NuVera®: Accelerator of the transition to sustainable materials

NuVera®: Accelerator of the transition to sustainable materials

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Consumers increasingly expect products to be produced sustainably. One way for fashion, footwear and upholstery manufacturers to improve their environmental footprint is to replace fossil fuel-based chemistry with renewable carbon-based materials. Stahl’s NuVera® range of renewable carbon polyurethanes can help you do exactly that.

Stahl’s environmentally driven commitments and product solutions are a key part of our strategic focus, but also go back many decades, from Stahl’s introduction of water-based Polyurethanes in the late 1970’s to the more actual introduction of Stahl renewable carbon-based polyurethanes. Our commitment to minimizing the impact of our products on people and our planet has always driven innovations.

Our NuVera® product range can help manufacturers increase their sustainability without compromising on quality and performance. The introduction of this portfolio is in line with our Responsible Chemistry Initiative, with which we commit to speed up the transition from fossil carbon to renewable carbon for all organic chemicals and materials. Our efforts are focused on aligning our product portfolio to the future needs of our customers and the markets they serve while offering solutions that improve their environmental footprint. We do this by using low-impact manufacturing chemicals, contributing to a more circular economy and, in the case of Stahl NuVera®, by replacing petrochemicals with renewable resources.

Our Stahl NuVera® Range 
Stahl NuVera® "modern carbon” based products are derived from plant-based biomass (typically vegetable oils or sugars), alternatively they can also be made from a third renewable raw material category which is “captured carbon”, where CO2 released from industrial processes is captured and used as a feedstock for producing polymeric building blocks. The NuVera® range of sustainable polyurethanes have been tested and certified using the ASTM 6866 carbon isotope method for bio-based carbon content*. The NuVera® D range of polyurethane dispersions consists of four products: RU-94-226, RU-94-227, RU-94-225 and RU-94-414. We are currently developing additional solutions as part of our commitment to responsible chemistry.

The first two solutions – NuVera® D RU-94-226 and RU-94-227 – are the two harder resins in the portfolio. They are ideal for use as pre-skin component in transfer coating processes or as a top-coat component in finishing or lacquering of flexible synthetic articles, which may be used in consumer articles such as shoes, garment or fashion bags & accessories.

NuVera® D RU-94-225 is a softer PUD which can be used as adhesive or alternatively as a mix component to make a chosen pre-skin formulation more flexible. It is a soft PUD that can also be used in a transfer-coating process as a skin layer or as a soft resin component in finishing or lacquering formulations that uses a combination of bio-based and captured carbon-based raw materials. 

NuVera® D RU-94-414 is a soft polyester dispersion. It can be used in adhesive formulations or alternatively serve as a soft component in basecoat finishing or lacquering.

Introducing new Stahl NuVera® Q HS-94-490 high solids resin
An important factor for creating high renewable carbon content in any synthetic article, will also depend on the availability of a flexible high solids resin which offers bio-based content. In many transfer coated articles the middle layer (skin) is the thickest layer, which typically determines mostly the handle and flexibility. In some cases this can be selected from WB PUD offering, but in most synthetic articles it needs the use of a bigger quantity or thicker layer to be applied, due to boost performance. The use of a high solids resin is often bringing the solution. With the introduction of NuVera® Q HS-94-490, we can now offer a product that can be used for applying thick layers in one pass. HS-94-490 is available as an approximately 100% solids resin with very soft film characteristics, ideally suited for creating flexible articles like upholstery or shoe upper. This new NuVera® product addition is currently in the pre-industrialization phase, available for small scale prototyping. During 1Q 2021 we expect to launch this product to commercial status, making it available in larger quantities.

ZDHC MRSL Compliancy
It goes without saying that all NuVera® renewable carbon-based products comply with the latest standards and regulations, including the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Version 2.0 Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL).

In addition to these 4 waterbased polyurethane dispersions, our R&D engineers are also looking at expanding our portfolio of products in other directions. We soon hope to announce the introduction of a 100% solids pre-polymer resin.

Webinar: How Renewable Carbon Content will Shape the Future of Polyurethanes 
The use of these new NuVera® products is very versatile, as also presented in a recent Stahl webinar. Our Synthetic Market application engineers have demonstrated the creation of various shoe-upper, upholstery or fashion articles, using the above presented NuVera®  products, which meet the typical technical performance targets for the markets that they serve, while reaching total renewable carbon content for some articles as high as 75%.

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NuVera®: Accelerator of the transition to sustainable materials
Eric Timmermans
Global Market Manager Synthetics