Can we kick solvents out of coatings?

Our first webinar discussion of the coatings landscape and how we can move away from solvents


Can we kick solvents out of coatings? A Terrafend webinar

A challenge has been issued to the coatings industry to become more sustainable” Herkula’s Volker Linnertz said in our first webinar last week. ‘You certainly need to be innovative and bold in looking at this challenge.’

In our webinar ‘Can we kick solvents out of coatings?’ we asked what boldness and innovation looked like in trying to improve sustainability and safety metrics in the coatings industry, and what the resistance to change might be.

The 35 minute webinar with Terrafend’s Head of RnD Jamie Akister (formerly of Scott Bader) and Volker Linnertz, Supply Chain Manager at Herkula, focused on why removing solvents from the cleaning process was the best place to start, what options were available and how to thoroughly carry out contamination and lab-scale testing.

Alternatives to solvents included caustic soda, high pressure cleaning, cryogenics, solvent recovery and covered the advantages and disadvantages of each of these options.

Jamie explained how the science behind Ambimization® is fundamentally different to the corrosive way that solvents work. Volker confirmed that after rigorous testing from Herkula as they implemented Ambimization®, they find it’s the only option with no compromises: a quality clean, an easy to drop-in solution to their existing processes, and improved safety and sustainability for their site.

“I ran through all the other options that we looked at and there was a big negative point on all of these, but with Ambimization® we didn’t really see a negative.”

We all know that moving away from solvent use is imperative, whether it’s waiting until new legislation comes in, or making moves now to be ahead of the curve, there are options out there, and no need to compromise.


Webinar summary:

  • There are various solvent-free options, but they all come with disadvantages. Things like caustic soda, cryogenics or high pressure cleaning can be dangerous and energy intensive.
  • Solvent recovery/solvent recycling is high cost and energy, and whilst it gets more use from the solvents, it doesn't move away from solvent use.
  • It's possible to start small by testing alternatives on parts washers, but Herkula went for the biggest problem head on (high solvent use in vessel cleaning) to have the biggest impact.
  • If you're already using high pressure cleaning, switching solvents to Ambimization® is a drop-in solution where you don't have to change infrastructure or multiple processes.
  • Rigorous contamination and lab-scale testing is key to getting stakeholder buy-in, and cutting off any concerns from the beginning.
  • Implementing a more sustainable solution will need to happen eventually, in order to future-proof businesses and meet sustainability goals. Doing it sooner rather than later will mean bigger and better results.

Our guests finished the discussion by sharing one thing they each want the industry to know about the move away from solvents:

There is no compromise on the quality of the clean, and implementing positive change is easier than you might think!

If you’d like to find out more about the impact of Ambimization® on our customers, you can read our case study about Scott Bader, who reduced their emissions by 93.9% by replacing acetone with Ambimization®.