The U.S. EPA has named DuPont as a recipient of its Clean Air Excellence Award for its high solids clearcoat paint used in the Durango assembly process. DuPont SuperSolids ultra-low emissions technology lowers volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions more than 25%, while also improving scratch and mar resistance 60%. The EPA will present the award during a ceremony to be held March 20, in Washington, D.C. The EPA Office of Air and Radiation annually reviews nominations recognizing outstanding, innovative efforts that help improve air quality. The first commercial application of SuperSolids clearcoat is on the 2002-03 Dodge Durango, produced at the DaimlerChrysler Newark, Del., assembly plant. “The success of SuperSolids is the result of close cooperation between DuPont coatings experts and DaimlerChrysler’s engineers to ensure this technology delivers excellent results in actual production,” said Edward J. Donnelly, group vice president of DuPont Coatings and Colour Technologies. New analytical techniques were crucial to the research and manufacturing development of SuperSolids, which was conducted at the DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Del. and the Troy Laboratories at DuPont Automotive headquarters in Troy, Mich. Launched in the spring of 2002, the innovation immediately lowered VOC emissions on the clearcoat production line by more than one quarter, in addition to eliminating more than 80% of the hazardous air pollutant emissions from the complete topcoat process. The technology also reduced odours from the painting process by 50%. These improvements helped the DaimlerChrysler facility meet new permit requirements one year early. DuPont achieves 65% solid content in the paint through SuperSolids, exceeding the current industry-best standard of 50% solids and 50% solvent. DuPont has demonstrated technology to raise solids content to nearly 90%, further reducing dependence on traditional solvents to thin and disperse paint to significantly reduce environmental impact. These benefits are accomplished by changing the nature of oligomers, or small polymer chains that originally have few structural properties. The chemical innovation gives oligomers a new structure by changing the way they react to each other. Simply stated, the solids are made to behave more like a fluid, without requiring higher levels of solvent. SuperSolids make it possible to use existing liquid paint equipment without additional hardware costs for applying the paint and add-on emissions equipment, generating potential cost savings of up to $20 million U.S. per plant. Also, improved scratch and mar resistance enhances initial vehicle coating appearance. “SuperSolids is a remarkable new technology with considerable potential to help vehicle manufacturers protect the environment and increase value to consumers, without driving up costs,” said Robert Matheson, manager for strategic technology for DuPont Performance Coatings. DuPont continues to work with DaimlerChrysler and other automotive partners to expand the use of SuperSolids across the globe.