08 February 2011 17:14 [Source: ICIS news]
By David Barry
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Epoxy resin systems with up to 70% plant-based content could be just a few years away for the composites industry, a manufacturer said on Tuesday.
A number of companies have developed plant-based epoxy resin systems in coatings and adhesives, mainly using soy or cashew nut-based oils as feedstocks. However, the composites market has more stringent specifications, said Desi Banatao, co-founder of Entropy Resins.
Entropy Resins, which will launch its first commercial products this year, first will push into coatings and adhesives applications with a focus on building materials and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)-certified construction practices, Banatao said.
Meanwhile, the company is doing testing and certification to move up the value chain to composites applications in the wind energy, marine and transportation sectors. That process is expected to take 2-3 years.
Entropy uses epoxidised pine oils and by-product glycerin from biodiesel manufacturing in its epoxy formulations, providing 30-70% plant-based material in its formulations.
“Resins are considered a commodity. People want the environmental factor for free, so you have to be at a certain level of performance and a certain cost window,” Banatao said.
“We’re cognisant of using renewable resources, but ones that have net positive impacts,” he added.
The company uses a technique similar to radioactive carbon dating to assay the proportion of bio-based material in its products, and is developing a cradle-to-grave simulation to quantify the environmental impact of its products, including the land used to grow its feedstocks.
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