In the automotive industry, water networks and retail electronics; for the manufacture of lay-flat pipes and connectors; sports shoe soles, parts for electronic installations, eyewear frames and even 3D printing… Arkema’s many members of the Rilsan® polyamide 11 (PA11) family, the fruit of over 70 years of unrivalled expertise in the chemistry of ricin, are closer than ever to market expectations in a very large number of applications. “These products combine the high performance of their oil-based equivalents (chemical resistance, heat resistance and mechanical properties) with the advantage, which is more and more essential today for both ourselves and the community, of being produced from castor beans,” says Guido Donà, Director, Planning and Strategy, Technical Polymers. To manage growing demand, in 2019, Arkema launched the construction of a production site on an international scale in Singapore – an exceptional investment, which increased its global production capacity for polyamide 11 by 50%.
The life cycle analysis reveals that the production of a Rilsan® polyamide 11, which is fully bio-based, generates 40% lower CO2 emissions than the production of the oil-based polyamide PA12, which has the closest performance profile to PA11. Castor oil, made from a non-edible plant that grows in semi-arid areas of which Arkema is the world’s number one buyer, is mostly produced in Gujarat in India, by thousands of small growers engaged in a sustainable program. The Group is supporting them through a pilot scheme named Pragati, which means progress in Hindi, and which aims to improve social, environmental and economic conditions.
The resins in the Synaqua® range, which are basic components of alkyd-based decorative paints and varnishes, all contain high levels of bio-based materials – 42% to 74% of total carbon, depending on the grade. But the latest addition to the family goes so much further: Synaqua® 4856 contains more than 96% of bio-based materials. “These are essentially co-products from the paper industry, from sustainably managed forests in Europe, which therefore take no land from agriculture,” explains Chantal Roidot from Coating Resins at Arkema. This resin was presented at the European Coating Show in Nuremberg (Germany) in 2019, and has already been adopted by one of the world leaders in the paints market. It is designed for indoor use, and also has the laboratory-tested advantage of very low emissions of volatile organic compounds (less than 1g/l). All this without any compromise in the criteria that make the difference, to the eye and to the touch, once the paint has been applied to a beautifully even surface – hardness, water resistance, color intensity and shine.