The market for low-solvent, low-VOC paint technologies is witnessing healthy and steady growth as a result of mounting pressure from end-user markets. There are several reasons behind this: increasing awareness on the part of end users and consumers is causing them to ask for highly sustainable products with low toxicological profiles and low environmental impact. In some countries this trend is so firmly established that all new formulations are developed with the primary aim of using only or mostly label-free and environmentally compatible materials. Governments are also contributing to this momentum with their initiatives to limit air pollution and environmental impact.
The advantages of using raw materials with reduced toxicity, low or no VOC residuals and therefore low odor include easy disposal, reduced equipment maintenance and lower impact on the environment. The architectural coatings industry in particular has shown high interest in low-VOC paint formulations, both for interior and exterior end uses. The interior sector is the largest of the architectural coatings market, and focus on low toxicity is high. Exterior coatings give façades distinguishing decorative features or have special functions such as protection, resistance and long-term durability. In both interior and exterior sectors, more and more products are grouped under the generic umbrella of “low VOC”. But whether these products generate no VOC or low VOC, two main challenges arise: price and continuing availability of raw materials. As the market expands, it is crucial to be able to maintain production costs at a level that will not negatively impact growth and to ensure a stable supply of the raw materials that have been specified for the final formulations.