Biocides Market Report

By Kerry Pianoforte, Associate Editor | December 19, 2011

The market for biocides, algaecides and fungicides continues to show improvement from the recent economic downturn.

The market for biocides, algaecides and fungicides continues to be a mixed bag. In North America and Europe, biocides manufacturers Coatings World interviewed reported little to no growth. The Asia markets continue to register growth, albeit at a slower pace than previous years.

“The global market demand for industrial biocides for paints and coatings in 2011 overall has been subdued, with little or no growth in North America and Europe,” said David Tierney, global business manager, Lonza Microbial Control. “Growth has continued in Asia but that market has also been impacted by the economic issues in the more mature markets. Regulatory pressure on both the biocide component and the finished paint formulations continues to be the main driver for biocide selection.”

Demand for biocides has shown signs of improvement since the start of an economic downturn in mid-2008. “Of course, biocides serve many end-use segments, each with its own set of economic drivers,” said Ray Fahmy, business director, biocides North America, Ashland Specialty Ingredients. “Products required for the real estate and construction markets, for example, remain fairly sluggish in North America. We remain optimistic on total demand, given the emerging markets of India and China.”

For 2011, Dow Microbial Control reported a wide variation in demand for biocides in the paint and coatings industry. “Due to a slow down in the new construction industry, volumes growth in the developed regions—Europe and North America—grew around two to three percent on a year-over-year basis,” said Mike Sheehan, regional commercial manager North America, Dow Microbial Control. “Volumes in the developing economies were stronger and continued their growth trend.”

Meeting formulation and performance needs

Biocides makers must work hard to develop products that meet regulations, but at the same time, provide products that feature high performance characteristics. Their customers are looking to formulate coatings with biocides that maximize performance at the lowest possible use level.

“The bar has been set very high recently, however, with customers looking for biocides that offer enhanced activity to protect the newest generation of environmentally friendly, water-based paints, which may be more susceptible to microbial and fungal contamination,” said Fahmy. “Ashland has and continues to update its product line to better support performance and formulation parameters associated with today’s low-VOC, formaldehyde-free paint products.”

Environmental regulations and the trend toward low and zero VOC coatings continue to drive the market for biocides. Biocides manufacturers are tasked with providing a compliant biocide that will protect against contamination both during production and in-can.

“Increasingly, we are being asked for zero VOC, formaldehyde-free preservatives, which will have minimal impact on the environment,” said Tierney. “Emphasis is also being placed on longer term performance and reduced leaching for dry film preservatives.

The requirements for low and zero VOC coatings have increased and continue to drive the coatings market. “This trend has impacted both the selection of biocide chemistry as well as the performance criteria since lower VOC formulations are generally more susceptible to microbiological attack and therefore need more robust preservation systems,” said Tierney. “Overall we have seen a significant move to aqueous-based formulations and combinations of less volatile active chemicals. As a result, paint formulators are increasingly using biocidal products.”

“With environmental regulations driving substantial changes in the biocides market, paint and coatings producers now require technologies that minimize the risk of environmental impact and at the same time meet key performance requirements,” said Fahmy. “An ongoing shift in biocides technology is in line with changes in the way architectural coatings will be made and sold.”

Ashland has seen an increase in demand for formaldehyde-free, low and zero VOC biocides formulations and other fungicide and algaecide products produced with globally accepted raw materials. “Ashland Specialty Ingredients produces novel and efficient water-based preservatives and fungicides produced with globally accepted technology,” said Fahmy.

Ashland has released several new products including Nuosept 498G preservative, a globally accepted, 20 percent BIT-based product, and Nuospet BIC preservative, a water-based formaldehyde-free product with three active ingredients, BIT, IPBC and CMIT, that work to provide protection across a wide antimicrobial spectrum. “Other new products with good uptake in the market include Fungitrol 940CR biocide, a controlled release IPBC-based technology for enhanced dry film performance and Fungitrol IP24 biocide, a flowable IPBC powder,” said Fahmy.

In Western Europe, alignment with the EU Ecolabel is important. “As the EU Ecolabel sets further restrictions on the use of raw materials such as formaldehyde or bronopol, European paint manufacturers are facing increasing difficulties to reach adequate in-can preservation,” said Manfred Niehueser, key account manager paint and coatings, Dow Microbial Control. “This led to the development of our new in-can active ingredient, MBIT (2-Methyl-1,2-benzisothiazol-3(2H)-one). This new chemistry has a broad spectrum of efficacy and addresses the need for both bacterial and fungal control in the paint can.”

Bioban 551S is Dow’s new generation of in-can preservative based on its new antimicrobial active ingredient MBIT (2-Methyl-1,2-benzisothiazol-3(2H)- one).

