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Bio-based coating for cars

A pan-German collaboration of Audi, BASF, and Covestro developed a new bio-based car coating. Thus reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions during production.

Matthijs Groenewolt (BASF), Markus Mechtel (Covestro), and Thomas Heußer (Audi) developed the first bio-based clearcoat for cars.

The top coat of cars has to fulfil many requirements – it has to be scratch resistant, protect against sunlight and inclement weather, and also has to give the car a glossy appearance. Now, for the first time, 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. A project team consisting of members from Audi, BASF’s Coatings division, and the materials company Covestro achieved this milestone.

The car industry is looking for sustainable solutions

Sustainability with regards to the auto motor industry is no longer limited to bio-fuels or electric cars. In fact, manufacturers and suppliers are actively working towards sustainable productions as well, in order to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions during production.

To that end a clearcoat containing a bio-based hardener has recently been successfully applied to test bodies of the Audi Q2 series in Ingolstadt, Germany. These tests were conducted under near-series and realistic production conditions.

Conserving fossil resources and reducing CO2 emissions

Markus Mechtel, head of marketing for automotive coatings at Covestro, explains: “Using renewable raw materials in the production of bio-based hardeners helps to conserve fossil resources. At the same time, the biomass, as it grows, captures CO2 in the environment.” In addition, certain process steps are eliminated during the bio-based raw material production for this hardener, thus leading to an additional reduction of CO2 emissions.

Although the clearcoat is not quite ready for wide-scale use in the industry, it is nonetheless an important step toward a sustainable automotive coating process

A pioneering role for Audi

“The use of bio-based raw materials in automotive coatings is still in its infancy,” says Thomas Heusser, Head of Materials and Process Engineering at Audi. “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.”


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