The Status and Reflection of Development of Bio-based Paint in China
Click:0    DateTime:Jan.11,2023

By Lu Ning, Huizheng Information.

With no more than 1% share of global paint yield and 5% of global market value, bio-based paint, as a major research field to realize the goal of reducing global carbon emission and overdependence on fossil energy, is receiving much concern from global paint industry chain.

China, whose paint market value has taken up 30% of the world total, is an important global paint producer and consumer. Currently, China has two standards in identifying bio-based paint, i.e. T/CIATA0025-2018PBC Bio-based Heavy Anti-corrosion Coating and T/CSTM 0047-2021 Bio-based Emulsion Interior Wall Paint, both of which are social organization standards.

The bio-based paint status in China

China is the major driving force for the fast growth of global bio-based paint market. Driven by its rapid economic growth, industries including building, automobile, furniture and home appliances have pushed the growth of paint market in China.

Since 2017, several bio-based paints have been successively introduced into market, mainly the emulsion paint for interior wall of building and woodware paint.

From perspective of suppliers, the suppliers of bio-based technologies are mainly emulsion and resin producers. Before 2021, suppliers were transnational corporations such as BASF, Dow Chemical and Covestro, and subsequently the bio-based products of Wanhua Chemical which entered into the market were recognized by the Dragon Paint of BNBM (Beijing New Building Material).

The introduction of domestic bio-based emulsion has played an active role in controlling the cost of bio-based paint. Taking the products of Wanhua Chemical as example, the price of bio-based emulsion is 15%-20% higher than the price of general emulsion. In the future, this price gap is expected to narrow as the consumption of bio-based emulsion grows and pushes the bio-based paint market to expand. The bio-based paint producers and biomass materials suppliers in China are in Table 1.


Reflection on developing bio-based paint

Firstly, bio-based paint is the representative product of sustainable development of paint, so the availability of its materials should also follow the principle of sustainability. Except for method of biomass balance, bio-based materials are totally from natural plants, mostly from the food materials including corn, wheat and palm oil. Under the condition that global starvation is not fully eliminated, taking food as materials of bio-based paint will consume more food resources and bring bigger hidden troubles for food security. Many upstream material suppliers have realized that natural resources are limited relatively so that arable land must be used in a prudent way and food security must be guaranteed.

Secondly, cost remains a major restraint for the scale development of bio-based paint in the short period of time. With uncertainty of world economy aggravates and the prices of energies including crude oil rise, the voice of replacing the petroleum base is increasingly louder for economic consideration. However, high-cost bio-based paint still faces a slack market. According to market survey, only 17% of consumers are willing to spend more for bio-based paint compared to current paint products, 20% willing to pay more for the cost for the sake of security and health. Obviously, consumers also expect a lower price for bio-based paint except for its sustainability. However, bio-based materials are only used in small scale now so that the price has stayed high. So long as paint industry sticks to sustainable development, the bio-based materials purchase price is expected to fall continually with growing consumption. Domestically produced bio-based emulsion, which has been sold in a relatively low price, may drive the bio-based paint to expand.  

Thirdly, bio base is not the key but one of the major trends for the sustainable development of paint. However, it does not mean that sustainable development of paint will conclude with bio base. The renewable and recyclable materials are being widely applied and fast spread in the plastics industry, so as in the paint industry. 

Finally, as the standards of bio base have been promoted increasingly in China, paint producers need incentives continuously by policy to transform to a sustainable development mode. At present, the sustainable development of paint industry is anchored in the market demands and supported by related policies. It is suggested that policy incentives should be introduced to encourage paint producers to innovate and invest in bio-based products and sustainable development. 

China is the region witnessing the fastest growth of bio-based paint and its roadmap of sustainable development for full life circle and full industry chain of paint will become the paragon for the high-quality development and green application of global paint in the future.