SHANGHAI - Several “green” raw materials suppliers for coatings spoke at Green Industrial Coating Asia 2013 about strengthening the research and development and promotion of bio-based products in coatings. The ups and downs of oil prices lead to raw material price increases for the downstream chemical market, making bio-based alternatives an attractive option to manufacturers.

A group of chemical companies started bio-based research years ago, positioning bio-based applications as a future strategy for growth. These companies include Bayer Material Science, Allnex, Becker Industrial Coatings and BASF.

In a panel discussion about the topic, a majority of participating companies saw China as the country with the most potential to develop bio-based technology, as it is the largest consumer of oil.

Poly-lactic acid, succinic acid, BDO and PHAs are already produced using bio-based methods. The manufacturing techniques used to produce these products have matured, and their performance can compete with petroleum-based products.

A growing number of companies are entering the market for bio-based products for the coatings industry. Since the beginning of 2013, Corbion Purac and Perstorp have worked together to develop caprolactone lactide co-product. Bioamber is seeking opportunities to work with Chinese coatings, PU and plastics partners, and is moving its growth strategy to Asia. Ecoat France, an innovative leader in eco-friendly coatings, opened a new representative office in China this year to better serve the Asia market. Becker is implementing a sustainability program and is considering bio-content raw materials in coil coatings.

At the beginning of 2013, the China State Council put forward a “Planning for Biotech Development” blueprint. The bio-based industry is not only a new growth point for companies, but also a national strategy for China. Development of bio-based raw materials will promote the sustainable development in China’s coatings industry.