“Formulations based on MBIT provide proven, reliable performance against a broad spectrum of organisms, including yeast and tough to control bacterial strains, while meeting environmental, health, and safety requirements,” said Emerentiana Sianawati, senior research scientist and MBIT project leader, Dow Microbial Control. 

In North America, Bioban 200 Antimicrobial, based on the DCOIT active ingredient, was launched to fulfill a need for a broad spectrum, long-lasting dry film preservative free of VOC and APEO. The DCOIT molecule also presents an economical choice for dry film protection when compared to other chemistries facing significant run-ups in raw material costs. 

Bioban 200 Antimicrobial is designed for the protection of paint films against fungal attack. In addition to providing protection against surface molds and mildew on the paint film, the product also displays biocidal activity against algae and bacteria. The active ingredient in Bioban 200 Antimicrobial is 4,5-dichloro-2-n-octyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one (DCOIT), which is the same active ingredient used in Rozone 2000 Antimicrobial and Rocima 200 Antimicrobial. It provides the same broad-spectrum activity with improved ease of formulation and similarly can be used in both exterior and interior applications.    

“Bioban 200 Antimicrobial is the result of high-class formulation development and extensive performance testing,” said Claudinei Fava, senior technical service specialist, Dow Microbial Control. “The formulation is based on the dispersion technology and patented active stabilization of Rocima 200 with negligible VOC contribution to the paint formulations per analytical test methods currently used. Therefore, Bioban 200 Antimicrobial is a good component for new generations of low-VOC, aqueous coatings.

Lonza has developed Proxel BZ Plus Preservative, a dual active, broad-spectrum biocide for the preservation of industrial water-based products against bacteria, yeasts and fungi. “This technology is an aqueous dispersion of 1,2-benzisothiazolin-3-one and zinc pyrithione, which does not contribute to the total VOC of the finished product, can be added to product across a wide pH and temperature range and is suitable for products where formaldehyde and CMIT/MIT use is restricted,” said Tierney. “In particular, this product has been successful in preserving colorants—pigment pastes—where other preservatives have failed and is well positioned not only for today's regulatory environment, but for years to come. Additionally we have developed the Proxel range of in-can preservatives to have suitable solutions for all critical application areas without incurring additional labeling requirements.”

“Global pressure on dry film actives such as Diuron and Carbendazim has driven demand for Zinc Omadine ZOE antimicrobial, which provides protection against both fungi and algae without incurring additional labeling requirements,” Tierney said. “Further development work on dry film combinations and delivery systems is continuing in our newly commissioned global Innovation center in Alpharetta, Ga.” 

Ashland, Lonza make key acquisitions in 2011

Two mega-deals occurred in the biocides market during the year when International Specialty Products (ISP) and Arch Chemicals were bought. First Ashland purchased ISP in August 2011 for $3.2 billion. ISP has been integrated into the Ashland Aqualon Functional Ingredients commercial unit, more than doubling the size of Ashland’s highest-margin business.

An integration team with key representatives of both companies is being led by John Panichella, president of the new Ashland Specialty Ingredients business. Ashland anticipates approximately $50 million in annual run-rate savings by the end of the second year through eliminating redundancies and capturing operational efficiencies.

“Primarily, the ISP businesses have been integrated into the Ashland Aqualon Functional Ingredients commercial unit,” said Ray Fahmy, business director, biocides North America, Ashland Specialty Ingredients. “The combined unit is now called Ashland Specialty Ingredients. With a larger range of coatings ingredients managed under the auspices of Ashland Specialty Ingredients, we will better serve formulators and marketers of architectural and industrial coatings.”

In October 2011, Lonza Group AG completed the acquisition of Arch Chemicals Inc. for approximately $1.2 billion. Arch Chemicals’ products are used in a number of industrial applications including protecting wood from fungus and preventing the growth of molds and mildew in paints. The company reports that this deal with Arch Chemicals will make Lonza Group the leader in the $10 billion market which is exhibiting growth of as much as six percent per year.

Lonza Microbial Control, a new business sector formed by the acquisition and led by Jeanne Thoma, offers a complete portfolio of microbial control solutions. Lonza will offer this complementary range of products and actives to a broader range of customers in both established and emerging markets.

“The Lonza Microbial Control business now comprises many complementary aspects and we will have access to both interesting additional active chemistry as well as global technical and marketing resources, which will enable us to further develop our product range and service capabilities across the globe,” said David Tierney, global business manager, Lonza Microbial Control.

The combined company has a significantly broadened range of active ingredients and worldwide formulated product registrations. Lonza Microbial Control now has an even stronger global service and production footprint, greatly enhancing our ability to provide our customers with the best solutions around the world,” said Tierney. “In addition, the combined businesses will support increased investment in R&D and product development, bringing new microbial solutions to the benefit of our customers.”

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