100%-Renewable Ethoxylated Surfactants
Nathan Noyes, Applications Scientist – Smart Materials, Croda
Consumer awareness of the products and chemicals that they use are rising. Many chemical companies are also striving to become more environmentally responsible. The trend in the coatings industry is towards waterborne and low/zero-VOC products, and many innovations in coatings technology are based on sustainable or green chemistries. The market increasingly demands the use of renewable ingredients to reduce carbon footprint. This trend is driven by a number of factors, including evolving consumer perceptions, regulatory/certification bodies and programs such as USDA BioPreferred, and the growing implementation of corporate sustainability initiatives. Bio-based ethylene oxide (EO) will meet this demand by enabling the synthesis of various ethoxylated surfactants and emulsifiers that are 100% bio-based. Ethoxylation is a common process used to generate a range of surfactants for emulsification and wetting, including ethoxylated alcohols, carboxylic acids and esters. While the hydrophobic portions of many of these surfactants are already naturally sourced from plant oils, only petrochemical-derived EO has been available in North America until this time. With the production of bio-based EO, ethoxylated products can now be produced from 100% bio-based content, allowing customers to choose fully renewable products without sacrificing performance. In addition, incorporation into even synthetic base materials, the bio-based content can be significantly increased, allowing formulators to meet challenging new targets.