specifically at the construction industry, as well as resin infusion systems for making large composite parts.
Entropy’s Super Sap epoxy is based on a patent pending process that replaces petroleum-based chemicals with those sourced from bio-renewable feedstock and waste streams of other industrial processes. “By sharing bio-renewable feed stocks with other industries, like the paper pulp and bio-fuels industries, and using manufacturing processes that require less energy and water we can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of our resins,” said Rey Banatao, Entropy’s lead biochemist. “Considering resins can be more than 50 percent of the volume in a composite structure, these savings can be environmentally significant.”
Because composites are integral to a product’s structure and integrity, performance has always been a priority for Entropy’s R&D efforts. “Historically, bio-derived materials have been used in the resin industry as diluents or plasticizers in adhesives or coatings, which is usually opposite of what you want in a composite,” said Desi Banatao. “However from the beginning our goal has been to employ bio-derived technologies that not only match the performance of existing petroleum-based composites but surpass them in certain areas.” These areas include adhesion and elongation properties that can improve the longevity of composite structure and ultimately the end product.