LEVERKUSEN, Germany - In the automotive industry, manufacturers and suppliers are working constantly to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions in production. A project team consisting of employees of the car maker Audi, BASF´s Coatings division and materials company Covestro has now passed a new milestone: for the first time, a clearcoat containing a biobased hardener was applied to test bodies of the Audi Q2 under near-series conditions at the Audi plant in Ingolstadt, Germany.
BASF developed the clearcoat using the biobased hardener Desmodur® eco N 7300 from Covestro. A total of 70% of the hardener’s carbon content is sourced from renewable raw materials. This innovation reduces the consumption of fossil resources. The clearcoat forms the top layer of the coating system, lending it scratch resistance, a glossy appearance, and protection against sunlight and other weather effects.
Improved Eco-Balance, High Quality
“Our new clearcoat helps our customers to reach their sustainability targets, without having to compromise in terms of quality and performance,” said Dr. Matthijs Groenewolt, head of clearcoat and topcoat development Europe at BASF.
Dr. Markus Mechtel, head of marketing for automotive coatings at Covestro, added, “Using renewable raw materials in the production of biobased hardeners helps to conserve fossil resources. At the same time, the biomass, as it grows, captures CO2 in the environment.” In addition, process steps are eliminated during biobased raw material production for this hardener, thus leading to an additional reduction of CO2 emissions.
Promising Test Results
“The use of biobased raw materials in automotive coatings is still in its infancy,” said Thomas Heusser, head of Materials and Process Engineering at Audi. “But the application of the new clearcoat on our existing machines fulfilled all our specifications and delivered promising results. With this project, Audi takes up a pioneering role in this field in the automotive industry.”
After successful coating of test bodies of the Audi Q2, Thomas Heusser is optimistic, “Even though not all tests required for approval of the coating for use in full-scale production have been concluded, the three companies have taken an important step toward an even more sustainable automotive coating process.”