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Hexion Waterborne Epoxy Resins Help Reduce VOC Emissions

Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions from the use of solvents in paints and coatings contributes to air quality issues, particularly in large urban areas.

Several years ago, Hexion Inc., began to develop waterborne epoxy resin systems. Although Hexion recognized the potential environmental, safety and overall sustainability benefits such systems could have that some traditional solvent-based systems might not, the market was initially hesitant about performance, and it was sometimes challenging to generate customer interest.

Hexion Stacked Containers

Hexion decided to change its approach by first identifying sustainability mega-trends that could drive lower VOC content, and then using that to identify a market segment that would likely be first to see the pressure from that trend.

Hexion identified the Chinese shipping container manufacturing segment as one that would likely be under pressure to reduce VOC emissions, due to significant smog and air quality issues in China and the fact that 98 percent of the world’s shipping containers are manufactured and coated in China. Hexion joined an industry consortium in China to educate the marketplace and government officials about the performance and sustainability attributes of waterborne coatings technology. The Chinese government responded by changing regulations to require lower-VOC coatings.

The application of waterborne epoxy resins in the Chinese shipping container market has helped China to realize a tangible improvement in air quality, while also helping to enhance worker safety.

The use and manufacture of waterborne resins provides sustainability benefits throughout the value chain. By manufacturing lower-VOC products, Hexion reduces hazardous waste output and air emissions in its operations, providing an overall reduction in global warming potential, as well as lowering the risk of fire by eliminating flammable solvents and enabling easier and safer clean-up.

About the author
American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $486 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is among the largest exporters in the nation, accounting for ten percent of all U.S. goods exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

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