Biobased coatings

Dew drops on green leaf
© / Larysa Pashkevich

Boosting sustainability with biobased coatings

Biobased coatings increase a product’s sustainability. Replacing fossil-based ingredients with biobased, sustainable raw materials can significantly reduce a product’s carbon footprint.

However, modifying a coating formulation poses a number of challenges:

Which biobased raw materials perform similar functions to conventional ingredients?

What interactions occur in a product formulation as a result of modifying its composition?

How does a biobased coating change the processing behavior of a material?

Our coating experts would be happy to assist you in resolving these issues. We can support the development of your biobased coating from when you select the raw materials right through to producing the finished formulation for your specific target application. In addition to customizing existing formulations, we also offer innovative, product-specific biobased coating formulations. In developing these solutions, we bear in mind the availability of the raw materials and their chemical and functional properties, as well as the processing behavior and the change in the target product’s material properties.

At every stage in the development process, we assess the properties with regard to the target product. We tailor all the development phases to the production and application technologies you have available.

Our range of services for biobased coatings

Selection and extraction of raw materials

We focus on using residual materials from the food and agricultural industries, especially highly functional plant ingredients.



We investigate not only physical and functional characterization, but also interaction mechanisms with other components, along with testing stability and shelf life.



To enhance functionality, we can carry out enzymatic, chemical, and physical modification steps.


We analyze how the individual coating components and certain work steps during formulation influence the coating’s functionality.



We deploy various application systems for carrying out application tests on the product formulations developed, depending on the target application.

Selection and extraction of raw materials

When selecting raw materials, we focus on vegetable proteins, fibers, and waxes and oils as lipophilic components with their film-forming and highly functional properties. Secondary plant substances can also play a significant role in the functionalization process.

Recycling residual material flows

We consider recycling residual materials from the agricultural and food industries, based on its availability and prices, thus making yet another contribution to increasing sustainability in terms of the bioeconomy. All material flows in these industries contain large quantities of functional ingredients. Alternatively, we can also initiate our development processes using commercially available components.

Process development for raw material extraction

In addition to our extensive knowledge of raw materials, we are constantly looking into ways of optimizing efficient processes for extracting, purifying, and stabilizing plant-based ingredients. As part of the development process, we focus not only on the extraction yields, but also on the functions required for the target application using the extract. Additionally, we consider the nature of the raw material flows. This ensures that we extract high-quality proteins, fibers, vegetable oils, and secondary plant substances.

During process development, we use aqueous medium or organic solvents. The utilization of supercritical CO2 is a particularly gentle method. Extraction operations can be carried out using both the percolation and immersion methods and, if necessary, under explosion-proof conditions. The extraction process may be followed by preparation of the extracts using filtration, distillation, and concentration.

Once process development has been completed in the laboratory and the scale-up has been carried out in our pilot plants (300 l), we are happy to produce application samples for you and collect data for an economic assessment.

You can also use our plants for proprietary developments. For this purpose, we can offer you different extraction systems depending on the raw material or target application:



Analysis of biobased ingredients

An extensive characterization of the potential substituents is required to ensure the successful use of biobased ingredients. This includes a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the composition of all the raw material flows and extracts. The extracts undergo a further in-depth analysis in terms of their chemical and physical properties, focusing particularly on the film-forming properties.

Once the extracts are incorporated into the product formulation, their functional properties in the target application are tested. This application-specific characterization involves, for example, establishing the surface effect, investigating barrier effects, or determining permeation properties.

We also determine interactions with other formulation components and, if necessary, can identify the underlying mechanisms for existing interactions. In addition, we test the stability and storage behavior of the product formulation.

Functionalization of biobased ingredients

The selection and extraction of raw materials alone have a major impact on the functionality of the target product. To enhance the desire functionality even further, we have the option of carrying out enzymatic, chemical, and physical modification steps. Adjusting polarity and particle size can also result in good solubility or dispersibility of the plant-based ingredients in the target medium, which is a prerequisite for stability in the product later on.

For instance, proteins can be broken down into smaller units by means of chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis. This not only changes the size of the molecule, but can also expose functional groups that will enhance the functionality of the proteins in the target medium.

Attaching lipophilic components to proteins through esterification reactions enables them to be used not only in water, but also in non-polar target media.

Development of a coating formulation

One essential step in the development of the biobased coating is the incorporation of the biobased components developed by us into your product formulation. As part of this, we investigate which interactions take place between the biobased ingredients and other components in the target medium and how these affect the desired functionality. We also analyze the influence that certain work steps in the formulation production process have on the functionality of the biobased coating components.

Minor adjustments to the production process may often have a crucial influence, even leading to an improvement. In this development phase, the functional properties are again repeatedly adjusted and optimized.

When developing biobased coating formulations or substituting fossil components in coatings, other factors that we take into account include the machinability and processing behavior of the relevant substrates together with the coating throughout the entire processing phase, as well as the stability of the coating itself and the durability of its functionality.

Application tests for biobased coatings

Depending on the target application, product formulations that have been developed can be adapted to different media/substrates using appropriate application systems, thus creating initial application samples. We deploy a variety of technologies for this in the areas of paper coating and packaging. A lab coater can be used to carry out initial coating tests on a DIN A4 scale. We then use our laquering and laminating plant to carry out the next scale-up phase between laboratory scale and production. This is when we test the application process and refine the process parameters. For coatings featuring in the spraying process, we can also present initial spray tests.

In other application areas, such as paints, varnishes, and glazes, we also carry out application tests in close collaboration with customers, which are geared to the special requirements and criteria specified by them.

Application tests carried out on biobased ingredients for the personal and home care sector mainly focus on a comprehensive sensory assessment of these product groups.

All application tests can already be used iteratively during the development of each final coating formulation in order to provide initial statements about the workability, the material-changing properties, and the stability or sensory impact of the coatings.

We can carry out necessary tests on mechanical properties, and permeability can be measured during the development phase in our laboratories. If required, we can conduct human toxicological analyses and characterize the processing behavior of the newly developed biobased materials, such as their machinability.