Despite the growth of air freight, some eleven billion tons of goods are transported by ship each year. This represents an impressive 1.5 tons per person, especially as larger goods like cars are still mainly transported by sea.
The marine industry faces both pressures to deliver its cargo as efficiently and safely as possible, but it also must now comply with ever more stringent environmental protection legislation. This increased regulation for worker safety and environment protection are currently the main drivers in new product developments in marine coatings.
So, can a coating really have an impact on the environment and safety at the same time? Well, maybe coatings will not save our oceans and protect marine workers on their own, but when everyone makes a contribution, we can start to make the world a better place. So even just a small input can have a big effect. But when we talk about painting a large ship, multiplied by the thousands of ships and barges crisscrossing our seas and rivers every day, that's actually quite a lot of protective coatings that can really help to make a difference to both.
Nowadays, maintaining or improving a ship, or other marine infrastructure’s lifetime with protective coatings is no longer good enough. Modern marine coatings should not have any negative environmental impact due to hazardous air pollutants, nor should they contain any substances that can harm the workers when applying the protective coatings. This means creating new products that don’t rely on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) like solvents and plasticizers to get the performance needed. This requires innovative thinking to replace these dangerous materials and where Evonik’s new class of ultra-low emission curing agent technology comes in.
Containing little or no plasticizers, low viscosity products like Ancamine® are enabling protective epoxy paint formulators to reduce significantly the VOC level of their formulation, without comprising performance. The improved corrosion resistance and high durability offered by these curing agents ensures marine structures maintain performance for many years to come. With less trips to the boatyard for re-coating, marine industry workers are safer, while at the same time we take a step closer to achieving the International Maritime industry’s goal of reducing its total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050.
Never was doing something for the environment this easy, while also significantly improving efficiencies in the marine industry by reducing lifetime maintenance and service costs.