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Bio-based coatings have great potential for development

Bio-based coatings are new types of coatings prepared from renewable substances originating from plants, non-food crops, etc. The advantages over traditional petroleum-based materials are to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and alleviate dependence on fossil raw materials, as well as a green and environmentally friendly production process. Bio-based coatings on the odour, environmental performance, coating application performance and constructability have put forward high requirements, while the upstream raw material enterprises can provide higher bio-based carbon content of the enterprise generally can only provide Tg lower soft monomers, high Tg hard monomers are still very few, so the mainstream bio-coatings with acrylate emulsions in the balance of all the performance can only be achieved after about 30%, which also limits the bio-based coatings bio-based content.

China has enacted a number of policies related to bio-based coatings in recent years, in line with its “dual-carbon” goal:

(1) The Government’s report for 2021 sets out the goal of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, and promoting the application of bio-based materials is an effective technological way to reduce dependence on petroleum resources and realise the dual-carbon goal.

  • The 14th Five-Year Plan for China’s coatings industry mentions the need to “develop bio-based renewable monomers and resins to replace carbon-based monomers and synthetic resins, and to promote the sustainable development of the coatings industry”.
  • The group standards “T/CIATA 0025-2018PBC Bio-based Heavy Anti-corrosion Coatings” and “T/CSTM 0047-2021 Bio-based Emulsion Interior Coatings” standards play a positive role in promoting the development of bio-based coatings in China.

Main technical routes for bio-based polyurethane coatings

  1. The use of bio-based raw materials from vegetable oils, bio-fermentation products and other plant and animal extracts to prepare polyols to replace traditional petroleum-based polyols is a relatively widely researched and applied type of bio-based polyurethane material technology, specifically including: the development of vegetable oil polyols, polypropylene-crossing ester polyols and lignin-based polyols.
  2. Preparation of bio-based polyisocyanates: Soybean oil, castor oil, oleic acid, amino acid and lysine can be used as raw materials to produce polyisocyanates by different synthetic methods. Currently commercialised bio-based polyisocyanates include 1,5-pentamethylene diisocyanate of Mitsui Chemicals, Tolonate X FLO 100, a partially bio-based aliphatic polyisocyanate of France’s Vencorex, and so on.
  3. Bio-based non-isocyanate polyurethane: Produced by the reaction of multifunctional cyclic carbonate-based oligomers and poly(tertiary amine-based) oligomers, non-isocyanate polyurethanes synthesised from various types of bio-based raw materials are the main technical routes for bio-based polyurethanes.
  4. Bio-based fillers: lignin, wood chips, cellulose, etc. can be processed as fillers added to the polyurethane reaction system to prepare bio-based composites, these fillers can reduce the cost of materials, and some systems can, to a certain extent, improve the mechanical properties of the material, heat-resistant properties and so on.

Bio-based Coatings Market Outlook

The global bio-based coatings market is expected to witness tremendous growth opportunities in the coming years as the demand for bio-based coatings in many industries has increased with the growing focus on sustainability. According to a report by Markets and Markets, the bio-based coatings market is expected to grow from USD 11.5 billion in 2022 to USD 18.2 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 9.5% between 2022 and 2027. Overall, the market size for bio-based coatings has been around 5% (value) and 1% (volume) in recent years. Bio-based coatings are still in its infancy, but with the advantages of green and sustainability, and with policy support, it has gradually become one of the hot materials of concern for various coating enterprises around the world, with great potential for development.

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