PPG and the first automotive refinish coating with bio-based hardener

Electric mobility and photovoltaics play a vital role in protecting the climate and conserving fossil resources. Combining them leads to even more innovative and sustainable mobility concepts.

To show that these kinds of solutions are already feasible using state-of-the-art materials and technologies, a team of around 45 young researchers has developed a solar-powered electric car. Calling themselves “Team Sonnenwagen,” the students from RWTH Aachen University and Aachen University of Applied Sciences intend to enter their vehicle in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2017 in Australia, probably the toughest race in the world for solar cars and PPG and Covestro are supporting their project.

Font: Covestro (@CovestroGroup) | Twitter

Road test: automotive coating with sustainable raw material

The most important product application for this new car is a three-layer polyurethane coating from PPG. Climate conditions have a significant impact on the top clearcoat. The Sonnenwagen uses an innovative automotive refinish coating that contains Covestro’s bio-based hardener Desmodur® eco N 7300. “Some 70 percent of its carbon content comes from biomass,” explains Ulf Wentzien, global head of Industrial Marketing in the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties Business Unit at Covestro. “This reduces the environmental footprint by around 30 percent.”

“The bio-based hardener achieved the highest sustainability standards and meets both our customers’ and our own requirements,” says Ignasi Roig, EMEA Product Platform Manager at PPG Refinish. “The coating is to the same outstanding quality as a polyurethane clearcoat with a conventionally produced hardener.”

Easy processing

The two-component coating is also impressive on the practical side. In PPG’s training center in Hilden, it was applied to the Sonnenwagen's bodywork parts under similar conditions to an automotive paint shop.

The coating is particularly suitable for the temperature-sensitive surface of the solar-powered car as it hardens at low temperatures.

Covestro and PPG have been working together in the field of coatings development for many years now. Both partners are using the Sonnenwagen project to demonstrate the role coatings can play in sustainable mobility.

Tough test for solar cars

The World Solar Challenge is considered to be the toughest race on Earth for solar cars and this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. From October 8 to 15, 2017, approx. 40 teams from all over the world will be competing in their “homemade” vehicles to win the 3,000 kilometer race from Darwin to Adelaide – without using one drop of fuel. The Sonnenwagen from Aachen will be the only German car going to the starting line in the Challenger Class this year.