Bio-based by-products from Palm Fatty Acid Distillate as building blocks for coating systems (BIOPHOB)

Palm Fatty Acid Distillate (PFAD) is a bulky by-product in the palm oil refinery. Large quantities are available for the production of cheap soaps, as precursor in animal feed and raw material for oleochemistry. Since 2009 some basic processes exist where PFAD is used for producing biodiesel. Accordingly, the price of PFAD raised but, however, it is still cheaper than palm oil, the cheapest vegetable oil. As PFAD is a product based on renewable raw materials, its use is in accordance with the “High-Tech Strategy 2020” of the German government.

Palm tree

© Rosel Eckstein /

Scientific Background

In tropical regions like Indonesia the topic of algae growth on facades is a huge problem. Therefore, a hydrophobic acrylate dispersion is a promising alternative to common facade paints. But in general, monomeric building blocks are rather expensive. More cost-effective hydrophobic monomers shall be synthesized by using PFAD.

Many paint producers from western countries sell their coating products in the south-eastern region of Asia. However, only in rare cases these coating systems are specially designed for this climatic condition, although Indonesia is one of the fastest growing market for decorative paints with an annual average growth rate of 15,6 % in the period 2006– 2008 (Frost&Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of the Asia Pacific Coating Resin Industry, P35C-39, 12/2009). This poses an enormous market potential we will use by straightforward research and development of tailor-made coating systems.

Project Objective and Research Structure

The development of new bio-based hydrophobic acrylate dispersions as a coating system for facades serves as a pilot project to build up a shared used high-tech laboratory at the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM). The combination of applied research and basic research conducted by universities is the added value of this joint project. The laboratory is an initial action to set up a facility that ensures sustainability in the cooperation between German and Indonesian research institutions. Furthermore, it provides a basis for joint projects in the future to finance this laboratory in the long term and in a sustainable manner.

  • Development of a cost-effective, bio-based hydrophobic raw material based on PFAD for the synthesis of acrylate resins
  • Synthesis of a hydrophobic acrylate dispersion as a binder for facade coating systems in Southeast Asia
  • Installation and commissioning of a high-tech laboratory at UGM
  • Installation of a German-Indonesian exchange program for students and Ph.D. students
  • Joint projects with German and Indonesian partners from industry together with the high-tech laboratory at UGM to finance this laboratory in the long term and in a sustainable manner
Funded in the context of the BMBF funding programme to establish joint research structures of German universities with partners in APRA. More information on APRA.