Company initiatives

Bio-based adhesives are hot!

Source: Henkel

Germany-based consumer products company Henkel announced this week that it has partnered with US-based DaniMer Scientific to develop bio-based hotmelt adhesives for consumer packaging.

The goal for the partnership is to market a technology platform that includes a family of bio-based hotmelt (is this one word or two words?) adhesive formulations worldwide.

The alliance expects the first products to be ready for launch in the first half of 2013. According to the companies, the biobased adhesives can be applied to a wide range of customer operating needs such as general purpose end of line, high performance end of line, labeling, and even specialized applications such as frozen food packaging.

DaniMer said their feedstock used to produce the adhesives are not derived from direct food chain resources and that their technology has also enabled the company to use recycled renewable content in certain adhesive grades. The blog seems to recall that some of DaniMer’s biopolymer technology uses polylactic acid (PLA), starch and [or] polyhdroxyalhanoate (PHA).

DaniMer’s sister company Meredian just started late last year its PHA facility in Bainbridge, Georgia, which currently has a production rate of 15,000 tons/year but expandable to 300,000 tons/year at full capacity.

The blog also recalls a partnership between DaniMer, bio-succinic acid player Myriant and bio-PDO (1,3 propanediol) producer DuPont Tate & Lyle (DTL) on DaniMer’s new biobased label adhesive under the trademark DaniMer 92721, which uses bio-PDO and bio-succinic acid as building blocks.

The label adhesive was designed for PET container packaging with renewable content higher than 50%. The adhesive can dissolve completely in PET flake caustic wash recycling operations enabling zero contamination in PET recycle streams.

Now the blog has covered bio-based adhesives only occasionally when featuring companies such as EcoSynthetix, BioFormix, YParex, and when several traditional chemical companies have launched products in this space.

According to this article from SpecialChem by Edward M. Petrie (you have to register to sign in but it’s free!), the high amount of biopolymers development has not yet seem to significantly impact the adhesives market mostly because of the lower volume of polymers used in adhesives, although the hotmelt area seems to be gaining ground when it comes to involving renewable-based feedstock (as you can see from Henkel’s announcement).

One big reason, according to Petrie, is the wide variety of large commercial applications especially in the environmentally sensitive areas of packaging. Another factor is that hot melt adhesives have grown and replaced other adhesive types primarily due to favorable environmental factors.

According to SpecialChem, hotmelt adhesives are typically composed of three primary components: based polymer, tackifier and wax plus small amounts of various additives such as antioxidants, UV inhibitors, plasticizers to control the application and [or] service properties of the adhesive.

This article is full of great information as it even categorized what particular components in hotmelt adhesives can be replaced (or are already using) renewable-based materials. Here’s a chart that summarizes the possibility of producing a 100% renewable-based hotmelt adhesive, although, the challenge is mainly coming from replacing the base polymer component.


You have to read the article to get more details but the blog just wanted to note some of its coverage in polylactides and bio-based polyamides. Major players in the polylactides area include Purac and NatureWorks. Players in the commercial bio-based polyamides space include Arkema, Evonik, BASF, DuPont, DSM and Solvay.

Just to conclude, the global market for hot melt adhesives is projected to reach $4.65bn by 2017 spurred by growth in end-use industries such as infrastructure and construction particularly in developing markets,  according to Global Industry Analysts in a 2011 report.

Emerging countries such as China, Japan, India and South Korea, among others, are driving the market for adhesives and are poised to contribute significantly to the market’s growth in the coming years. The Asia-Pacific market currently accounts for a relatively smaller share of the global market, but is expected to display potential for rapid growth and development.

North America dominates the global scenario as the single largest market for hot-melt adhesives, according to the report. Environmental regulations and widespread consumer acceptance make hot-melt adhesives a viable option in the adhesives market in the U.S.

I just found out that several emails have been going straight through a folder that I have no idea existed under my inbox since October last year. My apologies for those that I have not been able to reply back since then :(.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.


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