Covestro, a market leader in polymers supplied for automotive coatings will be using the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2017 in Australia to test the durability of its products under the harsh climate conditions. The company will focus primarily on a 3-layer polyurethane coating from PPG. The top clearcoat of this coating will face maximum exposure and has the Covestro’s bio-based hardener Desmodur eco N 7300 as a component.
Electric mobility and photovoltaics are expected to play an important role when it comes to conserving fossil fuels and protecting the climate. A team of about 45 research students from RWTH Aachen University and Aachen University of Applied Sciences worked painstakingly on developing a solar-powered electric car to show that it is possible to develop such innovative technologies using advanced materials and technologies. Calling themselves ‘Team Sonnenwagen’, the members of the team are all set for what is billed as the toughest race in the world for solar cars.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the World Solar Challenge and it will be held from October 8 to 15, this year. 40 teams from different parts of the world will be competing in vehicles they have developed to win the 3,000 kilometre race from Darwin to Adelaide and the challenge is to cover this distance without using even one drop of fuel.
Covestro is the gold sponsor of the Sonnenwagen project. The company will provide the team with materials and technical service and will use this opportunity to test coatings under the harsh climate conditions that are found along the race’s route. Temperatures in the Australian outback be as high as 45 degrees Celsius in October, with intense UV radiation. There will also be a high level of particle concentration in the air at this time of the year.
Automotive coating with sustainable raw material
Covestro will focus mainly on the durability of a three-layer polyurethane coating from PPG, one that is highly suitable for use on body parts made of carbon fiber composites. The weather conditions have maximum effect on the top clearcoat. The Sonnenwagen uses an innovative automotive refinish coating that contains Covestro’s bio-based hardener Desmodur eco N 7300 and 70 percent of its carbon content comes from biomass. According to Ulf Wentzien, global head of Industrial Marketing in the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties Business Unit at Covestro, this will reduce the environmental footprint of Desmodur eco N 7300 by around 30 percent.
Ignasi Roig, EMEA Product Platform Manager at PPG Refinish said that the bio-based hardener achieved the highest sustainability standards and confirms to both the customer’s and PPG’s requirements. He said, “The coating is to the same outstanding quality as a polyurethane clearcoat with a conventionally produced hardener.”
In addition to the environmental benefits, from the practical perspective also, the two-component coating is impressive. It was applied to the Sonnenwagen’s bodywork parts under similar conditions to an automotive paint shop in PPG’s training centre in Hilden.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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