The car industry is seeing a move towards pioneering sustainability solutions. Manufacturers and suppliers are working to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions in production. This trend has prompted an all german collaboration between the iconic car manufacturer Audi, the bio-based coating supplier BASF and material company Covestro. A clearcoat containing a bio-based hardener was applied to test bodies of the Audi Q2 under near-series conditions at the Audi plant in Ingolstadt, Germany. These test bodies have been successfully coated under realistic production conditions highlighting that a new milestone has been reached by the collaboration.
BASF ( @BASF ) developed the clearcoat using the biobased hardener Desmodur eco N 7300 from Covestro ( @CovestroGroup ). A total of 70 percent 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.
Don't miss out on your opportunity to attend this year's Bio-Based Live Europe held in partnership with the University of Amsterdam. Natalie Bittner, New Technologies at Covestro will also be speaking at the conference.
“Our new clearcoat helps our customers to reach their sustainability targets, without having to compromise in terms of quality and performance,” says Dr. Matthijs Groenewolt, head of clearcoat and topcoat development at BASF.
"With this project Audi takes up a pioneering role in this field in the automotive industry.”
The company remain optimistic despite the fact that not all tests of the coating have fully approved. Essentially, three companies have taken “an important step toward an even more sustainable automotive coating process,” according to Thomas Heusser, Head of Materials and Process Engineering at Audi
Dr. Markus Mechtel, head of marketing for automotive coatings at Covestro, adds: “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, and thus leading to an additional reduction of CO2 emissions.
“The use of biobased raw materials in automotive coatings is still in its infancy,” says Heusser, “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.”
In the future, Audi has also set themselves the goal to:
- conserve resources through new recycling concepts for closing material fibres
- develop a recycling concept for carbon fibre reinforced polymers
- develop second life applications for high-voltage batteries
- develop a recycling process for separating aluminium alloys.
However, car manufacturer Mazda, have already sucessfully launched a new bioplastic which will mean that its cars no longer need to be painted with toxic chemicals. The Japanese company has been working in collaboration with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation to develop the new bio engineering plastic from the polymer isosorbide. This means that Mazda is able to use a non-toxic compound derived from plant based materials. The unpainted plastic is also scratch and weather resistant to deliver a unique selling point for its customers.
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