In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented its Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award to BASF's Automotive Refinish Coatings business for the company's eco-efficient UV-curable primer.

Patrick Prevost, president of Chemicals, Plastics and Performance Products at BASF Corp., accepted the award on behalf of BASF at the 10th Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award celebration held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

BASF's UV-curable primer offers a number of benefits for collision repair shops. Unlike conventional urethane-based primers, which require heat and can take more than 20 minutes to cure, BASF's primer cures in just a few minutes when exposed to visible or near-ultraviolet (UV) light from inexpensive UV-A lamps-or even when exposed to sunlight. UV curing eliminates the need for bake ovens and dramatically reduces energy consumption. Compared to conventional primers, BASF's UV-curable primer requires fewer preparation steps, is more durable, provides better corrosion protection and has an unlimited shelf life.

The new primer is also much more eco-friendly, containing only 1.7 lb of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) per gallon vs. 3.5 lb to 4.8 lb/gal for conventional primers - a VOC reduction of more than 50 percent. According to Charlene Wall, responsible for BASF's Eco-Efficiency program in North America, BASF's UV-cured refinish primer demonstrates the effectiveness of the company's Eco-Efficiency Analysis (EEA) in evaluating a product's economic and ecological "footprint" during its entire life cycle.

"Eco-efficiency Analysis is an important BASF tool that supports sustainable development," says Wall. "We have conducted more than 240 Eco-efficiency Analyses since 1996 on products and processes spanning all of BASF's diverse businesses. EEA scientifically compares environmental and economic impacts over the life cycle of different technologies, identifying which products are most eco-efficient and why. This knowledge helps us identify the most promising technologies - in terms of capital investment or R&D - and to improve existing technologies. As part of EEA, we also work with external parties, including customers, to help them maximize the eco-efficiency of their operations and products."