The presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and biocides in paints is seen as an environmental problem worldwide, with harmful effects on the environment, biodiversity and human health. The EU has recognised that air quality can be improved by controlling the sources of VOC emissions, biocides and other substances. The Biocidal Products Regulation (Regulation (EU) 528/2012) requires manufacturers to replace toxic biocides with alternatives and has made rules on the use and labelling of toxic chemicals stricter.
LIFE-ALFIO will pilot the use of a non-toxic substitute for biocides found in paints and coatings. It will develop 16 biocide-free paint and coating formulas using an organoclay-based material developed by ALINA. These Ecolabel-compliant formulas will cut VOCs in the manufacturing process from 50 grams per litre to 10 grams per litre, in line with EU targets.
The project will set up a pilot line for organoclay production that can be scaled up to full industrial capacity (120 tonnes/year) as soon as the market requires. It will also develop an online platform for the paints and coating industry to share information about formulas, the transparency and traceability of paint and coating components in product value chains, and other relevant information that can help substitute toxic chemicals.
The EU Clean Air Programme and National Emission Ceiling Directive targets a 40% reduction in VOCs by 2030. Sustainable substitution will be a hot topic in the EU during the next decades - any changes in formulations and certification require significant investment in research and development by the paints and coatings industry. LIFE-ALFIO is making a direct and timely contribution to European initiatives for sustainable substitution of hazardous chemicals in an easy and self-sustaining way, less dependent on legislative incentive.