Emulsion Polymers Market: Biobased Emulsion Polymers to Boost Market

High demand for emulsion polymers across the paints and coatings industry, the automobile industry, and building and construction activities has boosted the global emulsion polymers market. Emulsion polymers are primarily used in automotive coatings and architectural coatings. The global emulsion polymers market is projected to expand at a CAGR of 6.1% during the period from 2015 to 2023. The overall market was worth US$32.2 bn in 2014 and is expected to reach a valuation of US$54.9 bn by 2023.

Global Emulsion Polymers Market: Presence of Volatile Organic Compounds Restricting Market

The global emulsion polymers market is expected to be hampered by the stringent regulations related to raw materials such as styrene, butadiene, and urethane. According to the Emulsion Polymers Council, the environmental health and safety aspects of emulsion polymers are quite favorable, with the usage of different small and low-molecular-weight compounds in the manufacturing of high-molecular-weight emulsion polymers with no specific toxicity-related issues. Further, they are supplied in water or solid form to minimize safety concerns.  

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However, the presence of initiators, monomers, and surfactants in the final product leads to traces of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the final product. To totally eliminate the presence of VOCs in emulsion polymers, production of biobased emulsion polymers is being stressed upon with technological advancements. The global emulsion polymers market has a huge opportunity to grow with the introduction of biobased emulsion polymers.

Biobased Emulsion Polymers: A New Growth Opportunity for Global Emulsion Polymers Market

The paints and coatings industry has been dominating the overall emulsion polymers market since the past couple of years. Biobased materials such as waxes, gums, polysaccharides, and natural oils are being used for many coating formulations in the industry. Resins based on vegetable oils remain widely popular. Researchers are expanding this technology to include water-based, low-VOC options to manufacture biobased building blocks for polyurethane dispersions, alkyd latex, epoxy ester resins, and oil-modified urethane. Key manufacturers are expanding their portfolio of natural oil-based resins. For example, BASF offers a range of natural oil-based, solvent-free polyols especially designed for PU coatings and adhesives.

Academic research groups are studying potential new materials for the development of biobased coatings. At North Dakota State University, researchers are using derivatives of sucrose-based, low-viscosity fatty esters as raw materials for developing epoxide resins. Further, coating binders are being prepared by esterifying soybean oil with a vinyl ether alcohol. 

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Are Biobased Emulsion Polymers Cost-Effective?

Though biobased emulsion polymers are not affected by the volatility in oil prices, in order to provide an acceptable cost/performance ratio, biobased raw materials need to be available in large quantities. As newer biobased raw materials are not yet produced on a fully commercial scale, their availability is low, which contributes to their increased price. Thus, more refinement is needed before biobased emulsion polymers become mainstream.

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